The Rough & The Smooth Of Bike Trails
I was working in Wallsend this morning, and then had to pop into Newcastle for a couple of things, finishing up with dropping something off with Carlton Reid. Whenever he’s come to my house he’s come along the Coast Road - it’s arrow-straight, and runs from the edge of Newcastle to, uh, the coast (Coast Road - the clue’s kinda in the name!)
So it was obvious which way to go home, except I’m not as brave as Carlton. The Coast Road is basically a motorway, with three lanes running in each direction, and traffic at 70mph.
So I went along the shared-use cycle track that runs alongside. Initially, I made good time, with a gentle tailwind I was doing 25mph without even breaking into a sweat. But then I ran out of nice new smooth path, and had to ride along about 1 1/2 miles of rather tired, lumpy, and broken up tarmac. Speed dropped to 12mph, and even that wasn’t particularly comfortable. Damned hard work in fact.
This highlights the importance of a good surface for riding a bike at a good pace with ease.
It’s true that you can ride bikes off-roads (I’ve even heard of some new-fangled version of a bike that’s specifically designed for riding over the grass verges alongside roads and trails. Apparently they’re called ‘mountain bikes’), but for an easy ride - the sort of ride that might tempt people out of their cars, you need a top-quality surfaces.
Some of the trail alongside the Coast Road has been recently resurfaced, and I’m hoping that the rest of it will soon get the same treatment. As it was, it took just under 25 minutes to get from Jesmond to the beach. That’s probably about five minutes faster than you could drive it during the rush hour.