Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cycle path maintenance

This morning I spent in the company of some Sustrans volunteer rangers. I'm not a ranger, and I'm not exactly overly fond of Sustrans, but that relates to how it is structured. I do have a lot of time for what Sustrans does!

So why did I spend my morning with Sustrans rangers, I hear you ask? Simple: we were cleaning up muck from the Plym Valley cycle path, which is part of Drake's Trail. In places the muck was some 5 centimeters (or 2 inches) deep. It consisted of a mixture of fallen, rotting vegetation and mud, and has been well-compacted in places by people using the path.

For some time now I've been wanting to do something about the Plym Valley path, as I believe it had become dangerous in places, especially when riding it in the dark (as I often do). As you can see, I had a healthy self-interest in helping to clean it up.

It is back-breaking work, far more so than what I expected! Despite this, we had managed to clear up a significant portion of the path, but to clear the whole section between Coypool Park & Ride and Plym bridge would take several days.

I was invited along by one of the rangers, Bill, who I know off through the Plymouth Cycling Campaign (http://plymouthcyclingcampaign.co.uk) after I asked him if he'd help me to clear the path up, and I told them that I'd be happy to help whenever I can.

One of the things I learnt today it that the esteemed Plymouth City Council will only drive a mechanical sweeper up the Plym Valley cycle path if they're paid £900!

Here's the translation: Plymouth CC is so shortsighted that they are prepared to risk many tens of thousands of Pounds from bicycle tourism, just so they can save £900! How utterly stupid is that?