I am grateful that I am not a crow. However, it does constrain my route options. The fact is footpaths aren’t always going where you want to go, meaning often you do have to use the roads. Previously I would have been a fan of sustainable transport schemes which separate cyclists, pedestrians, motorists etc, and in some cities I still might be, but the bulk of the country can’t accommodate that policy. What happens when you retreat from the roads is that motorists don’t expect to see you there, so they drive faster. People who have no choice but to use the roads then have a more dangerous place.
I’m not suggesting that you go out and walk along your nearest busy A road alone (it’s not fun and rather scary) but if you look on your OS map you’ll find the roads are colour coded. Yellow seems to be quite narrow so cars go a lot slower, light orange might be a bit busy (a car every few minutes), dark orange will probably be stressful and a bit risky and red they’ll be gunning for you. So I would heartily recommend yellow coded roads, light orange too especially when you’re highly visible, to remind people in cars that other types of transport are used on roads.
A couple of days ago I was walking through the woods when I came accross a beautiful shire horse, all harnessed up. It turned out that he was being used to drag Sitka Spruce trees out from the wood to increase bidiversity and for use in a biomass boiler! The man conducting the operation was John Williams who was well aware of the value of maintaining traditional practices.
We’ll have more of a use for these horses as fossil fuels decline with peak oil.
You can see the horse in action here.
Then just yesterday I met Jonathan who runs a gorgeous B&B called Higher Bidicott Farm, where he farms with horses and has done all his life! He trains around three working horses a month for other people so that they can be used on other farms too.
On our practice walk this weekend we visited the biking co-operative Broken Spokes in Oxford. Co-founder Elle Smith tells us about forming the group.
One of the striking things about a visit to Oxford is the thousands of bikes, chained to everything. It’s common to see women in skirts and smartly dressed people cycling to work, as well as the thousands of students. Broken Spokes savages bike and helps people repair their own bikes by providing knowledge, space and tools. They also help people to take up cycling, and provides a great community hub. We meet Owen who is cycling to Austrailia and Dave Thomas, Green Party Candidate for Holywell Ward Oxford.