Whenever possible I have commuted by bike. I cycled to school once I was in the 5th form. I cycled to work with my first job, and last year I cycled from Hull to Scunthorpe almost everyday. Last month I started a new job, and once again I am using a bike, although not for the whole journey. I catch the train to Wigan and cycle from there to Leigh, not the most exciting of routes. No mountain passes or scenic views, although there are plenty of pot-holes and more than one Aldi. The first week I borrowed a friends Brompton, but to be honest, I felt unsafe and have decided that folding bikes are not for me. So my old commuting bike that I had been trying to sell was brought back into action, seen below waiting for a train home.
The commute has it’s issues. I don’t take my bike on the train everyday, instead I leave it in a secure lock-up at Wigan station two nights a week, and the route is far too busy. I’m lit up with multiple lights but there are too many cars and I do worry that I’ll end up in A & E one day. The local council have created Advanced Stop Lines (ASL) at almost every junction, but the roads are too narrow to get past safely to take advantage. So I’ve been looking for alternative routes, also with very little success.
As you can see from the map above I’ve been all over the place, including some dead ends and much longer detours.. The canal tow path is traffic free, but it is slow with four barriers to navigate and steps over a bridge, along with dogs and runners. There are a couple of cycle paths, but I tried them once and vowed never again. A complete mudfest, and once it’s dark they will be impossible to navigate. So after five weeks of commuting I have probably found the best route, Hindley to Hindley Green, and Westleigh into Leigh, but I’ll keep having a look.