Amid claims that the new cycle path along the busway is unsuitable for the skinny road tyres found on the average commuter bike, I decided this cyclist needed to investigate.
Starting at the White Lion Retail Park, heavily armed with inner tubes and a pump, I went to war with the gravel.
Like Bambi on ice I wobbled onto the surface expecting an instant slip, double punctures and a trip to the L&D to remove gravel from both kneecaps.
Fortunately this did not happen but there is definitely no smoke without fire. The surface is quite loose in parts and I fear sudden braking might result in the above scenario.
The dust kicks up at speed and would soon ruin the paintwork and ingrain itself in your chain and cogs. Maybe this wouldn’t bother the leisure rider but a regular rider would feel the pinch at the bicycle repair shop.
Some I spoke to along the way fear the safety of their children riding on such a surface and those stones are indeed sharp which could result in a puncture with regular use.
So is it all bad?
Overall the cycleway is a great initiative and there is nothing like whizzing along safe from the traffic. If it wasn’t there many of the evening riders I spoke to say they would not be out riding at all. So yes, it is a great asset to the community and my hope is that the gravel will flatten down after regular use.
And did I get any punctures with my skinny tyre road bike? Well no, but I wouldn’t push my luck.