This evening I attended Salford City council’s first cycle forum of the year. They happen quarterly and a number of people from the council meet with local cyclists and representatives from cycling organisations. The forum is open to anyone interested in cycling within the city and I represent Sustrans as a Volunteer Ranger although strictly speaking I’m assigned to a section of route within Bury MBC’s patch. I ride the Salford stretch of NCN 6 every day and at the moment I’m more concerned about the cycling infrastructure around Salford Quays to help me and my cycling work colleagues arrive safely at the office, than the expansion of the National Cycle Network.
We had been asked before the meeting to submit suggestions to improve routes around the city and there was plenty to discuss. I had noticed work being done on some open land around Clifton, some of which would form part of the future Manchester orbital route NCN 60. None of the council representative knew anything about it (they are all in streets and highways department rather than environmental/countryside) so they’ve gone away to find out what’s going on and more importantly that the work being done is mindful for that long term plan. I rode the route again this evening (in the dark!) on the way back home and a stretch had actually been tarmac’d since the weekend.
Not much of the Council’s schedule of cycle specific work for 07/08 seems to have been completed yet and the riverside alternative NCN 6 route is due to start at the end of this month. This will give me more options on the way to work though as a commuter I’ll favour the current quicker on road route. It’s not a particularly scenic stretch of the Irwell, though it passes one of the better pieces of work on the Irwell Sculpture Trail.
A guy calld Scott from the Angel Centre on Chapel Street told us all about the cycle hire facility there. Bikes are available from just 20p an hour or £1.50 per day. The scheme started by chance when they were offered 3 bikes from a guy whose cycle mad partner had died. On picking up the bikes they found he was also disposing of a skip full of bike parts which had also been housed there. From those parts Scott and his team built 4 more bikes and these, together with new bikes, trikes, bike trailers and child seats are hired out to anyone who wants them. I’m going to pop in on my way home from work one night to find out more about it. I might even loan them my spare bike which is hung up in the garage, that way it will be regularly used, maintained and will remain roadworthy should I ever call upon it.