Hey Wiggo - help maintain our canal cycle paths
Having heard Wiggo and the Team GB cycle coach separate involvement in cycling accidents with motorists over the past couple of days, I'm saddened to report that our own cycle paths are not being properly maintained. Many of our area's cycle paths utilise the abundance of canals we are lucky to have in the region and these are used by locals and tourists alike. I think the work done to improve these for cyclists in Stoke has been fantastic (come on Staffordshire Moorlands, it's your turn now!). For local cyclists, this allows us to exercise or commute well away from the roads of Stoke. Wiggo was fine when he came to Stoke to cycle as, for the Tour of Britain, he had the luxury of having the traffic blocked from his route. We locals don't get such benefits and knowing how dangerous Stoke can be for cyclists (worse than London by my own experience) the canals allow us to cycle safely. My brother-in-law spent a couple of weeks recovering from a car turning into him earlier this year in Wolstanton. I'm sure many motorists reading will be ready to vent their anger at us cyclists so if we take this from a motorist's viewpoint, these canal cycle paths also keep us pesky cyclists away from them. However, this year the hedgerow has been left to become so overgrown, it is forcing cyclists like myself back onto the road. In the area I cycle (from Stockton Brook to the bottom on Hanley) some parts of the path seem to have disappeared, making cycling and walking difficult as you often need to walk on the grass directly by the water. I say walk as don't make the mistake I did and cycle onto the grass, aquaplaning into the canal to be pulled out by a kind fisherman (his biggest catch story will amuse for years). The maintenance of the hedgerow is now performed by the Canal & River Trust, a charity who in these lean times have to cut back the service instead of the foliage. They have ignored my pleas for 6 months to rectify this but maybe it's time to get Wiggo on my side so I can once again cycle in safety.