Permaculture Blog

Cycle-pathic behaviour

The 'Coventry velodrome'

A friend reminded me this morning of the one humourous book in my otherwise serious permaculture library. It’s the one book I refer course students to when they feel at a point of information overload, to give their minds a bit of a break. It is of course, ‘Crap Cycle Lanes’.

If you believe that our local authorities are spending our money wisely, then a quick flick through this book will convince you otherwise.

The ‘Coventry velodrome’ (shown here) is just one of a whole series of magnificent examples of pointless activity. It left me wondering whether there was some kind of legislation forcing councils to create a certain number of cycle lanes, but of unspecified length. Why else would so many pointless short stretches like this be popping up all over the place? Did someone actually think that examples such as this would make it safer for both cyclists and pedestrians?

The book is the fruit of a website initially set up to highlight the terrible cycle lanes around Warrington in Cheshire and make cycling safer in the town. The site included a page for ‘Cycle facility of the month’. Soon people from elsewhere were getting in touch with their own terrible examples of cycling facilities and the feature began to include others from outside the town. Ultimately the book was born.

'Straddle the fence'

This book will make you laugh out loud (& probably cry too, when you remember that these creations were never intended to be jokes). Some are just stupid, others are downright dangerous. As a manifestation of humanity’s insanity, at least out there in the open they give us the chance to think about whether we are getting things as right as we’d like to think we are.

It may start you noticing all the idiotic cycle paths around your own locality. If you do, make sure you get some photos and share them with the rest of us. They may even make it into book two…

It’s the perfect little book to keep in your loo, to give yourself and your visitors a chuckle and food for thought, one page at a time, though once you’ve picked it up it’s hard to put down.  As well as brightening your day, all royalties from sales go to the Cyclists Defence Fund.

For many more examples of cyclepathic madness, check out Warrington Cycle Campaign‘s website. There’s also a separate site dedicated to the wonders of Brighton’s cycle lanes. And by now there may be more…

Happy cycling!