I managed to get a decent amount of time out of the bike yesterday. Before leaving the city centre, I bumped into LC and Northwest Is Best who were taking pictures for their new joint project. I cycled into the city with LC who was on her Pashley, Vita. We cycled through the newly re-designed junction on Booth Street East, which seems to have been re-designed with the aim of decreasing cyclist safety and discouraging cycling.
When the weather is nice, I usually travel to Rochdale by riding to Failsworth and then continuing along the canal. As the weather was so nice, and the traffic so bad, I decided to get onto the Rochdale canal in the city centre and use it all the way. This goes through some of the less bike-friendly parts of the route and some of the more dilapidated parts of Manchester, but was still fairly pleasant.
I had previously spotted that a section of the Rochdale canal towpath was closed, at the time it seemed to be for no apparent reason.
The beginning of the closed section. Yes I am riding the towpath on a Brompton
The crushed gravel surface is new. This section of the canal had previously been nothing more than a narrow rut in the earth, forming one of the two sections of the route which were essentially impassable after rainfall.
The work has not yet finished, the crushed gravel path ends abruptly and the old path can be seen continuing on.
Further on some of the groundwork had been completed but the crushed gravel surface has not yet been put down.
The crushed gravel path returns a bit further along, suggesting that this whole section of canal will have a lovely new path.
The fun wasn’t over yet though, as I reached Sandbrook Park, I noticed my steering was off and looked down to see a front wheel puncture, the first front wheel puncture I’ve had in my entire life. Luckily I had a spare tube, unluckily my mini-pump is Presta only, and Brompton-sized tubes are generally Schraeder. I later managed to borrow a pump and get the bike into good shape for my ride home later that evening (On-road, via Oldham to avoid the ups and downs).
Vehicular cycling can be nice when there are no other vehicles on the road.