The role of cycling in transport

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by matacaster, 8 Jul 2019.

  1. matacaster

    matacaster Member

    Messages:
    626
    Joined:
    19 Jan 2013
    Mod Note: Posts #1 - #17 originally in this thread.

    In relatively flat places like London or indeed pretty much anywhere in Lincolnshire, cycling to a station and then using the train is a reasonable course of action and the provision of cycle lanes can be a good idea. However, there are always going to be large sections of the public who cannot cycle and even less who would, especially in inclement weather. A further issue is in places like Huddersfield, we have cycle lanes which are almost exclusively used by lycra-types from cycling clubs - the reason, most normal people wouldn't even dream of tackling steep hills which are literally all over the place. They are little use for the old, infirm, pregnant, very young, shoppers. Thus the cycle lanes get little use and just eat up much road space which was previously used by cars etc.

    Apologies if veering on the off-topic mods!
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2019
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,568
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Electric bicycles do rather help against this kind of issue.
     
  4. al78

    al78 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,287
    Joined:
    7 Jan 2013
    Huddersfield is unusual, most "Lycra types" (no stereotyping there I see:rolleyes:) don't use cycle lanes because they are either more inconvenient or more dangerous than using the road. Cycle lanes in the UK are mostly awful, and are little more than local authority box ticking exercises.

    I dispute the claim that large sections of the public cannot cycle. It is because they don't want too, not that they cannot. It doesn't take a lot of effort to do a 20 minute cycle ride. Anyone who claims not to be capable of 20-30 minutes of light exercise and is not infirm or has a disability really REALLY should take a long hard look at their state of health. Panniers take care of light to moderate shopping loads, suitable gearing addresses steep hills, and clothing largely takes care of wet weather. Most of the objections to cycling short distances are just excuses to hide the fact that they don't want to cycle/can't be bothered.
     
  5. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

    Messages:
    1,316
    Joined:
    30 May 2018
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Sorry, I don't want to cycle because:

    Too many hills
    Too much traffic
    Rain and high winds
    Nowhere safe to leave a bike
    Not want to change clothing at start or finish.
    But the biggest reason is that I'm probably not as fit as I was when cycling everywhere 60 years ago!

    Large numbers of us cycled to school every day. Then we got cars. Make it the done thing to cycle from an early age again. However, I can't see my grandchildren's generation being encouraged to do that. Too dangerous!
     
  6. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

    Messages:
    5,429
    Joined:
    22 Sep 2013
    I think most objections to cycling are likely to be more related to the perceived dangers from other traffic, and the British weather !
     
  7. RLBH

    RLBH Member

    Messages:
    753
    Joined:
    17 May 2018
    Rather fewer who can't cycle than you might think - there are plenty of octagenarian cyclists, disabled cyclists (there are attachments available for wheelchairs), cargo bikes for those who need to transport shopping/luggage/small children. And willingness to cycle is partially a function of whether people are made to feel welcome whilst cycling, or treated like an inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists alike.

    Transport cycling is only really about sustaining a brisk walking pace (maybe a gentle jog) easily, even with a relatively heavy load. It covers the distance that's slightly too far to walk, and shouldn't need any equipment - other than the bicycle - that walking doesn't.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,568
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    One thing that doesn't help is that people go and "buy a bike" but get what some call a "bike shaped object" - a heavy lump of steel made from the cheapest components costing about £100 from Halfords, usually with knobbly tyres despite these making road riding really uncomfortable and a lot of effort, and without any kind of puncture reinforcement so they get them by the minutes[1]. 10 minutes on such a "vehicle" is enough to put one off cycling for life.

    It's a shame there isn't a greater market for Dutch style comfort bikes (though due to the UK's rather hillier nature, ones with 12 or more derailleur gears are better than a 3-speed hub). I'd point anyone wishing to start utility cycling at Decathlon, though - they do some excellent mid-priced hybrids which are very comfortable to ride, I've got one and it's perfect for the job.

    I think e-bikes also help - you might well start out with one then "upgrade" to an unpowered one once fit enough.

    [1] EVERY bike needs a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus. They are the only tyres to use. When you buy a new bike, bin what's on it and fit a pair, you will not regret it. If you use them and replace once worn you WILL NOT get punctures even if you ride regularly over a bed of nails. No, I don't work for them, but I also have not had a puncture for about 15 years since I discovered them, and the MK Redways have no shortage of thorns and glass.
     
  9. underbank

    underbank Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2013
    I really want one of those "shopper" style bikes, but my wife won't let me as she thinks I'd look ridiculous on a "girly" bike as she calls them, so I wish they were more widely used in the UK. We did a bike tour of Berlin on one and I really loved it - far more comfortable than my pseudo "mountain" bike from Halfords with the knobbly tyres!

    I keep looking at E-bikes but as I'm on the heavy side, I'm not sure the cheaper end of the market would be good enough even though I'm within the weight limits, and I can't really justify the pricier ones that have a weight limit a couple of stones higher which I'd be more confident with.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,568
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Try one of these, excellent bit of kit for the price and almost as comfortable as a Dutch sit up and beg. One of the best low cost bikes I've owned. The only thing I've changed on it is to replace the front light with a "persistent" one with a capacitor so it doesn't go dark when stopped at a junction, plus tyres as below.

    https://www.decathlon.co.uk/hoprider-500-urban-hybrid-bike-id_8405476.html

    The components aren't top-notch (you'll notice a few negative reviews along those lines, but it is only £500 - most Dutch people pay nearly a grand for their day to day bike) but it's a competent machine for daily town use.

    Just swap the tyres for Schwalbe Marathon Plus to never get punctures, ever - the Grammer IC3000 of bicycle tyres! :D (And of course made in Germany :D )
     
  11. Non Multi

    Non Multi Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    11 Dec 2017
    Have a look at some folding bikes (e.g. small wheel Dahons), should give a similar riding experience to those shopper bikes of the '70s and '80s. As a bonus you can carry them on trains at any time.
     
  12. bramling

    bramling Established Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2012
    Location:
    Hertfordshire / Teesdale
    You may well be right, however given how people fuss even over something like finding a parking space right by the supermarket entrance, I don’t think this attitude will change readily. Then there’s people who won’t be seen on a cycle, for the same way as they won’t be seen on a bus.

    Personally, I don’t do nearly as many cycle miles nowadays, and I’m someone who enjoys cycling and recognise how it can be the most practicable option for some journeys. The reason? Quite simply I’ve found the standard of driving has nosedived in the past decade, and as my area has become increasingly overpopulated it has simply made cycling a very unpleasant experience. Once one has flown through the air at 30 mph (thankfully without anything coming the other way at the time) after a dopey woman pulls out from a side-turning it does focus the mind somewhat.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jul 2019
  13. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,792
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    I have a Brompton, (which I shall take up to London tomorrow), - it's very convenient, especially on deep tube trains. It has Schwalbe marathon tyres but it really isn't that comfortable, but for short linking rides to or from stations, it is difficult to beat.
    For more comfortable cycling, I have a hybrid.
     
  14. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,843
    Joined:
    3 May 2015
    Visit Cambridge and see how nobody gives a stuff about such things.
     
  15. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

    Messages:
    5,926
    Joined:
    6 Jul 2012
    The reason for lack of children cycling to school comes done to Government policy (or more the point lack of it):

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/policy_on_walking_and_cycling_to

    Given that road traffic had increased significantly (one road locally to me had seen a 25% increase in the last 18 years and wasn't a quiet road to begin with) it's not surprising that people are put off from cycling.

    However with regards to your list:
    Too many hills - walk up the hills and cycle down them.

    Too much traffic - that's mostly down to too many people not being willing to cycle

    Rain and high winds - IIRC statistically a commuter will be riding in very wet weather less than 12 times a year. It certainly tallies with my experience over the last few years when I've been either walking to a station or walking to an office (about a mile each leg).

    Nowhere safe to leave a bike - define safe. Most companies would be happy to provide a cycle hoop (it's certainly cheaper than trying to provide a parking space) for their staff. If there's a lack of Cycle parking in towns highlight this to the council.

    Not want to change clothing at start or finish - it's possible not to get too hot if you take it slow, in wet weather it's just a case of over trousers so can be done anywhere.

    But the biggest reason is that I'm probably not as fit as I was when cycling everywhere 60 years ago! - That is of course a problem that can't be overcome. However the majority of people aren't even 60, so there's plenty of people who could cycle who don't. Although there's lots of 4, 5 & 6 year olds who don't cycle that fast, it's just our perception of the likes of Tour de France winners that the only way to cycle is fast and long distances. A distance of a mile is about the cut off point (depending on where the bike is stored) for walking/cycling being the fastest way to travel, but isn't all that much slower than driving (2km, 1.25 miles, takes 20 minutes to walk or 8 minutes to cycle or ~4 minutes to drive, depending on traffic).

    Edit correction to walk time of 20 minutes
     
    Last edited: 10 Jul 2019
  16. YorksDMU

    YorksDMU Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    5 Jul 2019
    I’m a very keen cyclist. I live in East Yorkshire. To give an example of a ride I love to do, earlier this year I cycled from Beverley to Bridlington via Great Kelk and Lissett. That way kept me away from much of the very busy A165. The return ride was via an old Roman road to Kilham, and then round to Driffield. Again that kept me away from the main A614 to Driffield. The bike is a 24 geared road bike, and I can get up a good speed on it.
    But, as stated earlier, driving standards have gone right down, and I’ve had several near misses from drivers of cars appearing from side roads and farm tracks from the left - always from the left, never the right.
    But I will not be put off and I’m planning a ride for next Sunday. Maybe to Bridlington again.
     
  17. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

    Messages:
    1,316
    Joined:
    30 May 2018
    Location:
    Sheffield
    2km, 1.25 miles, takes 10 minutes to walk or 8 minutes to cycle?

    Depending on route 8 minutes by bike may be possible, even for me now, but 10 minutes to walk that distance is some turn of speed! Some runners would be happy to achieve that.

    There's a tendency to focus on cycling without looking at walking. Looking back those 60 years I normally cycled on busy A roads, up and down, to school. By taking a short cut it took me only twice as long to walk. Due to the bus routes and frequencies of services it took twice as long again by bus. At 11 I rode a bike without gears for over 30 hilly miles. I still walk a lot and completed a very slow half marathon this year.

    We used to live in Hull and relatives live in Essex and Cambridge where cycling is far more universal than in the hills. Here in the Peak District cycling is popular among the fit, increasingly so, including with many of pensionable age. The polarisation between the fit and the unfit starts very early. I'm in favour of encouraging all to walk and cycle more.
     
  18. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

    Messages:
    5,926
    Joined:
    6 Jul 2012
    Sorry 20 minutes to walk. I'll correct my post.
     
  19. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,266
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    Couldn't agree with you more. I've been using these for about 5 years and never had a puncture. They are slightly heavy and may not be optimal in terms of rolling resistance but if you are a utility cyclist then that is irrelevant. The only drawback I can see is if you do actually get a puncture with one of these, the tyre is very difficult to get off!
     
  20. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,266
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    Weather is a common perceived issue but in reality the British climate is actually favourable for cycling as it rarely gets too hot or too warm. Rainfall is usually light. The country with the most cycling in the world has a very similar climate to the UK. Even there there is a perception that it rains a lot, so this website has recorded how often it has rained on a daily commute for over 10 years:

    https://www.hetregentbijnanooit.nl/site/

    From 2008 to 2018, it rained on 9.7% of commutes. Note that includes even if it rains for only a few minutes out of the 40 minute commute, that counts as a "wet" ride. Also, his commute is long at 17 km, so for most people it would be slightly less likely to rain.

    Rainfall in the UK, especially in the east, is typically lower than in the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia, here are the annual rainfall totals for selected cities:

    London 602 mm
    Manchester 829 mm
    Cambridge 576 mm
    Birmingham 663 mm
    Inverness 733 mm

    Amsterdam 838 mm
    Rotterdam 856 mm
    Eindhoven 750 mm
    Utrecht 833 mm
    Groningen 812 mm
     
    Last edited: 10 Jul 2019
  21. JamesT

    JamesT Member

    Messages:
    377
    Joined:
    25 Feb 2015
    I'm somewhat tempted to get a Hoprider 900, disc brakes and it comes with Schwalbe Marathons out of the box. The main concern is that it seems to be quite heavy. I've also been using those tyres for years on other bikes with very few punctures.
     
  22. cb a1

    cb a1 Member

    Messages:
    185
    Joined:
    9 Mar 2015
    I'm a utility cyclist in a hilly city and I do live at the 'top' of the hill and go to the 'bottom' of the hill to get to the railway station (to commute to work).

    Rain - someone mentioned a dozen times a year you need the full wet weather gear. That sounds about right. I got new gaiters two months ago and I've only used them once.
    Temperature - I'm only going 2.5 miles. Thick gloves in winter, thin gloves in summer. Same cycling jacket all year (but not needed in summer). I find buff a very useful addition in winter to keep ears warm.
    Clothing - I cycle in my suit. Sometimes a bit sweaty by the time I've cycled the 2.5 miles uphill, but I'm getting changed out of my work clothes anyway.
    Average Speed - 18mph downhill; 9mph uphill.
    Securing bike - I have a D-bar to secure bike and a cable* to secure wheels and it fits through holes in helmet too so I'm not lugging that about. *this could be cut through pretty quickly and is mainly a deterrent to casual theft of bits.
    Safety - I'm a confident cyclist and feel safe cycling in traffic. My litany of accidents in the last 6 or 7 years since I returned to cycling are two very slow falls at end of journey when coming off the road onto icy footways. One fall on the road when going round a corner and ironically it was sliding on the salt rather than ice. Most major was when cycling quickly past a bus when a passenger who had just got off the bus walked out in front of the bus but looking the other way. Full somersault by me through the air resulting in some whiplash - thankfully the pedestrian was unhurt (at least he said he was and walked off leaving me rather dazed still lying in the middle of the road).
    Traffic - Very reliable journey times. Maybe I just have good road positioning, but I find that if I'm courteous that nearly everyone else is courteous too. Maybe somewhat ironically I find the worst are people in small cars (e.g. Fiat 500) who think they can squeeze through gaps that people in big cars don't try to.
    Fitness - Part of the reason I returned to cycling was that I was overweight, a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker who couldn't keep up with his then 5-year-old son! After a couple of my peers had heart attacks, I stopped smoking, cut down on the drinking and started cycling. Pleased to say that I can now nearly keep up with my now 15-year-old son :).
     
  23. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

    Messages:
    4,396
    Joined:
    23 Jul 2010
    Location:
    Wennington Crossovers
    Another vote for Marathon Plus, I must encounter a patch of broken glass every week and the MPs just shrug it off.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,568
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I did look at the 900 but I'm less of a fan of disc brakes (they seem like overcomplication for the use I put it to) and a pair of Marathon Plus only comes to about 70-80 quid (though the weak Pound may have increased it slightly they are still worth it). You do get a Dutch style lock too, though, which is useful if the stand you use isn't such that you can get the D-lock through the back wheel.

    Note you want Marathon Plus - the puncture resistance of the Marathon is not quite as good, and I have had thorn punctures with Marathons but never any kind of puncture with the Plus.

    For balance, Continental do a similarly good tyre - I think it's called the Ultra GatorSkin or something like that. Edit: Googled it and yes it is that - similarly you want the Ultra version and not the regular one.

    Also get yourself a good pair of metal tyre levers, they are a nightmare to fit as they are quite tight - but obviously this experience only occurs twice in their lifetime while fitting and then while replacing once worn out - you'll not have to do it again! :)
     
  25. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,766
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    Interestingly, For some years, I've had a perception that tyre puncture resistance has in my experience improved massively over the last 20-25 years. I'm sure I recall in the 90s a puncture was something that would happen a few times a year. Now it's more like, every couple of years. Having said that, reading this thread prompted me to look at my tyres to see what they were. Turns out the front is a Schwalbe Spicer and the rear is a Schwalbe Marathon - so maybe that's why! (I didn't specifically ask for Schwalbe when I bought them. It was more a case of: Bike shop asking if I wanted to pay a bit extra to get a more puncture-resistant tyre, and me saying 'Yes Please!')

    I'm not sure I've ever known a tyre that wasn't a nightmare to fit! As for 'never have to do it again' ... the last time I had to take a tyre off was a year ago, and that was because the valve had broken on the inner tube, making it impossible to pump up. I'd be pretty impressed if the Marathon Plus was able to prevent that! :p

    Out of interest, why metal tyre levers. Is there something wrong with plastic ones?
     
  26. Bikeman78

    Bikeman78 Member

    Messages:
    621
    Joined:
    26 Apr 2018
    My grandmother cycled well into her 80s until she had a stroke. I don't mean short trips to the shops but two week tours all over Wales. She thought nothing of cycling 18 miles from Reigate to Horsham to visit family. She had a nasty crash with a car when she was 68. Almost every part of her was cut or broken but it didn't put her off. She was back on a bike as soon as she recovered.
     
  27. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

    Messages:
    6,290
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Devon
    Wow. That’s impressive.
     
  28. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,266
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    In the Netherlands it is very common to see old people cycling, and if I recall correctly, the cycling rate among the over 60s is higher than for those in their 30s or 40s. If you go into the countryside on a nice day, you often see many couples cycling together, typically on his and hers electric bikes.
     
  29. Bikeman78

    Bikeman78 Member

    Messages:
    621
    Joined:
    26 Apr 2018
    I know. I was 10 when it happened. My parents took me to see her about a week after. The thing that will stick in my mind forever is what remained of her bike. The frame was broken in two. The weld had failed on one tube and the other one snapped. The car was an old school mini. We think she flew straight over the top of it.
     
  30. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,843
    Joined:
    3 May 2015
    Here in Cambridge (where the proportion of trips made by bike is very high), the increase in traffic levels whenever it rains really is quite noticeable!
     
  31. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    8,266
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    Cycle infrastructure in Cambridge is nothing special. Whilst the cycle rate is high compared to the rest of the UK, there is a lot of exaggeration going on

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/search/label/cambridge
     

Share This Page