Easily Pleased with York Cycling Facilities

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.


Is this cycle path wide enough? You can definitely beat the 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.


5 Responses to Easily Pleased with York Cycling Facilities

  1. John Gallagher September 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Cycling in York offers a unique experience, the chance to travel faster than the speed of light. Part of the Trans Pennine Trail goes to York from Selby, on a disused railway, formerly a section of the East Coast Main Line – so it’s level and dead straight, a bit boring but ideal for what has been installed: a scale model of the solar system at just over 1:500,000,000.

    The sun is at the boundary of York racecourse, Mercury is 100m or so later, then Venus another 100m or so, etc. for the return trip to Selby. A leisurely walking pace is equivalent to 3 times the speed of light, while pootling along on a bike at 11 to 12 mph gets you up to warp-factor 10.

    See http://www.solar.york.ac.uk/

    Eat your heart out Captain Kirk !!!

  2. AJM September 18, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    Back in 1992 (when young and fit) I used to ride to work to supplement my running training, a 26ml round trip daily.

    In all those miles I used to be on the main road for approx. 1ml.

    For that 1ml I was given a wide berth by all passing vehicles and treated by them with the common courtesy and respect that all cyclists/pedestrians deserve (this was not always the case when I was in my car).

    The cycle lanes were well off the road too, cycling nirvana!

    This wonderful place so long ago?

    Unfortunately not GB but Germany bordering Holland.

    If other countries have been getting this right for so long why are our so called council safety officers and local government officials not turning to these countries for advice?
    Why do people keep trying to re-invent the wheel?

    I am a motorcyclist too and whichever two wheels I happen to be on the standard of driving is diabolical.

    Unfortunately it’s cheaper for government to pass laws making the victims (on two wheels) rather than the cage drivers (on four ie. cars/busses/lorries etc.) pay for these short comings.

    Oh how I wish, when I look back on those days I had realised just how lucky I was!

  3. Patanga September 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    I have cycled in Queens/NY and it seems like cycle heaven when compared to Sao Paulo, where I live. Comparatively, Queens is so safe and drivers are so courteus! (Ah, the world of comparison!)

    Nevertheless, you are right about the positive side. I just love riding my bike to work and back home. I feel like a little boy.

  4. Tim September 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Touché. :) Freewheeler (Waltham Forest blogger) can be a bit of a sarcastic grumpy-pants. I do like his point about promotional photos of cycling though – another good example is the TfL “freedom” logo, where cycling is banned in a lot of London parks. ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/sludgeulper/7775063506/ )

    As you say, it’s all relative. And I think it’s important to always consider not just ourselves as existing cyclists, but those who claim they would love to cycle but don’t. I’m sure even York has its share of those. I appreciate you do touch on this, but the fact that you still cycled in Queens speaks volumes.

    • tejvan September 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Yes, there aren’t many who would ride in Queens.

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