On Wednesday Kat and I were very kindly given a bike tour of the city by Andy from the City Council. Like the tour of Hull provided by Allan last year, this was a great way to quickly get a sense of the different areas and how they are connected. While Bristol suffers from severance and blight due to major roads mostly built in the 1960s and 70s (such as the M32 which cuts into the heart of the city) it also benefits from being compact for a large city with some wonderful green spaces like Oldbury Court and Ashton Court. Many of these can be cycled through.
Coming soon: a link to view the map and some pictures that I took en route.
The route – and many thanks to Andy for so skilfully planning it – allowed us to ride fairly slowly around the city for 40km, taking in around 10 (I think!) parks or green spaces of varying sizes and types.
A number of our interviewees refer to the importance of being able to ride in a leisurely or sociable fashion in or near urban areas (a theme discussed in our ‘Rides’ paper currently under peer review). For example, several people in Bristol have already described to us how a commute route becomes a very different experience ridden with friends rather than alone; heading out slowly to a park or pub rather than to your office or factory. Being able to have diverse cycling experiences in the same area can both be a low-impact form of leisure or tourism, and a way that people continue to experience cycling as more than ‘just transport’, however important it is to them also as a form of transport.