Big cities, including my own, are realising the importance of encouraging cycling. Moscow is in the news today as it tries to get more people on bikes. The benefits are obvious:

  • More bikes, less cars
  • Traffic flows better with less vehicles
  • People get fitter and healthier
  • The culture changes in favour of cycling
  • More people cycle as a result of the culture change

What is interesting in the article is the big differences in cycle friendly cities to those not quite there yet. See the link for the full article:

Original Guardian article

I saw this brilliant idea by Sir Norman Foster recently, a man who knows a thing or two about architecture.
The idea is simply to use the space in the city vertically by putting cycle lanes above existing railway lines. With the recent spate of cyclists being killed on London’s overcrowded roads, this to me is the way forward. When I was growing up, this is how cities of the future looked like!

Sir Norman Foster Sky Cycle proposal

Proposed SkyCycle lanes

Related links

How about a heated road that glows in the dark! The Dutch are on the case with special paint which glows at night.

See this BBC news report for more details

So this week I had some more car free adventures.

I needed to go a few miles to go to a specialist shop so I got the bus. The First Bus I get sells a day pass ticket if you go any reasonable distance – so if you want a return travelling about 4 miles, they sell you a day rider ticket (£3.80). This is significant as to what happened later.

GOOD 🙂

So as I had this bus ticket, I got my money’s worth, riding buses 5 times, including to and from my local shops.

BAD 🙁

Thinking it would be handy to use the bus to go to my martial art class at 7pm, I got an evening bus. I walked to a stop that has multiple services, but to my dismay, I saw five buses travel in the opposite direction and only one venture to town (where I was going) in 45 minutes! Feeble service.
Two disappointing notes to add: The bus that came through still had it’s number displayed instead of ‘Not in service’ and the bus stop had a time table display which obviously does not show live data.
Luckily, a friend gave me a life back at 9pm saving more hanging around. What I really hate about waiting for buses is the feeling you are not doing anything constructive. You are at the mercy of that big behemoth of the road, if it decides to pay you a visit. Rarely punctual, pricey and lacking information. Our bus service leaves a lot to be desired, still.

Cycle stop

On a brighter note, the following day I decided to not use public transport to go to town (6 miles), but to cycle in and use the Cycle Point at the main train station. This is a great idea, commuters being able to drop their bikes off for the day for £1 per day. I did my shopping that day and rode home in the rush hour without too much trouble.
There were plenty of bikes in the Cycle Point but they said they had capacity for another 300 bikes upstairs! I did notice also that day that many people are happy to leave their bikes locked to railings and lamp-posts (free of course) but for the sake of £1, I prefer to leave mine in a safe place (although they do recommend you lock up your bikes in the Cycle Point).

Further details can be found at Northern Rail – Leeds Cycle Point

Me and a friend went for a bike ride today. We went from North Leeds to Harrogate via Pool, Huby, Burn Bridge and Pannal. In Harrogate we got the train back. I made a few observations:

GOOD 🙂

  • Northern Rail do a deal these days, two Adults get a discount return rail ticket which works out cheaper than two single tickets (£9).
  • Train had space for 4 bikes.

 

BAD 🙁

  • A path alongside the A658 Harrogate Road made a nice cycle lane. Unfortunately it lasted up to a bus stop and then became a dirt track/quagmire.
  • Train was 3 minutes late (I know that is good for the UK).
  • The trains are every 2 hours! (Sunday) We were lucky that we got to the station with only 6 minutes to wait.