Saturday, June 27, 2009

Good Helsinki cycle paths #2

I cycled to and from work on four days this last week - lovely weather balancing out tired legs. That's about 200 kms and 8 hours in the saddle. Anyway, the more I ride, the more sadly obsessed I become with cycle path design (or lack there of). The weather being so good I've ridden the longer route through the central park quite a few times this week. This is very relaxing as you are on gravel tracks, miles from any cars, with the only worry being coming round a corner and meeting a dog walker with one of those idiot extendible leads. Why do people with those extendible leads somehow think that walking on one side of a cycle path whilst Fido walks on the other side - stretching two metres of tight nylon out between them - could ever be a smart thing to do? Run in to that doing 35 kmph and me, the dog or the dog's owner are going to get hurt - and I'm the only one wearing a helmet.

Anyway, eventually you get down town and have to leave the quiet woodland paths and get back into urban cycling mode. This is why I want to point out the best bit of cycle path I know in downtown Helsinki:

video


The video is riding south down Pohjoisranta, about here:


View Larger Map

It's a good because, first, there is a metre of space clearly defined with trees and stuff between us bikers and the cars in the street. Secondly there is a bloody great wall between us bikers and the pedestrians. Now don't get me wrong; I love pedestrians, indeed some of my best friends have been known to walk, I just don't like them wandering aimlessly onto cycle paths. It's great to see pedestrians strolling down here, looking at the boats, enjoying the sea air, having fun - knowing that is where they'll stay thanks to the aforementioned bloody great wall. Also, where cars or pedestrians can cross the cycle path, it is really clearly marked with zebra crossing markings on the road. If all of the city could be like this, cycling life would be really sweet.

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