Perhaps I’m too easily pleased with cycling facilities. After coming back from Queens, New York I feel anything without cars travelling at 50mph with scant regard for anyone else on the road is a real boon.
For example, last Sunday I was in York for an hour. I noticed there was a cycling festival so thought I’d pop in for a short while. Rather than pay to park in a central car park, I parked on the edge of town and cycled across town. As I had been racing, I was on my time trial bike; not ideal for getting around town, the position is very low and the bike is more difficult to manoeuvre in traffic.
I wasn’t really in the mode of ‘let’s evaluate York as a place to cycle’ I was just enjoying the sunny day. I cycled the couple of miles across town to Rowntree Park and the cycle across town felt pretty civilised. A big factor is that traffic speeds are generally low. There is the usual hotpotch of cycle lanes integrated into the roads. But, overall, it felt fairly safe cycling through the town. Cars were mostly aware of bikes. And cycling through town was much quicker than driving. I was pretty pleased for parking on the outskirts of town – saved parking money, saved time and was keeping in the spirit of encouraging cycling. You can’t beat a smug cyclist eh? There were plenty of other people cycling as well.
If you want to look for all the negative aspects of cycling in a town, then you can always find innumerable ways to complain (even if you haven’t actually cycled in the town). A reader left a comment to a – York anti cycling town. I don’t really disagree with what the blogger says. Cyclists aren’t really given priority and the removal of a cycle lane to improve traffic flows is a great shame. But, it doesn’t change the fact cycling across the town was OK.
I wouldn’t call York an anti cycling town. Nor is it as bad as the impression created by the article. If I had kids, I wouldn’t want them cycling in Queens, New York. But, overall I would probably be happy with children cycling around York.
Perhaps it depends against which standard you are judging. If you compare everything to Amsterdam, cycling facilities will always be terrible. If you compare everything to Queens, New York, everything will feel like a cycle heaven.
If you always look on the sunny side of life and accept whatever road system you get, then there is a danger of complacency and standards on the roads won’t improve. It is important to campaign for better facilities and support the cyclists case.
It is just that sometimes, you get tired of always looking for the negative. My cycling experience on both the roads of York and at the Cycling Festival were very good. I was just enjoying the experience. Maybe if I had been cut up by a bus passing with 6 inches, I would have been less predisposed to be content. But, as a cyclist, you don’t have to spend all your time complaining about the state of roads and transport policy. I admire people willing to effectively and positively campaign for improved cycling facilities. But, I try not to forget the main attraction of cycling is that simply it is an enjoyable activity. But, if you permanently look for all the deficiencies in local transport policy, you will never get away from it.
If you live in York, I would definitely encourage you to try cycle around town. It’s a long way from being perfect, but despite the dangers and lack of infrastructure, it’s still by far the best way to travel around the city. And if you get into cycling try press your council to get even better facilities. They could always be much better.
The York Festival was good. Again, I wasn’t in the mode of judging it. Just enjoying seeing people jump in the air on their bikes and people having a good time. It was a rather curious mix of stunts, bike sales and a demonstration of how the fireman cut open cars damaged in accidents. By the way there is a very good cycle path on the fast and busy A64 which bypasses York.