Reivers Cycle Route through North Tyneside

Earlier this year (6th April 2005), Marge an I cycled the Reivers Cycle route from Seaton Burn to the
Blue Bell Inn, Shiremoor. What we found is Here.
It is out of date now but we promised we would do the cycle track from the Blue Bell Inn to the ferry terminal.

This is what we found.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3505 6661
We started from the ferry terminal's visitor car park.
Setting off at 12:17 on Sunday 17th July 2005.

A welcome to all but the English speaking visitors.
No sign of cycle track yet.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3464 6682
Past the Wet and Wild Swimmingpool.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3464 6682
The first indication we are on a cycle route,
but no route numbers yet.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3435 6701
At last a sign.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3435 6701
There it is in all its glory.
Why do routes 72 and (14) have red backgrounds, and 10 blue?
I guess 10 is a National Cycle route, whilst the others are local.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3435 6701
A very nice start to the Reiver's Cycle Route.
It is a cycle track and a pedestrian path.
The cycle track should have been wider, like four cyclist widths.
But let us be thankful that it is a track separate from road traffic.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3409 6715
A pleasant ride under a main road brings us to a quiet back road.
Pity there is not a cycle ramp down to the road, which is the end of St. John's Green.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3383 6732
The little arrow needs renewing further down St. John's Green.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3382 6728
The first of those wretched bollard barriers.
You have to dismount and lug your bike through them.
A National disgrace. What must cycling tourists think,
let alone local commuters and recreational cyclists.
We need to root out from local government the people who think up
constructions that impede what they are meant to encourage.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3374 6731
Just a bit on from the awful bollards is a junction which when coming from west to east
needs a sign to direct cyclists to the left fork, not straight on.
Why not plant one of those awful bollards in the grass with a direction indicator.
Even if you do go straight on there is no sign to say go left on the road.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3376 6733
Approaching the Percy Main Metro station,
another bollard obstacle, and litter.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3376 6733
Under the railway and looking back, it is appalling.
Under the bridge is a dumped settee, and to the left, right and behind
is not just one layer of litter, but layers of litter.
We have the same problem in Seaton Burn, litter everywhere.
I have never seen a litter picker in North Tyneside,
maybe they have them in Whitley Bay and Tynemouth.
I see them everywhere else but in North Tyneside.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3376 6733
Just here also is an arrow on a lamp post almost obscured by a hawthorn bush.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3355 6762
We go under the A193 North Shields/Wallsend road.
The cycle track has been much improved since we were last there.
Sorry about the backside view of Margie, she was writing down our observations
whilst I photographed and recorded the place on the GPS navigator.

Just further north is a marooned cycle barrier.
So wonderful to see it, impotent, and useless.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3275 6860
This looks like a serious problem, not for cyclists, but for Coast Road traffic.
The bridge is actually crumbling away, rotten concrete.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3240 6920
Whenever trimming hawthorn hedges you should also collect the trimmings on a cycle route,
The trimmings can cause punctures.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3226 6937
This is another busy road, I think it is Middle Engine Lane.
All it needs is a zebra crossing. Not a traffic light controlled crossing
but one where the person just has to place a foot on the crossing to stop the traffic,
cross the road, then the traffic starts again, without waiting for a stupid green light.
But just over the road is major works!

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3376 6733
They (North Tyneside) have removed the bollards.
Absolutely, fantastic, great! Things are looking up.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3376 6733
Looking back, however, we saw another cycle track still blocked by bollards.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3191 6993
Further on we came to a wetland.
There were frogs, moorhen and chicks, coot, dragonfly, pond beetles, ...
In fact behind what you see is a wet area which I think should be designated a nature reserve.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3187 6999
Another isolated obstacle. Things really are looking up, things are happening.



OS Grid Ref: NZ 3117 7120
We have reached The Blue Bell Inn. Up to here the the cycle track surface was either
good or very good. This last few yards could be much improved.
The gravel to the right is heavy going. The mud to the left we coped with,
but for an urban cycle route it ought be better.

It took us about an hour to do the 4 miles to here
in that time we must have met a couple of dozen other cyclists and several pedestrians
so the cycle track is well used.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3117 7120
This is the A186, Earsdon Road, another difficult road to cross.
We watched several groups of cyclists, some with children on small bikes trying to cross.
Another zebra crossing please.


Here is a family group trying to cross the road.
This was the first time in 25 years that she had been on a bicycle.


And then they had to get over another obstacle. One by one they lift their bicycle over.

Just as we were photographing the family lugging their bicycles over,
three lads on a trial bike came up, lifted it over the barrier
and rode off in a cloud of dust down the cycle track.
I did not take a photograph of them face on, and just got this of them in the distance.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3163 7037
On the way back there was a tarmac strip on the left
but covered by grit from the grit track on the right.
What is the grit track for?
Anyway, it would be nice if the grit was swept off the tarmac.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3178 7014
This is absolutely fine, just as it should be, smooth tarmac,
four cycle widths wide, street lights, no litter.


OS Grid Ref: NZ 3231 6934
This is all you need to stop four wheeled vehicles without hindering cyclists.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3375 6733
At Percy Main station going south, could do with a bit more signage.
Incidently, another cycle friendly barrier on the right
rather than the awful one to the left.

Met another couple negotiating one of the cycle obstacles.

OS Grid Ref: NZ 3226 6937

Next day was passing by and lo and behold the bollard we saw yesterday was being removed.
Stopped and talked to the workmen and they said they were all being removed.
Hooray
Thankyou North Tyneside.

So there is progress. Hopefully all the barriers to cyclists will be removed
Now we have to try to get the cycle track through North Tyneside
to be upgraded to smooth tarmac, four cyclists wide,
zebra crossings on every road crossing.