Rides for Explorers – Surrey Woodlands to Polseden Lacy

Sunday 4th October

Meet at Twickenham Riverside 10.00. We head out across Bushy Park and through Thames Ditton to Littleworth Common and Ardbrook Common to reach Cobham. Crossing the Mole we follow lanes to Bookham Common and up to to NT cafe outside of Polsden Lacy. On the way home we add Oxshott Common and Claygate woods.

37 miles mostly away from the traffic.


Of the seven people who had signed up four of us met on the Riverside and one more joined at Polesden Lacy. (The remaining 2 cycled to Polesden Lacy but didn’t identify our group). It was sunny all day and the scenery was marvellous.  With a dry surface in the commons and well-matched riders we made good time and were back in Twickenham by 3pm.


Contact Paul : .- rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Ride for Explorers – Burnham Beeches – Sunday 1st November

P1010957aMeet Twickenham Station before 10.05 to catch the 10.15 to Staines.(arr 10.30) We cycle through Staines Moor then via Colnbrook , through Langley Park and past Black Park to quiet Fulmer and finally the woodlands of Burnham Beeches in their autumnal splendour. After lunch in a woodland cafe  we head down to the Jubilee River path which takes us to Datchet and so back to Staines. About 30 miles mostly tarmac with some smooth gravel paths. Quite scenic / hilly.


Only 4 of us were at Twickenham but another 14 joined at Staines. The day was foggy but the sun peeked through at lunchtime. After a misty ride along the Jubilee River It was quite  a shock to hit the traffic back in Staines. The route was commended by all participants.


Ranelagh Drive – Isleworth Prom crossover.


Ranelagh Drive crossoverThere is a marked cycle route providing a quiet way from Richmond to Isleworth and on via  Sion Park to Brentford. In order to get from Ranelagh Drive to the shared use Isleworth Prom you need to cross the footway. A dropped kerb has been provided but this is unmarked and is usually obstructed by parked vehicles. At a similar location in LB Hounslow the crossover is marked by bollards in the road encouraging motorists to leave a gap here.

2015-07-16 13.11.00I have asked Richmond’s  new Cycling Officer about the possibility and she is sympathetic but needs evidence of public demand. Anyone disabled would count double ! Does anyone have experiences here that can be used for persuasion ?

Rides for Explorers – Surrey 50

Sunday 16th August

Half the distance of the Surrey 100 – and probably under half the pace – it is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so might as well look at it. As we can’t get the roads closed for us we will aim for quieter alternatives where possible.  It is quite hilly.


Five of us met in Bushy Park fountain car park 10.00. Use back roads to Brooklands for coffee then put up with some main road to Byfleet before turning off for Pyrford and quiet lanes before the North Downs. (If you think that Box Hill is a climb!)  After an interesting descent Lunch at the Compasses Inn at Gomshall . (Ho Hum another Surrey Pub has headed up-market ; but the pricey food is good )

2015-08-16 13.43.15The main road into Dorking isn’t too trafficky and we soon get to Box Hill from where we take my favourite switchback descent to Kingston and so home.

2015-08-16 15.17.35Decent weather ,  great scenery and good company made an enjoyable ride.

Note to Councillors following CLG

There was some confusion at the most recent CLG from one of the councillors as to why filling in pot holes was not enough to satisfy those who wished to use their bicycles as a mode of transport.  We sent this letter to help raise the understanding of how bikes can change communities.

Dear Councillor Head

I promised following the recent CLG that I would send you some information that may help you to frame the provision of infrastructure for those on bicycles.
This video really summarises what campaigners across the city and borough are talking about.
It took Holland 40 years to get to this point and I would imagine it would take a similar length of time in the UK.  The UK is probably at about year 4-5 on that journey, Richmond is at about year 1.

Also this Guardian article is very useful to explain some of the history and progress that has been made with infrastructure for cycling over the years
The key is to provide safe routes to cycle so that those from 8 – 80 can use their bikes as a mode of transport.   Rome wasn’t built in a day of course but things are happening on this island.  Look at this image of embankment of a new cycle track, if it wasn’t for the clock tower in the background , one could be forgiven for thinking that it was an image from Copenhagen.
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And this is in Camden Town, believe it or not.  Safe space for cycling.  I would let my kids cycle here.  I can’t think of any road in Richmond where I would let them cycle, which I think is a shame.
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I hope this is useful, I don’t expect all to agree but I feel if you have managed to set aside time to review the above that you will now understand why so many people in the borough are passionate about having safe Space for Cycling.
Sent by RCC on behalf of those who want to use their bike as a mode of transport in Richmond

Good Practice and Bad

crane park 001The Cyclists Please Dismount signs that have just appeared are, at least, polite but the London Cycling Design Guide frowns on Cyclists Dismount signs.

In this location it isn’t even desirable behaviour -  a cyclist walking with a bike would fully block the route for some time. A sensible cyclist would ride up to the turn, stop ,wait for any walkers under the bridge, and when clear ride through quickly. There is already a pedestrian priority sign but maybe “Cyclists stop and look out for walkers” would be more explicit.

A pity that unimaginative planers see “Cyclists Dismount” as the solution to all problems – strange that you never see “Drivers push your vehicles”.

On the Good side Hounslow have finally joined the Heath Path to the Hanworth Road

2015-07-16 13.11.00The use of bollards to mark the dropped kerb and keep it free from parking is something that Richmond could adapt in Ranelagh  Rd where the access to Isleworth Prom is usually parked over.

Ride for Everyone – Bushy Park – Walton

Saturday 26th September

Meet Bushy Park Fountain car park 10.30.


Walton Bridge has shared paths for cyclists and pedestrians. Photo by Get Surrey

Walton Bridge has shared paths for cyclists and pedestrians. Photo by Get Surrey

We cross Hampton Court Bridge and head west along NCR4 beside the Thames. At Walton bridge we stop for coffee , cross and return along reasonably quiet roads on the north side.

Eight of us enjoyed sunny weather for this ride with an unscheduled view of the Royal Barge. The cafe at the bridge is not yet open (dispute between county and local councils ) but the temporary replacement served hot coffee. More traffic than is comfortable on the lower Sunbury Rd.








Contact Paul : .- rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Heath Road Consultation … Not Exactly Cycling for 8 to 80 …

Heath Road is up for some cycling improvements (see here), but we’re not sure they’re going to make much difference.  Consultation close 5th July – please fill it in to make cycling’s voice loud!

bus stop cycling

You can see from this image:

  • The lane will be just 1.5m wide at some points
  • You’ll have to wait for the bus, or risk going round it
  • It’s not a mandatory lane, so anyone can drive in it and will probably also stop in it
  • There’s no separation from motor traffic

All of these are problems if the council wants more people to cycle, because they mean that this road will continue to look unpleasant for being on a bike, with neither actual nor perceived protection.

We would like to see ‘floating bus stops’ on this stretch.  Check out this elegant solution on Cycle Superhighway 2.

bus bypass

We think the London Cycle Design Standards (see here) need applying on this road, and we’d like the council to think again:  Please take the time to fill in the consultation, if you like you can use our recommended response below.   It doesn’t take many responses to influence things for the better!!

RCC would like for this scheme to go ahead, it is encouraging to see cyclists being considered on main roads.  However prior to implementation there should be a redesign as described below.   The proposal currently falls well short of modern cycle design standards and will do little to improve cycle safety or encourage those currently not confident enough to cycle onto their bicycles:


  • On roads with this volume of traffic and speeds of 30 mph, cycle lanes should be fully segregated.  RCC would like to see this scheme upgraded to semi segregation with Armadillos or traffic wands.  This should be coupled with a medium term vision to create a fully segregated cycle route on Heath Road.
  • Commingling cyclists with heavy vehicles in bus lanes should not be considered acceptable cycling infrastructure.  On this occasion as an intermediate solution it is acceptable to RCC, however to encourage new cyclists and improve the experience of existing cyclists a plan should be created to segregate those on bikes from buses and other traffic at this location
  • The section where cyclists are expected to pass parked cars should include enough space and road markings to ensure that cyclists are not riding in the ‘dooring’ zone.  Ideally the cycle path would run along the near side of the parked cars, the parked vehicles would provide some protection from the moving traffic, again space for opening doors is imperative.  One of the most common bicycle accidents is through being hit by opening car doors.
  • Careful design consideration must be given to cyclists crossing side roads, cyclists should be treated as main road traffic and be given priority over traffic emerging from the side road.  The cycle lanes should be continuous.
  • More thought needs to be given into the siting and design of bus stops.  Cyclists having to move out into traffic to overtake buses is poor design, bus stop bypasses should be included and bus stops should be relocated where there is not space to provide a bypass.
  • Include generous cycling parking at approximate 50 m intervals along the route.

In summary, it is good that cycling is being considered but note that if we as a borough are to get more people cycling for the ‘utility’ and simple journeys that will make a real difference to congestion and well-being routes like this:

  • need to be complete
  • can’t just give up at junctions
  • need to look attractive and safe


Getting serious about cycling.

it’s a real breakthrough to see schemes from Richmond Council which seriously consider cycling: Although only a short distance, this cycle lane on London Road (consultation here) reflects a step change in ambition and thought for transport that it is a real pleasure to see.



in particular, this design includes a cycle lane which has priority over the roads out crosses, meaning that a journey down here should not be the stop-start unpleasantness of the A316 route.

There are a number of problems with the proposal, however …

It’s going to be narrow – at just 2.5m wide for two lanes of cycling, anyone on the outside of this track could find cycling very tricky if there’s someone coming the other way.

If the cycle lane is on the current pavement, then the outside lane is not going to be completely usable. As well as the edge that no-one will want to cycle too close to,there will be a series of dropped kerbs for access, making the ride even less pleasant.

And the ‘treatment’ of the priority on the side roads could be improved. This is how the Dutch do it. (Picture courtesy of the Alternative Department of Transport and Google Maps.)


Getting to the lane if you’re heading from Twickenham outwards will also be less than convenient, because the main junction with Whitton Road includes no changes to make it easy to get across, with no cycle lane at all from the bridge until the proposed cycle lane.

Note also, on the Dutch design above, they’ve managed to sympathetically put in a cycle lane, walking, and driving, with space for all of them – including a lane on each side of the road, which would answer a lot of the issues we’ve identified.

Perhaps worst for this section, Cole Park Road has a different design to all the other junctions, which is going to be confusing and likely to lead to conflict.
londonrd2And even with the existing design, the lane just gives up, with cycling once again coming into direct conflict with walking. Since the council is already on the receiving end of complaints about cycling on pavements, encouraging this more can only seem a retrograde step.

Great Idea But …

This really is a welcome change, and we applaud the council for the implied change in emphasis and thought. However, routes like this:

  • need to be complete
  • can’t just give up at junctions
  • need to look attractive and safe

if we as a borough are to get more people cycling for the ‘utility’ and simple journeys that will make a real difference to congestion and well-being.

We think the council should have a cycle track on each side, give it priority over side roads – and give pedestrians priority at the same places – and continue the route all the way to the cycle lanes into Twickenham. If you agree, respond to their consultation here: https://consultation.richmond.gov.uk/community-engagement/proposed-cycling-improvements-in-london-road