Herbie Neil blogged about his volunteering work at Little Venice yesterday, handing out leaflets to towpath users. This has prompted me to share my idea about how to control the speed of cyclists, some of whom seem to treat today's better surfaced towpaths - especially in urban areas - as high speed link routes.
Now, I have nothing against cyclists using towpaths. I cycle on them myself. But I always pass pedestrians at slow speed, having given due warning of my presence if approaching from behind.
So what's my idea? When a towpath is resurfaced, rather than make the full width a smooth metalled track, make the smooth bit no more than two feet wide and lay it in a series of curves or zigzags wandering from one side to the other. The rest of the towpath should be a slightly rougher surface such as crushed concrete, but not so rough as to make pushing a baby buggy, say, difficult. I know that, when I'm cycling, I always try to find the smoothest course for my tyres. On a towpath such as that which I have described, I would tend to follow the curved smooth part. Not a problem for reasonable speeds, but were I to try to go too fast I would have to accept either a disconcerting series of transitions between the smooth and the rough, or a wildly oscillating course, both of which would tend to slow me down.
My solution would not attempt to segregate cyclists and pedestrians, and there would be no "right-of-way" for cyclists on the smooth curvy section.
There are bound to be drawbacks, but this is just my idea.
While I'm on the subject, this is a portion of my inner tube after the latest puncture from a thorn on the towpath. There's another patch further round. And, yes, it's from the back wheel.
This is where I stopped and supplied them with a patch, sandpaper and rubber solution.
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