Thursday, 29 May 2014

Council Cycling Infrastructure Day

One of the most exciting days, after the local elections themselves, for new councillors is Cycling Infrastructure Day.

Not many people realise how difficult the world of cycling infrastructure design is. But it's truly multidisciplinary. It takes in physics, sociology, town planning and Magic.

9am - course starts

9.45 - course actually starts, after parking problems make delegates late.

10am - "The Physics of Blue Paint" - how a layer just a few molecules thick can repel heavy objects. Like lorries.

11am -  "The art and science of the Chicane" - a multidisciplinary lecture. First a chicane designer explains how to put gates on shared cycle/footpaths that are too tight for kids' double buggies, recumbents or hand cycles (with some slides of particularly good examples from Wellingborough), or too narrow for the handlebars on the average bike (some lovely shots of Leicester's Watermead Park).
For the second part of the session, a psychologist will explain the perfectly understandable rage it inspires in motorists if cyclists don't use this very reasonable infrastructure, simply because they have to slow to a walking pace every hundred yards.

11am - "Cyclists Stay Back" - an eminent ethologist on how one small yellow sticker can transfer all responsibility from one person to another.

12 noon - "Bozza's Boom box hour" - the Mayor of London explains why headphones should be illegal on bikes, yet car sound systems are fine.

1pm - lunch

2pm - To wake up the delegates in the "Graveyard Slot", a Magical Mystery Tour round the bike lanes of the West End, with special prizes for anyone who can work out what the hell Westminster Council think they're up to.

3.30 - A materials scientist on "Small is beautiful" - how an entire town's worth of bad design is made OK by cyclists putting a 2 inch thickness of expanded polystyrene on their heads.

3pm - The film "Brompton, Brompton, Brompton!" In which squadrons of Kamikaze Cyclists attacked American ships around the Cam.

4pm - 4.15 - "What Dutch Design really is" (Optional session. Free drinks will be served in the Refectory at this time).

4.15 - "Coming up with bad excuses for bad design" - a spokesperson from Luton Council on how to spin it when you've built a bike path that's not suitable for bikes.

5pm - Fun final game - " Guess the narrowest bike lane" is it 3 feet? 2 feet? 6 inches?


  1. Chester won an award as the easiest City to cycle into. Speaking as a frequent cyclist there, I can confirm that it is indeed easy to cycle into Chester - the difficulty comes when trying to cycle out again! Presumably the council loves cyclists so much that it doesn't want them ever to leave.

  2. Should invite the folk from Warrington:

  3. I want to nominate the A286 coming into Chichester from the north. There are longish sections of the "cycle lane" that contract to what must be 12" (or 14" including the dotted white line) wide.


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