Friday, 24 July 2009

Sunday's Ride - Eastern Approaches

The weather forecast for Sunday isn't looking too good but I'm obliged to lead a ride nonetheless. I wouldn't blame anyone for giving it a miss if it looks like solid rain on the day (in fact please do, then I can slope off too), but just in case things brighten up here's the plan, although it might get curtailed a bit if bad weather sets in. We'll be pottering around slowly so nothing very athletic involved. Warning - likely to be muddy in places, not for the fastidious.

Rodway Common.

The idea is to explore the eastern fringes of Bristol, which mostly comes under South Glos these days and were formerly under Kingswood. The route I've put together, with help from John Grimshaw (who intends to come along), is almost entirely off road and mostly along the Railway Path corridor but without actually using the Railway Path itself or even much of the Ring Road cycle path. It threads together miles of off-road paths that have for the most part existed for many years but which are now supplemented by a detailed network in the new development at Emerson's Green.

Former coal mine at Emerson's Green

Overall distance, if we stick with the full route, is a little over 20 mostly flattish miles but may involve a little hiking and lifting bikes over stiles. Bring some food and drink in case although there's a good chance we'll be sheltering in cafes from time to time. And waterproofs of course, and maybe a change of clothing in case you get soaked. To emphasise the watery theme we'll be following rivers or streams most of the way. First the Frome, then Siston / Warmley Brook, then back beside the River Avon.

River Avon at Netham.

Another warning - there's an educational element in that we'll be looking at existing and proposed cycling infrastructure in the context of Cycling City, which is where John Grimshaw comes in to defend the project from my cynicism, but we'll keep the duologues to a minimum. Because we'll always be near (but not on) the Railway Path it will be easy to break off and head home if you feel you've had enough before the official end. Who knows we might all do the same.

An englishman's home ...... Warmley

Ride starts at the Arnolfini at 10 am on Sunday. If you're in east Bristol and want to join us as we head out we should be passing along the Frome (through Eastville Park and Snuff mills) about 10.30 ish but call me on 0775 282 7755 to liaise.


Jon Rogers said...

Thanks for the ride Chris - despite the intermittent rain I think all 12 of your fellow travellers really enjoyed the trip.

Lot of food for thought for me.

Challenge will be to deliver some really innovative infrastructure. But what a prize!


Chris Hutt said...

I'm glad you found it useful Jon and we were all delighted that you came along. John Grimshaw also rang to say how interesting it had been.

I think rides of that sort, looking at all sorts of examples of good and bad practice with informal discussion, are so much more productive than sitting on Stakeholder Panels and suchlike.

I hope to arrange another ride soon to look at the southern half of the planned ride which we weren't able to complete. But we could also arrange some shorter rides, perhaps again with John Grimshaw, to focus more on local routes, facilities and opportunites, if you think that might be helpful. Perhaps we might even persuade some of the Cycling City officers to come along?