This week's post is my third and final from the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain's AGM in Cardiff. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.
We've seen some physical infrastructure being delivered over the last two posts, but this week, I'm going to talk about social infrastructure which doesn't often get a spotlight shone on it.
First up is Cycle Training Wales which as well as providing the range of cycle training you'd expect also runs a cycle refurbishment project through CTW's Cardiff Cycle Workshop.
We happened to pop into their unit on an industrial estate at in the north of the city and there were dozens of cycles being refurbished which stops many being scrapped and allows people to purchase a lower cost cycle while providing revenue back into the enterprise. Their shop is here with a selection of adult and children's cycles.
We heard how the project's lifeblood is its volunteers, but how all cycles are properly inspected by a qualified mechanic, so that provides peace of mind as well as repair experience for the volunteers.
We also visited Cardiff Pedal Power which seeks to help get people of all ages and abilities cycling and they do this with one of the most astonishing range of non-standard and adapted cycles I have ever seen in one place;
We saw wheelchair-accessible cycles, side-by-sides (above), tandems, tricycles, recumbents and some amazing hybrid combinations which can be adapted to fit people with a range of mobility impairments. They even had this monster recumbent tricycle which caught my eye;
Pedal Power is based at the camping ground in Bute Park and so people can try out the various cycles in a safe, traffic-free environment. As well as specialist cycle hire, you can also hire standard cycles to use to explore the city, use their cafe (which we did) as well as cycle training and tours.
One the most interesting things we found our was that Pedal Power was providing mechanic and docking station restocking for the city's hire bike operator, Next Bike which operates an ever growing and very popular service.
Meeting these enterprises served as a usual reminder to the infrastructurists (me included) that it is not all about kerbs and it did show that even though it is early days, the various strands could be woven together to create a cycle city.
Before the AGM got underway, Caro Wild, the city's cabinet member for strategic planning and transport posed a few questions for us;
So, this is what I think in response;
1 - I think it would be worth copying the Manchester Beeline approach, perhaps at a ward or ward grouping level to both engage with the community and to try and build local networks.
2 - This has to be filtering. You don't need cycle tracks everywhere, just on the main roads or where a dedicated link would help. As I explained last week, the Grangetown scheme could be significantly improved with filtering. In fact, Caro, your own Riverside ward has lots of filtering, you just need to make it accessible to cycling.
3 - I think some of the problem here is people being funnelled into spaces which are now too small because there are no other choices. Again, sections of the Taff Trail through your ward would have pressure removed if there were safe parallel routes - filtering is your friend here too.
4 - Experimental Traffic Orders and 'Interim Materials' - get things tested quick and dirty style; especially filtering and wand-protected cycle lanes. You can tinker with them and then spend the proper money when it becomes available. You seem to have a good handle on the link between development and transport and that can be used to deliver permanent layouts later.
Of course, if Cardiff needs some help, I know some good consultants ;)