Earlier this week Bath hosted the end of Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain (cycling). There was great celebration by our local council, and lots of publicity for the event.
Many of us turned out on a lovely late summer afternoon to watch as the cyclists and their support teams arrived in Bath. It was all very exciting – and very very fast. In fact, all over and done with in about 15 minutes from the first riders coming past to the last.
There were tents and displays to browse in the park, and the award ceremonies to watch there too.
A shame then that our local council (Bath and NE Somerset) has such a blinkered view of cycling that they can’t see past its value as a leisure and sporting activity to its potential for helping solve some of Bath’s seemingly intractable problems – traffic congestion, expensive public transport, pollution, and obesity.
If only the council would invest in making cycling in and to the city safer and more pleasant, there is lots of potential for changing people’s habits and getting more of us on our bikes as the enjoyable and quick way to get from A to B and back again (A being home, B being the local shops, the station, the school, the college, the workplace – you name it).
Fortunately we have CycleBath doing a persistent job of lobbying the council and holding councillors to account, to try to achieve better provision. This includes the useful mapping exercise Adam the Chair has put together showing which routes through the city work and which ones don’t. Definitely worth a look. And if you live nearby and could benefit from improvements, worth a letter to your local councillors asking them to act.