Bike Boom

February 24, 2015 at 10:51 pm (Rosie B)

I found Carlton Reid’s Roads Were Not Built for Cars a valuable reference book and a good read.

He’s now kickstarting the funding for a new book, Bike Boom.
Nice video which I can’t get to embed.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carltonreid/bike-boom-the-book/widget/video.html

Use of bicycles in America and Britain fell off a cliff in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to the rapid rise in car ownership. Urban planners and politicians predicted that cycling would soon wither to nothing, and they did their level best to bring about this extinction by catering only for motorists. And then something strange happened – bicycling bounced back, first in America and then in Britain. Today’s global bicycling boom – even the one in the Netherlands – has its roots in the early 1970s.

And this is what I’d like to explore in Bike Boom, a book that will use history to shine a spotlight on the present, and demonstrate how bicycling in the future has the potential to grow even further, if the right measures are put in place by the politicians and planners of today and tomorrow. ..

Bike Boom will aim to dig down into historical sources to find out how the Netherlands built a world-class network of bicycle paths – and much of the rest of the world didn’t. I’d also like to interview the bicycle advocates and planners of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (and those of today, too) to hear their stories, and learn from their successes and their mistakes.

Ur-Sustrans built its first cycleway on the Bristol to Bath route from 1979 – 1986.  I remember the Innocent Railway stretch  Edinburgh when it was still covered with ballast and gave you punctures and the tunnel was blocked – that was the early eighties. It is now a black top path and the main North Cycle Network 1, and this was through my own cycling organisation, Spokes.  In the UK the progress has been local and patchy and has taken much patient volunteer effort.

Innocentrailway

The Innocent Railway – National Cycle Network 1

1 Comment

  1. damon said,

    I’m a cyclist in London, and I think you can have too many people cycling at the same time. The commuters can be a pain as many use it as part of their workout regime and just go too fast.
    There is also the swarming you get in slow moving traffic and at lights.
    When I’m driving a works van or truck it can be particularly nerve-wracking as bicycles move all around your vehicle.
    They have fitted these cycle detection beepers on some trucks I’ve driven, and they end up being a total distraction in themselves. They even beep as you pass trees and lampposts.

    As for those Sustrans tracks, they may make a path good for cycling, but they kill it as a pretty path to walk on. I’ve been on some of them in Cornwall and there are just long stretches of plainness.

    Those weekend packs of cyclists can also be a hazard. Particularly on busy roads like in Surrey where they really get in the way. Overtaking them, which you have to do, can be tricky.n

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