Agbrigg to Walton Path
Events – Holiday Wednesdays
– Thornes Park
– Agbrigg celebration
Reporting Close Passes
After a long campaign, reported in previous newsletters, and some trials and tribulations along the way, the new Agbrigg to Walton path has now been completed and is already being put to good use. It was officially opened in the presence of Council Leader Denise Jeffrey, the local MP Jon Trickett, local councillor Usman Ali, representatives of Agbrigg and Belle Vue Community Association, including their director Peter Hirst, Wakefield District Cycle Forum, Friends of Walton Colliery Nature Reserve and the Wakefield Express.
It’s not entirely over yet. Comments were made about the difficulty crossing Oakenshaw Lane to get to Walton Country Park. The speed limit is 60mph and the crossing point is between two blind bends. We have suggested extending the 30mph limit a fairly short distance to cover the area would be a start, plus a raised crossing and some warning signs.
Whilst fit cyclists shouldn’t have much problem, wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs and the more infirm are in danger of getting run over. The hard of hearing are also at more risk but that vulnerability will extend to us all as the usage of electric vehicles expands. Unfortunately, road schemes in other parts of the city seem to have increased the traffic on Oakenshaw Lane apparently starting as early as 7 am. We pointed out that it would help active travel immensely if the situation were remedied. The manager of WMDC’s traffic team has been asked by the Service Director for Environment, Street Scene & Climate Change, Gary Blankinsop, (who kindly arranged for both the redundant and new kissing gate at Agbrigg to be removed) to consider the proposal and come back to us. Their response will be passed on as soon as we get it.
After a lengthy hiatus due to Covid, WDCF has been able to resume its much missed August Holiday Wednesdays at Nostell.
These popular events are completely free to participants and involve an information stand, unusual bikes to try, a ride round the park and, most important, a cycle skills course.
Children can use their own bikes or one of the Forum’s to go round the circular course, complete with twists and turns, a roundabout, move the cone, bumpy road, magic curtain and finally a horn to stop the clock. Children can choose to be timed and compete against themselves or their friends or try for the fastest time of the day. Certificates are awarded to all taking part who want them.
This year, in addition to our six Holiday Wednesdays, we have been involved with two Kids Cycle Days at Thornes Park. These formed part of an inexpensive holiday play scheme run by WMDC during the summer school holidays. We ran morning and afternoon sessions at the athletics track for two groups of children each day, starting with a timed skills course. It was somewhat windy the first day, resulting in an escape attempt by the gazebo, fortunately foiled.
The children then tried out a variety of adapted cycles, including hand cycles, tricycles and quadricycles, one of which some adult leaders managed to overturn. Finally, the children tried bursting water balloons by cycling over them. They had much more success with this on the second week as the balloons didn’t keep blowing away and they had more water in them so were easier to burst.
To introduce the Agbrigg to Walton path to the community, a three day event was arranged, starting with an evening stroll from Agbrigg to Walton Country Park on Friday 29th July. On Saturday morning, there was a rainy walk leader training whilst our comfortable WDCF gazebo offered information, publicity, a bike doctor and shelter. Future Selph had organised a bike themed family treasure hunt, attracting more visitors. On the last day, a choice of a morning stroll, guided cycle rides morning and afternoon or pond dipping was offered.
To build on these events, we ran a series of short introductory cycle rides on Saturdays 13th, 20th, and 27th August from the Community Centre to Walton Country Park. We negotiated the delivery of a collection of bikes and bike lockers to the Community Centre for these and further events which are planned to include rides, maintenance sessions and ride- leader training.
In the past, we have attended a number of galas and fetes and would hope to do so next year. Volunteers are always needed to set up the gazebo and the course, help the children find a suitable bike and helmet, making any necessary adjustments, time the riders, ensuring they go the right way round the roundabout, hold the bike while they move the cone from one stand to the other, hand out information leaflets, man the small tombola we run to raise funds, lead the ride round the park and help put everything away at the end. We are grateful to all of you who have turned up to assist over the summer. Both new and experienced volunteers will be welcome next year. It’s a good opportunity to introduce your non-cycling spouse or partner, children and grandchildren to WDCF and wheely good exercise.
We are more than fulfilling our commitment to WMDC to provide 50 guided rides a year and now have regular rides from Aspire Pontefract Park, Anglers Country Park, the Darrington Hotel, Nostell NT, Queen’s Mill Castleford and Thornes Park Wakefield. We’re also looking into providing rides from new venues including Agbrigg Community Centre.
If you are interested in becoming a ride leader, we provide training, a smart orange vest, first aid kit and a pair of radios. The more leaders we have, the lighter the load on each of them so please consider volunteering.
This piece is peppered with ride photos. If your ride isn’t featured then feel free to email photos to me at email@example.com and I’ll try to fit them in the next edition, if Facebook doesn’t get them first!
West Yorkshire Police have teamed up with Bike Register® to encourage the registration of cycles owned by West Yorkshire residents. Every year thousands of bikes are stolen and even though many are recovered it is almost impossible to reunite the bikes with their owners due to a lack of recorded information.
Bike Register® run the National Cycle Database, a Police approved database that allows anyone with a cycle to register it for free with a serial or frame number. However, that alone will not make it a hard target for thieves so we encourage owners to mark the bikes with one of Bike Register’s Security marking kits– a visible deterrent that reduces the chances of being stolen and increases the chances of it being returned to the owner in the event of a theft.
Details are held on a secure online database which all UK Police Forces have access to. It is certified to ISO 27001 standard.
Follow your local Police Neighbourhood Team on Social Media sites for details of cycle marking events around the Wakefield area where you can have your bike marked and registered for free or purchase a pack from the Bike Register site www.bikeregister.com or any good bike store.
Owners obviously still need to follow good crime prevention advice to reduce the chances of becoming a victim by using an appropriate standard lock for the surroundings.
Please see West Yorkshire Police Pedal Cycle Security
WDCF are considering a cycle marking event later this year. Details will be on our Facebook page.
An increasing number of cyclists have a camera attached to their cycle helmets. This is not to bore relatives with a minute by minute record of a ride in the sunshine along the banks of the Barnsley canal or to show off their prowess getting up the hill to the plague stone in Ackworth in record time. It’s to deter close passes, to record bad driving that creates a risk to others and possibly to gather evidence for potential use in court in the event of an accident.
On most occasions, particularly on the off-road trails WDCF favours, nothing happens and the record is simply discarded. Sometimes, however, a vehicle overtaking a cyclist comes dangerously close or the driving is so poor that a collision was narrowly avoided. In those circumstances, it’s worth reporting the matter to the police via the Safer Roads Media Submissions portal, which can be found at West Yorkshire Police Safer Roads Submissions.
It only takes 5 or 10 minutes and you will need:
You must be willing to attend Court as a witness if required although, looking at West Yorkshire Police’s statistics, a high proportion of cases finish up with an educational course rather than a court appearance. Don’t put the post on Facebook if a case is going to be pursued.
I’m not suggesting we all turn into Jeremy Vine, but there seem to be a lot of drivers out there who need educating, especially in light of the paucity of safe, segregated cycle routes in local town centres.
Whilst workdays have remained low key, we have completed various tasks over the past few months and I would like to thank the small but dedicated group of members who regularly turn out to address issues on the network that we all use and enjoy.
Since the last newsletter report we have completed further edging works to the TPT in the canal cutting at Walton, installed the John Harvey memorial bench between Methley and Castleford and attempted to improve the drainage to the trail between Nostell and Anglers.
The channel and ditches will hopefully improve the condition of the path on the Wonders of Wakefield route between Nostell and Anglers where run off from the adjacent fields erodes the surface during wet spells. It remains to be seen how effective our work will be as it has barely rained since we put it in ,so further work may be necessary.
In July we completed a condition survey of the signage to the WoW route. It is a few years since this has been done and it was apparent that a more regular maintenance programme will be necessary in future. This will apply to the Wakefield Wheel route as well which is yet to be surveyed. We have already started to address the problems on the WoW. The picture below demonstrates a rather splendid new sign on the WoW / Wheel between Nostell and Anglers, courtesy of David Keighley.
We have a stock of signs for both routes and intend to bring the signage up to scratch on these popular trails.
Workdays were suspended in August as it is a busy month with events but we will be restarting in September. Notice will be sent out as usual to members who have expressed an interest in coming along. If you feel that you can spare a bit of time to get involved let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can be added to the circulation list. It’s not all digging holes and heavy work so come along if you can.
Andy (Work Group Coordinator)
Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? I was surprised to see that our last AGM was held as long ago as Wednesday 22nd September 2021, so we’re due another one soon. If you’d like to be more involved in the organisation of the Forum, there are a variety of roles to consider. The full list reads:
Chair – Chairing meetings. Liaison with partners in conjunction with Vice-Chair and other officers. (e.g. NT, Sustrans, TPT, Public Health)
Secretary – Arrange meetings. Prepare agendas. Produce minutes. Record resolutions and actions. Produce annual report
Vice-Chair(s) – Deputise for Chair. Liaise with partners (jointly with Chair)
Treasurer – Run bank account. Oversee income and expenditure. Produce regular account statements
Auditor – Audit accounts
Membership Secretary – Record and keep membership records. Circulate to membership when required.
Statistics Secretary – Record statistics for rides, events, etc.
Funding Officer – Identify funding sources. Make funding applications
Publicity and Communications officer – Produce press releases. Newsletter. Leaflet production and distribution
Facebook Administrators – Run Facebook page
Website Manager – Manage the website
Rides Manager – Keep records of ride leaders/helpers. Organise ride leaders/helpers’ meetings. Co-ordinate cover when necessary. Organise training.
Events Manager – Co-ordinate volunteers for events. Liaise with partners. Organise transport when necessary.
Workgroup Manager – Liaise with RoW/Highways. Organise volunteers and equipment
Council Liaison Group – Liaise with highways and planning. Liaise with Pan-Yorkshire and National cycling organisations. Liaise with other public cycling organisations.
Safeguarding Officer – Dealing with any safeguarding issues that might arise. Offering relevant advice as support as required.
The committee isn’t as large as this list suggests and many of its members carry out more than one function. For example: the Chair produces the newsletter, the Treasurer acts as Statistics Secretary and the Rides Manager is also involved with the website and Facebook page. All positions come up for election at the AGM so if there’s one of them you’d be interested in, let our Secretary Mark Beswick know.
Members will be receiving notification of the date, time and venue for the AGM in the near future. If you’ve got ideas to promote cycling locally or for changes which you feel would benefit the Forum or you just want to see everyone, do come along.