A bit like Bejing 2

edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
Sorry for starting another post on this but I'm curious and I wanted to include a poll.

One of the things that is striking about Bristol in the past few years is the massive proliferation of cyclists. Having been cycle commuting in the city for 6 years now, the difference from when I started really is extraordinary. Cyclists are EVERYWHERE, despite the punishing gradients and non-cycle-friendly road layout. It really is like Bejing.

I kind of assumed it was the same everywhere. However, I was up in Bradford for a work thing last week and the almost COMPLETE ABSENCE of cyclists was really noticable. Maybe I just didn't see them for some reason, but it didn't feel like that somehow.

Anyway, I wonder whether there are so many cyclists in Bristol and London because the traffic is just SO AWFUL in these places that large numbers of people are effectively forced onto two wheels. Traffic in Bradford (incidently a city I am very fond of, having lived there at one time) is busy but not insane. I wonder if this explains the difference.

So. On to the poll then. How is it where you are? Bejing or Bradford?

EDIT: I do of course realise that there is a natural bias in this poll because most of the people on here are cyclists and de facto more likely to be from cycling cities. My response to this is: meh.


  • nation
    nation Posts: 609
    Somewhere in between.

    On a typical journey it's not unusual to see a couple of cyclists, but they're a drop in the bucket traffic-wise.

    There are more around during rush hour, but I only tend to see them in the centre. It's unusual for me to be sitting a set of lights with other cyclists.
  • sarajoy
    sarajoy Posts: 1,675
    Being in Brizzle as well of course I chose Bejing.

    Mind you I tend to go into work pretty late (showered and at my desk ~0945-1000) so I don't think I see the real numbers. There seemed to be less than the usual today.

    Agreed, the traffic is shocking. My usual drive to work (Totterdown - Aztec West) involves escaping out around the M32, M4, M5 and back in again, takes 15-20 mins on a good day. But because Bristol snarls up infuriatingly occasionally which can lead to a journey home/in of up to an hour or more, the longer ride feels worth it, esp when you take into account fun and fitness :)
  • si. d
    si. d Posts: 52
    I've been commuting in Bristol for about 8 months now by bike, rarely saw any cyclists. Then after recently trying a different route home from work (via town centre and gloucester rd) I too noticed there are hundreds of them!

    It makes commuting alot more fun, and of course the potential for that rare scalping.

    so in short, it's like Beijing for me.

    Hopefully, like a lot of things, once numbers reach a critical mass, there would be an explosion in numbers as it becomes less and less practical to drive due to the number of cyclists.
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  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Bradfordian more then Pekingese, but then once I've crossed the main road and set off across country I won't see more than a handful of cars, let alone bikes, till I hit the ring road round Bicestestester. Curses to the farmworker in full splattered boiler suit, wellies and BSO apparently made from an old Fordson Major who appeared from nowhere in front of me near a farm last Friday and then drafted behind me up the hill into the next village without me knowing - I'd have dropped him if I'd known. Really. Honestly. Serves me right for being buried in Karn Evil 9 First Impressions I suppose. If it had been something quieter like Yes I'd have noticed him :)
  • cee
    cee Posts: 4,553
    Edinburgh has a fair number of cycle commuters, especially right now, compared to through the winter.....

    maybe not london/bristol numbers, but hey....its a small city!
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • Christophe3967
    Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    I don't go there now (fortunately) but I was always struck by how many cyclists there were in Bridgwater. Equally, I am always struck by how few cyclists you see in Brum and Manchester. But nothing compares to, say Bruges or anywhere in Holland.
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    even within london, there is quite a differnce some areas seem to only have a few folk on cheap bikes RLJ etc, while other areas are real lycra fetish! this said, still ounumbered by cars hugely.
  • bigease
    bigease Posts: 86
    Cambridge has been more Beijing than Bradford for a real long time. During term time there are the hundreds of University student, on a variously clapped out bikes, and this is replaced during the holidays by foreign students riding hundreds of hire bikes, which is even more dangerous!!
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  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    Bejing up here. 24 years ago I only saw 2 other cyclists on my commute into the city centre. Then, around 10 years ago the council put up lots of sheffield stands and the no. of cyclists increased dramatically. Since then there's been a slow but steady increase. Since the credit crunch numbers have exploded and it's, now, virtually impossible to go out and not see someone on a bike - even at 2 in the morning, at the weekend. :shock:

    The number of POBs has also increased.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • I usually see 1 woman going the other way on my commute, that's it.

    It was the same before I moved house too when the commute was 16 miles each way. Back then I used to come across 1 guy on a hybrid with panniers.

    It's kind of nice, but I do often wonder what it would be like be able to SCR.
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    i used to see on my early morn drive to work a lone bike inching up over the mountain, i suspect i was the only thing he saw, (the only people out tended to be other posties on way to work...

    nice ride he had prob still does, a few sportives use that road. though hardly likely to be able to over take much if any thing. the 8 miles to work took 10mins or so.... so traffic wasn't a pressing concern.
  • nation
    nation Posts: 609
    I am always struck by how few cyclists you see in Brum and Manchester.

    Can't speak for Manchester, but the roads 'round here are a pretty hostile environment for anything without an engine. They're seemingly designed to funnel all traffic onto fast multi-lane roads which not only have no pavement or shoulder (thus no escape route), but that also tend to dip suddenly into tunnels which are even more claustrophobic and involve a steep climb out with 50-60mph traffic approaching from behind over a blind crest.

    Sometimes I'm not especially surprised I see so many pavement riders.