Friday, April 06, 2018

The British railway system does it again and helps cyclists!

One of us is a member of what we still call the CTC, the Cyclists' Touring Club, but is now called Cycling  UK. The name was changed because the management of the club decided that the British public could not understand what the purpose of the club was, even though the name had been good enough for over a hundred years through a recession and two world wars. End of rant! We receive the club's magazine every two months which we read and criticise extensively, but only between ourselves*.
A recent edition included a small brochure tucked into its pages about PlusBike, a cooperation between the British organisation, National Rail, the Enabling Innovation Team and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain. Information useful for cyclists is available under PlusBike on the National Rail website and as free of charge iOS and Android apps.
BikePlus offers information on:
  • Cycle facilities at stations, along with the number of cycle parking space.
  • Cycle-hire at stations or nearby with links directly to them.
  • Cycle carriage rules, including taking cycles on train specific to your rail journey.
  • Whether a cycle needs to be reserved to take on board. 

Whether the usual British lack of provision for cyclists and their bikes has been solved is not clear from the brochure, but at least you can easily find out whether there is space on the train you intend to take.

*Just as examples, we cannot understand the British fashion for bikes without mudguards (fenders) and luggage racks and stands: 
  • Unless you cycle regularly in Arizona or in southern Spain or only on sunny days, lack of mudguards mean that you could end up getting very wet and mucky on a summers day in Wigan. 
  • Lack of a luggage rack means carrying your gear in a rucksack (back pack). Welcome to the sweaty back syndrome unless of course you’re in Wigan on a typical summers day and even then the sun does shine there from time to time. 
  • Stopping for a break without a bike stand means fiddling about looking for convenient wall whereas with a bike stand you can stand the bike by the side of the road.

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