Sunday, 15 September 2013

Running the Bus Way and ticking over

Early morning cyclist on the Bus Way
We have a new Bus Way (connecting Dunstable and Luton) about to open near where we live and I've been exploring it!  The actual Bus Way is one of those new fangled tracks for special buses that can use ordinary roads and then adapt themselves at the touch of a button to drive along these new routes.  There are meant to be all kinds of reasons why these are so wonderful but that's not really what this blog is about.

Instead, let me concentrate on the cycle track which runs alongside.  It has been a little controversial with the surface being too rough for cyclists but this seems to be settling down now.  Yep it is certainly a delight to see cyclists using it, as I noticed early one morning when I took the above photograph: it was cool, misty with the promise of a great day.

Running the cycle track
Aside from the issues faced initially by cyclists, I have found this to be brilliant for running!  The track is, for the most part, about 2 metres wide with a gritty texture and pretty flat.  It really is ideal, especially for people who want to have an easy run, not complicated by running on the streets with roads to cross, other pedestrians, cars, loose paving slabs etc.

If you're new to running, perhaps just starting out, this could be a good place to go as you can join it in many different places along the route.  Here's a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you run and listen to music through your Smart phone or MP3 it could be a great place.  There are no cars to listen out for but be aware of cyclists coming up from behind you.  Now the track is smoother, bicycles can easily cruise along at 15-20mph
  • Keep to a straight line, don't go weaving all over the track: you might be making yourself into a hazard for a cyclist
  • Cycle tracks can be isolated places running on the fringe of urban environments, so consider your own health and safety.  Hopefully the new Luton Dunstable Bus Way will always be a safe environment.  Do report any issues to the Police which might be useful in simple intelligence gathering, or, to the Council as appropriate.
  • It is an ideal width for runners to go alongside each other.  So it's ideal for you and a running buddy and you can encourage each other

A spot of interval training
I found myself spotting a tree, or some other landmark, and simply sprinting towards it for all I was worth and then easing back to a gentle jog to recover.  This, by the way, is interval training: pushing your heart rate right up high for a short burst and then allowing it to come back down.

The purpose of the run, just today
I haven't run much lately so this was just a 30 minute run to stop my "running muscles" thinking they were no longer needed.  I did the same yesterday, just a gentle run then.  For runners I think it's important to have a little jog or run in periods of rest and recovery if it is possible to do so.  Okay some injuries may result in a Doctor or physiotherapist advising someone not to run at all for X months and this is naturally sound advice.  But here I'm not talking about injury myself, just going through a little phase where I'm spending more time cycling than running.

So there you go, a little "reminder of a run" and a thoroughly enjoyable run nevertheless.

A word about the success of the Bus Way
The "powers-that-be" might be looking to see lots of people using the Bus Way as the measure of success.  I'm sure the providers of the bus service will be looking at their income and trading surplus and the bottom line.

Myself I think success will be:

  • Fewer short journeys taken by car
  • More people opting for non-car transport
  • More people cycling
  • More people running, jogging or walking
  • Children becoming more independent
  • The health within local communities improving

Another blog I noticed generally on focussing on Bus Way issues

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