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Cycling Infrastructure

Whaley Bridge town centre to get its first bike parking stands

The centre of Whaley Bridge with shops and local businesses.

Derbyshire County Council has confirmed Whaley Bridge and Chinley will be the first locations in the High Peak in line for a new bumper crop of cycle parking stands, to be installed across the county after money was ring fenced from the first round of emergency Covid-19 active travel funding.

In Whaley Bridge, the stands will be installed in pairs at three locations:

  • On the corner of Buxton Road and Canal Street, overlooking Goyt Wines, beside the existing planters (Streetview)
  • On the wide pavement space outside The Railway pub, on the corner of Whaley Lane/Reservoir Road, where a phone box was recently removed (Streetview)
  • Near The Cock pub at the pedestrian crossing outside Whaley Bridge Primary School (Streetview)

For a local centre which somehow in 2020 has no dedicated bicycle stands whatsoever (excluding a few at the railway station), anything is an improvement and the first two locations fit the bill perfectly, being highly visible right at the main crossroads of the town.

The first will be a welcome change from trying to use the adjacent railings, which are inevitably the same height as most handlebars and frustrating to lock up tightly enough against. The third, a pedestrian crossing near The Cock pub, seems odd and perhaps unnecessary — would anyone actually want to lock a bike there, or would it have been better to use them elsewhere?

Besides residents who might begin to see cycling as a viable option to pop into local shops, a huge number of cyclists pass through the town on the way to and from the upper Goyt Valley and the famous Long Hill climb, the majority of which likely never stop and spend money as things currently stand — despite the temptation of the Bridge Bakehouse.

Meanwhile in nearby Chinley, the council is also looking to provide a new pair of stands near the top of Green Lane on the large paved area opposite the Post Office (Streetview).

These aren’t the first in the village, in fact: there’s already a slightly lonely-looking one beside the red telephone box outside Tea on the Green, but more are very welcome: with so many great routes nearby this village deserves to be a key cycling stop-off.

All the stands should be installed in the coming weeks/months, though the council does say this is dependent on winter highways pressures.

A bike propped up against the historic cross in the market place of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Chapel-en-le-Frith market place is spoiled by cars parked everywhere, but there’s nowhere designed to leave a bike. While drivers get almost endless, and often free, parking right in the centre of local towns, anyone wanting to “park” a bike too often has to fumble with fitting handlebars up against badly placed railings. It’s no wonder people just don’t bother.

While Derbyshire County Council should have allocated more funding to something as basic as this years ago, it’s a welcome intervention to use this government active travel money to play catch-up.

After all, even before you have dedicated, safe cycle routes, you’re not going to see anyone replacing their car with a bike for local journeys if there’s nowhere to conveniently lock up when you get there.

Local councils and councillors always talk of “supporting local businesses” and indeed, the benefits of reducing the dominance of cars and providing attractive cycling facilities are well documented: people who arrive by bike visit more frequently and ultimately spend more than those who stop off in a car.

Hopefully Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Hayfield — all busy High Peak places with a real lack of attractive bike parking in their main centres — will be next on the list.

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About Anthony

Hey, I'm Anthony! I started Peaks & Puddles to chart the ups and downs of cycling and walking the edges of the Peak District around Buxton, Macclesfield and Stockport, with the dream of a future where bikes and boots are a normal, safe choice for everyday journeys and exploring between town and country. Find out more about me and Peaks & Puddles here.