Yesterday, I cycled into Leicester on my new Bike. Nothing unusual in that, I ride into Leicester at least once a week. By preference I go for the mostly traffic free cycle route through Watermead Park and Abbey Park although it nearly doubles the distance.
Yesterday was not a nice day. Rain and a strong wind. However, what gets in the way more than the weather and slows you down more than the extra distances are the pieces of bad design that mix danger and frustration. Here are some pictures to illustrate what I mean.
First, there are the cycle barriers. From Syston I have to go through 3 of these. If you were riding from Cossington then you would have to go through an extra two of them. On most bikes they require you to life the front wheel to angle the handlebars while you go through. If you have a front basket or rack this is highly inconvenient.
Then there are the dangerous corners. There are blind corners, there are sharp corners including unnecessary hairpins, there are corners with the surface covered in wet leaves and/or loose twigs. But this one at Birstall is one of the nastiest.
The camber is all wrong if you care going between Syston and Birstall (or vica versa). Plus thanks to a recently added board surrounded by gravel and ironically containing details of the cycle route the whole corner is littered with lose stones from the gravel. Very scary to cycle round this corner.
Finally, there is the lack of drainage which makes puddles like the following common. Not too bad in daylight but hard to spot and navigate in the dark.