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Discussion Starter #1
Please post your routes here (with map if possible).

As a rule please try to keep any routes 95% off road (bridleways/cycleways/canal towpaths/disused railways etc), and away from busy roads.

Also please try to make them circular.

There is already a lot being done for cycling in Leeds, including:

Leeds Core Cycle Networkhttp://www.leeds.gov.uk/Transport_and_streets/Transport_policy/Leeds_Core_Cycle_Network_Project.aspx

Leeds Leisure Cycle Maps http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Transport_and_streets/Walking_and_cycling/Cycling_maps_available_for_the_Leeds_area.aspx

Sustrans Projects to connect longer routes http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sustrans-near-you/north-of-england/yorkshire
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I've devised a rating system (please apply to any routes posted here), also please provide a brief description including location, terrain, effort, on road etc. Why not give your route a name, and suggest pit stops (pubs), or parking places for those not local.
Things to rate
How Hilly (From 1 totally flat, to 5 mountainous)
Off Road (From 1 on road, to 5 100% off road)
Length (1 = An hourish 2 = 2/3 hours 3 = an afternoon 4 = 1 day 5 = 2 or more days)
User Rating (Your own rating from 1-5 (best))

If you try someone else's route why not give feedback and a user rating?

OK so here's my latest route.

There are a couple of short sections on very quiet country lanes, and one very short section on a busyish country road (where it is possible to use the footpath) and a couple of busy roads to cross. However 95% is off road tracks.


South East Leeds Loop:
How Hilly: 2/5 (some short hills, mainly flat)
Off Road: 4/5 (some short sections on quiet roads)
Length: 3/5 (Will fill an afternoon)
User rating: 4/5 (A nice length, fairly flat, varied scenery)

From King Edward Avenue, Great Preston (can park here), cross Leeds Road on "The Lines Way" route. Bear left on the disused railway towards Garforth.
Continue on this route, until after passing "Townclose Hills" Nature Reserve you come to a cross roads with another track - take the steep down hill track to the left (Brecks Lane).
Follow Brecks Lane all the way through the smelly farm yard to Wakefield Road.
Turn left then immediate right onto the quiet Leeds Lane.
At Swillington Lane turn left, after a short distance take a right onto the Bridlepath by Hollow Drift Farm.
Follow this route over the bridge across the M1
Cross Bullerthorpe Lane, entering the Temple Newsam estate (could park here - beware car crime) and turning immediate left on the Bridleway.
Follow this before again crossing back over the M1 and arriving at Newsam Green Rd
Turn left, following the road (bear right) to it's junction with Jinny Moor Lane (could park here).
Turn right on Bullerthorpe Lane (there is a quiet path next to this busy road which I recommend).
At the end of Bullerthorp Lane turn right on Aberford Rd, crossing the first bridge, then crossing the road to enter the Bridleway following the road.
Once at the canal towpath turn left, crossing at the final lock just after the boat yard.
Stick by the canal/river, crossing over again at the second bridge (just before Pit Lane, Mickletown). It is possible to take a "pitstop" at The Commercial pub, just at the end Pit Lane.
Once over the river, turn right keeping on the made path until a right turn at a junction in the track takes you back in to Great Preston and King Edward Avenue. Final pit stop possible at Great Preston pubs/shop.

 

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Tried cycling to work a few times but atrocious drivers and too many hills soon put me off. I imagine Sheffield is even worse for hills...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Atrocious drivers, and hilly routes are exactly why I decided to start this thread.
There are routes around, but would be good to pool knowledge of these in one place.
The route I posted above is both flat and majority off road.

Having said that, I'd never consider cycling to the city centre due to the hills/bad drivers (unless via the canal towpath or similar).
 

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I cycle around and in/out of the city centre all the time. Not so much at the moment due to the weather, but when it's dry it's my main form of transport.

Drivers in Leeds are terrible- I think the road designs promote this though. Lots of road junctions are over-engineered, or have been made wider/with a relief curve or something so that cars can 'glide' round corners without having to slow down much. Just to think of a simple example, the junction of Cardigan Lane and Beechwood Crescent in Burley is very wide and basically means people can turn off the road by going straight. Anywhere else, this would have been made into a t-junction.

There are lots of hills in Leeds, but you get used to them after a while- especially on the routes I cycle regularly. Sometimes I have to get off and walk though. I do think it meas though that cycling in Leeds will never take off as a major form of transport- it's only good for relatively short travel between or within districts. Only the fittest could cycle from say Alwoodley - City regularly.

I've found I'd rather choose routes with two flat sections and one big hill than a never ending gentle gradient- those are killers. By the time I'm 3/4 of the way up the bus lane outside A660 on Blenheim Terrace outside Halo I'm basically dead- esp if I have a full bag!
 

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I've found I'd rather choose routes with two flat sections and one big hill than a never ending gentle gradient- those are killers. By the time I'm 3/4 of the way up the bus lane outside A660 on Blenheim Terrace outside Halo I'm basically dead- esp if I have a full bag!
I can sympathise with that - that hill up to the uni is a killer!

Back in my first year of uni, 6 years ago now, I used to live at Bodington Hall. The cycle in to uni was fantastic, but the route back was a killer. From the Arndale Centre in Headingley all the way up to Lawnswood Roundabout (about 2 miles) it was a gentle gradient that really wears you down!
 

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I cycle around and in/out of the city centre all the time. Not so much at the moment due to the weather, but when it's dry it's my main form of transport.

Drivers in Leeds are terrible- I think the road designs promote this though. Lots of road junctions are over-engineered, or have been made wider/with a relief curve or something so that cars can 'glide' round corners without having to slow down much. Just to think of a simple example, the junction of Cardigan Lane and Beechwood Crescent in Burley is very wide and basically means people can turn off the road by going straight. Anywhere else, this would have been made into a t-junction.

There are lots of hills in Leeds, but you get used to them after a while- especially on the routes I cycle regularly. Sometimes I have to get off and walk though. I do think it meas though that cycling in Leeds will never take off as a major form of transport- it's only good for relatively short travel between or within districts. Only the fittest could cycle from say Alwoodley - City regularly.

I've found I'd rather choose routes with two flat sections and one big hill than a never ending gentle gradient- those are killers. By the time I'm 3/4 of the way up the bus lane outside A660 on Blenheim Terrace outside Halo I'm basically dead- esp if I have a full bag!
Indeed, but another point I would add is that it will most probably never take off anywhere in this country as a truly major form of transport whilst thinking and practise remain the same. Look at the Netherlands, a country where 27% of all journeys are made by bikes and I think 35% of those under 10km (and of course journeys of this distance are the majority). The vast majority of it has cycling infrastructure everywhere, separate paths alongside main roads with priority at side roads, their own signals etc, sometimes wide separate lanes and advanced stop lines if necessary, networks of paths completely separate from the roads in some places (new towns especially), brick paved unmarked side streets with humps and 30 k/h speed limits, and vast amounts of parking to accommodate the vast number of cyclists. Apparently in this country 69% of people cycle less than once a year (so says a BMA survey) and 2% of trips are made by bike. Apparently 93% of Dutch people cycle once a week, so there isn't any 'them and us' about it. The 'school run' is a much reduced phenomenon over there too.

Of course they have a long culture of cycling but cycling also had a significant modal share here at one point then went into decline from the 1950s. It declined there too until policies changed in the 1970s and generally improved infrastructure has led to improved cycling rates, although of course there are variations due to trip distance/ease of car use/public transport availability etc too. Of course cycling has never regained its former pre-eminence since the car came about but things are a lot better than here. Denmark and parts of Germany have also had some successes but typically with worse infrastructure.

On topic, I have made a few rides around the bridleways near Scholes, Temple Newsam, the Navigation etc, but have never really invented a coherent route of the sort the OP demands. However that suggested route sounds very nice and despite the familiarity of the area I haven't really done any of it. Will give it a try in nice weather I think!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Let me know what you think! I've also some routes up my sleeve around Scholes/Barwick/Thorner/Pendas Fields/Garforth areas so watch this space (I'll post them as I try them)

For me to cycle to work, rather than by car, I demand:

1) Facilities at work including secure cycle parking and showers/wash rooms
2) A reasonable commute time by bike (max 1 hour) & reasonably flat
3) A route which totally (or 95%) segregates me from cars/lorries on the roads
4) Reasonable weather on the day of the commute

When all of these conditions are met, I consider cycling to work. I imagine this is the same for many. The final factors are a) my laziness (greatly affected by length of cycle) and b) the requirement for a car at work to travel.

Having said that, I must commend Leeds council on their attitude to cyclists at the moment - the Core Cycle Network project (linked above) looks an excellent scheme, and new roads such as the A63 has a segregated bike lane/path as mentioned in the post above, which runs all the way from J45 of the M1 (linked to Temple Newsam Bridleways) into the city centre - this shows that (albeit slowly) as roads are built and upgraded, good cycling provision should be added.
 

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1) Facilities at work including secure cycle parking and showers/wash rooms
2) A reasonable commute time by bike (max 1 hour) & reasonably flat
3) A route which totally (or 95%) segregates me from cars/lorries on the roads
4) Reasonable weather on the day of the commute
I don't have any of those luxuries, except for under 1 hour! The other options are bus or walk. Well, I suppose there's a cycle lane along Woodhouse Lane but I wouldn't really describe it as 'good segregation'.
 

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Let me know what you think! I've also some routes up my sleeve around Scholes/Barwick/Thorner/Pendas Fields/Garforth areas so watch this space (I'll post them as I try them)

For me to cycle to work, rather than by car, I demand:

1) Facilities at work including secure cycle parking and showers/wash rooms
2) A reasonable commute time by bike (max 1 hour) & reasonably flat
3) A route which totally (or 95%) segregates me from cars/lorries on the roads
4) Reasonable weather on the day of the commute

When all of these conditions are met, I consider cycling to work. I imagine this is the same for many. The final factors are a) my laziness (greatly affected by length of cycle) and b) the requirement for a car at work to travel.

Having said that, I must commend Leeds council on their attitude to cyclists at the moment - the Core Cycle Network project (linked above) looks an excellent scheme, and new roads such as the A63 has a segregated bike lane/path as mentioned in the post above, which runs all the way from J45 of the M1 (linked to Temple Newsam Bridleways) into the city centre - this shows that (albeit slowly) as roads are built and upgraded, good cycling provision should be added.
Jolly good, look forward to them, Cross Gates and Scholes being my usual stomping grounds when up here.

The Dutch tend to have what you demand, though reasonable topography will play a part as Leeds No.1 mentioned before I think. However things like the A63 path fall far short of this standard. You are basically riding on the pavement (and indeed that is a shared-use path); the points where you interact with the roads are never designed with the bike in mind. You will often find these routes starting and ending at random points where it is impossible to join and leave them without getting off and crossing a road, you have to use pedestrian crossing points and give way to all side streets etc. Contrast this with Dutch paths where they are designed almost as roads with their own signals (sometimes with extra time in the cycles and even all ways on green, very handy for left turns), continually marked across roadways etc with priority and smooth, no constant rising and falling for streets and driveways like with pavements. They are usually grade-separated from the pavement and the road, with some degree of physical separation from the road, and reasonably wide. From start to finish they are obvious and effortless to ride on and they have seamless transitions at start and finish (though busier roads will generally always have some provision as I said in an earlier post). Riding such paths as that on the A63 with all its stopping and starting, and avoiding obstacles (particularly with pedestrians around), simply doesn't cut the mustard. It is often much less tiring and much faster to ride on the road and only much higher quality and more comprehensive infrastructure is likely to attract new cyclists. The current crop won't bother with them either because of the aforementioned problems and the fact that they clearly don't mind current conditions.
 

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I agree, I don't think the A63 is a good example. Cycle lanes shouldn't be on pavements unless they have to be- there was plenty enough room in this project to have separate cycleway.

There are some good cycle lanes around City Square, but they're nowhere near long enough to mean anything- nor do enough cycle lanes feed into them to make them well used. This very short section of cycleway at Sheepscar Interchange is what Leeds should be striving for in terms of cycle facilities:
 

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Of course if we are to truly have decent infrastructure where drivers give way etc, there would need to be enough of these routes around (and for the rules to be heavily drummed into other road users) for people to remember and make it work/avoid killing others. Those stretches you show look ok but as you they are tiny, they don't have priority and don't seem to make any sense or go anywhere. And just look at the inch-wide bits of paint on the road they run into!

I must admit I'm not too optimistic, given the them and us mentality, and even hatred, that one so often sees directed at cyclists (which would only be worsened by the prospect of re-allocating road space to them), and the possibilities that cycling presents are simply not on most people's radars. Oh, and the cycling lobbyists are all obsessed with the 'right to ride on the road', rather than acknowledging that most people would rather not if there was a decent alternative despite initial difficulties in setting this up.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I must admit as both a motorist and a cyclist, I hate bikes on the road.
As a motorist they slow you down, and can be tricky to pass. As a cyclist you're almost half expecting every car that passes to clip you with the wing mirror or worse.
As you say - cycle lanes need to be grade separated, not a line painted to section off a foot of the road.
I believe the Core Cycle Network project addresses this to some extent, but only by mainly trying to keep away from roads at all.
 

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In many cases I don't mind cyclists on the road when driving. In Leeds, roads tend to be wider or dual carriageways so there's more room to overtake. Try cycling in Harrogate- it's a nightmare where there really is a chance of getting clipped. Having said that, some smaller roads like Brudenell Road are a bit hairy in places.

I hate cycling on the pavement though- takes forever to get anywhere.
 

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It's all very well having showers at work, but showering and getting ready at work is fundamentally a pain in the arse, and I think it's unlikely that cycling to work will ever take off en masse, particularly as most offices have capacity for one shower, if that.
 

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YEP reporting a trio of new cycling routes are to open in leeds over the next few weeks. The Wyke Beck Way was the first to open yesterday. New routes from Alwoodly and West Park will be the next ones to fully open.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Try here: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Transport_and_streets/Walking_and_cycling.aspx
Also the Leeds Core Cycle Network mentioned above has been specifically routed to pass schools etc where possible...

Regarding Wykebeck Way - great to see continued investment in off-the-road cycle routes in Leeds during these times of austerity... I think eventually there will be a bike route on green off the road routes right from Golden Acre to Rothwell Country Park?...
 
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