I ride my bike to the bus stop

By Andy Chivers

One of Cyclox’s members wrote to suggest that bus stops would benefit from a couple of bike stands nearby. There are a few examples of this dotted around Oxford, and it is an enlightened decision by someone in the city or county council to make it easier for people to cycle to the bus stop, hop on the bus and leave their bike securely locked until their return. We see this natural symbiosis at the railway station, and Gloucester Green has a modest supply of bike racks, so logically all bus stops would benefit as well. 

Our member, who is in his late 80s, explained that due to severe hip arthritis, walking any real distance was out of the question – ‘agony’ was the word he used. However, he can ride his bike comfortably to the bus stop and climb on a bus. This situation is not unusual in arthritis where cycling takes the body weight off the arthritic joint while allowing them to exert a comfortable amount of pressure on the pedals to make progress. As a bonus the bike takes the weight of shopping as well, so those joints are spared another strain.

E-bikes take this one step further, but our correspondent has reservations – he worries about the extra weight and the unaccustomed acceleration. He is right to be cautious –  a study in the Netherlands showed accidents were more common with older riders new to e-bikes.

The contrast between his walking and his bike riding is stark – he will often do 40 miles a week on his bike but can’t walk 200 yards without pain. Keeping fit before surgery (he is on the waiting list for a hip replacement) will improve his recovery post-op so the cycling is important. His bike provides him with the exercise he needs as well as giving him freedom and fun. Frustratingly there is nothing secure to lock his bike to at his nearby bus stop. An enlightened view of transport facilities would provide a few bike stands at bus stops as one way to expand the range of potential cyclists. 

Oxford is committed to increasing rates of cycling in the city by 50% in the next 10 years and this means getting people onto bikes and out of cars. Any bike trip is only as appealing as its weakest link, and this includes locking your bike up at your destination as well as being able to ride along well-maintained bike paths.

Oxfordshire County Council is preparing Oxford’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and we would like see a proposal in it for bikes stands at bus stops. The publication of this plan will be the moment when we learn how seriously the 50% increase in cycling is being taken. We hope that the county council is able to adopt the plan, that there will be money to spend on it, and that implementation is swift. Meanwhile if you think a bus stop could benefit from a bike rack, tell your local councillor – they have access to small amounts of money for this sort of thing.

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Comments

Dick Wolff

Excellent – dead right. My 91-year-old father-in-law who lives near Farnham in Surrey has macular degeneration which makes car driving inadvisable. He struggles to walk 100m, but cycles most days the 10 mile return trip into town or on occasion, in the opposite direction, the eight miles to Winchfield rail station. The ebike has been liberating. I’ve noticed cycle parking by the bus stop at the southern end of Nuneham Courtenay.

Danny

One of my pet peeves is how bad the cycling provision is at the Gloucester Green bus station. If I can quote from my own blog: http://wanderingdanny.com/oxford/2019/11/buses-and-bicycles-in-oxford/

“Cycling to catch buses is poorly supported in Oxford. The cycle parking at Oxford’s bus station makes the insufficient and low quality cycle parking at the railway station seem palatial. And the cycling routes to get to the bus station are just woeful: coming from the east, I can cycle across the supposedly pedestrianised Gloucester Green (which works ok if there’s no market on), brave George St and enter along with the buses (which I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to do), or go all the way around Beaumont and Worcester Sts to get to the bus station from the north-west (simply horrible). Or I can park on Broad St — if there is any parking there! — and walk to the bus station, but that’s another five minutes added on to the trip, which doesn’t help make taking a bus more attractive than driving.”

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