Friday, 19 September 2008


The only way through this mess in the rush hour this morning was by bike or foot. Two cars had a nasty shunt at the bottom of St. James road. I believe the occupants were OK. Hopefully nobody was on the pavement (sidewalk) when the incident happened as both cars came to rest off the road on opposite sides, one pushed in a shop front.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

One door closes and another opens

Pub industry hit by rising costs.

These headlines are seen daily among the mass coverage of the 'credit crunch'. Further evidence is seen here on my route to work.
I've probably mentioned the Brownhill Arms is the first pub to be reached on the way from the Blackburn town centre. All the pubs that used to exist along that route have closed (six in my living memory).
The Plane Tree is one slightly off that route being on the boundary of Little Harwood and Bastwell. It's probably a victim of the worsening economy and the change in local demographics. It's always looked a nice pub, nestling under the railway arches by the river Blakewater. Shame to see it go.

Retail conglomerate takes on convenience locals.

Whilst the local Thwaites brewery hasn't got confidence in some pubs' future, Tesco, the supermarket grocer, is demonstating faith in capturing market from the local Londis, Cooperative and Bargain Booze stores. They are opening an Express shop on Whalley New Road at Roe Lee - very handy to a sizeable residential area.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Autumn term

I can hardly believe it's been nearly a month since I last wrote here. It's been a busy period with many demands on my time resulting in little time for the cycle blog. Rest assured, commuting by bike continues, despite the damp and dismal August we've had. One of the major changes to the commute over the last couple of weeks is the dramatic increase in road traffic each day.

The relaxed commuting of summer drew to an end with the return of students and teachers to their schools after their long summer holiday. The difference is more noticeable in the morning when traffic queues have appeared where there weren't any for the last six weeks. The evening is also slightly busier as people are gathering their families and getting involved with after school clubs.

I'm hoping with the 'credit crunch' (don't you hate that phrase?) and the price of fuel, that more folk will be cycling. There isn't much evidence yet but there are one or two cyclists each way most days. They're not always the same because I, like them, cycle at different times.

There was a guy on the radio from Blackpool this morning. He was describing all the initiatives that will result from the near £6m investment from the town becoming a Cycling Demonstration Town. I also hope that, like Lancaster, this can improve awareness of not just the benefits of cycling but some of the fun and enjoyment that being liberated from cars can bring. A portion of the money is earmarked for training 10 year olds to pass their Cycling Proficiency. Maybe there should also be something to coax the middle aged back onto two wheels as well. The more normal cycling appears, the greater acceptance it will get. Then we can start emulating continental towns where cycling is so normal, folk happily go for a night out by bike - something pretty much unheard of round here.

What I like about the queue in the photograph is the space I have available to pass all the cars on the way to Brownhill. Very satisfying on a bike but very frustrating in a car.