As a bit of an experiment, I used the advised route down Pendleton road this morning, rather than heading straight down North Road. It was quite nice to not be dodging cars, especially now that I’m on a different bike with much wider handlebars.
It did, however, remind me of one of the problems with these routes off the main transport corridor; at some point you have to rejoin the main road. This is my main problem with using back streets and off-road cycle tracks; it’s usually impossible to complete an entire journey on them, so they don’t really encourage people who dislike riding on the main road to start riding their bike and leave their car at home.
Other problems I have with these routes include:
* On my way home, it will be dark. I’d rather be on the well-lit, well-used main road, than in back streets or riding down by the river or on the Black Path.
* Less drivers will see me, which means they will think less about bikes. More bikes on the roads being seen by drivers makes the roads safer for cyclists. If cyclists are tucked away in little hidden sidestreets, back alleys and off-road tracks, they’re not being seen riding their bikes.
* It reinforces the opinion of drivers that bikes shouldn’t be on the road.
Going home, I’ll be back on North Road, I think.