Will we ever have national motorways for bicycles?

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Cyclopathic, 20 Aug 2012.

  1. Cyclopathic

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    I would love this to happen. Dedicated cycle motorways up and down the country so that long distances could be travelled in comfort without worrying about getting blown into a ditch by the vortex of an artic' lorry.

    Being for bikes they needn't be the great ugly swathes of tarmac of car motorways, they could be quite quaint affairs really. There could be a couple of lanes each way so that us slower folk don't get in the way of you speed merchants who travel in excess of 15 mph sometimes and there could be modest little pull in places close to a local town. A service station would I think be unworkable so the way stations would have to be designed to allow for access to local amenities.

    It would probably be quite expensive and I haven't worked out how to pay for it yet but there must be a way. Unlike roads which obviously are integral to the economy I can't see how these cycle motorways could be justified financially but perhaps there is some aspect of it that would save the country money that I've not thought of. It wouldn't all have to be done at once though as no one will be relying on its completion to fulfil a contract and once done hopefully wouldn't cost a great deal in maintenance because of the light loads it would bear.

    Will my utopian ideal of a countrywide network of gently winding, leafy cycle ways with stopping points and links to cities and towns ever be a reality or am I just being incredibly naive and idealistic? (although I never knew why being idealistic was ever used in a negative way)
  2. Sandra6

    Sandra6 Veteran

    If every farmer gave over an edge of their fields we'd be part way there surely?
  3. OP

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    Well quite. I'm not convinced that my idea is entirely feasible. I hope that one day there might be at least one or two of these express ways. Prehaps all the way up one side of the country and down the other, or a big loop all the way around the coast ish. And one going past my house in Leicester obviously.
  4. 400bhp

    400bhp Guru

    Think about the main reason for motorways.

    Then think about cycling.

    2 + 2 = 5
  5. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    I'm sure I read somewhere about a plan for big tubes with fans to suck the air along, giving cyclists an easy ride.

    Here's another thought: in the last couple of decades millions have been spent on trail centres for mountain bikers so how about a few dedicated centres for road bikes? They could have a long straight and a circle, a banked track, some hills of varying steepness, some twisty windy narrow roads like country lanes and of course a cafe. Why should the MTBers have all the fun?
  6. OP

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    I disagree. It is a perfectly sensible idea (if it were feasible). It would make the idea of travelling between towns and cities on a bike a lot more attractive to people. Whereas now there are huge busy main roads to contend with cycleways would get rid of that. 25 or 50 miles might be perfectly achievable for someone who is at present not prepared to cycle those distances because of all the extra considerations of roads and traffic. Obviously it doesn't fit every type of cycling by a long way but it's also more of a way of realigning how we think about transport.
    I promise that once I have laid down my nationwide integrated system of cycle highways linking all major cities and towns that you won't be forced to use it, but you can if you want. It's just a bit of a fantasy really and as such I don't think I have to justify it in such exacting mathematical terms. Just a bit of whimsy but I think it would be good.
  7. OP

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    How about that facility but just put it between two towns or cities?
  8. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    I think this will not happen. In the unlikely event that it did, perhaps there would be a better term for this than a Motorway.

    Roads are for bicycles. They are for cars and lorries too. They are an excellent place to ride a bicycle.

    I cannot imagine a jorney that I'd make on a Cycle Motorway.

    I ride regularly on a 70-mile route along the A40. I (usually) enjoy sharing the carriageway with cars and lorries.

    Even if there were 800 miles of Cycle Motorway in the UK (a huge investment and mainenance commitment) it is unlikely that many journeys over 20 miles would be made on them.

    Most cyclists would find that the 10, 25 or 50 miles they had to travel to get to the Motorway would make them inconvenient at best.

    400 bhp put it better and more succinctly than I can.

    I wouldn't back it, wouldn't support it and wouldn't use them more than once (for the sake of curiosity).

    I ride 3-4,000 miles a year and I love roads.
    Teuchter likes this.
  9. Peter Armstrong

    Peter Armstrong Über Member

    I love the idea, Just get a big truck of tarmac, dump it in a straight line over some fields followed by a roller truck followed by a line painty machine. Job done. £2.50
    Jodee1kenobi, Sandra6 and gaz like this.
  10. wiggydiggy

    wiggydiggy Über Member

    Potentially, I think.

    We are moving slowly in that direction if you include dedicated routes not designated (e.g. not the london 'highways') there is a fair whack of mileage already. Routes like the TransPennineTrail are slowly being improved/surfaced better so they are similar to the idea of a cycling motorway, it'd be a shame if it was all tarmacked mind but there are plenty of hardpacked stone solutions that albeit may not offer a 23c roadie a very good ride are perfectly good for the rest of us.
    There are other routes as well,
  11. tuffty

    tuffty Senior Member

    We already have one running into Cambridge. They built a guided busway from the commuter towns 20 or so miles north into Cambridge centre, and a lovely dedicated cyclepath running alongside it. No "lanes" but its more than wide enough to take 3 / 4 bikes side by side. You get all sorts using it, lots of commuters, families out for a spin, lycra brigade time-trialling. It was a trial scheme I believe and seems to have been successful, so hopefully there will be more elsewhere springing up.
  12. Teuchter

    Teuchter Über Member

    Erskine, Scotland
    A nice utopian idea, I agree. Like the current cycle network however, so much of the population would not be near enough to it to really benefit from it. If the money could be set aside for the furtherance of cycling, I'd far rather it was spent on improvements to the current road network that already goes past all of our front doors, education of new cyclists and other road users and encouraging the idea that riding on the road is not suicidal.

    I went for a 40 mile ride yesterday. About 10 miles of it was on an NCN cycle track which was for the most part well surfaced and quite idyllic. The rest was on sometimes busy roads (even on a Sunday morning) through countryside and a couple of small town centres. I enjoyed the whole trip and never once felt threatened by the traffic. We need to convince people that the roads are not somewhere that should be avoided at all costs.
  13. OP

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    You are of course right. Back in the real world it would be better to simply use and encourage the development of these existing routes so that interest in them is sustained and they grow to reach their potential proportionate to the desire for their use. As I said just a bit of whimsy.
    Having said that though how about if my cycleway network was built as a skyway. That way it could be put about 50 feet above all existing motorways and a roads. Obviously with lifts to get you up there with your bike. It sounds crazy, but it just might work. *backs out of room to avoid misiles*
  14. theclaud

    theclaud It's teeceegawnmaaaad

    Please, no...

    I don't say this too often, but I'm more or less with Boris on this. And Jonesy will be along in a minute to show us why the journeys that matter are not long ones between cities but short ones within or into/out of them. Sustrans have always been obsessed with networks but have never been sufficiently interested in making the best use of the one we already have. Roads. Lots of them. Going from one place to another. And there are all sorts of good reasons where roads are where they are, instead of somewhere else.
  15. wiggydiggy

    wiggydiggy Über Member

    To me its two different things if we compare say a TPT style network to a network of Cambridge Busway's (as near as we have to the motorway idea)

    TPT can be used to get around, but isn't the most efficient/direct route and aside from some people who it does suit the majority are better off using the roads as they do already. Its still an excellent network of cycle routes for a pleasent bimble around which is something the Cambridge Busway's aren't.

    On the other hand, the Cambridge is excellent for getting you from A>B in a straight, safe boring line but not much else. And you still have to leave the route at some point to start/end your journey unless you live at one end and work the other.


    I think a dedicated network of leisure cycleways has merit, as despite being ulitmately better to get around on sharing roads with cars isn't an as pleasurable a ride as a bimble around some back'o'beyond places you'd never see from the motorways.
    Its a nice idea (cycle motorways) but I don't think they are needed
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