Sunday, 22 April 2012

NCN524 Blaby to Higham-on-the-Hill – Test Ride

A few souls (with nothing better to do) met up in Blaby, at 0930 on Sunday 22nd April 2012. Our Objective: to test the viability of this route, as a new part of the National Cycle Network, linking some parts of South-West Leicestershire, that until now, had been overlooked.
Those Present:
James Lowe, Alan White, Eric Ludlow, Robert Robinson, Jack Riggal and Myself.

I think that everyone enjoyed the ride and the general consensus was that this was a good, viable route, to add to the network. The weather stayed on our side for most of the way, only turning bad on us with a brief downpour, near Wykin, close to our Journey’s end at Higham. Even then Jack scared the weather into submission by donning his waterproofs.
The journey went pretty much without incident, apart from maybe two points to mention:
1.       The gradient around Croft Hill, beat me, forcing me to get off and push, much to my shame, considering all of my counterparts managed it, several of them carrying more senior years than I.
2.       Despite much cajoling and multiple pleas, Eric was adamant in his refusal to perform any stunts at the Watery Gate Lane ford, near Thurlaston. A missed opportunity methinks, especially considering an almost captive audience.

The trip was approximately 16½ miles, only slightly over my estimate and took just less than 2½ hours. We did identify some areas that require attention, as the route develops, listed thus:

Infrastructure Alteration Requirements
1.       Whetstone / Blaby
Grove Road & A426 – Blaby By-Pass Roundabout
i.                     Footpaths need upgrading to Share use Pedestrian & Cycle paths, all around the roundabout, to allow safe negotiation of junction by pedal cyclists.
2.       Narborough
Coventry Road, B4114 – King Edward Ave & Huncote Road
i.                     Divert cyclists onto Northern pavement (upgraded to shared use) on Coventry Road, between Cedar Crescent and King Edward Ave.
ii.                   Upgrade Pelican Crossing to Toucan Crossing.
iii.                  Upgrade Western pavement of B4114 – King Edward Avenue to shared use Cycle/Footway, between Toucan Crossing & Huncote Road.
iv.                 Continue shared use Cycleway, into Huncote Road (on Northern pavement) until Just before car parking lay-by.
v.                   Install appropriate signage, on roads, pavements and posts, informing cyclists where to leave or rejoin main carriageway, at these alterations.

3.       Hinckley
Barwell Lane, B4667 – Ashby Road & Barrie Road
i.                     B4667 – Ashby Road; Eastern pavement – Upgrade to shared use, between Barwell Lane & pedestrian crossing.
ii.                   Upgrade Pelican Crossing to Toucan Crossing.
iii.                  B4667 – Ashby Road; Western Pavement – Upgrade to shared use, Toucan crossing and Barrie Road.
iv.                 Install appropriate signage, on roads, pavements and posts, informing cyclists where to leave or rejoin main carriageway, at these alterations.

A very big thank-you to Alan, for providing refreshment and an excellent chilli to round off a very pleasant day.
Kev Regester
West Leics Sustrans Ranger
NCN52 (Weddington Way)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Ride out to Loughborough

Sad I know, but I had been fascinated by the Loughborough Cycle map which shows a number of numbered cycle routes through and around the town. On a lovely spring day myself, Eric and Robert took a trip out to Leicester via NCN 63 and then NCN 6 north to Loughborough. A couple of problems following 63 which has quite a few twists and turns but we got there without any real problems. We then picked up NCN 6 which was more straightforward and has recently had some posh new signs.

Refreshment stops at the Abbey Park cafe and then a well earned pint at a canalside pub in Loughborough which went down very well.

From here we headed off in different directions for home - me a hilly ride through Charnwood fo
rest and Eric tried the towpath. Robert opted for NCN 6 / 52. Before we split Robert and I followed a part of Route 3 from the pub. This looks like a bit of a ring road around the town. Anyway it delivered me from the pub to the Uni where I picked up the road to Nanpantan The route was well signed and the cycle route was all on dedicated cycle paths by the side of the road.
Bit tired by the time I got home, but a great day out.