Where can you cycle?

Tips and links for figuring how to fill a tile:

  • Get the VeloViewer Strava plugin for Chrome ( https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/veloviewer-strava-plugin/kdgpnlmocdpeckamipkkdblnfcpkgbno ). Among many snazzy features, this plugin allows you to overlay your completed squares when designing routes in the Strava RouteBuilder.
  • Big caveat! RouteBuilder and the other mapping sites such as RideWithGPS and GarminConnect do not always “know” which roads are private.
  • A good first approximation is use Google StreetView. If the StreetView car has been down a road, it is very likely to be a public road and also suitable road bikes.
  • In my area of the world, this simple approach gets me to about 90% of squares. But all is not lost! Just because a road is not open to public motor traffic, it may open as a bridleway. Google Maps and Open Street Map are not particularly good at marking bridleways. The OS maps are better but chargeable (spend £4 for one month and build a bank of routes to keep you going?). However most county councils will keep a copy of their “definitive map” of rights of way online

Legalities:

  • Remember it is legal to cycle on bridleways, restricted by-ways and ‘BOATs’ – ‘byways open to all traffic’. It is not legal to cycle on footpaths. I would like to know if there is ambiguity or problem in wheeling a bicycle along a footpath – there are some squares where I fear I need to do this!
  • For roads that are not public roads but are public bridleways, you often see signs saying simply “private” and you might fear that you are trespassing. In the cases where there is a public bridleway, you are not – some landowners simply don’t like to make it too obvious there is a public right of way for walkers, horse-riders and cyclists over their land. I have taken to printing out copies of the “definitive map” and bringing them on rides; just in case I get into a “discussion” with someone I meet out there – I want to prove that I made a good faith effort to stay on permitted routes.

I’m not sure ramblers tend to like cyclists all that much (gross generalisation!) but in many ways we share a common cause in being aware of and exercising our rights. Their rights of way FAQ is handy. Question 11 is about cycling – note it states that a cyclist cycling on the pavement (footway) can be fined on the spot thanks to the Fixed Penalty Offences Order 1999. As far as I know this is still true – even though Robert Goodwill (Transport Minister with responsibility for cycling) re-iterated in 2014 that cyclists should not be fined “to escape dangerous sections of road” – Telegraph article

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