Tuesday 20th August 2013.

There was before me, as I cycled the cool dullness of this morning, a very wide, slow-moving, road-sweeper vehicle that was, to some extent, holding-back the traffic. And me. Being trapped, at a speed even lower that I ride at, gave me chance to observe the superbly equipped machine trundling in front. Circular brushes whirled, and, here’s the good bit, some of the gutter crap was indeed Hoovered up to disappear up (or was it down?) the tubes (of the machine) while some of it was brushed about a bit and then redistributed, broadly, across the road! So it was obviously a machine designed for and by someone governmental!
But that was by the way. Being behind this behemoth was a drag and, seeing a left-turn side street off the main road, I darted left and cycled on.
Over the years of geriatric, vintage cycling, I’ve often wondered why folk spend fortunes on mudguardless bikes with huge, heavy, suspension systems that they ride along modern roads.
Today, down those side-streets, I found out!
The side streets are a patchwork-quilt of old and new botched-up repairs. In some areas putting the above road-sweeper to work would simply mean the removal of what’s left of the ‘road’.
Yet, a few days ago, I cycled the newly tarmac’d Sculpture Trail, out of Radcliffe, and it was as smooth as silk.
Surely, if the council ask nicely, the boys from the black stuff would oblige, with the bit they always have left over.
For some reason I can’t get excited about HS2. I’ve seen, and heard, all of this clap-trap many times before. Those governmental propose something colossal and the public rants either way. The initial cost ‘estimates’, carefully leaked, (?) show a doubling, or later, a trebling, of the original cost figures. The public veer to a NO opinion. Those governmental, shaking their heads, eventually agree, against their better judgement, not to fund and build the said colossus.
A few years later, when the railways are no more than old Cortina-engined cattle-trucks, (erm, like now you mean?)(hey!! an old Cortina engine will run anything!) the public will be screaming for something better for their money. ‘But,’ those governmental will say, ”Tis your own fault, ’twas you lot that refused the offer of the HS2!’
So, as always, rather than trot meekly into a designated ‘pen’, I simply prefer to ignore.
Not to mention that by far the best railway system I’ve come across is the one run by fans and volunteers and, of course customers, up at Bury. This steam train route was first developed by pitching the freezing, wattle and daub housed peasants, that were in the way, into nice, warm, council-houses. No ‘anti’s’ there – in fact many got well-paid coal-shifting or wheel-tapping jobs on or around the old railways.This system too provided a travel mode that the public enjoy to this day. Therefore cost and speed are secondary.

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