Newsletter

August 2022

Derek take Fern for a ride

Derek takes Fern for a ride - Photo Peter

Almost two months now with very little rain and it's beginning to show, with straw coloured lawns and wilting flowers. So it was predictable that we would pick the only wet day for our last social ride. Life's like that sometimes.

We had a sunny day for our stall at the Eaton Park Bike Day though. We've got some more events in the pipeline as well, including the revival of Grasstrack cycle racing at the Hewett Academy.

Derek takes a look at commuting routes into the city, which are becoming increasing popular. Are they up to the task?

 

We've been in the news again, this time shining a spotlight on an "interesting" way to cross the River Yare, all part of our efforts to highlight the lack of proper cycle commuting routes into the city.

Peter concludes his ride around the NDR cycle track and offers some suggestions for how it could be improved.

The Anglia Square saga continues with yet another suggestion as to how to redevelop the old shopping centre, this one far more focused on reconstructing the old street pattern of the area.

Something seems to be happening with Norfolk County Council, or more to the point not happening. We have updates on long-running issues. Some good news but it's more often a case of nothing to see here - but why?

Bikes, sunshine and a brass band

Fern demonstrates how to do the school run in style - Photo Derek

We had a stall at the Eaton Park Bike Day on 24th July, a gloriously sunny day in the bandstand area of the park. As well as our stall, the police were there marking bikes, along with Little Riders and Dr Bike. There were various e-bikes and e-cargo bikes available for a test drive as well as some kiddie balance bikes. All to the accompaniment of a brass band.

Our stall

Our stall in the Eaton Park rotunda - Photo Derek

We spent a very enjoyable afternoon meeting cyclists from all over the city, discussing the Pedalways network and where improvements need to be made to make it safer and more convenient.

Very much a day for ice cream and sun screen.

Upcoming events

Norwich Grasstrack cycle racing Sunday 14th August

We’ll have a stall at this event at the Hewett Academy in Cecil Road. Do come along and say hello. We’re especially excited to be arriving on a (borrowed!) cargo bike.

“After several decades away, Grasstrack racing returns to Norwich, East Anglia's historic capital. Offering racing for all abilities and ages as well as a great day out for all to enjoy. Expect to find all your traditional Grasstrack races alongside some more even more inclusive events.”

Food and drink stalls will be available. The action kicks off at 12 noon.

Kidical Mass family bike ride Saturday 24th September

Following the amazing success of their first ride in May, Kidical Mass Norwich will be back in September for their second family bike ride. Norwich Cycling Campaign will be there providing support and joining in the fun! All are invited.

Kidical Mass poster

Norwich Peace Camp & Peace Cycle Saturday 8th October

We’ll have a stall in the Forum. Further details to follow.

Social rides

Next ride – to Whitlingham Broad and the Country Park
Sunday 21st August
Meet 11.00am outside John Lewis on All Saints Green

For our fourth social ride of the year we’ll be heading out to Whitlingham Country Park. This is a shorter ride than last month so we’ll take the opportunity to stop at the Flint Barn café for coffee and cake.

Our route out of the city is initially via the Yellow Pedalway then we'll cut through the County Hall site to join up with the Red Pedalway (NCN1) at the Martineau Lane roundabout where we’ll follow the Red Pedalway to Whitlingham Broad.

We’ll cycle around the Great Broad and explore a bit of the Marshes including a peep at the terrifying A47 viaduct cycle path (don’t worry we won’t actually be going on it!) before stopping off at the café.

To return to the city we'll take a slightly different route via part of the Purple Pedalway and back along the Lakenham Way.

Last month's ride

Social ride

Group photo at the Jarrold Bridge on the Pink Pedalway - Photo Derek

 

Because of the near constant blazing sunshine-fuelled baking hot days, we were in two minds as to whether to go ahead with the ride. In the event it looked OK, with a small chance of actual rain.

A wet Tony

A very wet Tony - Photo Derek

 

As we got to the NDR cycle tracks, the rain did indeed arrive. But it wasn't the normal sort of British rain, it was actually quite warm, interspersed with warm sunshine. so although we got wet, it wasn't actually that unpleasant. Most strange!


The ride took in the biggest hill climb on the Pedalway network, up the hill on St Leonards Road and then out, via the interesting cycle paths of Dussindale to the utterly confusing Postwick interchange. Once through that we took a short ride on a section of the NDR cycle track, which is so good in places.

After that we returned to the city by way of the new St Williams Way cycle lanes, which are really quite good, but which finish just before the chaos of the Heartsease roundabout. Once around that we headed back along the Pink Pedalway through Mousehold Heath, surely one of the nicest sections of the Pedalways network.

Cycle commuting into Norwich

Cycling on the Marriott's Way - Photo Derek

Norwich is surrounded by towns and villages within easy reach, ideal for cycle commuting. In addition, Norfolk is keen to promote cycle tourism. Yet most of the roads into the city have absolutely no provision for cycling or walking, everyone is expected to either drive or - if there is one - to use a bus.

Derek takes a look at the current situation for cycle commuting, the two good routes we do have - the Marriott's Way from Thorpe Marriott and the Blue Pedalway from Wymondham - as well as two potential routes via Dereham Road and the Whitlingham viaduct and the total lack of any provision on the rest. 

We even find a section of good quality off-road cycle track that's never been used and has been totally forgotten about.

Read it all here: Cycle commuting into Norwich – safely

(Includes a ride-through video of the Marriott's Way from Thorpe Marriott.)

Press report - Whitlingham viaduct route

Derek and Peter on the A47 viaduct - Photo NEN

The Evening News reported on the dangerous nature of the much-used cycle route over the A47 Whitlingham viaduct on 17th July.

Read the story here: Cyclists calling for urgent safety upgrade to 'dangerous' A47 bike path

A surprisingly large number of cyclists ride across this bridge day and night, indeed it's a major commuting route between the Broadland Business Park, Dussindale, County Hall and the city. Yet the path is only 1.4 metres wide, barely wide enough for one cyclist.

Although not really dangerous, it is surely one of the most terrifying cycle journeys you can make in the county. It has the nickname of "The bridge of doom" on certain Facebook cycling groups, and for good reason.

Cycling over the "bridge of doom" - Photo Derek

This is one of the most important "missing links" in the Norwich cycling network that needs upgrading. If it were done, it would open up a wonderful commuter and tourist link. 

Cycling the NDR – the conclusion

As we discovered in last month’s newsletter the NDR has a surprisingly good cycle track (in places) around much of its length.

Peter concludes his ride around the track by cycling from Horsham St Faith down to the Postwick Park & Ride, travelling on wide, smooth paths and taking in some picturesque diversions - with the odd dangerous crossing thrown in for good measure.

Navigating the Postwick junction - quite an adventure!

At Postwick, where the minor arterial roads were severed by the NDR and no new crossings were built to compensate, we take the “mother of all diversions” to get back to the start of the Green Pedalway.

Peter makes some suggestions for how the cycle track could be improved - so as to fulfil its potential of connecting up with the surrounding villages as well as providing a delightful circular leisure route.

You can read the concluding part of Peter's article here: Cycling the NDR Part 2: Horsham St Faith to the Postwick Park & Ride

Earlham Road wand and King Street kerb

As we reported last month, one of the wands on the Earlham Road mandatory cycle lanes has been knocked over.

We've been chasing the council for why this is taking so long to replace and can report that the status has now changed from they are "investigating the problem" to they are "going to resolve the problem." The wheels are grinding slowly and we'll continue to monitor this.

Regarding the ongoing issue of the dangerous kerb on King Street we were promised an on-site meeting with the engineers which for some reason never materialised but we will contunue to chase Norfolk County Council for a solution to this.

While we await to engage with Norfolk County Council on several larger issues even smaller snagging issues such as these remain unresolved. As a further example, a poorly attached direction sign at Grapes Hill we reported back in March is still hanging loose.

Knocked over wand on Earlham Road and unfinished kerb on King Street

Anglia Square and Heartsease Lane


Weston Homes have submitted a revised planning application for the Anglia Square development, including a change to the routing of the Yellow Pedalway which has been extended southwards, as was suggested by the cycling campaign.

The Active Travel Fund scheme on Heartsease Lane to upgrade the crossing on the Pink Pedalway is due to start soon and has been revised to incorporate a raised table across the entrance to Rider Haggard Road, again this was a change suggested by the campaign.

An alternative vision for Anglia Square

As the ongoing saga of the Weston Homes planning application for Anglia Square rumbles on an independent conservation group have submitted their own alternative vision for the site. They’ve produced extensive outline proposals that involve a lower-rise development more sympathetic to the area and based on the historic street pattern.

How a re-imagined Botolph Street could look

With a focus very much on reducing the dominance of cars and encouraging walking and cycling this is a plan more in keeping with the historic character and existing scale of this part of city centre.

Peter takes a look at the plans in more detail: An alternative vision for Anglia Square

And finally

Paris bike ride (click to watch video)

We know that the solutions to getting more people cycling are not technically difficult. They’re now even enshrined in government policy, and the accompanying design standards to make it all happen have been in effect since July 2020.

What stops change from happening is a lack of political will, a refusal to see beyond a blinked car-centric view of the world.

So what happens when a politician with real vison decides to act? Look no further than Paris where Mayor Anne Hidalgo took bold steps in 2020 to drastically reduce car use and enable a "revolution" in walking and cycling - and was subsequently re-elected for her efforts.

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Contacting us

The Norwich Cycling Campaign can be contacted here

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