Monday 27 January 2014

'Cities Fit for Cycling' - A badge to hide behind?

I've wanted to support The Times 'Cities fit for Cycling' campaign since the outset. Its a good idea - cities are congested yet we seem intent on getting more people in and out of them to work and to live, and the only way we'll manage that cleanly with the space available is on foot or by bicycle. We can't rely on more buses and cars - they take up space and burn energy, neither of which are cheap. I don't doubt the sincerity or the motivation of Times journalists for starting with this campaign. I have no major issue with their goals- although I think simply being more explicit with regard to coverage and quality of dedicated cycling infrastructure would be better.

I should be supportive of the campaign, yes?

No. Not entirely.

I want to be, but I can't. It pains me to say it but there is one aspect of it that I think rather lets it down, which has always been the reason why I've never sang the praises of the campaign here. And its rather reminiscent of the problems I had with how Cambridge Cycling Campaign used to act.

Years and years ago I recall conversations with road traffic people from the County Council. And they'd go something like this...

Me: This road is dangerous for cyclists, in fact your recent changes are terrible.
Officer: We consult with Cambridge Cycling Campaign.
Me: I'm not a member, they don't speak for me.
Officer: They speak for cyclists, we consult with them, they didn't object.
Me: What didn't they object to?
Officer: The scheme as a whole?
Me: So you can't show me their support for this dangerous road where you expect me to play chicken with lorries?
Officer: We consult with Cambridge Cycling Campagin, they speak for cyclists...

CCC have got a bit better with not accepting dangerously bad cycling schemes - and with time I hope we'll start to get better cycling schemes in place here. Councillors and council employees can no longer quite so easily hide behind such a bland statement - talking to the Campaign is no longer demonstration that they're pro-cyclist.

We saw a lot of enthusiasm from MP's and other political figures for The Times campaign - thats when, for me, alarm bells started to ring. The thing about cycling is that the benefits are uncontroversial - its quick, clean, healthy, cheap, passes on few problems to other people, I mean whats not to like? It is very easy for a politician to sign on for something as unambiguously beneficial, but really hard to make them stick to it. So we've had no end of announcements from politicians about this - heck this is even one where backbenchers can have their say and be seen to be good for criticising front-benchers for not being as good as they are. And each of them can proudly say that under their red, blue or yellow rosette they are wearing their cyclesafe badge closer to their heart, as they announce the same funding three times to make it sound like its more than it is.

I worry that by giving out such an easy badge, its so very simple for the politician to wriggle out of serious questions rather like we used to see here in Cambridgeshire. They'll all claim to be pro-cycling and point to their support for Cyclesafe etc. While doing nothing. This is a badge politicans can point to and say 'look, we're cyclist friendly' while quite demonstrably that is not the case - the same PM who so praised the Times campaign has entirely failed to take on any of the suggestions from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. But he's pro-cycling, don't you know? He supports Cities Fit for Cycling...

So what are we left with? We've got a campaign that does indeed have a range of articles in the paper that kind of keep cycling in the news - but its also a campaign that allows crap politicians to hide in plain sight, promising they're pro-cyclist while giving us nothing. From a newspaper that comes out with the occasional outright howler of an article about cyclists. And yes, holding the politicians to task in further articles is valuable, but outside of the narrow confines of cycle campaigning who is paying attention? Did we gain anything by having a parliamentary debate on cycling when there was no need for the PM to do anything in response because, after all, he already supports 'cyclesafe'?

I get what The Times is doing. My problem was, and is, that any such badge is something a shyster politician will hide behind. Strip that away, make it something that needs some analysis before you're a member, and you've got something of value. As it is? I rather fear its just impossible to find anything in it to hold politicians to. Both in its somewhat unclear objectives and lax 'membership' I've never been comfortable with the campaign.

But time will tell. Or, perhaps, time is already telling. Outside of London, are we seeing a cycling revolution in the UK? If you're not in London or Cambridge is cycling even an issue? Regrettably, I rather doubt it.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

How much room must you give a cyclist when passing?

Just a quick note, I've had my attention drawn to this marvellous comedy piece here.

I mean, this is a cracking little parody isn't it?
There is clearly much confusion over what is the correct clearance for drivers to safely pass cyclists. The Highway Code vaguely talks about giving them as much space as if passing another car...

I mean you know you're in for some fun when you see the font, don't you? And when simple, clear instructions accompanied with a picture which is even included in the article for fecks sake are erroneously described as 'vague'. But we're just getting warmed up!
Clearly what is wrong with the Highway Code rule is that the clearance that drivers will pass cars at will not only vary from driver to driver but also depend on the speed of the car being passed and the speed of the overtake. So in bumper to bumper slow moving traffic, or multiple lanes, under this rule, nobody could ever pass slower vehicles.
So lets get this right, we're comparing passing a cyclist at speed with slithering past an almost immobile vehicle in slow moving bumper-to-bumper traffic? You're comparing two moving vehicles with passing a near as dammit immoveable object?  Oh, Keith, you're a card!
We must first accept that the clearance given by drivers will be entirely their judgement call and if effected without collision or causing a cyclist to fall off, it will corroborate that the driver's judgement was correct; no matter how perceived from the cyclist's perspective. Cyclists may claim what they like but the outcome justifies the means.
You what now? You mean near misses are okay as long as they're misses? If you pass a cyclist with, say four inches to spare at a speed of, say, 40mph thats fine and a cyclist who is complaining about it is just having a laugh? Genius, thats a perfect parody right there! Its like saying swinging your fist at a chaps face but stopping three inches short of a punch is fine, you didn't punch him, you just made him flinch a bit. Like a  kid walking along kicking his legs saying if the other kid gets kicked its his own fault for being there. Brilliant humour.

But even better than that we've got a joke suggestion for a new rule:
 Leave as much clearance when passing a cyclist that it is physically impossible and unlikely for the cyclist to deviate to the extent that a collision can result without it being the cyclist's fault. After all, that is the object isn't it?
Oh, Keith, thats so funny. I mean you've just basically justified passing as closely and as dangerously as you like, replacing a perfectly reasonable, understandable set of rules with a completely subjective view that means the motorist will always be in the right! I mean, thats just the perfect parody of campaign such as Drive East Midlands which seem to be just dripping with just such ridiculous moton apologism.

Hang on a minute, you don't suppose that article isn't a parody, do you? I mean... Couldn't mean it, could he? Naah.... I mean, life imitating art like that, it couldn't be quite so extreme... But its the same site as the one its parodying... Oh.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Cambridge Cabbies: Cyclists? You don't exist.

Cambridge taxi drivers get a bad rep sometimes, as they do in most cities I think. Its to be expected, I mean, think about it - they're on the streets all the time, trying to get enough trade such that they don't have to work every single hour of the day. They'll cut corners, they'll go too quick, they'll do whatever they need to in the hope of getting home to their families a few minutes earlier with enough money to pay the bills.

And they're doing this on the roads - controlling powerful machines at high speed among other people acting just as daft. So they get angry, they get annoyed, and both individually and collectively they can end up getting a rotten reputation.

So Cambridge taxi drivers have come up with a plan. Its not a bad plan either  they're going to have a code of practice to convince us they are not 'greedy, lying thugs'. They're going to have a code of conduct - and its going to to be all sweetness and light with them being 'professional' and 'courteous to my fellow drivers'a lot of other stuff. Okay...

Trouble isn't whats in the code, its whats not. It transpires that about half of Cambridges population cycle sometimes - and something in the region of a fifth of trips are by bike. So where's the bullet point about overtaking cylists such that if the cyclist falls off the taxi driver wouldn't run him or her over? Or the one saying you won't block cycle lanes? Perhaps you might have a statement that you will not over-run ALS's or that you'll not break the speed limit? No? 

In fact in the city that has the highest proportion of cyclists in the entire country our taxi drivers have managed to come up with a code of conduct that conspicuously fails to mention us. And I promise you, its not like they don't talk about us - or, I should say, complain. Incessantly, boringly, and pointlessly.

So how have they avoided making any pledges to treat cyclists well, or with respect, or even obey the law where cycling facilities are concerned? Well there's only one possibility really.

There's nothing in it about cyclists because they don't really respect us enough to promise to treat us well. Its really that simple - there are no pledges to treat cyclists well because there is no intention to do so. This is an intentional snub, there will be no charter badge that requires treating cyclists well because there is no desire to treat us well. 

Hostilities as normal from Cambridge taxi drivers then. Or... I dunno. Go on Cambridge Cabbies, prove me wrong. Change the charter - change 'fellow motorists' to 'fellow road users'. Promise to respect cyclists like you've promised to respect motorists. Will you do that for us, or do you genuinely, collectively have no respect for us?

Monday 13 January 2014

Cambridge Cycling Bestiary: 2

I wrote part 1 of a Cambridge Cycling bestiary back in December '12, so part 2 is overdue!

The idea is to (perhaps irreverently, certainly sarcastically) describe some of the other cyclists I often see. Partly because Cambridge is full of 'characters' who need describing here, but also because it amuses me. Anyone who knows me will know that I'm probably the worst person you'll ever meet for remembering names - as such I give people little monikers of my own that I might remember. This extends to complete strangers. Here is my second group of complete stranger cyclists who have earned said monikers...

First I must talk about The Rock God. I don't know who he is, I don't know why he does it, but there's a chap who rides round, and round, and round Cambridge City Centre with what seems to be a slightly old fashioned little portable stereo in a carrier bag draped over his handlebars, from which he plays rock music. All of the time. I don't know if his mission is to bring rock to Cambridge, I don't know where he's from, whether he's going somewhere... Its a mystery. I'm glad he's there though - Cambridge would be a poorer place without folk like him, and if you've spent much time here over the last decade you've probably seen him.

Femme Fatality is another one I see a couple of times a week. You know some folk are just eye catching - they've got a look about them and your head will be turned towards them? She's like that, but while you'll be drawn towards her by her looks (its not so much beauty as having a presence - the kind that have nothing to do with age, its just something you've got or you haven't) you'll find you're soon staring at her bike. Its a death trap - the brakes seem to have been disconnected forever, the tyres are both bald and flat, and she's always riding this heap in the gutter. I don't get why you'd ride a bike in such a bad state or so badly. Seriously, I've been convinced she must be going to die on the roads for years - but on she goes. Good for her... No idea what its about though.

WHY? is an older chap who, I think, rather misses the point of what cycle facilities are for. I only see him on one particular stretch of Carlton Way, and he's always either on the 'shared use' section towards the School (by which I mean pavement that has a sign on saying you can ride it) or he's on the short segregated bit on which you have to dodge vehicles coming in and out of the school, negotiate a chicane with two ninety degree corners and little space, then give way to every damn driveway - no other adult cyclists that I see ride on it. And when he sees us riding on the road he's peeved - old WHY? tuts at us, sometimes even shouting at us. "WHY DON'T YOU USE THE FACILITIES PROVIDED FOR YOU?" he asks. "BECAUSE THEY ARE SHIT" I reply. Not that it helps. 

Hair and Hat is a guy who, in fairness, I have no idea (and don't especially care) if he's rastafarian or not, but if I say he looks like one you'll know the kind of style of hair and hat I'm talking about. He has the hat and the hair that would conform therewith, and the relaxed attitude to riding that one might associate with being under the influence of something. He's in no hurry - he's not going ridiculously slowly but he's not going fast. . Ever. Not even through lights or across junctions, he just goes at exactly the same rate. He's going to go his speed, he's not really going to show all that much awareness of the world around him other than to smile at folk who meet his gaze - I mean, he's in no way objectionable, but he's wearing a look that I rarely see in Cambridge which makes him stand out.  

Thats it for my second Cambridge Cycling Bestiary. Be sure to feel free to abuse me for my comments, or share your own random musings on strangers you often see cycling...

Thursday 9 January 2014

Car Parking in Cambridge - ITS SO UNFAIR!

Puberty is hard, we all remember that.

And its really hard on the motorists of Cambridgeshire who seem be stuck in the earliest stages of adulthood. Skin problems (lack of sunlight), unexplained things happening to their bodies (accumulation of fat), constant tiredness (no exercise) and mood swings (petrol fumes) seem to create the same mentality that typifies early teenage years.

Nowhere does this show more clearly than in car parking, a topic of discussion in which, for the most part, facts and reason have no place. And any emotional, emotive argument basically comes down to THIS IS TOO HARD, ITS SO UNFAIR,  WHY OUGHT I PAY SO MUCH, CAMBRIDGE HATES ME BECAUSE I'M A MOTORIST etc.

Parking your car in the middle of Cambridge isn't cheap. But it shouldn't be - this is a small city centre with finite space, and even by the worst standards of the UK horrifically congested with far more cars than can get through it. In between the privately owned cars are taxi drivers and bus drivers jostling for space, all of whom resent the very oxygen cyclists breathe because it could otherwise have sustained their engines for another hundred yards or so. The City Council control the major car parking sites, and they run this commercially - they aim at something like 85% occupancy, and they set costs and waiting times accordingly.

Everyone mostly agrees that things in the city centre are and pretty much should run commercially - rents are set that way, shop prices, the survival of businesses, etc. are subject to market forces. And its the job of the City Council to (1) get the most money back from its investment in parking, (2) balance the needs of different travelers, shoppers and business owners in the city, and (3) keep the city centre moving such that people even bother to come. If they get this wrong then when everything is so clogged with cars you can't get in or out, everyone suffers.

And viewed in such simple terms they're doing very well. Car parks are always busy - I never go past one of the multi storeys without there being a queue, and while the recession certainly hurt retail here we've come through with the lowest shop vacancy rate in the country. The City Council makes a bomb out of parking upwards of £4million per year, a massive proportion of their income. And while its very easy to marvel at so much money seemingly squandered on so little of obvious worth, only a fool would suggest that parking costs are killing Cambridge retail - the car parks are full (even over-full), retail here does better than elsewhere in the East of England.

Now you might argue that its still tough for retailers in Cambridge, and you'd be right. Its very hard for smaller, independent retailers here in particular, at least in the city centre, meaning that if you're looking for retail property not on Mill Road or up on Burleigh Street (for example) you're probably boned - the tight space and high demand mean that its really just chains who can afford the upfront costs to set up shop in the middle of town, making Cambridge arguably Britains most clone town. So maybe the LAST thing we want is to make the city centre more desirable for motorists by encouraging people to drive here if our goal is to keep Cambridge interesting...

But lets take a step back from this.

The argument that parking is too expensive in Cambridge is preposterous - yes, its expensive, but too expensive? Whats our goal, to get as many people in to the city to spend as much money as possible or are we looking to subsidise motorists? If the car parks are full and making a good profit then its absurd to suggest that the car parks are too expensive - if anything that implies we could increase the cost further. Besides, the roads are gridlocked already so cheaper parking will simply mean yet more traffic woes for motorists to bellyache about.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that we do so well with such a high cycling modal share - the impact of cars on shopping are always over-stated - and if the goal of our City Council is to maximise shopping spend they should be supporting more public transport and cycling, which in a half-arsed fashion they do.

No doubt the blue-rinse Tory fendlanders who dominate the County Council elections will bellyache ad infinitum et ultra that they can't afford to drive in to the city and park, while also bemoaning that all sorts of other things aren't subject to proper free market economics. Frankly, I believe that Cambridges response to them should be to tell them to bugger off to Peterborough or Ely - we don't want them and, frankly, changing things to make them happy would cost us more money than they'd bring in.

Monday 6 January 2014

Appeal For Witnesses - Catholic Church Junction Crash

If you saw this incident back in October, a two-cyclist crash that happened at the Catholic Church Junction in Cambridge, please get in touch with this guy here.

Green Goblin (who posted that to LFGSS forum), do us a favour and provide a means of contact other than on that forum. Happy to circulate contact details in hope this gets some witnesses - could do with being able to (1) verify who you are to make sure its not some dubious journalistic snooping, and (2) make sure we can get accounts to you, it'll be rather hard if its behind a forum-log in wall.


Friday 3 January 2014

The Great Cycle Route that Isn't - Part 3

In my last post I charted the route from the Science Park to Arbury Road. That covers the first part of the route from the Science Park to the City Centre following as close as possible to a straight line from the rear cycle entrance along the old Roman Rod to the City - a route that ought to be ideal for cycling but, at present, is far from that.

All of the pictures in this post come from Google Maps.

Once you get past the cut-through from Roxburgh Road on to Nicholson Way, you're at Arbury Road. This is a HORRIBLE road to ride on - its not all that wide considering the traffic it gets, there are parked cars on it, its long and its near enough straight. Motorists drive it like maniacs - speeding is common, close overtakes are the norm - management of this route needs to change, you see far fewer cyclists there than on most of the other main routes in Cambridge. This needs addressing, but is perhaps the subject of another discussion. On this ride we're on that road for only a few yards - and then we're turning on to Mere Way.

Mere Way is just the first part of whats a long, straight road to the City Centre. This is the Roman road route, and like so many roads in Cambridge it changes its name more or less at random points - it first becomes Carlton Way, then once you cross Gilbert Road you're on Stretten Avenue. Its an important route to get to the school and the college on Arbury Road, and of course there is another school on Carlton Way, a local pub, and shops. Its covered with speed humps.

Here's what Mere Way looks like. Note how the grass verges are being destroyed by bad parking.

Now when its quiet, its great. But that's not when most of us are commuting - and as we head further along Carlton Way it starts getting iffy...

See the barrier on the left side of the road? That's there because behind the blue fence is a school, and without the barrier the path, cycle lane, grass verge up ahead, all of it becomes roadway at school drop off and pick up time. Its a mess - motorists aren't looking for cyclists, they're desperately trying to find somewhere to drop off their kids in among an horrendous parking carnage. A little further on, you get to the shops (below).

And of course here you'll have motorists opening doors from the parking area, cutting straight across cyclists to get to the shops, very often trying to out-accelerate cyclists from the Gilbert Road junction only to brake hard for the shops. 

And then, shortly after, you're at Gilbert Road...

Now does it strike you as odd that there's a huge distance between rows of homes/shops/schools on either side of the road, with massively wide grass verges, and no dedicated space for cycling on the straightest line route between the City and the Science Park? That the most logical, direct route for cycling isn't in any way helpful for cycling despite space being there to do something better? Much of the road on the left (as you're looking at the pictures above) is 'shared use', some even has cycle lane on it - but its indirect, gives way to each side road, and will get you abuse from pedestrians who, quite understandably, don't know why you're cycling on what should clearly be a pavement.

I propose that a solution for Mere Way/Carlton Way is very simple - we need a single, two-way cycle route on one side of it - probably taking much of the grass verge space and perhaps small amount of the road from some parts, on the East side (the left as you look at pictures above). There is ample space, none of the trees are of particular stature or value, and far more in keeping specimens that are more conducive to wildlife could instead be planted to replace them.

Here's your first look at Stretten Avenue, from the end of Carlton Way. Note the cars heading on to Stretten Avenue...

A very familiar tale to cyclists who use this route is cars trying to pass them as they leave from the advance cycle box on Carlton Way, only to slam on the anchors just past where the blue car in the distance is. If we really MUST share space on the road with such idiots the position of the speed humps ahead necessitates that cyclists should get a head start at this junction. But, really, why ought be sharing space with cars on what is an ideal direct line route for cyclists? Lets scoot further down Stretten Avenue and you'll see my point...

Stretten Avenue is like that every day. Commuters leave to go to work, new commuters heading to Cambridge take their place. Its not a road, its a car park with a route through it - its kind of sad that this ancient throughfare, this route used since Roman times, is reduced to barely passable. If you're going to ride outside of the car door opening zone you can only ride right down the middle - and put up with motorists behind you getting close enough to nudge your back wheel or, worse, driving straight at you on the assumption that you'll somehow just not be there any more.

There are two obvious ways of fixing this. The first approach would be to replace parking on one side with a two-way cycle route. It wouldn't reduce amount of road space for driving on - but it would make it a heck of a lot more cyclable, and it would get rid of this frankly absurd parking situation. The other way to do it is to provide a cycle route as far as Harvey Goodwin Avenue, and to if we must retain so much parking on the two roads to make Harvey Goodwin and Stretten Aveneues one way between the points where the two roads intersect., thus:

Lets be clear - between the two rows of parked cars there is not room to safely overtake a cyclist or pass an oncoming rider. A one-way circuit could only work properly here if we also ban overtaking cyclists on the narrow section (we've seen this previously in Cambridge during the Hills Road Bridge renovation). Of course, one could argue this will slow cars down, but Stretten Avenue is already littered with speed humps. Slowing motorists down here is something we're already trying to do - arguably if it were one way we wouldn't need the ridiculous speed humps. And if we must have speed humps a flat route through the middle so cyclists don't have to go up and down would be handy.

I would, however, prefer parking to be removed from one side of Stretten Avenue for insertion of a cycle lane. Frankly a one way system could work but I fail to see why cyclists should be sent out of their way because motorists can't store their vehicles responsibly - and the whole purpose of this is to turn the route into Cambridges first real route where cyclists really get prioritised.

The remainder of the route to the city centre - St. Lukes Street, Searle Street, Fisher Street and Carlyle Road are all genuinely quiet, and don't especially need tinkering with. I would suggest though that they, along with the rest of the route, must be added to the gritting schedule if we're really going to take this seriously as a cycling route.

And lastly, we need clear signage. The most common complaint I get from people trying to plot a route to the Guided Bus cycle way through Kings Hedges is that how you get there is really complex - actually, when you know it, it isn't, but the kind of cut-throughs are only obvious when you know them. I propose (in fact a comment on my previous blog post proposed it!) that such routes as this should be surfaced with a distinctive colour - such as the red surface we see now on Gilbert Road (rather than the gaudy blue of Londons cycle lanes).

So, what are the chances we'll get any of this? None, probably. And thats why any claim that Cambridge is a cyclist city are preposterous - if we can't routes like this one into ones for cyclists, we'll remain among Europes cycling also-rans. I wonder, is that what our local authorities here want?

Thursday 2 January 2014

The Great Cycle Route That Isn't - Part 2

As I explained in my last post, and the one before, all we really want as cyclists is for the routes we might realistically want to use to be safe. That means that the direct routes connecting the places we need to go have to be changed to make them rideable. As luck would have it we've got exactly such a direct route connecting the Science Park to Cambridge City Centre - a route that ought to be superb but rather fails.

The big question is what we'd need to do to change that route to turn it in to what we need it to be - Cambridges first real cycle-superhighway?

Like in my last post, lets start at the Science Park end.

I think its fairly obvious that the exit from the Science Park to Kings Hedges Road (top) is woefully bad - we need a better surface, a dropped kerb on to the road and a proper crossing, and we must be rid of that wooden barrier. As it is, this route doesn't even acknowledge the presence of cyclists who are directed to use it from the end of the cycle lane in the science park, and there is huge scope for improvement. We could also do with changing the very obstructive chicane (below) that makes access so hard that many cyclists have to dismount. In short, right at the beginning of this cycle route to the City this actually has to BE a cycle route!

Then of course you've the cul-de-sac on the other side of the road (below, from Google Earth) the end of which is frequently blocked, and at which we need to go through a narrow opening - it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that things could be a great deal better there - we need yellow lines to stop parking at the end of the street, and a much wider gateway entry for cyclists. Since the opening of the news branch of Screwfix opposite Daily Bread at the end of this route, parked vehicles there are already becoming more of a issue than they were - on Saturdays its rare that the gate isn't blocked by shoppers, on Sunday its always blocked by someone coaching football on the field beyond, and on Fridays the entire road is frequently made nearly impassable by visitors to the Mosque. Enough is enough - this route needs to be kept clear for cyclist access.

The pathway across the field on the other side of this barrier must also be much wider to allow cyclists and pedestrians to safely pass each other, and the kind of solar powered studs we now have on the Guided Busway cycle route wouldn't go amiss. 

At the other side of the field you encounter a narrow constriction, which presents a problem for both cyclists and parents taking their children to and from the school, especially when they've got younger ones with buggies. On one side of the constriction, if the school were to lose about the width of the hedge from their grounds (this won't impact on playing field area at all) then there would be ample space to fix this part of the route - and access for parents and children will be much safer.

After this the next part of the journey that may need addressing is the Northfield Avenue roundabout. Its not that its bad, but I can't see any reason not to cut a hole out of the grass verge opposite and give cyclists a route over to Crasiter Court - there is already a cut-through from there on to Roxburgh Road, which would be great if we actually had priority on that exit (which is also a must). Roxburgh Road, however, remains a problem - its narrow, cars are always parked on both sides, usually on the pavement too. To keep this route clear, we need parking restricted to one side only - as its bad practice to park directly opposite another on a narrow road, and as this practice is entirely facilitated by antisocially blocking the pavement, this is something very much needed to facilitate better pedestrian access on Roxburgh Road anyway.

From Roxburgh Road to Arbury Road we've got a handy cut-through, but it badly needs re-surfacing, being made up of around 3 different surfaces already (below - from Google).

So far the changes I've suggested are really fairly trivial - and the only people who will be inconvenienced will be the few motorists who intentionally disregard law and the safety of others by parking on, effectively blocking the pavements on Roxburgh Road. And this would give us good quality cycling, along very quiet routes, getting us the first third of the way towards Cambridge. Now, after this point we're going to need some new (rather than trivially improved) infrastructure - and I'll come to that in my next post.