A combination of some busy days and working rather late meant that today I was exhausted, a pity then that it was busy with doing some training, a lunchtime meeting, a couple of errands and then running a pancake party for 60 people (plus in that I had to fit in the preparation for the training and the party as the last few days have been pretty busy.
So in that mix of busyness and exhaustion I needed to get to Rothley, then Birstall, then the city centre. Finally I needed to take a whole load of stuff to the pancake party just down the road.
It is a measure of how things have changed over the last few months that I didn’t consider using the car. Mind you it was a beautiful day, so I popped on my sunglasses and headed out. Sadly I was running a bit late so it was rather an exhausted sprint to Rothley (not a pretty site, huffing and puffing up the hill in 2nd gear). From there on I took it very gently, still in total it was 18miles today.
So still feeling very tired. But at least I should have done enough exercise to work off the pancakes 🙂
I suppose that if I have a point it is that it is not very important whether I feel strong or fast on any particular day. Instead I got to enjoy being able to say hi to people as I gently passed them, I got to enjoy the sunshine and I got my jobs done without hurting anyone else or damaging the world they live in.
As I was tired I went a direct route which meant I rode along a stretch of the A6 as I wanted to pop into Halfords. So very bike unfriendly and yet so much space that could be re-allocated to make a straight, flat (at least from Watermead Way) and safe route into town for people on bikes. Not only that but to make the changes would make this a far nicer place for the people who live there and more profitable for the struggling businesses along this major route (see walkit.com — Spend on high streets according to travel mode).
Sometimes it seems to me that we have ceased to notice just how ugly and unpleasant major roads make our towns and cities. Why do we want to have such dirty, noisy, smelly, unsafe things dividing our communities?
Leicester is building a big park and ride car park where the A6 meets the A46. Wouldn’t it be great if as a result they transformed the A6 from there into the centre. One lane only each way for cars, vans, lorries. One lane each way for buses and a wide cycle lane each way. Remove all the extra lanes for right turning cars. Redo all the traffic lights to provide bikes and buses with higher priority. Remove all on street parking and make sure cyclists and pedestrians have level prioritized crossings of every side road and driveway. Then see how the shops would start to thrive with people feeling safe to nip to the local takeaway/newsagent/… on foot or bike. Notice how much cleaner and quieter it would be. Notice how much faster it would be to get into the city by bus than it is now by car.
You could even upgrade and re-route the cycle paths through Watermead so that people on bikes could get in and out of Leicester from Birstall avoiding the hills and even from Rothley or Crossington or Sileby & Syston.
Instead we have the sad situation of a shop like Halfords with a large Bike Hut inside and no cycle stands outside because the roads cut it off from people coming to a bike shop by bike.