Sunday, 11 October 2009

Route 63 Battram Wood - more options

Following Patrick Davis' challenge about our B road alternative to the Battram Wood section I set off last Saturday armed with my OS map a flask of coffee, malt loaf and the Missus (Jane). Saturday was beautiful and we picked up some lanes we had never ridden before and had a very good pint and a cob in a real pub in Nailstone. All in all a lovely day

We ruled out a couple of potential options pretty quickly:

- the bridleway to the east of Ibstock (linking across to Ellistown) - think tractor rather than bike.
- a route through Nailstone - crossing the A447 from the west is truly scary

This still leaves us with some viable alternatives which mapped out in the picture (hope you can see it OK). The red route represents the current route 63 - which leaves us with the following options:
Blue Route - B582 / B585
The route we surveyed last week and the smallest diversion to the existing route. Questions raised by Patrick over traffic volumes which still need to be checked out. Interestingly the existing route 63 already uses part of the B585 after it emerges from Battram. The Sustrans mapping shows this as off road, but there is only a very narrow path to the side of the road and this is not designated as a cycleway. After the B585 we found the road south into Bagworth to be straight, dull and quite busy with some of the weirdest "cycle chicanes" I have ever seen. Admittedly the route has been lovingly signed by Eric!

Black Route B582 and north into Bagworth
The first part of this is the same as the Blue route, but then carries straight over at the crossroads and comes into Bagworth from the south. The road after the crossroads is very pleasant. We then found the road north into Bagworth was fine, but it was wider and busier and needs to be checked out on a weekday

Green Route - Barlestone
This takes you further south and is a bit of a detour (but not huge). The road from Odstone to Barton in the Beans (I love that name!) is very pleasant albeit a little hilly. From the turn off at Bufton the road is very pleasant indeed and the crossing on the A447 is fine with good visibility. Barlestone spawls a bit on the way in but we found the road into the village was fine (again needs to be checked on a weekday). Once in the village a left turn takes you north via a pleasant narrow country lane. After the T junction you are on the black route.

So whats the answer then? I don't really know...

Perhaps Barlestone is a bit too much of a detour and I am not a great fan of the current 63 road south into Bagworth I think the black route has a lot going for it as is is direct and the roads seem reasonable. I don't know if its an issue that we would divert the route away from Ibstock

It seems to me that the cross roads at the junction of the 582/ 585 would be a good place to do some weekday traffic monitoring. Please use the blog comments to share your views. And any volunteers to do some traffic monitoring would be appreciated.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Kegworth Envionmental Day

Other the last couple of months we have manned Sustrans stalls at a number of different events – Summer Sundae in Leicester, St Catherines (Burbage) Green Fair and most recently the Kegworth Environmental day. We have very much gone along with the mindset that we are there to promote cycling first and Sustrans second. These have proved to be very useful from a promotional perspective in:
· Being able to tell people about opportunities to cycle locally (good local knowledge is the key here)
· Explain what Sustrans is about including identify potential volunteers
· Making connections with other local groups who have an interest in cycling.
· Getting feedback on local cycling issues and what stops people cycling or cycling more
From the last point there have been some very consistent keys messages coming back:
“I don’t feel confident enough to cycle with traffic”
“Where can I take my young children to cycle (off road)”
“The local cycling facilities are not good – often cycle routes just end with nowhere else to go”

From the Kegworth event there were a few more specifics that came up:
1. There was very positive feedback for Keith’s Castle Donnington / Kegworth cycle map. This really is looking very impressive and is a long way down the road. The challenge now will be to find someone to publish it.
2. Interest in led rids – particularly of the “getting started / back to cycling” variety
3. Contacts with the “Kegworth Cranks”! – a friendly bunch of people who cycle offroad and have extensive knowledge of the area and have agreed to provide input to the map.
4. The difficulties imposed by trying to traverse the M1 J24 junction which makes connection with neighboring Castle Donnington difficult

No more events are currently planned but we should look for further opportunities, but perhaps best now to wait for the spring and perhaps tie in with the led rides we plan to do in 2010.

Monday, 28 September 2009

East Midlands Liason Rangers meeting

A meeting / ride was held earlier this month for Liason Rangers in the East Midlands. It was hosted by Alan Hudson in Newark. I have not seen any output from the meeting except to say that a good time was had by all and the sun shone! I did attend a previous meeting earlier in the year in Derby and this proved to be an excellent opportunity to meet up with other groups and to share experiences. Unfortunately I could not make the Newark meeting.

The next meeting is provisionally scheduled for 6th March 2009 to be hosted ny Mat Richardson in the Loughborough / Leicester area. I shall make every effort to attend this one.

Route 52 first impressions

I have now had all the paperwork from sustrans and loged in on the volunteers website. At the weekend I cycled the route up to Osgathorpe.
Most was well signed apart from temporary stick on signs in heather at the roundabout and the middle of coalville. I lost my way going in both directions through the middle of the town. looking at the maps on the sustrans website there is no definite route through coalville. So my queries are is there an agreed route through coalville and some signs have been lost or have there never been signs as there is no agreed route.

Tom Alun-Jones

Sunday, 27 September 2009

1st Meeting

We got together for a first meeting of the group at The Belper Arms on 26th September. Alan, Eric, Keith and Joseph all made it and Tom sent his apologies, but is keen to join us next time. We had a few beers and a chat and in the afternoon cycled out to check out a couple of problem spots on route 52 and 63. We all agreed that we had the core of a solid group that could make a difference to cycling in West Leicestershire. We discussed the groups targets for the next year and made a start with identifying and assigning some actions. We cycled route 63 through Battram Wood where the signs Eric had lovingly erected had all been removed. It was pretty clear that the route cannot easily be followed without the signs. We tried out the alternative route on B roads and this was OK although admittedely it was a Saturday afternoon. We agreed that the preferred route is through the wood providing it can be signed, but the B roads are a viable alternative. We also looked at route 52 through Coalville and here Joesephs local knowledge was invaluable. It turns out to be quite a short stretch of the route that is not signed. We came up with a viable route which used some quite roads and some existing paths. There is also a main road near the town that needs to be crossed. We now need to discuss our findings and proposals with Patrick Davis. We plan to meet up again in January to finalise our plans for 2010