Arthur’s bike blog

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Next Monday is the 15th anniversary of the opening of Jersey’s first Green Lane in the parish of St Peter on 29 June 1994.

Time is a great healer, and all the brouhaha has long since died down, but at the time the idea of Green lanes was quite alien, and indeed it remains so in a couple of parishes even now. What I find amusing about the whole thing is that it encompassed a full range of emotions right from the start.

In the beginning, the very idea that motor cars should slow down for anything was met with some ridicule. In fact, Mac Pollard who was the Constable of St.Peter at the time, took the idea to the States as a Private Member’s Bill because he got no support from his fellow Constables.

To many people’s surprise the scheme was a massive success, and very soon other parishes wanted their own Green Lanes as well. Quite quickly, St.Lawrence, St.Mary, St.Martin and St.Brelade had Green Lanes either proposed or in place. Within three years every parish that wanted Green Lanes, had them.

Has it been a success? Yes it has, it has been a great benefit to both islander and visitor alike; it has opened up some of the prettiest parts of the island and created a tranquil network for the non-motorised to get around on.

The final proof of the pudding must be the Silver Unicorn Award presented to Jersey for its Green Lanes in 1996, by the British Guild of Travel Writers.

Braking (hard) News

Cycleurope Workers Protest in Nantes

Workers from Cycleurope’s plant at Machecoul, near Nantes in Brittany, staged a demonstration in Nantes recently in an effort to get government’s incentives put in place to aid the sales of cycles.

The recent 30% drop in demand for bikes made at Machecoul forced the facility manager, Claude Figueras, to organise the protest in conjunction with trade union CGT. He said that despite all the publicity about the hire bike schemes in different cities, trade was weak.

In total there are around 10,000 bicycles used in the various schemes while 3.5 million bikes are sold annually in France. Figueras said that normally 400,000 bikes were made at Machecoul every year. This year he had hoped to produce 320,000 units, but at the moment it looked like this figure was going to fall short by 10,000 bikes.

The French trade union CGT called for the government to lower the tax on bikes to make French products competitive against goods brought in from the Far East. They also hoped that cities that ran bike rentals would source their bikes in France.

National Cycle Network sets new record

Sustrans has just released figures that indicate that over one million journeys a day were taken on its 12,000 mile network in 2008. From the figures supplied, it appears that pedestrians and cyclists share the routes equally.

This is the highest number of trips taken since the network opened 14 years ago. Of the 386 million journeys taken last year, 17 million were to school, 96 million were to work, and 134 million were taken by people who could have used the car instead.

• Arthur Lamy is the manager of Boudins for Bikes, in Sand Street, and author of Jersey Cycles. He has spent 15 years as a tourist guide and writer, and is also a keen photographer. More information can be found on his website:

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