Strava data demonstrates the need for the Cycleway

Strava is a website and mobile app used to track athletic activity with a particular focus on cycling. Cyclists can make use of various GPS devices (including their smart phones) to track their cycle routes with additional information calculated such as average speed, etc.

The routes recorded by users are uploaded to Strava’s website and are used to compare times for particular routes with other athletes. The app is used by serious athletes and by commuting and leisure cyclists.

With the data available on the Strava website, it is possible to aggregate the routes to explore the most commonly used routes in a particular area. This information has been made freely available here.  Lines are drawn to show the number of journeys on each route with red showing the most heavily used roads with blue showing less used routes (zoom in to see detail). The intensity of the red colour gives an indication of the number of cyclists with the most red being the most heavily used routes.

The 2017 release of data (restricted to include cyclists only) has been used to create the map showing how cyclists along the Derwent Valley are forced to use the A6 between Belper and Derby due to the lack of suitable alternatives.It is obvious that north south cycling journeys need to use the A6 with occasional usage of routes such as Duffield Bank/Eaton Bank (which are also unsuitable routes due to their narrowness).

In comparison, the second map shows the excellent Riverside path from Derby past Pride Park to Raynesway and the A6 south of Derby. It can be seen that, with the provision of a suitable route for cyclists, a large amount of the cycle traffic that previously used the road (e.g. A6) can be transferred to the traffic free route (e.g. Riverside path).

It is clear that the provision of a route of similar quality to the Riverside path north of Derby would allow for most of the cycle traffic on the A6 to migrate to the new, much more suitable traffic free route (i.e. the proposed Derwent Valley Cycleway).

Whilst the results are compelling, the actual requirement for the Derwent Valley Cycleway is probably even more clear as the Strava data only includes information on trips actually taken by cyclists using the Strava app.  Therefore, no data is collected on cyclists who would have wished to undertake a particular trip by bike but were prevented from doing so by, for instance, the level of traffic on the available routes.

The Strava app tends to be used by more frequent and sporting cyclists so those cyclists making occasional leisure trips may not be represented in the data. Including these riders would further strengthen the message.

Article about the Cycleway

Thanks to Steve Adams for the following article about “The Derwent Valley Cycleway”.

We are so lucky to live in the Derwent Valley. We have beautiful scenery on our doorstep, a wealth of fascinating historical features, and excellent public transport. So why do we need a cycleway in the Derwent Valley?

Actually the more appropriate question is: why isn’t there one already? The Derwent Valley is a much used tourist area, close to population centres in all directions. The valley from Cromford southwards is a World Heritage Site incorporating the mills at Cromford, Belper, Milford and Derby, which were of major significance in the birth of the industrial revolution. The valley is wide enough to accommodate the Cromford canal, the railway line from Derby to Matlock, and the A6 trunk road, as well as the river itself, and there is still sufficient space for a cycleway.

The Derwent Valley already attracts cycling clubs and sports cyclists, who can be found speeding along the A6 or enjoying hill climbing on lanes up the valley sides. What the valley does not cater for is the occasional cyclist at one extreme and the commuter cyclist at the other, nor is it a safe or appealing route for cycling families. If the number and range of cyclists could be increased, it would open up all sorts of commercial opportunities to support the tourist demand, like bed and breakfast, cafés, and bike hire. The many tourist attractions would benefit too by increased numbers of visitors and less congestion from motor vehicles.

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Your chance to shape Derbyshire’s cycle network plans

Derbyshire County Council are offering the opportunity to help shape what the cycle network in Derbyshire should look like as Derbyshire Council and Active Derbyshire work towards their goal of making Derbyshire the most connected county for cycling in England by 2030.

The current suggested network map can be seen here. All the suggested projects would be welcomed but it would be useful if you could review the map and then make your comments as to how the Derwent Valley Cycleway would be the most useful project.

Continue reading “Your chance to shape Derbyshire’s cycle network plans”