Sunday, 27 February 2011

Cycling on a motorway

On the way to the Wheeler's Brunch yesterday I went down an eerily quiet Ashton Old Rd. This was because the Mancunian Way is closed for the weekend. Big road closures tend to have this effect, they don't mean more traffic clogged up elsewhere they just mean less traffic is fed to the lesser connected roads. So on the way back I took a little detour and did my first, and possibly last bit of motorway cycling. It kind of felt like that scene in Ghostbusters 2 where they are walking down the abandoned subway lines. At any moment the totally empty road might suddenly fill with ghosts of R*nge Rovers blasting along honking their horns.

In this photo note how the beautiful February sunlight catches the hints of colour in the grey armco barrier, the grey tarmac and is further bolstered by the patternated staining on the grey concrete university tower. Its a shame that the sky chose to be so blue really. A good overcast grey would have really finished off the pallette.

Just in case you thought it might be odd to find some motorway going through a major city they have put some signs up to remind you. This is based on the same principle applied to cycle signage. Here they want cars to use the motorway, therefore = lots of signage to help you find it and use it. In most other places those people on bikes tend to get in the way a bit so avoiding helpful signage where possible will discourage them.

Some inconsiderate railway people have gone and put this bridge over the road. Next time they should be made to use some grey engineering bricks instead of those colourful reds ones or better yet make it out of concrete. And that stone detailing around the base of the arches is just showing off. Nobodies looking up there when they need to concentrate on which lane to be in for the junction ahead.
Cycling on the motorway is alot of fun, but I think I'll give it a miss on Monday when its open again.

*Update: Here's the plaque, made of concrete no less. This little spot beside Brook St is actually quite nice to travel through when the sun is out, hence the large number of pedestrians and a bike in the photo. Just a shame that most of the other similar spots underneath the Mancunian way are used for private parking. Thye do make good skatepark locations in other spots though.


9 comments:

  1. Fantastic photos! And good timing! As I read that they had to reopen it late afternoon as a chap tried to jump off it, took a fair bit of police specialist officers to convince him to come down...

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  2. Great photos! I went at about 5pm intending to have a ride on the motorway, but it had reopened early.

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  3. Oops!. Well When I was there it was just me, some pigeons and a couple of hi-viz blokes fixing the armco. I wouldn't be suprised if he just went for a gander and found the greyness just too much to handle...

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  4. oh come on guys! all you need to do is man up and take the primary position. as long as motorists play nice and give that 3 feet passing room it should be perfectly safe to cycle on the motorway ;)

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  5. I cannot recommend cycling on fast roads no matter how quiet they are! LOL

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  6. and there is that great bit at the start of "Life on Mars" where John Sim is standing there looking at a poster for the futuristic 'urban motorway' which they haven't yet built. Having been to Halifax today I was struck by how insane their version is - looks like a snake coiling round and round. Bizarrely someone thought it might look better if they built the supports in stone

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  7. It was billed as the 'Highway in the Sky'. Even won the 1968 Concrete Society award - there is a plaque somewhere on Brook St.

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  8. A friend of mine just returned from cycling in Nay Pyi Taw, Burma's new capital. Apparently ALL the motorways are empty like this!

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  9. @Dr.Behooving - I hope your friend did a lot of cycling on them then!, got to make the best of it while you can.

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