Today was a fabulous commute, I was moving faster than any car, I took a route shorter than any car could take and I had a grin as wide as the Cheshire Cat as I cycled in serious smug mode. Why? Well I need to give you a short history lesson.
In 1985 we were listening to Jennifer Rush’s ‘Power of love’ and Huey Lewis and the News’ err… Power of Love. We were watching Micheal J Fox in ‘Back to the future’ and ‘Teen Wolf’ and Burton on Trent had just one road bridge crossing the River Trent, a River that splits the town in two, it was heavily congested.
In the summer of ‘85 a second ‘new bridge’ opened and soon it too was crazy busy and became clear it should have of been made four lane instead of two…..
St Peters bridge (as the ‘new bridge’ is properly called) now carries 24,000 vehicles a day… and today it shut for the next three months for essential maintenance… its thirty two years old and knackered. Strange the original bridge is nearly two centuries old and is closing next year for just two weeks again for essential maintenance… Modern bridge = 3 months, Victorian Bridge = 2 weeks. Work that out, because I can’t.
Today, the 24,000 vehicles joined the traffic that still uses the ‘Old Bridge’ or Burton Bridge…and to quote Phillips Madoc’s U-Boat Captain in Dads Army –
‘Nobody is moving….’
It was a complete shambles, Burton was gridlocked and so were the villages of Walton (five miles south of Burton) and Willington, (five miles north of Burton) both of which have river crossings. The local papers talked of four hour delays, and the schools aren’t even back yet
Me? I used a Joint Pedestrian/cycle bridge that I always use, it did seem a lot busier, it seems a lot of people who normally drive in walked and cycled,I hope they carry on when the road bridge reopens. It seemed at times though, I was on Blackpool Prom.
I cycle most days unless it’s raining and then I take our son to childminders to save him (and my wife) from getting wet. Unfortunately now I’m not even going to try and do the ten mile commute by car in the thirty minutes between the childminders opening time and my start time.
So three months of hundred mile a week commutes beckon… at least while I’m getting wet, I’ll be moving which is more than I would be in a car..
Once again ‘Entering Smug Mode’
about the author
Simon Elson is a self confessed Mamil that got into cycling to hide his Lycra fetish. He is also the author of a bestselling Ebook on Type 2 diabetes and cycling called ‘Sugar Beat: How I controlled T2 Diabetes through cycling’