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.