This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 25.


I write to apply for the post, which you have yet to advertise, of official curmudgeon (acronym CCyCC) to your organisation. Perhaps you have aired all this before, but I am sure many of your members will have shared my experience that it is quite impossible to cycle through the centre of the city without at least one (and on Saturdays, three or four) intellectually underprovided pedestrians stepping off the pavement directly into one’s path. One can make a grab for the brakes, or the bell, but not both at once, and we defensive road users generally choose the former, only to receive abuse for not making one’s presence audible. It is more constructive to propose solutions than problems, and mine is a simple invention, not yet widely available – a device which emits a constant noise resembling that of a container truck being driven at high revs by a boy racer – a sound all too familiar to users of Cambridge streets. If anyone has such a device, I would be grateful for further information.

While hunched over the computer in vituperative mode, perhaps I could comment on another irritation, that of the state of the cycle tracks. These are a mixed blessing, and I have sympathy with the motorists who feel that if they are provided, they should be used. Unfortunately, many of them (the pavement down Grange Road and the stretch of Hills Road between the Cherry Hinton Road junction and the Hospital are examples) are in such a diabolical condition that they are both uncomfortable and dangerous, whereas the main carriageway is only the latter. Again, I am sure that you are all too familiar with this situation.

Nicholas Coni

Derelict bikes

I wonder if you might be able to help us. As you may know, the City Centre Rangers collect abandoned and vandalised or derelict bikes from the streets. The Rangers notify the police of all bikes collected, to check against reports of lost and stolen bikes. We ticket bikes for a two week grace period to allow owners the chance to reclaim them before they’re removed. Finally, we hold them in our store for up to a month before seeking to dispose of them.

In the past these have gone out to Emmaus for recycling (ho ho) but they are no longer able to take them. At present the only alternative is the scrap yard but I wondered if you may have some more imaginative or practical ideas of how we can usefully dispose of them?

Nick Bolton phone457000 e-mailnick.bolton@cambridge.gov.uk

Smoother ride

After suffering the disgraceful (and worsening) surface of the city bound cycle lane [on Huntingdon Road] for some time, what a joy the renewed surface is to cycle on. With the resurfacing have come new road markings…

It seems that the strange road markings which the council placed there some months ago (see Newsletter 23) have been updated, and now look more like the Campaign’s original suggestion.

I commented at the time that the markings which were placed there were ineffective as they didn’t give clear instructions to motorists on what they needed to do in order to turn left – in fact what it led motorists to do was invade the cycle lane, especially at times of high traffic volumes.

The new junction markings seem to be a useful improvement: they seem to give clearer indications to motorised road users, though I’ve not used the junction when there have been motorists queuing. Have the council indicated a reason for this change in the marking style?

Kevin Bushell