Day 3 of #30DaysOfBiking

Much easier today in that I was going to cycle to a meeting anyway!

So the ride on Day 3 was to a committee meeting of CTC Northampton, the local member group of the UK’s Cyclists’ Touring Club.  And via a little bit of shopping at my local supermarket, Waitrose in Kingsthorpe.

I’m having a little bit of an argument / complaint / polite discussion with the supermarket.  They have reduced the number of cycle-racks and moved them away from a window where they could be seen from the café inside the store.  I’ve now had a couple of conversations with the customer service people and their manager.

I took a photo and posted it on social media.

The bike-racks in their new position

The bike-racks in their new position

Here are some of the comments that followed:

1 That’s a bit disappointing. I would have thought that Waitrose had a sustainability officer who should be encouraging and incorporating green efforts from their customers. Better signage might help and also better bike racks. CCTV, space for cargo bikes,panniers etc (I saw better examples of units at The London Bike show so will go check my blog for a reminder) Also removing the trolleys rather than the allocated space would be my expected approach, not the other way round. Waitrose do listen to their customers so perhaps if enough peeps requested cycle storage they might consider it? Here’s hoping…!

2 My local branch knew all about the free bike-trailer scheme operated by their Chichester branch!

3 Our local Waitrose removed the bike racks from a covered area to put trolleys there that were previously in the store foyer. I complained but they said tough, there was bike parking elsewhere (in a narrow section unprotected from the rain). I always leave Alfie where the old bike racks were, freestanding of course! (A reference to a recumbent trike.)

4 No bike racks. No trolley scheme. Not up round ours, Nothing on the plans for the new store either, and it will be ‘wrong’ side of town centre race track DC too. grrr.

5 Bike parking at my local Waitrose is ropey as well. I don’t give a damn because I park my bike IN the trolley. Actually, if they were really serious about the sustainability thing, they should launch guarded bike parking.

The assistant brought the manager to me and said to him, “This gentlemen always cycles here. Sometimes he brings his foldy bike in. Sometimes he parks a proper bike. He’s a regular customer.” To be honest, I hadn’t noticed the lady before! Loved the foldy/proper distinction she made!

Today, I was on the foldy bke.  Spoke to the manager (he was excited by the bike; I don’t think he’d seen a Brompton before; he was really interested!).  The store was empty.

Plenty of room

Plenty of room

And then it was on to my meeting where another member is taking a different approach.  Instead of complaining to Waitrose, he’s been complaining to the County Council as the planning authority.  When the shopping centre was built, he wondered, did planning permission include the provision of a certain number of bike racks?  Can they be reduced by the supermarket without consultation?  Have they broken the planning agreement?  I hadn’t thought of that line of reasoning!

Really the meeting is about planning weekend rides and social events – and seeking opportunities to promote cycling.  But, once in a while, our campaigning side comes out!

Summary Day 3 – Bike: Brompton, Distance: 4 miles, Total: 8 miles. Weather: cloudy evening with hint of rain after the meeting. Route here on RideWithGPS.  I did ride home afterwards!

Advertisements

A local Sustrans ride

This afternoon I went along to my local university (the main campus of the University of Northampton is less than five minutes away) at the invitation of Dan Romberg who is Sustrans’ university officer there.  With a colleague who works in local schools, he has a project to reduce congestion in the “Kingsthorpe corridor”.  With two other CTC friends – John and Phil L – I was to help him lead a group ride out to, and then along, the Brampton Valley Way.  The individuals who made up the group were staff members from the university, most of whom lived locally and might be helped to make a decision to cycle to work rather than always travelling by car.

It was a great afternoon! Sustrans has found the money for half-a-dozen new hybrid bikes.  (By coincidence from Pitsford Cycles where my touring bike is presently being serviced.)  We collected them from a secure bike park and this was to be their first outing.  Dan had checked them in advance and my job was to adjust the saddle height for the riders who chose them.  When the ride started, I was Tail-End Charlie.

We went out through the quiet roads of two or three housing estates (including the one where I live) with just a short stretch of 300 metres along the A508 before turning onto a great downhill down Brampton Lane.  Hats went flying!

We re-grouped at the start of the Brampton Valley Way.

IMGP5853

 

and then there was no stopping anyone!  One or two stretches of the path, where it was exposed, were bitterly cold but in the sheltered parts (which form the majority) it was lovely and … sunny!

IMGP5856

Our leader, Dan!

We passed the restored Pitsford railway and the Merry Tom crossing and almost reached the Brixworth-to-Spratton road – before someone remembered that a pub stop had been promised!  We turned about and pedalled to an old favourite, “The Windhover”.  The first puncture (someone had been flailing hedges and there were thorns aplenty) happened just before the pub.  The rider manfully carried on until it could be repaired indoors!

IMGP5857

 

Well-earned refreshment

Dan was a whizz at repairing the puncture inside the pub.  I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

And then, finding a quiet way back to the university, our second puncture happened just having left the pub.  Dan was even faster at getting that one repaired.  John had chosen a route that didn’t take in too much hill climbing although, because we’d all enjoyed the chatter in the pub, dusk was upon us.  The Sustrans bikes had lights and so all was well.

Everyone had enjoyed themselves, agreed that the exercise had been good fun, and some were enquiring about other organised rides – and indeed the possibility of cycling to work once or twice a week!

Part of the route – from the University to The Windhover is here.

A great afternoon!