Those lovely people at Pedal On Parliament are organising Pedal On Postbox. The idea is to get together a like minded group of people to descend on a local postbox (ideally a golden postbox so as to hook into the Olympic legacy vibe) for a photo opportunity of us all posting letters and postcards to our local councillors highlighting areas in need of change where cycling infrastructure is concerned, and encouraging them to become agents of these changes.

I saw this as an opportunity to organise my own local event. Other events are happening in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dumfries. There is a golden postbox in the city of Dunblane, in honour of Andy Murray’s Men’s Singles Olympic gold, which is not far from where I live, so I decided to organise an event there at 2:30 pm, Sunday September 16th, 2012.

I live in Alva, which is in the same constituency as Dunblane (our MSP is Keith Brown), but is not in the same local council area. Stirling council are responsible for Dunblane, while Clackmannanshire council look after Alva.

Since I work in the Stirling area, and travel there most weekends I believe I am justified in writing to Stirling council, despite not living within their borders.

Clackmannanshire

Clackmannanshire council have done a fairly good job of late. They have completed the path between Menstrie and Tullibody, and laid smooth tarmac on a stretch of the Menstrie-Alva back road that just a year ago was a gravelly lump.

Menstrie - Tullibody Path

The lovely new path between Menstrie and Tullibody

Alva Back Road

Some new tarmac on the back road, plus gates to stop it becoming a rat run.


View Larger MapGoogle Street View shows how it used to look.
There is a good network of paths in Clackmannanshire, but there are still a couple of journeys that are tricky.

The back road to Menstrie is the only way out of Alva that does not involve a busy main road. If you want to head to Tillicoultry then your choices are either the A91 which is busy, fast and a favourite speedway for some of the local idiots, or up into the hills via the Woodland park, which is tarmac up to the park, but soon becomes bumpy gravel that only the sturdiest mountain bikes can traverse.

If you want to get to Alloa or Sauchie then you can either take the long way via Menstrie, or get your heart in your mouth heading up Brook Street and over the Collyland Roundabout (with its wide lanes, fast approaches and mad drivers).

So, I would like to see Clackmannanshire Council improve cycle access from Alva to other parts of the county, not just Menstrie.

Dunblane

I don’t live in Dunblane, nor do I visit often, but since we’re meeting here I feel I should mention cycle access to the city. There are numerous quiet roads heading north, but Dunblane is a popular residence for people working in Stirling. To get to Stirling on a bike you have three choices.

The first is up the main road towards the Keir roundabout. This roundabout is where the M9 motorway meets the A9 dual carriageway. The traffic here is crazy. I cycle it myself but I would never consider taking anyone but the most confident road cyclists that way.

Dunblane Cycle Path

Cycle path in Dunblane. It’s really just a bit of extra road that was left over when the inside lane was turned into parking spaces. It goes into the door zone in parts.

End of CycleLane

The cycle lane is short-lived. What should I do here? Buckle my wheel on the kerb? Swerve into traffic? This is really poor.

Footpath out of Dunblane

The footpath alongside the road out of Dunblane. It’s not well maintained and not, legally speaking, suitable for cycling.

This video shows how busy the Keir Roundabout gets. This was taken around lunch time on a Friday.

Another choice is via Sherrifmuir. Well, only if you’re a serious climber who likes taking the long way round. It’s a serious climb.

Finally there is Glen Road. Ah, Glen road. It used to be a tarmac road between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, and was used by motorised traffic. However, subsidence into the Allan water meant that the road was closed to motors and given over to walkers and cyclists. Glen road would be the ideal way between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan and beyond if it were not for one problem. The road is a mess. I rode it late last year and managed it on my road bike, even though it was a little slushy. Today I went up there to discover great chunks gouged out of the road. There is also a bit where there has been a mud slide onto the road. The solution has been to use a few logs to make steps up to a narrow muddy path.

Glen Road, Bridge of Allan

Glen Road at the Bridge of Allan end. Shake dem bones on this surface.

Glen Road Sign

According to the sign, Glen Road is a shared use path, with cycling as one of the available uses.

Mud Pile on the road

But a big pile of mud on the road makes access difficult for everyone.

Water damage

What on earth happened here? Flood damage?

Mud Slide

Wow! That’s an impressive mud slide.

Mud Slide Solution

I really hope this makeshift path around the mudslide is not the final solution. It’s not suitable for cyclists or horses.

Dirty Bike

My filthy bike after traversing Glen Road.

Stirling Council need to consider the solutions. Either we need a decent cycleway between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan via the Keir roundabout, fully protected from motorised traffic around the roundabout, or we need a decent surface on Glen Road.

A91 and A907

Travelling from Clackmannanshire to Stirling has been made easier since the new Stirling to Alloa road was opened. The original road is now a joy to cycle, and is easy to access via the paths from Alloa and Menstrie. However, on crossing into Stirling District you then encounter the roundabout where the A907 crosses the A91. This is another crazy roundabout. The only provision here for cyclists are a few dropped kerbs and signs telling us to get off and walk. But where to? Beyond this roundabout there is no cycle provision in any other direction. All you can do is join a busy main road, and believe me the roads are busy enough that I would not like to take my family on them. Would it be possible to build a path from the end of the old Alloa road towards the railway, and cross the A91 under the bridge alongside the railway? I don’t know, but something needs to be done at this roundabout because the status quo is not acceptable. This video shows the roundabout at 5pm on a Friday from the point at which the old Alloa road ends.

These are the three areas that I will be mentioning to our councillors in my letter to them that will be posted in the golden postbox on Sunday.

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