The Scenic Route

A combination of busy-busy and not particularly inviting weather means that my cycling outings of late have tended to follow the well-worn groove of down to the papershop and back with a bit of down to Bigtown and back thrown in for good measure. All on generaly lovely roads and scenic and everything but perhaps becoming a tiny bit routine. And then, coming back from Bigtown the other day, I realised that not only was it a gorgeous crisp and bright autumn afternoon, but I had time to take the alternative route home: down the road which used to be Big A Road and is now a half-forgotten appendix, an ox-bow lake of tarmac left over when they bypassed Bigtown and made some dual carriageway. Purely by accident, this has turned into one of the best bits of cycling infrastructure in the county

Old A Road 1

It starts off as a full-dress A-road, only without the traffic, except for visitors to the new not-really-farmshop and ripoff shortbread emporium just off the roundabout (I mean, seriously, charging entrance to a ‘nature trail’?).

Not long afterwards, it narrows and occasionally you get close enough to its replacement to see what fun you’re missing dodging lorries on a dual carriageway (deliciously, the old road even skips the worst of the hills). As the road is effectively a dead end, by now bikes only really have to share it with the few residents living on the road (one of whom was busy with a leaf blower as I passed, blowing the leaves off his lawn and into piles on the road. That’s how much traffic there is).

Old A road 3

There’s much fevered, if necessarily abbreviated, discussion on twitter at the moment on the merits of traffic reduction versus building separated tracks to encourage cycling. Obviously I’m all for traffic reduction in general, whether it encourages cycling or not. But it’s rare you can manage quite this much traffic reduction except by building a whole nother road.

Then again, when you come to the bit that’s just for bikes, as opposed to even just one or two cars, you can see why folk are sceptical of what separated dedicated bike tracks might be like (and this is the wide part).

Old A road 4

I think that tells us fairly clearly which is the more valued mode of transport around here…

9 Responses to The Scenic Route

  1. Remember when I was banging on about Menorcan cyclepaths? The best one I saw, alongside a dual carriageway and separated by a lovely wide verge, was illuminated every 5 yards and had TWO LANES, with a dashed white line down the middle! I was impressed, anyway. Or maybe that’s normal? I wouldn’t know!

  2. Duh. Completely forgot to say – if that’s the road less travelled, then a few more journeys on it, plus photos, will be much appreciated. Looks idyllic.

  3. disgruntled says:

    cheers. I do sort of forget how lovely some of the roads I ride are… must do better to record it!

    Those Menorcan cyclepaths sound good. The Dutch ones are like that

  4. John Gibson says:

    I am just glad to see your pictures, it must to nice to come across a road like this. There must be many of them around the country that do not get much use from cars anymore and are only known about by people in the local area.

  5. Bob says:

    When we had first set foot in the Netherlands, and I was out and about in the car just checking things out, I took a “short cut” at one point, and then proceeded to mention it to either the relocation lady and the real estate lady. They were slightly aghast, and told me I was lucky I didn’t get caught, as it was for residents only. Ah! So that explained why there were very few cars and mostly bike traffic. Silly foreigner. Turns out, that was a fairly common practise to prevent knobs like me from “rat running” through otherwise peaceful neighbourhoods. (although, I was going at a snails pace)
    I stepped up my efforts at reading Dutch signage in fairly short order.

  6. disgruntled says:

    John – thanks
    Bob – my parents live in a road like that which is technically no through route, doesn’t stop anyone driving down it though… obviously the Dutch are better behaved

  7. […] it turns out that it’s not my carefully crafted prose you’re after, but pictures of our roads so you can dream about cycling along in a bidirectional headwind completely unhindered by other […]

  8. Gym Trainer says:

    To be fair they live on a road that’s “no vehicles – except for access” and “access to the other end of it” must count 🙂

  9. […] then rode home on Bigtownshire’s accidental cycle path, stopping only to enjoy the view of the hill I wasn’t having to tackle on the other […]

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