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Mr Crud rides the route ahead of Sustrans restoration work

The man who founded bike accessories firm Crud has uploaded footage of himself riding the Cinder Track and invited people to decide for themselves whether it requires extensive restoration. Pete Tomkins opposes Sustrans plans for the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby, arguing that the work will fundamentally alter its character.

Tomkins says that the video was shot the morning after heavy rain when a number of local roads were closed due to flooding.

“The line was completely passable. What you see here is minor drainage issues, mostly cured with a bit of spade work.”

However, he adds that those of a nervous disposition should look away because, “some of these puddles are up to one inch deep.”

Sustrans unveiled draft plans for restoration of the Cinder Track last month. The council had been due to review them earlier this week but Yorkshire Coast Radio reports that it was felt that too much information was lacking. A task group is to be set up.

Tomkins is adamant that extensive work is unnecessary.

“I vehemently oppose the scheme. The track is absolutely beautiful as is. It has not seen any basic maintenance for years, but is perfectly rideable.”

He is particularly concerned by plans to increase the width of the path.

“Sustrans proposes a 3m wide hard surface with 1m drainage ditch plus a further metre either side for verges. In total, a 20ft wide, 20-mile long development to basically turn the track into a cyclists’ highway.

“This would involve habitat destruction on an epic scale. Sustrans cost the works at £7.2 million plus VAT.”

Nor is Tomkins alone. Over 4,300 people have signed the Help Save Our Cinder Track! online petition with several thousand more also signing a printed version.

Speaking about the draft plans when they were first unveiled, Rupert Douglas, Sustrans Network Development Manager for Yorkshire, said that the track would be ‘sympathetically restored’.

“We are very clear that a tarmac surface is not suitable and is not appropriate for the whole 21.5 miles, so we have provided information about alternative surface options for consideration at sensitive locations such as in the North York Moors National Park. There’ll need to be more consultation with local communities about these options in more detail as part of the planning process.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

48 comments

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oldstrath [953 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Well, it's already better than a lot of Sustrans paths. Not sure I'd want to commute on it every day, but us that a real usage?

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spen [208 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes

If that path is perfectly rideable then I can only assume that he finds it extremely difficult to ride in a straight line, why else would he keep swerving from side to side, after all it couldn't be to avoid the ruts, pools of water and large stones eroding out of the path surface could it.

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pockstone [155 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Thanks for this, and the link to the petition, which I have just signed. If you love this track, or just appreciate peaceful cycling and walking routes with abundant wildlife at your shoulder please sign it too.

Not every cycleway has to be a linear velodrome!

I shall be contacting Sustrans also, to ask that they spend the money somewhere it's needed.

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StoopidUserName [390 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes

Looks proper shit tbh

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WillRod [254 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Even with his Crud mudguards he swerved all over the place avoiding potholes and puddles.

 

It looks to me like it needs to be repaired and widened slightly to make it easier for cyclists to pass each other. 3m wide tarmac and two 1m wide ditches is overkill though.

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dreamy [13 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

100% agree. Stop taken away spaces from people and start reallocating road space to cycles.

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bobinski [283 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

It clearly needs to be accessible to all cyclists able and not so able  and not just sporty cyclists with spotty bikes.

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mike the bike [1001 posts] 5 months ago
10 likes

 

Whatever the outcome I'm confident it will be better than my local council's latest effort.  They re-surfaced a three-mile section of cycleway using gravel compressed into a shingle base, which, to be fair, is cheaper and lower maintenance than tarmac.  Unfortunately, in a spectacularly inept moment of madness, they chose as the top layer millions of tiny flint arrowheads, leading to dozens of punctures and dozens of cyclists avoiding the place.  I remember meeting a group of three riders all hunched over their upturned bikes fixing a total of four flats.  Only the knobbliest of off-road tyres proved safe.

Pleas from experienced cyclists to remedy the situation were fobbed off with the excuse that if it was a suitable surface for Kew Gardens it was good enough for us.  When it was repeatedly pointed out that Kew's paths were for walkers and not bikes they retreated into their bunker and took a full year to send out the sweepers to get rid of some of the offending gravel.  You couldn't make it up.

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Leviathan [2932 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes

Seems like he likes it the way it is because it suits his style of riding. It doesn't seem to provide an all year safe cycling route for all abilities that is supposed to be part of a national network. There are still no end to the number of bridleways and MTB trails available if that is what he likes.

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wellsprop [718 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

I agree that the path looks great in terms of naturalness and lets you get close to nature - would love to CX that (though I sold my CX bike!).

However, for any other type of riding, it looks a bit... pants  7

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Al__S [1284 posts] 5 months ago
6 likes

If they want to keep it that way, it should have all Sustrans signs and any future funding taken away. Wholly inappropriate to be "National Cycle Network" and nothing to do with "Sustainable Transport"

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Jitensha Oni [104 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes
Leviathan wrote:

Seems like he likes it the way it is because it suits his style of riding. It doesn't seem to provide an all year safe cycling route for all abilities that is supposed to be part of a national network. There are still no end to the number of bridleways and MTB trails available if that is what he likes.

+1

He's also mistakenly conflating the scenery with the riding surface IMO. See for example...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev7e9s0vups&t=8m25s

(watch until about 9 mins for the variety of people that can use a properly sealed and drained surface in a rural setting)

 

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kevvjj [329 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes
Leviathan wrote:

Seems like he likes it the way it is because it suits his style of riding. It doesn't seem to provide an all year safe cycling route for all abilities that is supposed to be part of a national network. There are still no end to the number of bridleways and MTB trails available if that is what he likes.

Yep, totally agree. A very blinkered and selfish 'protest' in my opinion. Just wants to keep it for his style of use and bugger everyone else! It should be open to all abilities, even wheelchairs etc. It needs upgrading but perhaps not so wide - consultation is the key.

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mistercrud [15 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes

Some of you guys are missing the point.

The Cinder Track has been a Bridleway principally used by walkers for 60 years. Cyclists are a relatively recent subgroup of users. This "Highway one" designation arrived unannounced and unwanted last year.

The principal user group (walkers) do not want to see this charming, tree-lined route "improved" to a 2-lane cyclists highway. We currently have a great mix of users with no one group having hegemony. The nature of the track precludes high speeds (except on the short 30mph featureless section already widened and hard-surfaced that you can see on the video). 

 

As Nature intended, a meandering, tree-lined nature trail. That is how we wish it to stay. 

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mistercrud [15 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes
Al__S wrote:

If they want to keep it that way, it should have all Sustrans signs and any future funding taken away. Wholly inappropriate to be "National Cycle Network" and nothing to do with "Sustainable Transport"

 

Agreed! Get rid of the Sustrans signeage. Leave the Cinder Track as-is for the thousands of holidaymakers and nature lovers who currently love it. The 4,300 who have signed the petition totally reject Sustrans' subjugation of the track.

 

PS Friendly considerate cyclists who don't mind the odd puddle will always be welcome...

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spen [208 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

The path is a former rail line and only exists because of the railway.  There is nothing natural about it, not it's route, not it's surface and not it's flora.  It is entirely and completely a man made construct and not "as nature intended" (leaving aside the anthropomorphism)

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JonD [494 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes
mistercrud wrote:

Some of you guys are missing the point.

The Cinder Track has been a Bridleway principally used by walkers for 60 years. Cyclists are a relatively recent subgroup of users. This "Highway one" designation arrived unannounced and unwanted last year.

The principal user group (walkers) do not want to see this charming, tree-lined route "improved" to a 2-lane cyclists highway. We currently have a great mix of users with no one group having hegemony. The nature of the track precludes high speeds (except on the short 30mph featureless section already widened and hard-surfaced that you can see on the video). 

 

As Nature intended, a meandering, tree-lined nature trail. That is how we wish it to stay. 

'Relatively recent subgroup' maybe, but perhaps you ought to revisit the scope of 'bridleway'. If I wanted to ride something that crappy I'd stick to paths along the Thames, mtb trails or other bridleways... as someone that has mostly has to ride a recumbent (2-wheel fwiw) because of dodgy neck, if I came across that 10 mile into a 20+ miles ride I'd be a bit pissed off. 'As nature intended'...well, that depends on which handful of decades you're referring to.

It's not all about *your* riding experience...

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mistercrud [15 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

"A Bridlepath, also Bridleway, is a path, trail, or thoroughfare used by people riding horses. They often now serve a wider range of users, including equestrians, walkers, and cyclists",

Wikipedia.

 

Many horse riders use this line. They definitely do not want a hard surface and the "speedy", entitled cyclists that will inevitably follow.

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mistercrud [15 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
spen wrote:

The path is a former rail line and only exists because of the railway.  There is nothing natural about it, not its route, not its surface and not it's flora.  It is entirely and completely a man made construct and not "as nature intended" (leaving aside the anthropomorphism)

 

It's a "Wildlife Corridor".  Even Sustrans acknowledge that! 

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Crippledbiker [23 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

I'm a hand cyclist, and I'd seriously struggle to get down it in the current state. I can't swerve to avoid all those puddles and holes, you see.

Preventing even a surface repair is pretty damned selfish.

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Spike64 [17 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes

This was the quality of the surface the last time I rode it. The video is pretty selective !

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 5 months ago
7 likes

Does seem a shame to fundamentally change the character of such a path for the benefit of a limited user group.

I can see why walkers, horsists, and singletrack riders don't want a recreational route upgraded to the equivalent of a cycle motorway. Not only are you going to loose the character but you might create more conflict between cyclists going quite a lot quicker and slower users. Even the picture posted by Spike64 above looks far more inspiring to ride than pavement.

In short, I'm with Mr Crud on this one and would sooner see the £7.5million go to fix potholes on cycle commuter routes in this particular instance.

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davel [2109 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
mike the bike wrote:

 

Whatever the outcome I'm confident it will be better than my local council's latest effort.  They re-surfaced a three-mile section of cycleway using gravel compressed into a shingle base, which, to be fair, is cheaper and lower maintenance than tarmac.  Unfortunately, in a spectacularly inept moment of madness, they chose as the top layer millions of tiny flint arrowheads, leading to dozens of punctures and dozens of cyclists avoiding the place.  I remember meeting a group of three riders all hunched over their upturned bikes fixing a total of four flats.  Only the knobbliest of off-road tyres proved safe.

Pleas from experienced cyclists to remedy the situation were fobbed off with the excuse that if it was a suitable surface for Kew Gardens it was good enough for us.  When it was repeatedly pointed out that Kew's paths were for walkers and not bikes they retreated into their bunker and took a full year to send out the sweepers to get rid of some of the offending gravel.  You couldn't make it up.

Yeah, unfortunately I suspect this is replicated throughout the country - I know two fairly local 'upgrades' to towpaths and stretches of the NCN that went exactly the same way. The sections of path were closed for months as they did the work, then it was puncture central.

From chatting to riders on the road diversions while the paths were out of action, and to those afflicted by punctures (and while I was fixing punctures myself), I expect the end result is that a lot of previous path-riders gave up with them in favour of the local roads.

Two tyre changes later, I found some knobbly Armadillos that weigh a ton but just laugh at the surface. They are the Batfink of tyres.

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spen [208 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
mistercrud wrote:
spen wrote:

The path is a former rail line and only exists because of the railway.  There is nothing natural about it, not its route, not its surface and not it's flora.  It is entirely and completely a man made construct and not "as nature intended" (leaving aside the anthropomorphism)

 

It's a "Wildlife Corridor".  Even Sustrans acknowledge that! 

 

You obviously don't understand the meaning of natural.  Putting a bitmac surface on it won't stop it being a " wildlife corridor", a meaningless and largely discredited concept clung to by people who were told they were wonderful twenty years ago and have avoided learning anything new since.  

That path is an insurance claim waiting to happen.  

You come across as someone who wants to exclude as many people as possible to keep this for yourself.  Perhaps you could tell us how the condition of this path, which could be very easily and practically, be made wheel chair friendly, it isn't now,  conforms to the DDA?  Strikes me sustrans have the interests of the wider community at heart on this one.  If that surface was replaced with beyond it wouldn't last 10 years, a bitmac surface, especially with improved drainage, would last 25 to 30

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FluffyKittenofT... [1972 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

The walker/pedestrian in me has significant sympathy for the anti-tarmac argument.

I would prefer that fast utility/commuter routes used strips of land alongside existing roads, either reappropriated from the roads themselves or from adjoining land (or just took over existing roads entirely - motorists can stick to the motorways and dual-carriageways built for them at great expense).

Once these sorts of paths get tarmacced not only do they unavoidably have a different feel to them, but I'd worry that you'll eventually get motorised traffic appropriating them as has happened with the every other throughfare.

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wellsprop [718 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
mistercrud wrote:

Some of you guys are missing the point.

The Cinder Track has been a Bridleway principally used by walkers for 60 years. Cyclists are a relatively recent subgroup of users. This "Highway one" designation arrived unannounced and unwanted last year.

The principal user group (walkers) do not want to see this charming, tree-lined route "improved" to a 2-lane cyclists highway. We currently have a great mix of users with no one group having hegemony. The nature of the track precludes high speeds (except on the short 30mph featureless section already widened and hard-surfaced that you can see on the video). 

 

As Nature intended, a meandering, tree-lined nature trail. That is how we wish it to stay. 

Hi Mistercrud, I must admit, I do mostly agree with that (strange, as I thought I would have been all for turning it into a dedicated cycle path).

It is clearly marked on OS maps as a permissive bridleway (which subsequently means it can be used for cycling) as such, it is also marked as an off-road cycle route.

Seems to me, the argument isn't about whether it should be improved - rather it is about if the fundamental use should be completely altered - widening it and paving it specifically for cyclists and designating it as a cycle path, rather than a bridleway.

I can see why a lot of people would very much be put off from cycling between Scarborough and Whitby; the Cinder Track is suited for CX or MTB and the A171 looks like a 60mph reasonably hilly road (not suitable for family cyclists).

The A171 looks like a fantastic route though and I'd love to give it a go if I'm ever up that way!

As nice as it would be to have a totally car-free cycle route, beautifully tarmaced for cycling - I don't think this place for it as it would ruin the bridleway.

I would, however, say that the path isn't at all as nature intended, it's a disused railway that runs through cuttings and along embankments - but I get your point.

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wellsprop [718 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

I would prefer that fast utility/commuter routes used strips of land alongside existing roads, either reappropriated from the roads themselves or from adjoining land (or just took over existing roads entirely - motorists can stick to the motorways and dual-carriageways built for them at great expense).

Me too.

My commute involves cycling a busy 50mph A road (A38 from the airport into Bristol) - I don't mind it, but if there were an alternative dedicated path beside the road, it'd be amazing!

 

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Gus T [324 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

I live a few miles south of here and we have a similar route from Hull to Withernsea and I agree with mrcrud on this, the railway line doesn't need replacing with a metalled surface it just needs maintaining.  If the surface is maintained correctly it can be ridden by bikes shod with anything but 23 & 25mm road tyres. Replacing rather than maintaining seems to be the current mantra.

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Ush [1051 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

The walker/pedestrian in me has significant sympathy for the anti-tarmac argument. I would prefer that fast utility/commuter routes used strips of land alongside existing roads, either reappropriated from the roads themselves or from adjoining land (or just took over existing roads entirely - motorists can stick to the motorways and dual-carriageways built for them at great expense). Once these sorts of paths get tarmacced not only do they unavoidably have a different feel to them, but I'd worry that you'll eventually get motorised traffic appropriating them as has happened with the every other throughfare.

 

All this ^^^.    There are enough places tarmacced-over already. 

Removing the trees and gorse hedges would turn a lovely path into a scorching heat trap in the summer.

In addition:  we read/post a lot of complaints on this website about cyclist/ped conflicts... MrCrud's video is a nice antidote to all that, showing adult humans sharing a public space.  Nice one!

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Ush [1051 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
spen wrote:

If that path is perfectly rideable then I can only assume that he finds it extremely difficult to ride in a straight line, why else would he keep swerving from side to side, after all it couldn't be to avoid the ruts, pools of water and large stones eroding out of the path surface could it.

Why do you insist on being able to ride in a straight line without the odd adjustment for the road surface?  

Even on a road surface you've got be able to adjust for variations and irregularities in the road... there's just a few more of them on this path... which is lovely as is.  If you want a high-speed, low variation surface then there's already an extensive network of them blighting the land.  

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