Bridges Aren’t Just For Cars (With Route)

A reasonable if windy ride – hard going in places but I guess that’s what autumn’s all about.

The route took me through Sonning, out to Marlow and then back to Caversham via Henley. Sonning bridge is “closed” during the daytime at the moment. You don’t have to be local to realize that a bridge across the Thames is important in the overall scheme of things – there aren’t that many of them. Finding an alternative route is a big deal on a bike – it means quite a few extra miles.

That’s how the local newspaper reported the closure:

Reading Chronicle on Sonning bridge closure

I thought it sounded like it wasn’t major work, emailed the council, and was told cyclists could get across throughout the day.

The Reading Chronicle is avowedly pro-cycling and as a cyclist I’m pleased about that. For example:

Reading Chronicle on 20mph speed limits

… but they didn’t find out if cyclists could still get across the “closed” bridge. The paper is by no means alone. On the ground, the Council (presumably responsible for the signs on the roads) totally ignores cyclists and pedestrians (who can also walk across all day) alike.

Bridge closed sign in Sonning

Spot the missing information

None of this is a big deal – worse things happen at sea. What it does show, though, is how far commonplace thinking has to change if we’re really going to move towards being a pro-cycling nation.

Marlow Bridge in autumn sun

Marlow Bridge – looking good in the autumn sun

The Route:

In essence – Reading – Sonning – Wargrave – Marlow – Henley – Reading. It’s what I’d describe as a good one for a reasonably confident solo cyclist – there’s a fair bit of main road work that’s fine if you’re relaxed about it, but not necessarily for the nervous and they’re roads that rather limit conversation if you’re riding with someone! Inevitably, some of the lanes are pretty rough – stones, pot-holes etc.

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