Sunday 27 September 2015

Birmingham Cycling and Navigation

I have to say that our frequent stays each cruising season in Birmingham, have always been interesting as there is so much for us to do. A couple of days does not even scratch the surface of all the many attractions. Now that some of the 14 day moorings have been taken out of use by the general boating population. So that only in the main only the shorter 48 hour moorings are available.

Generally we avoid Canal Festivals because we having been to one or two. They are we find, much of a muchness and not to our taste. That's not to suggest that festivals are a bad thing, its each boater to their own. This time our stay happened to coincide with the floating market. So we were able to catch up with a few boating friends and acquaintances who were there for the market.

One of our catchups was with Richard Parry who we bumped into while walking our dog along on the towpath. He was doing one of his usual meet and greet sessions with some of the boaters and traders. He had with him a couple of new senior staff members. 

When I spotted Richard I had intended to have a bit of fun at him. Which I did anyway, with a little bit of friendly banter.  So I first asked if there was any truth in the rumour (based on Hales, Ash, Salem, et al leaving) that he was also planning to leave the trust. I was going to follow on and ask if there was any truth in the rumour that the trust was going to move over to a membership model now that hales had departed. Then I was going to thank him profusely on behalf of all members of 'Strava' for yet another new CaRT cycling innovation. One that we had come across on the Birmingham Cycleway and Navigation (BCN). 

However, rather than put him on the spot. I decided to let the membership and Strava bit roll, as he politely introduced me to his new colleagues. I was upstaged so to speak when Richard described me as a 'critical friend' of the trust. I actually like the CEO and we seem to have a respect for each others opinions.

So what was I going to make him aware of?

Speed up Ramp.
Most people who have visited Birmingham will have seen the towpath gates around the Sheepcote Bridge area. These have now been upgraded. Its a simple upgrade - the gates have now been locked.  However, this time the gates are permanently locked in the open position. So now the cyclists have a free downhill run from the road bridge which will allow them to get up to speed much quicker. The Strava enthusiasts will be thrilled!

Open for Business

The gate alteration has been made by the simple expedient of a heavy duty chain and a couple of locks. So now cyclists no longer have to dismount. I wonder how long it will be before CaRT removes the gates altogether.

Here is another
Once again, as we walked around the market a few cyclist were weaving their way along the Towpath. As usual one or two were travelling at silly speeds.  Members of the public were grumbling about the experience.  

As if it had been pre-ordained. We were returning to our boat, when I literally came into contact with a cyclist who gently bumped into the back of me. It was at low speed, the cyclist was very apologetic and no one was hurt.  

The thing is - I never heard him coming. No amount of 'Faux Education', no amount of the 'Two Tings' and certainly no amount of 'Duck Lanes' or 'Share the Space' is going to make a blind bit of difference. I anticipate that once the good news spreads about the open season on towpath pedestrians - the 'Where there's a blame there's a claim' culture will come to the towpath. With faux whiplash injury claims being levied against the trust.  With actions like locking gates in the open position, I think m'learned friends will have a field day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.