So the summer is really here and the number of bicycles on Taunton’s roads has increased substantially. Riding to work this week I have noticed many more women cycling to work, indeed it seems that while men are happy to clog up the roads in their cars the ladys of Taunton are on two wheels. I was also delighted to note that they were dressed cycle chic and riding sensible bikes, let’s hope this is a continuing trend.
I have spent the last two days at Hestercombe house and have relished the change in commute to this beautiful place. The quickest most direct route to the house takes in some reasonable cycle paths but as with all cycling in Taunton, before you know it you’re being spat out onto big, busy main roads with complicated junctions. Despite this the journeys only featured one impatient driver over taking and then being forced to brake hard…why do they do that?
This evening I rode home with my friend Fran and so we decided to take the scenic (twice the distance) cycle path route. Rather excitingly Fran showed me a whole new cycle path from the centre of town out to the village where I live. It avoids the nasty and dangerous Wellington Road (every cyclist in Taunton seems to have a tale of being knocked off somewhere on it) and runs alongside the river giving the proper car free Dutch experience. So I should be happy… well I’m not, because although it is a designated cycle path, it is a cross country route running through fields on narrow rutted dirt tracks. It will be impassible for most of the year and is not actually a viable alternative route into the town. For a fraction of the cost of road works this lovely route could be paved and become a great commuter route for those living to the south of Taunton.
This got me thinking about all these new cycle commuters, will they be on their bikes next week? We are due rain and I fear this may put them off. It would however be much easier to persuade them to keep commuting by bicycle if we had a proper joined up cycle path system that used pleasant and direct routes into the town centre, and when those routes could be car free it could really promote a change.
In the spirit of happy rain soaked English summers here is indie ukulele man Darren Hayman with ‘Rain all Summertime’ taken from the Ukulele Songs From The North Devon Coast EP. Darren is not only playing uke but is also enjoying a little cycling too.
Let’s hope that like Darren the new cycle commuters won’t mind the rain and will keep cycling.