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An alternative route…

October 6, 2011
Oh deary me… I’ve calmed down a tad now!
I cycled an alternative route into Leicester today.
For the last 6 months I have cycled the 7 miles routeinto St. George’s Retail Park from Goscote:
But I recently wondered if a less-traffic-ed less risky route via “cycle ways” and “the like, might bean alternative option in the dark or inclement weather.
And so ventured forth:
Oh Dear Me! I bit my lip and restrained myself with myinitial post-ride tweet!
“I’ll write more when I’ve calmed down! Alternativeroute into Leicester using less trafficed cycle infrastructure(?)AB-SOOOOO-LUTE JOKE!”
OK I am ignorant of the facts, and am not in a position to criticise, I should fall in line a let the affluenca drive by, but sorry, it was an absolute joke.
Perhaps because the road route I’ve been used to over thelast 6 months has been a relatively enjoyable casual ride all the way in seecomments here:
But I don’t know what to say about today’s experience.(forgive me, I am not familiar with the technical terms of the attempted cycleinfrastructure)
(a) the quality shared cycle way from Goscote to Systonis unusable between 8-9 as its FULL of school children. Try and use it at yourperil!
(b) the route through Syston, as oppose to the countyroute around it, is ridden with potential obstacles and hazards – It requiresfull attention at all times.
(c) traffic is heavier and faster and arguable lesstolerant of cyclists on this route!
(d) the cycle path area on the road (and the paths lateron) is frequently dirty and dusty with potential puncture hazards, I usuallycycle further out in the road to avoid such.
(e) the suburban junctions are busier and being used moreaggressively than those on the rural route.
(f) having to negotiate cycle ways that go onto pavementsand off pavements and then utilise pedestrian crossings etc is a confusing painin the backside.
(g) the suburbs are not attractive.
(h) the shared cycle way from Thrum to Leicester ispotholed, dirty and in a state of bad repair. Where this crosses junctions etc.protocol is anyone’s guess, confusing and hazardous.
(i) lack of a clear route across Troon Way at the oldThorn Lighting crossroads is laughable and dangerous!
(j) route continues in poor condition
(k) route through park for 2 minutes is nice (and relax)but not sure I should be cycling on the footpath.
(l) off the main Melton Road, cycling through terraced suburbs is OK butconstant vigilance is needed and roads are not in good condition and regularjunctions, parking and hump hazards need careful passage. Not to mentionill-informed parents teaching their kids ‘street survival’ by not usingcrossings and walkways but just jaywalking every-which-way! Don’t get mestarted on that!
(m) the rat-run through the terraces is not idea due tothe parking etc which needs constant vigilance if you’re not to be taken out bya pedestrian or a car-door etc.
The consequence of the above saw me get to work in astate of agitated high-tension, to say the least. If my reaction is subjectivethen the objective facts above are enough to rule it out as a practicalalternative. I usually take 30mins on average to cover the 7miles. This tripalso of 7miles took 40mins. That’s a 30+% longer!?
If city planners (or how ever it is that implements such) expect more people to cycle and use such facilities they areseriously short-sighted or indeed having a laugh!
Back to the country-route tomorrow.
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4 Comments
  1. October 6, 2011 1:01 pm

    This must be why most cyclists avoid cycle routes like the plague. But then we are castigated by motorists for using roads and by pedestrians for straying onto pavements where the roads are just too dangerous.KBO!

  2. October 6, 2011 8:56 pm

    Jules,I agree with most of your comments on the route. Sadly I need to use a lot of it most days. For example I went through Syston on the Melton Road 3 times today. Sadly drivers are often very dangerous. Today I had two incidents by Syston Station. I got called a t?at by someone who nearly doored me by the Mace near the station (fortunately I had been ignoring the frustrated driver behind me and was in the middle of the lane). Also a mercedes overtook me going south over the railway bridge only yards from the mini roundabout and cut me up pretty badly.I have blogged in the past about what this route is like and what it should be like. I have also brought up the conditions with the County Council. They know the junction of Melton Rd, Troon Way has a terrible accident record but have no plans to change it.I don't ride the route you use very often but the bends on the road between Barkby Thorpe and Scraptoft have given me some big scares as cars overtake when they just can't see round a corner, if someone appears going the other way they just swerve into you.

  3. October 6, 2011 9:45 pm

    Yup, agree. Driver education? will be lost on many. I no not a solution, only be bold, be strong…Select routes around the busy areas.Thankfully Barkby to Leicester is not too bad, I find drivers on this route generally considerate, then the route to & via Catherine street is good.I guess I'm lucky to have this country option. I ride through Syston occasionally and agree it can be a hazardous aggressive experience.If only drivers chilled out a tad, they are missing so much by being so belligerent and in a rush!I learnt, or at least was enlightened, a deal when I attended a speed awareness course in may. Life's to short to get there early!Hope all the events go well this weekend. It seems our life's dictated by kids for a few years yet. See u soon, J.

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