Sunderland has long been connected to the National Cycling Network as one of the earliest routes (the C2C or Coast to Coast) finishes here. Arguably you could say it starts here too, but anyone fancying the ride is well advised to ride it from west to east and take advantage of the prevailing wind direction.
I’ve ridden it three times and though the knees are getting a bit rusty I still take an interest in cycling matters.
Given the incredible performances of British cyclists this year in a number of competitions, there are many who feel this could be a great opportunity for cycling in this country, not just as a sport, but also as a mode of transport. Watching those who travel the seafront you will find riders on the road, on the prom, on the footpath and on the cycle path.
Whilst this invariably infuriates the anti cycling lobby, it is hardly surprising given the half-hearted attitude to providing cycle routes in this country compared to many of our continental neighbours. Councils think that a splash of green tarmac is all that’s required to provide a cycling facility, but rarely examine the practicalities of using them when they are full of parked cars, end abruptly with no obvious alternative, or direct you across lanes of busy traffic.
The cyclist invests their personal energy in creating momentum and they are reluctant to lose that momentum if they can help it, so I had little chance of getting a real portrait of one of them unless they stopped voluntarily. The closest I got today was this chap, slowed by changing traffic lights his frustration clearly visible.
Let’s hope there more than just the lights that change.