NCN Experiences

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by ChrisW, Apr 9, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ChrisW

    ChrisW New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.

    One of them consisted mainly of narrow fenland roads - OK if there isn't much traffic, but not obviously safe or enjoyable otherwise. But then it suddenly took off on something that was signposted as a bridle path, but in reality was a rutted mud track across the fields. I should have said it was barely ridable on a mountain bike.

    The next section I tried was a rough track pitted with potholes. I was commuting on a mountain bike, but I arrived at work spattered with mud from head to foot and with mild paralysis of the hands. If I'd tried it on my normal bike I'd have arrived with a heap of scrap iron, too.

    I've emailed Sustrans and received charming replies. I feel mean complaining about it. But if this is really meant to be a National Cycle Network then it's reasonable to expect it to be possible to complete any of the routes on any bike.

    There seems to be a regrettable consequence of the popularity of mountain bikes that public authorities (and, presumably, Sustrans) think that a surface that's passable on a mountain bike is good enough.

    Chris Walker
     
    Tags:


  2. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "ChrisW" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two
    > sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.

    The bits of their system I have tried have been pleasant country lanes and cinder topped 'traffic
    free' paths. These paths seem generally OK for anything heavier than a race bike though parts were
    flooded during the winter - but where wasn't :(

    Since the NCN is advertised as quiet roads and dedicated cycle paths I don't think you can expect
    every part of it to be negotiable on a light weight road bike with skinny tyres. I use 28mm most of
    the time and these seem adequate though I would expect to have to show some discression on parts of
    the system I do not know.

    Some parts of the system around here are very poorly signed. One part (past a 'rough council
    estate') is badly potholed, littered with glass, rubbish & the occasional burn out car -- but that
    is more to do with the neighbourhood and an ineffective council than Sustrans.

    One bridle path off of route 6 (not part of the system but signed as walk & cycle) is much as you
    describe -- wet, potholed, steep and unsuitable for anything but an MTB.

    T
     
  3. ChrisW <[email protected]> wrote: ( One of them consisted mainly of narrow fenland
    roads - OK if there isn't ) much traffic, but not obviously safe or enjoyable otherwise. But then it
    ( suddenly took off on something that was signposted as a bridle path, but ) in reality was a rutted
    mud track across the fields. I should have said ( it was barely ridable on a mountain bike.

    Ah, yes. There's an unexpected one of those on NCN5 just north of Woodstock. It's a brilliant place
    for fireflies in the dead of a summer night, though.
     
  4. Steve Watkin

    Steve Watkin Guest

    Whilst the network is not perfect, it is a wonderful resource and I for one get a lot of pleasure
    from it. It's getting better all the time. Perhaps volunteering as a Sustrans ranger would help it
    get better quicker!!

    SW

    "ChrisW" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two
    > sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.
    >
    > One of them consisted mainly of narrow fenland roads - OK if there isn't much traffic, but not
    > obviously safe or enjoyable otherwise. But then it suddenly took off on something that was
    > signposted as a bridle path, but in reality was a rutted mud track across the fields. I should
    > have said it was barely ridable on a mountain bike.
    >
    > The next section I tried was a rough track pitted with potholes. I was commuting on a mountain
    > bike, but I arrived at work spattered with mud from head to foot and with mild paralysis of the
    > hands. If I'd tried it on my normal bike I'd have arrived with a heap of scrap iron, too.
    >
    > I've emailed Sustrans and received charming replies. I feel mean complaining about it. But if this
    > is really meant to be a National Cycle Network then it's reasonable to expect it to be possible to
    > complete any of the routes on any bike.
    >
    > There seems to be a regrettable consequence of the popularity of mountain bikes that public
    > authorities (and, presumably, Sustrans) think that a surface that's passable on a mountain bike is
    > good enough.
    >
    > Chris Walker
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > >--------------------------<
    > Posted via cyclingforums.com http://www.cyclingforums.com
     
  5. Ian Walker

    Ian Walker Guest

    On Wed, 9 Apr 2003 17:34:23 +0000 (UTC), Steve Watkin <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Whilst the network is not perfect, it is a wonderful resource and I for one get a lot of pleasure
    > from it. It's getting better all the time. Perhaps volunteering as a Sustrans ranger would help it
    > get better quicker!!
    >
    > SW
    >

    I agree. There are parts of it that need improvement, but at the end of the day it is relatively new
    and a work in progress. I suspect a big part of the problem is that a lot of it relies on local
    authorities, who tend to be less than perfect in most things they do (see *footnote for a good NCN-
    related laugh). That said, there are parts of the NCN right now that offer superb cycling (route 3
    from Wells to Glastonbury is fantastic).

    Ian

    * See http://staff.bath.ac.uk/pssiw/olembe/NCNpic1.jpg for an example of what happens when you ask
    local authorities to signpost cycle routes. :eek:)

    --
    Ian Walker Remove the yummy paste in my address to reply. Homepage: http://www.drianwalker.com
     
  6. "Tony W" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "ChrisW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two
    > > sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.
    >
    *snip*>
    > Since the NCN is advertised as quiet roads and dedicated cycle paths I don't think you can expect
    > every part of it to be negotiable on a light weight road bike with skinny tyres. I use 28mm most
    > of the time and these seem adequate though I would expect to have to show some discression on
    > parts of the system I do not know.
    *snip*

    But, as you say, "dedicated cycle paths". Muddy tracks suitable only for mountain bikes aren't (IMO)
    dedicated cycle paths.

    My only attempt to use the NCN was a few years ago on the cycle route paralleling the A9 north of
    Pitlochry - we joined at Dalwhinnie. Deep loose chippings, was horrible with our loaded tandem. We
    ended up using the A9. Maybe now they've tarmacced it or something.

    Robert
     
  7. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Robert Saunders wrote:

    > My only attempt to use the NCN was a few years ago on the cycle route paralleling the A9 north of
    > Pitlochry - we joined at Dalwhinnie. Deep loose chippings, was horrible with our loaded tandem. We
    > ended up using the A9. Maybe now they've tarmacced it or something.

    Some time ago now, judging from looking at bits of it rather than cycling on it. Though I take your
    point, I'd sooner they got stuff open and then converted it for road bikes than wait until it was
    all tarmac, just so long as there is true commitment to the upgrading.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  8. Iain

    Iain Guest

    ChrisW <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two
    > sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.
    >
    > I used a few sections on my LEJOG last year.
    In general I found that they are good indicators of quiet pleasant roads if you are not familiar
    with the area although good map reading can normally identify good roads anyway. The main problem
    for a cyclist travelling any distace is that the NCN routes often take long detours to avoid short
    sections of busier although perfectly cycleable roads. I only used two off road sections firstly
    between Callander and Killin where the abandoned railway line bit was passable (on 32mm front and
    37mm rear tyres)but the section further north was a disgrace with sharp turns steep gradients and
    loose ash surfaces. It was the only place on my trip I nearly lost control of the bike and came
    off. The other off road section was the cycle path at the Drumochter summit on the A9 which
    bypasses a for a few miles a dual carriageway with 80
    m.p.h traffic. This section also had much loose gravel requiring great care to negotiate. Credit
    where it,s due though this section also had mini cattle grids bypassing a lot of the gates.
    cheers Iain
     
  9. Steve Peake

    Steve Peake Guest

    On 10 Apr 2003 06:34:38 -0700, Robert Saunders wrote:

    > "Tony W" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >> "ChrisW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> news:[email protected]...
    >>> What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two
    >>> sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.
    >>
    > *snip*>
    >> Since the NCN is advertised as quiet roads and dedicated cycle paths I don't think you can expect
    >> every part of it to be negotiable on a light weight road bike with skinny tyres. I use 28mm most
    >> of the time and these seem adequate though I would expect to have to show some discression on
    >> parts of the system I do not know.
    > *snip*
    >
    > But, as you say, "dedicated cycle paths". Muddy tracks suitable only for mountain bikes aren't
    > (IMO) dedicated cycle paths.

    There isn't a straight answer to this, the tracks on all the NCN routes vary massively over the
    thousands of miles of track, but you cannot expect all of it to be passable on a tandem, nor on
    anything thin wheeled. I would expect the vast majority of bikes to be mountain bikes (esk), and NCN
    works well for that.

    Steve
     
  10. Chris Norton

    Chris Norton Guest

    Route 1 around the Boston area is`nt too bad. We had the upgrade on part of it past the river witham
    which made it "off road". However, the surface is loose chippings and to be honest, only suitable
    for mountain bikes. My old skinnys would have got shredded.

    To the south we have a nice run on country roads out to Fosdyke where we have the dreaded crossing
    of the fosdyke bridge. Described in the Hull to Fakenham route map as the most upleasant bit of the
    whole route. To be honest it is a very busy road but your only on it for about 400 yards then it`s
    back to nice gentle roads all the way to wisbech. Have`nt been any further. Would love to know what
    the north bit is like to hull.

    Regards

    Chris
     
  11. Mike Gayler

    Mike Gayler Guest

    [email protected] (iain) writed in news:[email protected]:

    > ChrisW <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >> What sort of experiences have NG readers had of the National Cycle Network? I've attempted two
    >> sections of Route 63 between March and Peterborough.
    >>
    >> I used a few sections on my LEJOG last year.
    > In general I found that they are good indicators of quiet pleasant roads if you are not familiar
    > with the area although good map reading can normally identify good roads anyway. The main problem
    > for a cyclist travelling any distace is that the NCN routes often take long detours to avoid
    > short sections of busier although perfectly cycleable roads.
    A very good example of this is Route 6 south of Northampton, where the route goes a long way through
    a dreary industrial estate to avoid a short section of main road. Route 6 is actually a very good
    route between Leicester and Milton Keynes with only the occasional abberation! The disused railway
    track between Market Harborough & Northampton being hard packed shale (?) going through a couple of
    longish tunnels is recommended.

    Mike Leicester
     
  12. One thing I have learnt about Sustrans routes is that they have very little to do with the actual
    devising of routes. They have do work to devise a route but it it up the the council to come up with
    the end product. Generally it works, but when it comes to non cycling councils the end product is
    crap. Compare routes in Edinburgh to Aberdeen? The section of NCN1 between Kinghorn and Burntisland
    is dangerous and unsuitable for cyclists. There was a debate about the directness of routes at the
    Sustrans Ranger seminar last week Directness or Scenic/ Safer routes. In the end the choice is yours
    and you do not have to rigidly stick to Sustrans routes.
    --
    Cheers,

    Wallace Shackleton. Kinross, Scotland.

    www.cyclekinross.org.uk
     
  13. Graeme

    Graeme Guest

    "wallace.shackleton" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    <snip>
    > There was a debate about the directness of routes at the Sustrans Ranger seminar last week
    > Directness or Scenic/ Safer routes. In the end the choice is yours and you do not have to rigidly
    > stick to Sustrans routes.

    But surely a lot of routes will be used by cyclists such as family groups who are just out for a
    day's bimble along what they think will be quiet routes, the NCNs (rightly or wrongly) give many
    people that impression. I remember seeing one of those holiday programmes on TV some time ago which
    was talking about cycling holidays in Fife, using the NCN routes. If the Kinghorn to Burntisland
    route is as bad as you say then I would think that's definitely a case of giving a false sense of
    security. If this was the US (thankfully it's not) then there'd be a definite whiff of potential law
    suit in the air if there were ever an accident.

    Personally I'd feel okay taking most roads around Fife, but when it comes to the A9 (as mentioned in
    another post) I'd stick to the NCN as much as possible. The only time I've seen a bike on the A9 was
    last year when we overtook a three-man bike (trandem??) going at one hell of a rate along the road.

    Have fun! (on or off the NCNs)

    Graeme
     
  14. Iain

    Iain Guest

    "wallace.shackleton" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > One thing I have learnt about Sustrans routes is that they have very little to do with the actual
    > devising of routes. They have do work to devise a route but it it up the the council to come up
    > with the end product. Generally it works, but when it comes to non cycling councils the end
    > product is crap. Compare routes in Edinburgh to Aberdeen? The section of NCN1 between Kinghorn and
    > Burntisland is dangerous and unsuitable for cyclists. There was a debate about the directness of
    > routes at the Sustrans Ranger seminar last week Directness or Scenic/ Safer routes. In the end the
    > choice is yours and you do not have to rigidly stick to Sustrans routes.

    Needless detours are just annoying and can be avoided. If however the purpose of Sustrans routes is
    to encourage more cycling by young or inexperienced cyclists then they should have national minimum
    design standards. The two off road sections I mentioned earlier are in such poor condition I
    wouldn,t let any of my children cycle on them. The impression given is that to link up the easy to
    build sections using old railway bed or superceded roads like the old A9 anything will do -its only
    for cyclists after all.
     
  15. Sustrans routes should only be followed when you want to. I would agree about the A9. I saw a guy on
    an MTB tourer near Tomatin slugging it out with the traffic on the A9, while I went down the quiet
    almost traffic free old A9 NCN 7 route. A little bit longer but definitely safer and besides he
    never past the Clava Cairns on the way into Inverness! He made his choice and I made mine

    --
    Cheers,

    Wallace Shackleton. Kinross, Scotland.

    www.cyclekinross.org.uk
     
  16. Sustrans does have design standards, like I said earlier it is up the the local council to build to
    these standards... neat arrangement?

    The situation gets very murky when it comes to routes alongside trunk roads. Getting Bear Scotland
    to do anything is nigh on impossible. They done a sterling job of patching up Slochd but then that
    was in their own interests as the A9 was in danger of being washed away, and I am not exaggerating.

    If you go north have a look out for the section of path between the Bankfoot/ Birnam junction and
    Birnam station. Bear are responsible for that section and you'll see what I mean.

    If you have a problem with a Sustrans path, contact Sustrans AND the local council.
    --
    Cheers,

    Wallace Shackleton. Kinross, Scotland.

    www.cyclekinross.org.uk
     
  17. On Fri, 11 Apr 2003 06:55:09 -0000, contributor Graeme had scribed:
    > The only time I've seen a bike on the A9 was last year when we overtook a three-man bike
    > (trandem??) going at one hell of a rate along the road.
    >

    The correct term is Triplet.

    Gary

    --

    The email address is for newsgroups purposes only and therefore unlikely to be read.

    For contact via email use my real name with an underscore separator at the domain of CompuServe.
     
  18. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

  19. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

  20. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Mon, 19 May 2003 17:37:42 +0100, James Hodson <[email protected]> wrote:

    >BTDTBTTS

    been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...