Friday, 4 July 2014

My commuting experience...

A bad day cycling beats a good day at work, oh hang on that might be fishing, or climbing, or sailing, or golf of 4WD. WHO KNOWS? I do know however that a good ride to work is a thing to be treasured and this week I've had a few of those. I've also achieved my goal of getting into the top 20 on one of my target segments. Also I'm saving loads on petrol. I can't ride everyday because I have to get around the county some days but just three ride to work days per week seems to be reducing my trips to the petrol station considerably. 

My ride starts really nice with the short sharp shock up bunker hill and into open country side. It's a fairly quiet road all the way to the cycle paths on the outskirts of Kettering. At that point the cycling infrastructure is good with wide paths and a smooth surface. It doesn't last. As you get over the A43/A6003 roundabout it all changes. The pedestrian pavement has had cycle path signs put on it and they installed drop downs at the numerous junctions. There's the first problem. If you use the cycle path it's a stop start negotiation of about ten junctions in the space of a mile. Secondly it's not wide and there's no segregated cycle pedestrian space. So I stay on the road. Half way between the old KTFC stadium and the town centre the path ceases to double as a cycle lane and there is a marked lane on the road. It's not well marked though and drivers ignore it, it's as lumpy as a ploughed field, buses have stops on it and people indiscriminately park all over it. It needs resurfacing, painting green and there needs to be enforcement of parking restrictions. As you approach the town centre there is a brief section dedicated green to allow cyclists to go through town on the bus lane at the top of the Newlands centre. That bus lane should just be named 'dodge the pedestrian.' I've always been bewildered by people stepping out across the junction by Iceland and then yesterday I noticed why. The pedestrian crossing goes green at the same time as the traffic lights that allow cyclists across the junction! What oxygen thief dreamed that up? After that it's not too bad but pedestrians remain a hazard because they can't see you they don't look for you. I guess the emphasis is on us the cyclist to be aware and look out for would be jay walkers. Anyone who looks like they're about to cross gets a cheery good morning from me which usually makes them jump out of their skin.

I came home a different way last night. I used Northampton Road, Bowhill, Gypsy Lane, A14 bike path, violet lane and the back to the more familiar Glendon road. It's quicker. There's no pedestrian issues. It's a bit of a dash across the A14 junctions. The A14 path isn't as wide as the newer ones I mentioned earlier but is still ok. Amazingly I have seen cyclists riding on the A14 next to this path. Not clever! With all the lorries it's blustery enough on the path let alone sharing the road with them! Then Violet Lane which traverses the Slade valley meaning it's a down then an up. Because it's quiet you have to watch for cars, you're not expecting them and they're not expecting you, which can be an issue.

I like my commute but it's not perfect. More could be done to the Kettering cycling infrastructure. I'm hoping we get a forum as cyclists to present our thoughts to the local authority.

There's some relevant articles below and a link to this months bespoked podcast.

Happy Pedalling.

aura-trott-ridelondon 2013



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