Bikes win the wacky commuter challenge

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PENELOPE Pitstop and Dick Dastardly would have loved the commuter challenge into Oxford yesterday.

But this wacky race had a serious purpose.

About 40 competitors set off from Eynsham shortly before 8am, tasked with timing how long it would take them to get to Queen Street, Oxford.

They rode on bicycles, rollerblades and motorbikes, in cars and in buses, and ran along the roads and fields.

The event was organised by Bikesafe West Oxfordshire, which is campaigning for a four mile cycle path along the B4044 Eynsham Road.

Co-organiser Ian Leggett said: “It has been fantastic. We had a lot of people turning up which shows the strength of feeling.

“Congestion is so bad that we thought anything but a 4x4 would beat the bus into town.”

The first competitor to reach Queen Street was 54-year-old Steve Unwin on an electric bike, followed seconds later by cyclist Jean Metson.

Mr Unwin, who clocked a time of 22 minutes, said: “I use the bike whenever I can.

“The path on the B4044 would be of great benefit for people in Eynsham, Oxford and beyond.”

The challenge aimed to show the benefit of building a community path alongside the B4044 to cut danger to cyclists and speed up journey times.

The first car arrived in Oxford in 52 minutes, followed a moment later by people who had travelled by bus.

In all, 22 bicycles, two motorbikes and two rollerbladers arrived before the car drivers and those using public transport.

Rollerblader Dave Edwards from Yarnton, who arrived in 35 minutes, said: “It was wet. I was doing five minutes a mile but had to use the A40 because we can’t take the direct route.

“Rollerblades are the quickest way to get around Oxford. There’s no point using public transport, it’s too slow.”

Edward James, from Eynsham, was the quickest car driver into Oxford. He said: “This is my regular commute. You just get used to sitting in standstill traffic.”

Bikesafe West Oxfordshire commissioned a study from cycle lobby group Sustrans which showed the path along the B4044 would cost £800,000.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood handed out medals to finishers.

She said: “It’s a very challenging commute and this is such a good way of showing the range of concerns from different commuters.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “Clearly a lot of work has gone into the challenge and testing different types of commuting and the idea has received great attention.

“However there is very little funding available for relatively high cost new schemes like the one being called for.”

Richard Gregory, who rollerbladed the whole way, said: “It was wet and even though we went the longer, safer way round the A40, it was still quite dangerous.”

Organisers of the event said it had been a time trial, rather than a race, with all competitors adhering to the speed limits and obeying the Highway Code.

HOW QUICKLY IT TOOK

Electric bicycle – 22 minutes

Bicycle – 22 minutes

Motorbike – 22.5 minutes

Rollerblades – 35 minutes

Car – 52 minutes

Bus – 52 minutes

Running – 54 minutes

(Times for Eynsham to Oxford)

Comments (16)

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2:44pm Thu 4 Oct 12

King Joke says...

So a bus took 52 min to travel what can't be any more than eight miles, and the cyclists took half that? On this basis what is needed is not a cycle lane but a bus lane.
So a bus took 52 min to travel what can't be any more than eight miles, and the cyclists took half that? On this basis what is needed is not a cycle lane but a bus lane. King Joke

10:51am Fri 5 Oct 12

Cillawaugh says...

Ha ha ha.
But before making any more glib assessments, King Joke, go to the Bike safe website: www.bikesafe.org.uk. There, you'll see that there is no room for a bus lane.
Indeed, the county's premier environmental centre, Hill End, is not available to kids unless Mum or Dad drives them there. Why? Because the road is too narrow, too fast and too dangerous to allow for a bus stop.
How's that for a joke?
Ha ha ha. But before making any more glib assessments, King Joke, go to the Bike safe website: www.bikesafe.org.uk. There, you'll see that there is no room for a bus lane. Indeed, the county's premier environmental centre, Hill End, is not available to kids unless Mum or Dad drives them there. Why? Because the road is too narrow, too fast and too dangerous to allow for a bus stop. How's that for a joke? Cillawaugh

1:40pm Fri 5 Oct 12

King Joke says...

The risk to less confident cyclists on this stretch of road is of course unacceptable.

It is also unacceptable that the principal public transport route from Witney and Eynsham into Oxford operates at under 10 mph at the time it is most needed.
The risk to less confident cyclists on this stretch of road is of course unacceptable. It is also unacceptable that the principal public transport route from Witney and Eynsham into Oxford operates at under 10 mph at the time it is most needed. King Joke

2:04pm Fri 5 Oct 12

Cillawaugh says...

Absolutely! So isn't the answer to get people out of their cars and on to their bikes - or walking or running - on the proposed off-road community path?
Absolutely! So isn't the answer to get people out of their cars and on to their bikes - or walking or running - on the proposed off-road community path? Cillawaugh

9:42am Mon 8 Oct 12

King Joke says...

It's only half the answer. Let's not pretend you'll get many people running 15 miles a day to get to an office or shop job. Cycling is much more practical for some people - I cycle to work myself - but really we need a more reliable public transport system.

A railway line to Witney will only become viable when Carterton/Brize Norton has fully expanded, several years hence, and realistically will only be able accommodate an hourly service .

Stagecoach have invested £millions in leather-seated Gold buses and a ten-minute frequency in the peaks. It's about time the County matched this with measures to speed up the service with some targeted priority, as well as a cycle path.
It's only half the answer. Let's not pretend you'll get many people running 15 miles a day to get to an office or shop job. Cycling is much more practical for some people - I cycle to work myself - but really we need a more reliable public transport system. A railway line to Witney will only become viable when Carterton/Brize Norton has fully expanded, several years hence, and realistically will only be able accommodate an hourly service [I'm sure Andrew: Oxford will pipe up soon]. Stagecoach have invested £millions in leather-seated Gold buses and a ten-minute frequency in the peaks. It's about time the County matched this with measures to speed up the service with some targeted priority, as well as a cycle path. King Joke

10:09am Mon 8 Oct 12

Cillawaugh says...

Quite so. With a reliable public transport system and a good network of community paths for walkers, cyclists, disablilty scooters and push chairs the private motor car need no longer be the default choice for transport. Result: cleaner air, a healthier population and the oil crisis becomes rather less important.
Quite so. With a reliable public transport system and a good network of community paths for walkers, cyclists, disablilty scooters and push chairs the private motor car need no longer be the default choice for transport. Result: cleaner air, a healthier population and the oil crisis becomes rather less important. Cillawaugh

10:19am Mon 8 Oct 12

King Joke says...

Cillawaugh wrote:
Quite so. With a reliable public transport system and a good network of community paths for walkers, cyclists, disablilty scooters and push chairs the private motor car need no longer be the default choice for transport. Result: cleaner air, a healthier population and the oil crisis becomes rather less important.
Now that's too much like common sense Cilla! This is the OM don't forget...

Targeted priority could be short stretches of bus lane on the approaches to Swinford Bridge, and re-phasing the Binsey Lane bus gate so that the bus isn't just given a priority run into a stationary queue! You could do these for the same cost as two miles of cycle lane from Botley to Hill End.
[quote][p][bold]Cillawaugh[/bold] wrote: Quite so. With a reliable public transport system and a good network of community paths for walkers, cyclists, disablilty scooters and push chairs the private motor car need no longer be the default choice for transport. Result: cleaner air, a healthier population and the oil crisis becomes rather less important.[/p][/quote]Now that's too much like common sense Cilla! This is the OM don't forget... Targeted priority could be short stretches of bus lane on the approaches to Swinford Bridge, and re-phasing the Binsey Lane bus gate so that the bus isn't just given a priority run into a stationary queue! You could do these for the same cost as two miles of cycle lane from Botley to Hill End. King Joke

11:01am Mon 8 Oct 12

Cillawaugh says...

And kids still couldn't get to Hill End, elderly people still couldn't walk from Oaken Holt to Farmoor to get a newspaper and the residents of Farmoor would still be unable to walk anywhere outside of their village.
And kids still couldn't get to Hill End, elderly people still couldn't walk from Oaken Holt to Farmoor to get a newspaper and the residents of Farmoor would still be unable to walk anywhere outside of their village. Cillawaugh

11:02am Mon 8 Oct 12

King Joke says...

I'm suggesting to do both Cilla.
I'm suggesting to do both Cilla. King Joke

11:14am Mon 8 Oct 12

Cillawaugh says...

OK! :-)
OK! :-) Cillawaugh

4:12pm Tue 9 Oct 12

paul from Kennington says...

Cillawaugh wrote:
Ha ha ha.
But before making any more glib assessments, King Joke, go to the Bike safe website: www.bikesafe.org.uk. There, you'll see that there is no room for a bus lane.
Indeed, the county's premier environmental centre, Hill End, is not available to kids unless Mum or Dad drives them there. Why? Because the road is too narrow, too fast and too dangerous to allow for a bus stop.
How's that for a joke?
That is a lie, there is no bus stop outside Hill End because it is on a bend, there are bus stops for either direction just down the road outside the old peoples home. Glib assessments eh, pot and kettle anybody.
[quote][p][bold]Cillawaugh[/bold] wrote: Ha ha ha. But before making any more glib assessments, King Joke, go to the Bike safe website: www.bikesafe.org.uk. There, you'll see that there is no room for a bus lane. Indeed, the county's premier environmental centre, Hill End, is not available to kids unless Mum or Dad drives them there. Why? Because the road is too narrow, too fast and too dangerous to allow for a bus stop. How's that for a joke?[/p][/quote]That is a lie, there is no bus stop outside Hill End because it is on a bend, there are bus stops for either direction just down the road outside the old peoples home. Glib assessments eh, pot and kettle anybody. paul from Kennington

4:15pm Tue 9 Oct 12

King Joke says...

How about a decent footpath from Hill End to the bus stops outside the old people's home then? Maybe even a traffic island and a crossing on a straight bit of road somewhere between the two, to allow access to both bus stops?
How about a decent footpath from Hill End to the bus stops outside the old people's home then? Maybe even a traffic island and a crossing on a straight bit of road somewhere between the two, to allow access to both bus stops? King Joke

11:06am Wed 10 Oct 12

Cillawaugh says...

Yep - that would help in the interim.
Yep - that would help in the interim. Cillawaugh

8:16pm Thu 11 Oct 12

bodchris says...

We simply need more investment in roads.

I will never cycle to Oford nor will I ever take the bus because I need my vehicle during the day for business. Then add in the motorists that go beyond Oxford to the M40 and the A34 south bound. If our economy is to grow we need a three lane carraigeway without roundabouts and traffic lights from the M40 to Cheltenham and nothing less. The sooner the better. Please start tomorrow..stuff the bus lanes and cycle tracks.
We simply need more investment in roads. I will never cycle to Oford nor will I ever take the bus because I need my vehicle during the day for business. Then add in the motorists that go beyond Oxford to the M40 and the A34 south bound. If our economy is to grow we need a three lane carraigeway without roundabouts and traffic lights from the M40 to Cheltenham and nothing less. The sooner the better. Please start tomorrow..stuff the bus lanes and cycle tracks. bodchris

8:24pm Thu 11 Oct 12

bodchris says...

Cillawaugh wrote:
Absolutely! So isn't the answer to get people out of their cars and on to their bikes - or walking or running - on the proposed off-road community path?
For heaven sake join the 21st century get bikes (and horses) off roads where they are not a nuisance to motorists. Yes to bike lanes but only after road improvments. Scrap the community lane and be radical: in the interim (before the construction of a proper three lane road) that the A40 is divided into three lanes, the central lanes traffic flow is orientated East in the morning and changed to West in the evening. They have these roads in Holland and France and they work.. Simples......
[quote][p][bold]Cillawaugh[/bold] wrote: Absolutely! So isn't the answer to get people out of their cars and on to their bikes - or walking or running - on the proposed off-road community path?[/p][/quote]For heaven sake join the 21st century get bikes (and horses) off roads where they are not a nuisance to motorists. Yes to bike lanes but only after road improvments. Scrap the community lane and be radical: in the interim (before the construction of a proper three lane road) that the A40 is divided into three lanes, the central lanes traffic flow is orientated East in the morning and changed to West in the evening. They have these roads in Holland and France and they work.. Simples...... bodchris

9:04am Fri 12 Oct 12

King Joke says...

It's precisely because we're in the C21st that we need to look at alternatives. We spent the last fifty years of the C20th building more and more roads, which filled up with traffic shortly after they were built. We know it doesn't work, it costs £billions, and creates rubbishy sprawling low-density towns driven primarily by the need to provide ample parking outside every building, residential, retail or employment.

There has to be a better way... Bod you might use your vehicle during the day but I suspect you're in a tiny minority. Most just use theirs to get to work, and they need an alternative. This challenge addressed specifically the Witney-Eynsham-Oxfor
d corridor. This is well provided for in terms of facilities - leather seats and wi fi on the bus are more than what most people have in their cars - but we really need to do something about journey times.
It's precisely because we're in the C21st that we need to look at alternatives. We spent the last fifty years of the C20th building more and more roads, which filled up with traffic shortly after they were built. We know it doesn't work, it costs £billions, and creates rubbishy sprawling low-density towns driven primarily by the need to provide ample parking outside every building, residential, retail or employment. There has to be a better way... Bod you might use your vehicle during the day but I suspect you're in a tiny minority. Most just use theirs to get to work, and they need an alternative. This challenge addressed specifically the Witney-Eynsham-Oxfor d corridor. This is well provided for in terms of facilities - leather seats and wi fi on the bus are more than what most people have in their cars - but we really need to do something about journey times. King Joke

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