Bike Ride

Some time ago, my boat was hit by another…a hire boat. It was a hell of a collision, so I phoned the hire company up and reported it and we agreed on a sum for the damage caused. Anyway, I decided to get off my arse and go and pick up the cheque this weekend. So I cycled up to Napton.

Grand Union/South Oxford Junction

Grand Union/South Oxford Junction

‘Tis there that the Grand Union and South Oxford canals meet. The Grand Union superseded the Oxford as a more direct, and therefore quicker, route to London — it is also a wide-beam canal, so the locks are double width…with interesting paddle raising architecture.

Paddle Raising

Paddle Raising

I thought I’d explore up the GU for a little while…and then came upon the National Cycle Network Route 41.

NCN Route 41

NCN Route 41

This part of the route follows a dismantled railway line, and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of pictures on the old railway bridge!

Disused Railway Bridge

Disused Railway Bridge


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The Trusty Steed

The Trusty Steed

If only more dismantled railway lines could be used for cycle networks — they are ideal because the gradients are never very steep. Unfortunately, when most of these lines were decommissioned and ripped up, the car was seen as the way forward, so many old lines were built over, which is a real shame when you see routes like this:

NCN Route 41

NCN Route 41

Now “car is king” most public transport has declined.

Abandoned Bus Stop

Abandoned Bus Stop

2 Comments

  1. Mike Padgett says:

    Here in Belgium we have the RAVeL Network. Hundreds of kms of former railway line filled in, resurfaced and offered as paths for cyclists and walkers. Been on a couple of them ourselves.

  2. 8ch says:

    Hey Mike…good to hear from ya fella!

    As you well know, it was the Beeching Axe that did for many of the railways in this country…a move that seems very short-sighted now that the roads are almost grid-locked down in the south-east. It wasn’t really until Sustrans came along that it was thought that having long distance cycle paths was a good idea. Regional government over here just hasn’t got a clue how to integrate the bicycle into the urban environment…which is odd considering that it has been done so effectively in Europe.

    But like I say, over here…”car is king”. I think it is mentioned in the Wiki about the Beeching Axe that the “idea” was that Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones would drive their cars to the point where the old branch line would have dropped them and then they’d park up and catch the mainline train. Yeah, right! They stayed in their cars all the way to the office…and who could blame them? Car ownership increased from roughly 140 to 515 vehicles per 1000 population between 1960 and the early 2000’s…that’s an increase from just over 7million vehicles to just over 30million!

    See ya soon!

    H

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