Bath and Bristol May meeting: infrastructure safaris & social events

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
Bath and Bristol May meeting: infrastructure safaris & social events

We are going to have a meeting in Bristol at the end of May. It will be a two day meeting covering the weekend of the 26-27th, though folk are welcome to pick and mix bits of it.

The main purpose of getting together is to hold our AGM, on the saturday, and to have a kinda hackday, like the recent "Policy Bash", for developing our literature and campaign material on the sunday. The agendas of those meetings will be discussed closer to the time. We have the conference room at the YHA next to the Arnolfini for the meetings (apologies to Steve L who suggested Hamilton House on Stokes Croft, but YHA's meeting room seems to be the cheapest in the city & I think marginally more convenient, for out-of-towners at least).

The purpose of this thread is for Bath and Bristol Ambassadors to make suggestions for the infrastructure safaris and social events. Here is the outline of the schedule:

On Saturday we meet 10:30 at Bath Spa Station (for arrival of not too disturbingly early departures from The North, the south coast, etc).

  • 10:35: Bath Infrastructure Safari
  • 11:30: be on the Railway Path for leisurely summer saturday morning ride, pointing at nerdy engineering features, navigation aids, access controls, conflict points, Cycling City additions, etc
  • 13:00: be passing Temple Meads (to pick up anyone who couldn't make it to Bath that early)
  • 13:30-16:30: AGM (with working lunch), length liable to change depending on agenda
  • 16:30-18:30: Bristol Infrastructure Safari 1
  • 18:30: Harbourside pub / food (Mud Dock any good? only ever been for a drink...)


  • 08:30-10:30: Bristol Infrastructure Safari 2
  • 10:30-16:30: hackday/policy bash
  • 16:30: Bristol Infrastructure Safari 3
  • 17:30: pub / run away for trains

So that gives you four infrastructure safaris to suggest: an hour in Bath (sorry, it's a little constrained by the need to be on the RP with enough time to account for summer saturday RP congestion), 2 x 2 hrs in Bristol, and 1hr in Bristol. The idea of the safaris is to see notable examples of what to do and what not to do: routes done exceptionally well and exceptionally badly (especially if they're in the context of the sort of nasty roads that are normally a big barrier to cycling for the 99% who don't want to HTFU), examples of the eccentricities of British cycle route provision, or of inventive solutions to the problems bicycle users face, and so on. Of course, they could equally just be pleasant summer evening bicycle rides somewhere, if those turn out to be the best options. Routes that accommodate social two-abreast riding and conversations are a bonus.

The sunday evening safari I have put as one hour simply because I imagine we'll all be in need of a drink by the end of the weekend, and will only want to pootle around the centre or the harbour -- perhaps from the YHA down to Cumberland Basin (via the Chocolate Block path?), glance at the new Portway tracks then back along the north side to Deanery Road and the College Green tracks? (The alternative short ride that I thought of was City Centre Cycling City Contraflows, which I don't think sounds as nice.)

My only other idea for a Bristol safari would be go up to MOD/UWE on the farm pub route and straight back in on the Eastville Park route. I expect that would easy fill up 2 hours once we'd pointed at things on the way, and had a quick laugh at South Glos.

Got better ideas? Got any ideas for a route through Bath?



many thanks for the invite. My take on Cycling Embassy is that I am a keen road user....I walk, I cycle, I'm an advanced motorcyclist and I even enjoy using ths car occasionally.(just for the record I'm also a competent unicyclist). 20 years ago bikers were conveniently labelled as the root of all evil on the roads, these days cyclists now seem to have been given that dubious honour. I beleive in educating eveyone (including us) about good behaviour on the roads and promoting fair and safe treatment of cyclists. I'm very pro video camera to highlight bad behaviour and  impress upon the public that thy will get named / shamed and possibly prosecuted if they abuse cyclists. Good luck eveyone and I look forward to meeting you all at the AGM.


  • There's a good option from templemeads along the river to counterslip road, then either down some stairs to the other side of the river and castle park, or head east and then north to get to the park which gives you some more bits of the city to experience.
  • A trip to S Gloucs could be too demoralising. It will show you can take a bit of the country with space for segregated paths, the cycling city money to do it, and then show how by utter incompetence you get something that is generally useless. Its not a good advert for segregated cycling, as it hints that the entire council traffic planning teams need to be replaced for progress. 
  • The inner city ones -showing what they've had to do with less space and time- may be better
  • There's the option of coming off the RP at Alcove road and inspecting a bit of the eastville route there, heading in to the city under the M32 and then somehow getting across it to the YHA.
  • Any trip to the western end of the harbour ought to experience the delight that is the Coronation Road path -the one with the trees down the middle- as well as the new pump trail under the cumberland basin itself. The Nova Scotia is always a good place to consume beverages. 
  • To provide a realistic view of the city there needs to be some coverage of the "places it is hard to avoid".  The centre, stokes croft, the triangle, the bedminster roundabout, feeder road, the haymarket, the BRI and temple way all spring to mind. These are places that are most in need of improvement as they are hard to avoid, and even if you take detours and climbs, you end up having to cross them. 

Pubs and food

Independent reviews:

  1. Mud dock is fairly slow for food, ignoring costs
  2. Farm pub good for food and beer and you can sit by your bike
  3. Novia scotia does beers & not much else
  4. Pump house has gone all premium with its food
  5. Unknowns to me but on the harbour: Ostrich, Cottage. There's the grain barge too.
  6. pubs that aren't so easy with bicycles: Hope & Anchor, Lion, Cliftonwood, Highbury Vaults, Hillgrove. Few of the Londoners would cope well with an on-bike pub crawl that took in the Cliftonwood and Kingsdown climbs. Be fun trying though... 

Again, my vote would be the Farm on account of its food, beer and bike parking:

Its in the right place for a quick up and down the path to the new bridge and back, and if you stay there until it gets dark you can see the (lovely) lighting.



t1mmyb's picture

I may be able to show you around Bath a bit on the Saturday, but my wife has an event at some point so I'll be daddy-daycare for at least some of the day. I should be free on the Sunday though.

Bath route suggestions. Either of:

  1. From Bath Spa, either head through town to the James Street West contraflow cycle lane, which leads easily onto the riverside path and then the Railway Path. You'll see the infamous "No Entry Except Cycles" on Great Stanhope Street
  2. Or, for a taste of Bath's lumpiness, and to see the Two Tunnels work in progress first hand, head from the station across the river to Widcombe, then through St. Mark's Road, cut through to Holloway, up its short but sharp hill to Bear Flat/Wellsway, then onto the Two Tunnels Greenway, down to Lower Bristol Road to re-cross the river and join the riverside path and onwards to Bristol.

There's not much else in the way of infrastructure to see, to be honest, unless you want to see the Pines Way Giratory, by where the Western Riverside development is happening and there was a recent minor collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. It's a horrible 1960s relic, one of only two "urban motorways" in Bath (the other being Rossiter Road, in Widcombe, near Bath Spa station), and B&NES installed some shared-use paths/crossings (unsure if actually Toucans) to allow cyclists to access Sainsbury's from the east without having to dice with fast cars on the one-way system.

(My opinion: the shared use is sticking plaster. The pedestrian collision shows that this type of three-lane racetrack has no place in a civilised city. They would do better to remove the one-way system. It might make a good redesign case study for the policy bash day, especially as Rossiter Road is already earmarked for a two-way redesign at some future date)

Cyclists and pedestrians accessing Sainsbury's & the city centre from the south-west could previously go via Victoria Bridge Road and the Homebase car park, but this is not available as a route during the building works on Western Riverside.

I hope those ideas are useful. I've mentioned the weekend to the CycleBath committee; I hope that some of them can make it along.

t1mmyb's picture

Oops - double post. Could an admin clean up after me, please? Thanks :)


There is an outside chance that I might be in the area (dropping my wife off in Bath) on the Sunday. If so, I might try to drop in and meet people - if that is feasible.  


So, is the idea of possibly turning up for part of the day OK? Not sure when, how long or even if definately possible yet, but if so probably during the hackday/policy bash bit.


I've had no suggestions for a Bath Safari -- though I don't think I've asked widely enough yet -- so here's my own idea, based on my passing (and somewhat out-of-date) familiarity with Bath:

Would still welcome suggestions and comments from those who know better. The only criteria is that it starts at the station and ends on the Railway Path.

My own suggestion is full of cycle infrastructure, NCN routes, and methods of motor vehicle restriction, but seeing the barriers to cycling -- the big nasty roads and junctions -- can equally be the basis of an infrastructure safari.

t1mmyb's picture


I added a few suggestions further up the thread - it would be good to see the Two Tunnels Greenway work that's already been done, and also some of the barriers to cycling, including the Pines Way giratory.

Cheers, Tim


Oops, sorry, yes, you did.  I thought of 2 tunnels, but haven't tried it out myself yet, so wasn't sure how it might fit onto a route...

t1mmyb's picture

I'll add a route to the map

t1mmyb's picture

I'm just plugging the AGM on the CycleBath mailing list. Would it be worth exploring splitting the group in two in order to properly look at both the Two Tunnels route and the rest of the infrastructure highlights/lowlights that you've highlighted on your GMap?

If so, would we need someone else to lead one of the groups (I can lead one of them), or would you be happy to lead your original route suggestion, Joe?


infrastructure safaris are quite slow if people stop to take pictures of interesting bollards. An hour, including meeting up with folk and chat won't be very long at all.

I wondered if using something like Glympse might help people join us en route? 

AKA TownMouse

t1mmyb's picture

Yep - I figured as much, hence my wondering whether more ground would be covered by splitting the group in two.

Cheers, Tim


There are quite a few location apps.  Google Latitude is another.


I think we should just drop at least half of my suggestion -- I have no attachment to it. I think the canal towpath could go -- it's just a canal towpath, not dissimilar to London's Regents, Manchester's Bridgewater and Rochdale, Edinburgh's Union, Glasgow's Forth and Clyde...

Pulteney Bridge fits with the Living Heart themed ride scheduled for the evening: restricting a bridge to bicycles and public transport as a means for restricting general city centre car access. But it's a bit out of the way given the other things that are worth seeing, so probably not worth the detour.

Given that there should be at least a dozen, if not two dozen, of us, perhaps after following your linear park route we should take over Pines Way and Midland Bridge to head briefly for some of the traffic restriction points marked on the west side of town, before heading down onto the RP?

t1mmyb's picture

Thanks Joe - that sounds like a good plan. As we go through Pines Way we'll get to see Western Riverside in all its unnecessarily car-centric glory, then, too. Victoria Bridge is open again, now, but that will be a diversion too far, I think.


Around UWE there is the usual bodge of pavement conversions that stop and start randomly, and toucan crossings (some of which don't even have the cycle aspect despite being clearly marked as shared use or "segregated" on the pavement). The campus itself has some delightfully narrow cycle lanes marked so as to allow cyclists to avoid the plastic "thumps" placed on some of the roads.

For a pleasent ride, I would recommend going through Castle Park and then turning off Baldwin Street onto Welsh Back. One can then ride round Queen Square, before continuing over a footbridge towards Millenium Square. One can then turn right onto Anchor Road and then left onto the College Green cycle track.

For a more "realistic" ride, I would therefore continue (possibly having dismounted) up Park Street towards the Wills Memorial Building, and then ride round the Triangle, continue towards the Victoria Rooms, and then do a U-turn around a somewhat incompetently marked half roundabout before going back down Queen's Road (fortunately at a time of day when the cycle lane isn't full of taxis stopped near the area's many bars and nightclubs) and then continuing onto Park Row, and then around St James Barton roundabout onto Newfoundland Street, which due to its seemingly vital landscaping and six traffic lanes only has room for a somewhat pathetic cycle lane. (That is the road space allocation equivalent of buying Basics frozen mince instead of the "normal" own brand to cut your weekly shop to £15 because you spent £25 on drinks in Thekla last night.)

One will presumably wish to change course to avoid the M32, so one can either use the optimistically located ASLs or use the numerous toucan crossings, which being located next to a major shopping centre feature a familiar staggered arrangement to minimise the chance of conflicting with pedestrians - oh wait, meant to say "chance of choosing cycling as a mode of transport in the future", so as to turn onto Temple Way. (This street is the road space allocation equivalent of spending £400 on bottles of Moet but somehow struggling to pay your flatmate back £10 you borrowed last month). If you keep going this way you can exit at the next slip road outside the Marketgate UNITE accomodation, turn right at the roundabout, and then end up back in Castle Park.

Of course, this is completely ignoring the mess that is Hotwells, or loads of other places (In some ways saying Bristol is a cycling city with some of the junctions that exist is like calling a theme park "family friendly" when it has gift shops that would be more at home on Old Compton Street) but it gives you a good flavour of the good and bad places for cycling.


I have put some pins on a Google map and drawn some options for Safaris:

It's open editing, so do add your own ideas.

The Living Heart campaign ( have agreed to give us a city centre safari on the Saturday evening.

Safari 1 on the map is the northern fringe idea (incorporating Castle Park etc) which I know Steve L thinks would be demoralising, but Safaris are supposed to be about the bad, not just the good. There are 3 options for it -- obviously we'll need one out and one back. One option could be out on Concorde Way and back on Gloucester Road (or vice versa), to show to main road option and its quiet route alternative -- the dual network setup. One of the biggest increases in cycle traffic during Cycling City was, after all, the more direct and fast Gloucester Road. It would be good to look at the Cycling City route ask see why so many people prefer the main road (quality issues, directness, social safety, the main road has the shops on it?). That would also take in St James Barton -- we want to see the bad as well as the good, after all.

I've marked a short Safari 2 around the harbour, taking in College Green + the tracks, and allowing us to look at (but not have to negotiate) the Hotwells system, just because I imagine that by Sunday evening we'll need to relax and not have to think or fight traffic, and some people will be going home.

In both cases, if you have better ideas...

Log in or register to post comments