Proposal for a bike ride with a purpose

I’d like to propose a bike ride to take place on 10/10/10 – preferably
at 10 o’clock!

The climate change organisation has teamed up with 10:10 to
get people to do constructive work parties to combat/highlight climate
change. You can read more about this here:

The point of our bike ride would be to follow selected routes on the
Ipswich Cycle map and feedback to a central document. We might for
example, use the crowdsourcing software provided by
which was developed for disasters and emergencies but which can easily
be used for other purposes. (You could well argue that climate change
is a disaster, of course.)

The document could then be used to lobby IBC and SCC/HA to fund and
organise improvements.

We could meet in the centre of Ipswich and then split into twos and
threes and each group could ride a pre-agreed route. The point of the
crowdsourcing would be to upload problem areas of routes to a map from
our mobiles. We could also supply a questionnaire for those who prefer
that. I haven’t tried the software as yet.

I have talked to the Transition Ipswich Transport Group about this and
I’m sure that some people from there will support it.

Please let me know if there is any enthusiasm for this project. I
would need at least a couple of other people who are keen to get it
organised. I was involved in organising the Transition
Ipswich bike ride last year but I still consider myself to be a rookie
in these matters!


Community Cycle Routes

Someone mentioned that the Tourist Information Centre in Ipswich often gets request for cycle routes around town and outskirts to local villages and pleasant places. Strikes me that this is something that many people in Cycle Ipswich could benefit from. Likewise the wider cycling public.

I’ve had a go at making one using uMapper. It’s probably a bit clunky but I’ll try to improve it once I get a bit more skilled with the software. Belstead to Capel Cycle Route

If anyone else would like to make one, we could maybe create a section here to keep the links. I’m going to be adding them to my transport blog and to the Transition Ipswich wiki


Cycling for all in Ipswich

Cycling is not as accessible as it used to be.

Yes, if you have a bike in your shed or garage and the tyres aren’t flat, you can just jump on – and away you go. But for many people it isn’t so simple.

So what are the problems?

Busy roads

Cars are faster, there are more of them and the perception of many cyclists is that  some drivers are almost blind when it comes to cyclists. So much so, that a new campaign group has been set up in the UK called Stop Smidsy. SMIDSY is “Sorry Mate – I Didn’t See You!” – the frequent refrain heard by both cyclists and motor cyclists after near misses and actual crashes.

Poor road layouts and surfaces

Many roads are not well set up for cycling. There are problems with road edges and markings. Drain covers can be slippery in wet weather; some of the larger drains are the right size to trap a bicycle wheel; edges may be scattered with gravel and other rubbish, creating an extra hazard for cyclists. Potholes can also be a greater hazard for cyclists than for car drivers.

Then there are the “cycle lanes” which are sometimes more of a hinderance than a help. Many are ess than two feet wide, in the gutter and prone to disappearing when most needed – at junctions and other hazards.

Enough of the negatives!

So what can we do to help people cycle more?

There are schemes to help train would be cyclists. Children over the age of  eight can do Bike Ability in some schools and adults can benefit from BikeAbility in some workplaces. Bike Ability trains participants in road skills, and safety. You only need a reasonably roadworthy bike and suitable comfortable clothing. One of the first things that happens on a BikeAbility course is you bike is checked for roadworthiness. And of course you will be given advice on suitable clothing.

Schools may have schemes to help pupils get to school by bike. There is at least one Bike Train operating in Ipswich (from Ravenswood to Nacton School).  See Alex’s post about the bike train for more details.

Bike routes and facilities in Suffolk is a good starting point for finding out about cycling in Suffolk and has some useful links too.

The Ipswich Cycle Map is a very useful thing to have. Routes are clearly shown both for central Ipswich and for the outskirts. There are suggestions for safer routes and potential danger spots are highlighted. You can get copies from the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre in St Stephen’s Church besides the Buttermarket shopping centre. There’s also local bike shops and other bike facilities shown on the map.