Archived News - 2016
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Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire (CCNB) would like to wish all Bedford Borough current and potential cyclists a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The year has seen a continued increase in Bedford Borough residents cycling, particularly commuters cycling to the railway station where October gave the highest number ever. We hope that this will continue in 2017. Every resident who cycles means one less vehicle on Bedford’s roads causing congestion and pollution.
Over the last few years there has been a number of 20mph schemes introduced in the borough improving the safety of not just cyclists but all vulnerable residents – children, the elderly and disabled. We would like to see this progressively extended to all residential and shopping areas including the whole of the town centre.
2016 has also seen a number of developer funded extensions/upgrades to the urban cycle network:
• Junction improvements for both motorists and cyclists put in place at Harrowden Crossroads (March)
• Great Ouse Way (A4280/A6) link road opened with a cycle track alongside the whole length of the south side from the Clapham Road roundabout (near Sainsbury’s) to Bromham Road (Gold Lane roundabout) (April)
• New cycle stands installed at Bedford South Wing Hospital (April)
• Improvements for cyclists put in place at the end of Tavistock Street following reconstruction of the carriageway to improve drainage (May)
• New two-tier cycle racks installed at Bedford railway station to give 612 spaces (including 24 spaces in the borough's Ashburnham Road car park) available for commuters (May)
• The new cycle/pedestrian bridge across the River Great Ouse between St Mary's Gardens and the new Riverside North development arrived and was lifted into position (June)
• Bromham Road cycle track near Biddenham Turn, closed for a number of months to allow a new junction to be created for the start of the north of Bromham Road development, reopened with wider track and two new toucan crossings (July)
• Cycle stands installed at the Pavilion Cafe in Bedford Park and in the front of De Parys Hotel in De Parys Avenue (August)
• Upgraded off-road cycle track completed as part of Travis Perkins development along the old section of Cambridge Road bwtween Wallis Way and Cardington Road. This gives a direct route from the south of the town and Kempston to Priory Business Park (August)
• Final 50 metre section of cycle track constructed between Great Denham development and riverside to give a complete off-road route to the town from Great Denham, Kempston West and Marsh Leys (December)
During 2017 we look forward to the opening of the new river bridge to the Riverfield North site, a signal controlled cycle route around the A421/A6 junction by Highways England and at least the plans for the upgrade to the Bromham Road railway bridge by Network Rail showing a wide cycle track across the bridge and an underpass from Spencer Road.
The fall of sterling since Brexit combined and the recent announcement of OPEC and other producers cutting back on production, Brent crude oil hit a 18 month high in mid December 2016. This has meant an increase of 12/16% for a litre of petrol/diesel since the beginning of the year with further increases expected hitting the pockets of motorists just in time for the Christmas period. Please encourage your non-cycling friends to save money by occasionally leaving the car in the drive and cycling (or walking) that short distance. The fitness achieved can then give further savings by the cancellation of the monthly gym subscription.
Govia Thameslink Railways (GTR) have announced that fares on both their Thameslink and Great Northern franchises will rise by an average of 1.8% in January next year, in line with the annual increase of other train operators.
What better time to save your hard earned money by considering to cycle that short distance to Bedford railway station, joining the 500 plus commuters who already do so.
Who is Louis? Click here to find out.
Darker nights are now with us with the ending of British Summer Time on Sunday 30 October 2016 and winter will be arriving soon. Although your bicycle should be maintained properly all through the year please ensure, particularly at this time of the year, that it has:
Both tyres in good condition. Worn tyres are more prone to punctures and slipping on greasy roads.
Brake blocks not worn down. Modern brake blocks and rims in wet weather will wear out faster.
Both front and rear working lights. You may be able to see the motorist, but will they be able to see you?
Do not wear dark clothing. Fluorescent is ideal during the day but reflective clothing is the best for at night.
The Borough Council's Road Safety Team are running a 'Be Safe Be Seen' campaign. Please look at the video on the webpage.
The Borough Council has launched in October 2016 a new online tool for reporting issues on roads, cycle tracks and footpaths around the borough. The new ReportIt tool allows residents to report a number of highway issues quickly and easily online.
If you see an issue click here to report it.
September 2016 saw the highest number of commuters cycling to Bedford railway station with 450 leaving their cycles locked to cycle stands and up to an estimated 50 more taking them on a train.
This was 8% higher than in September 2015.
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of cyclist and cycling campaigner Veronica Brown on 31 August 2016. More than 70 cyclists and friends and family attended her funeral at Bedford Crematorium on Friday 23 September 2016.
Veronica was President of CTC Bedfordshire for 35 years between 1978 and 2013 when she had to give it up due to poor health. She was also a committee member of CCNB from its foundation in 1992 until her death.
She will be sorely missed.
Cycle to Work Day is a national event which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day on Wednesday 14 September 2016. Ask your friends and neighbours to cycle on this day. Get your employer to support the event. This can be something as simple as a group email to remind all staff of Cycle to Work Day's date or getting involved with coordinating events and activities across multiple workplaces UK-wide! Cycle to Work Day offers employers of all sizes a platform that can be used to promote active travel and healthy living - two themes that are increasingly important in the modern world - to their workforce.
See the website here for further information.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the annual Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust sponsored ride for Charity. Visit the 29 churches in Bedford and Kempston or cycle out to the many village churches. CCNB volunteers as usual will be helping to greet cyclists and walkers at the Friends Meeting House in Lansdowne Road, Bedford as well as taking part in the event.
See the website here for further information.
Everybody has been enthralled watching Cycling Team GB win so many medals at the Rio Olympics - 6 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze. CCNB hopes that this is just the incentive needed to encourage more and more Bedford borough residents to take up cycling. It need only be that short trip to work, shops, railway station or school.
Looking for an alternative to Pokemon this summer? Try hunting for pieces of art work around an off-road route near Danish Camp.
Pupils from schools in Bedford have worked together with Sustrans to create an art trail around The Grange Estate near Danish Camp. Their art work will be displayed on a circular walking and cycling route throughout the month of August 2016.
Enjoy some fresh air this summer and have an adventure spotting the art work in the trees while walking, scooting or cycling around the 3 mile, entirely off-road, circular route.
For more details please see here.
What about teaching your child to ride a bicycle in one of Bedford and Kempston's Parks.
For children already riding there are a number of family cycle rides around the area.
For more confident riders there is a whole range of other cycle rides available in the immediate area as well as further afield.
Why not make up your own route within the urban area using the off-road and quiet roads shown on the latest addition of the Bedford and Kempston Cycle Map. The Great Ouse Way cycle track which has recently opened gives an almost completely off-road route from Putnoe, Brickhill and Clapham to Bromham, Biddenham, Great Denham and Kempston. This can be made into a circular route using the riverside route and the Norse Road/Wentworth Drive off-road cycle tracks.
The Bedford Pavilion cafe in Bedford Park now has six 'Sheffield' type cycle stands installed to enable up to 12 bicycles to be securely parked while their riders take a break at one of Bedford's most popular stop-off points.
The cycle stands were given to the cafe at the request of CCNB instead of being scrapped when they were replaced at Bedford railway station by new two-tier cycle stands. The cafe has had them renovated and painted green to blend in with the park's surroundings and they now look as good as new.
This summer holidays when not cycling why not relax on the beach or beside the pool with a good book. Mark Treasure, Chair of Cycling Embassy of Great Britain (CEoGB), has put together The Great Big Cycling, Transport and Traffic Books Roundup covering all aspects of cycling from History, Policy, Planning, Design, Cycle-specifics and Graphic Novels. The list can be seen here.
A new four metre wide cycle/pedestrian bridge now spans the River Great Ouse between the Riverside North development and St Mary’s Gardens. The bridge arrived in sections on several lorries in early June and after assembly was lifted into position across the river using a high tonnage mobile crane on 29 June/1 July 2016.
When it is opened to the public, although unfortunately not until the whole development is completed in Spring/Summer 2017, the bridge will be used everyday by more than a 1,000 cyclists as a safe route to/from the town centre. Cyclists will no longer have to travel along the busy, and potentially hazardous, St John's Street or Prebend Street, or illegally on the pavement.
The 2016 event takes place from 11 to 19 June but events can take place for several weeks before through to September and beyond! This year's theme is 'Ride to Work'.
CCNB has three events listed in the diary:
Wednesday 8 June 2016 - Ageing Well Festival and Exhibition
Bedfordshire Age UK and Bedford Borough's Ageing Well event takes place on Wednesday 8 June 2016 at the Corn Exchange in St Paul's Square. CCNB will be sharing a stand at the event with CTC Beds (Cycling UK).
9 - 30 June 2016 - Putnoe Library Exhibition
CCNB will have a small exhibition in Putnoe Library as part of Bike Week.
Wednesday 22 June 2016 - CCNB's 'Not Quite the Longest Day' Bike Ride
This years 'Not Quite the Longest Day' bike ride jointly with CTC Beds (Cycling UK) is on Wednesday 22 June 2016 and will start from the Priory Park Visitor Centre at 6.30pm and as before proceed along Route 51 and the circular riverside route to Willington where we will take a short break before returning by the direct route.
Why Cycle - This 2015 video to see why riding a bicycle is the best way to get to work is still valid.
Everyone who cycles will at some point have to fix a flat tyre. The video below by BikeRadar, who are supporting Bike Week 2016, shows step- by-step how quick and easy way it is to fix a puncture on your bike.
Instructions in writing and also a video for mountain bike punctures can be seen on the bike week web site here.
100 new double decker cycle stands have been installed alongside the covered passageway between Ashburnham Road and the station entrance and were available for use from 25 April 2016.
The 2.4km A4280/A6 link road now known as The Great Ouse Way with a cycle track alongside the whole length of the south side from the Clapham Road roundabout (near Sainsbury’s) to Bromham Road (Gold Lane roundabout) was opened by the Mayor, Dave Hodgson, on Monday 25 April 2016.
The new route offers a fast direct off-road cycle link from Clapham and Brickhill to Biddenham, Bromham, Great Denham and the new development at Kempston West.
Sustrans are running a series of cycle courses in Bedford starting in May 2016. Three courses on offer:
Adult confident course – for good cyclists wanting to improve when cycling on the road. This course is running every Wednesday evening from 18:30 starting from the Kiosk in Russell Park.
Beginner cycle course – for complete beginners or people who have not cycled for a long time. This one-on-one session will be arranged at a convenient location and time for you. Bikes can be borrowed for these sessions.
Family cycle course – learn to ride safely together as a family. These courses are arranged at a convenient location and time for you.
If you are interested in any of these courses please e-mail Yo.Higton@bedford.gov.uk stating which course you’d like to join, what level cyclist you are and if you have access to a bike.
All courses cost £5 which needs to be paid in advance to reserve your place on the course. Please make cheques payable to Sustrans and send to Yo Higton at Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP.
Cycle counts at Bedford railway station, collected on a regular basis by CCNB since 2006, have continued to show an increase with the 2015/16 winter counts 8% higher than those collected during the previous winter period.
Over the nine years since the first counts were taken during the 2006/17 winter period there has been a 76% increase as shown by the graph below.
Do not let that pothole get any bigger than necessary.
If you see one on your travels please report it to the Bedford Unitary Authority Helpdesk - If they no not know about it, it will not be filled in. Large one are normally repaired by the Pothole Squad within 2 working days and smaller ones within 6 weeks from the date of reply.
Preparations are in hand (February 2016) for the construction of a new four metre wide cycle/pedestrian bridge across the River Great Ouse from the Riverside North development to St Mary's Gardens.
Although due to be completed within two-three months it wil not be open for use until the whole development is completed around Spring 2017. In the meantime the cycle route along Queen's Walk and part of Charter Walk on the north side is closed while the route on the south side along St Mary's Gardens has been diverted away from the riverside.
CCNB has published a sixth edition of its popular Bedford and Kempston Cycle Map. It is available (free of charge) from all libraries, cycle shops, The Higgins and numerous other outlets.
The map can be seen on Cycle Bedford's website here.
Cycle schemes in progress (February/March 2016) include:
Great Denham Link
The riverside cycle track from the start of Great Denham through to the track alongside the Western Bypass as it passes over the River Great Ouse should be open shortly. This will enable all residents of the Great Denham and Kempston West developments to easily access Bedford town centre by bicycle completely off-road. For Kempston West residents this will be an alternative route to the one via Kempston Saxon Centre.
The A4280/A6 link road with a cycle track alongside the whole length of the south side from the Clapham Road roundabout (near Sainsbury’s) to Bromham Road (Gold Lane roundabout) is also expected to be opened shortly.
With the annual cost of commuting from Bedford railway station having increased yet again from this January, why not consider cycling to the station and join the more than 10% who already do, particularly if you live less than 5km away, and save yourself more than £2,000 per year in fuel and parking costs.
We are sure that once tried you will not want to stop, although we suggest you start off slowly by cycling in the first instance just once a week and then building it up. Although many residents cycle all through the year it is up to you whether to cycle if the weather is inclement.
There are 468 secure cycle parking spaces at the railway station with most under cover and all protected by CCTV. The installation of a further 100 spaces, mainly double deckers, together with shelters, additional CCTV and lighting is due to commence by the end of March 2016.
Sustrans are running a series of bike maintenance courses in Bedford during 2016.
The first course, taught by a Cytech qualified bike technician is on Saturday 16th January from 10:30 to 16:00 at Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street. The course aims to give you the confidence and skills you need to keep your bike in a good, safe riding condition. You are welcome to bring your own bike to work on but sadly we are not able to work on carbon fibre bikes or bikes with hydraulic disc brakes. You will learn how to conduct a pre-ride safety check, identify the different parts of the bike, repair a puncture and change a tyre, adjust and change brakes, change a gear cable and adjust the gears, and how to use the basic tools for working on your bike.
A deposit of £10 is required to book your place on the course and you'll receive a workbook for future reference. There are six places on the January course available. If you would like to attend please contact Yo Higton by 13 January 2016 on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (01234) 276048.
Traffic congestion in Bedford has been one of the major stories of the past year. Let’s try and reduce it during 2016 by cycling or cycling more often to make the town and particularly the town centre, a more pleasant and environmentally friendly place to visit.
Cycling offers cheap and fast door to door short journey mobility for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. It saves money on parking and fuel, improves your health and fitness and at the same time helps save the planet from the effects of climate change.