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Re: Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 1:46pm
Not all single track roads are created equal. There is the type which pete mentions which are as wide as a 4x4, at the other extreme there are roads where two medium sized cars can pass with care leaving passing places only for bigger vehicles or car drivers who are under the illusion they are driving bigger vehicles.

As a cyclist I quite like true single track roads, especially in open country where traffic can be seen approaching. More than perhaps any other roads in the kingdom, these create an environment where the cyclist is obviously the equal of another vehicle and needs to be treated as such. The intimacy of what ChrisButch labelled "cooperate negotiation" is one of the few occasions where different road users get to treat each other as human beings. We get to interact recognising each other as fellow human beings rather than as a moving obstacle or homicidal tin box as is the tendency elsewhere on the road network.

On the other hand, the type of road which is just wide enough for cars to contemplate an unsafe overtake is a potentially uncomfortable environment for the cyclist.

Re: Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 1:33pm
Yes, there are notable differences between the single-track roads in the Highlands and those in most other parts of the UK. Principal among these are that in the Highlands the passing places are constructed and surfaced to the same standard as the rest of the road; are regularly spaced and are clearly signed; and that the single-track sections are of a uniform width and rarely have sudden sharp bends. (Exceptions to all of these, of course, but they hold good as a broad generalisation.) The main consequence of this predictability is that it's possible for each road user to adopt a consistent method for travelling on them. (I won't now go into what that method is or ought to be - the point is that once you've found a method that works, it's applicable, or ought to be applicable, more or less throughout the Highlands).

By contrast, there is no such consistency or predictability about single track roads elsewhere, such as those, for instance in my own patch, mid-Devon. Here, everything is random. The width of the carriageway constantly and unpredictably varies. Passing places are missing for long stretches, and when present are neither constructed, surfaced nor signed, but have evolved through the use of field entrances or simply though stretches of hedgebank having been gradually broken down by close contact with many vehicles. Sharp blind bends are frequent. Here, constant improvisation is necessary, any attempt to impose a systematic formula or rules on how one travels is doomed to failure, and the only way road users can successfully and safely interact is through a process of cooperative negotiation.

I've just returned here from a tour of the Outer Hebrides, so the contrast with Devon is stark and fresh. Even given recent increases in traffic density and changing driving habits, those Highland roads were a relaxing doddle compared with what I have to face in my own neighbourhood.

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 1:28pm
any chance of a statement from the CTC magazine editor, who did not reply to the letter?

Or is "no reply" in fact a very clear reply?

..

Can any expert comment on "coasting down to Applecross" only using the footbrake? Can one change the laws of physics?

Re: collecting my new bike

30 June 2014 - 1:17pm
eileithyia wrote:You don't want to take the wheels off!!! How are you going to cope with punctures???????
To be fair, the OP might just want to get the bike home exactly as it has been set up and take a look at it before dismantling even that far.


I don't understand why everything has to be picked up at one go. Surely you could collect/pay/sign for the accessories in advance?

If you're having shoes with clips and haven't used them before, before you leave, get them to put the bike on a fan trainer so you can practice getting the clips in, and, more importantly, out until you can do it easily, otherwise you'll be very likely to have an accident on the way home.
And I'd definitely avoid a fast dual carriageway on a type of bike I wasn't used to. A fast road-type bike can be very touchy on the steering even on a smooth road, let alone the potholes stung together that pass for roads these days, and takes a bit of getting used to even after a tourer. If you're used to a MTB it could be quite a learning curve, and you definitely don't want to be learning in fast traffic.

Re: Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 1:12pm
There are plenty of extremely narrow lanes in Sussex: here's an example, a favourite cycling route for us (grass growing in the middle is a good sign), but as you can see, no room for two cars to pass. No marked passing places, cars may have to reverse as far as the nearest farm entrance or whatever. Luckily the road is very quiet and not a rat-run (it would be lunatic to drive at speed). I don't think we've ever had a car overtake us on that lane.

Re: Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 12:57pm
I use local single track lanes regularly, they can be busy and have limited forward vision because of bends and high hedges. There doesn't seem to be a solution which keeps everyone happy. As I said on the other thread, I often pull over to let a tailgater past only to be baulked soon afterwards by the same vehicle reversing back towards me because there's an oncoming car. On a bike I can usually squeeze into the hedge to let oncoming cars through, so I'm usually faster than cars which have to keep reversing when meeting another. This is a difficult concept to explain to an irate driver who yells at me to pull over

Re: Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 12:51pm
Mark1978 wrote: Whereas the situation elsewhere is often quite different to the Scottish classified roads in that there often aren't any passing places! You have to hope to find a farm entrance etc, otherwise you're knackered.

Seconded - plenty of single lane roads with no passing places in North Yorkshire. I don't know why people only think of Scotland in this context. Though maybe it's something to do with the fact that every broadsheet newspaper that runs an article about Scottish independence illustrates it with a fetching photo of Hadrian's Wall.....

(Please no off topic comments about Scottish independence!)

Re: Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 12:36pm
There's a tenancy to think of single track roads as being a Scottish thing, when of course that's a very long way from being the case.

Here's a road I often include on a 1 hour loop in the morning http://goo.gl/maps/yfC39 and I live near Newcastle, not quite at Scotland yet.

It's more than they are unusual in still using single track roads for classified routes and often the only route between places, at least even the narrowest are often not too bad to drive, this was one of my favourite drives http://goo.gl/maps/fDXHK as long as you keep your wits about you it's fine because there are regular passing places. Whereas the situation elsewhere is often quite different to the Scottish classified roads in that there often aren't any passing places! You have to hope to find a farm entrance etc, otherwise you're knackered.

Cycling on single-track roads

30 June 2014 - 12:23pm
The nightmare drive thread includes a lot of comments about cycling on single-track roads, so I thought it deserved its own thread.

When I cycled in the Scottish highlands 20 or 30 years ago, it was a sheer joy, cycling along main roads that were no more than small lanes threading across an empty landscape with very few cars passing by. When a car did come along, it was a simple matter to slow down and let them pass by.

However, the last few times I've cycled in the area, in the last 15 years or so, I've found the sheer joy of the single-track roads has become really annoying. The reason is that the volume of traffic has increased hugely, so that on many roads I found I had to pull in and stop at every single passing place, often every one hundred yards, to allow cars behind me to overtake, which made it impossible to get any rhythm into the ride. Added to this, many of the motorists, no doubt especially those who have driven long distances as tourists, now expected to be able to drive past at high speeds, and made it clear if you didn't allow them to do so.

Have other members found the same in Scotland or elsewhere where single-track roads still predominate?

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 10:49am
Having met some cyclists who enjoyed deliberately holding up the traffic (I pulled into a layby and let the police car past).
I would have pulled over and let the truck deal with them.

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 10:47am
661-Pete wrote:........... What exactly is a 'good' cyclist? It can mean many things...

For some motorists it's those that don't impede 'their' progress by a split second,so they can drive at the speed 'they' wish and more often than not to the next traffic jam!

Pete Owens points out a couple of things in the OP that I'd not picked up on TBH.
If I'm driving for pleasure I really don't need to in a hurry,and the OP is an ex cyclist you'd have thought he'd have a bit of sympathy with the effort the two cyclists who were grovelling up such a climb were putting in.
Sadly once behind the wheel of his car it seems the OP thought and acted like many other UK motorists with regards to cyclists,namely 'get out of my way I'm more important than you!'
Tolls come in many forms sometimes ex cyclists

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 10:40am
Paulatic wrote:Having just gone up the hill using street view I see many of the passing opportunities are on the RHS. If I was cycling up that hill I would be moving slowly at those points and willing the driver behind to pass me. Most drivers will seize those opportunities but there are always some who can't seem to plan ahead.

Exactly what I meant by letting cars pass, waving an arm also encourages them. Of course if there is a line of cars they will follow each other nose to tail and you may still have to stop but to restart on a steep hill I find it best to wait until there is no traffic then go across it at an angle for a short distance. Works even on very narrow roads - and I live in a single track road.

Re: Had a chat with the Google Streetview man

30 June 2014 - 10:22am
I saw a Google car two years ago and they have just updated the streeview image, for some reason I saved the video of the encounter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR_3qa-nxws

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 10:10am
Pete Owens wrote:At the risk of feeding a Troll...
Don't worry, the OP probably won't be back - hasn't been online yet today.

When someone concludes a post with the words:
R Trahearn wrote:For the many good cyclists I give every good wish....my eyes start to glaze over. What exactly is a 'good' cyclist? It can mean many things...

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 10:06am
Vantage wrote:I've never seen a bike with a clutch or an engine with which to use engine braking. A great many of us are going down these same steep hills with paltry rim brakes, whilst heavily loaded, on much thinner tyres and no suspension. Or seatbelts. Or airbags.
It kinda makes you wonder about our sense.

Never seen a fixie?

Heavily loaded is still 10% of the weight of a small car - and of course our "paltry" brakes are still 2-3 times the diameter of a car brake discs.

We also get the benefit of aero braking - not something a car enjoys - and much wider roads (think about it...)

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 10:06am
Vantage wrote:I've never seen a bike with a clutch or an engine with which to use engine braking. A great many of us are going down these same steep hills with paltry rim brakes, whilst heavily loaded, on much thinner tyres and no suspension. Or seatbelts. Or airbags.
It kinda makes you wonder about our sense.
Yes but, even fully laden, a bike weighs a lot less than a car. I always use engine braking descending a steep hill. I remember an occasion, many years ago driving an older car, when I did not, I relied on the brakes. I experienced 'fade': frightening in itself, when the brake surfaces overheat and lose friction - similar to what happened to the OP's clutch. Brake fade happens less now that most cars have disc brakes instead of the old drum brakes, but still it's bad driving to rely on brakes.

As regards "our sense" - you're right - we cyclists are a bunch of crazies, aren't we!

Re: collecting my new bike

30 June 2014 - 9:56am
You don't want to take the wheels off!!! How are you going to cope with punctures???????

Re: Nightmare drive

30 June 2014 - 9:49am
I've never seen a bike with a clutch or an engine with which to use engine braking. A great many of us are going down these same steep hills with paltry rim brakes, whilst heavily loaded, on much thinner tyres and no suspension. Or seatbelts. Or airbags.
It kinda makes you wonder about our sense.

Re: collecting my new bike

30 June 2014 - 9:05am
Taking the wheels off should be trivial - you'll want to be able to do it in the dark and rain. Doing it in the shop is a pretty good place to do a trial.

Re: collecting my new bike

30 June 2014 - 6:34am
eileithyia wrote:Get someone to pick you up

Yeah that would be more sensible, I don't fancy taking the wheels off though after the build and we don't own hatchbacks.

Sure it will all work out though.

Cheers
Jim

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