04 October 2009
Sign up for putting mileages on signs
One of the things I love about cycling in the Netherlands is the signs. They don't just tell you how far it is to the next pancake shop, they give you much more: Alkmaar 4,2km Amsterdam 38km Deutschland 193km Kowloon 13328km Proxima Centauri 3.9 x 10^13km and so on. They're signs full of excitement and possibilities. By bike, anything is possible, they seem to say.
Not so much in England - in general, bike signs don't even bother to give you distances at all. I got into a disagreement with the Cycle Superhighways Tsarina the other evening at the City Cycling Forum because she told me they're probably not going to put distances on the signage for the Superhighways. Why not? Because some people might be confused by them. Well, I said, some people are confused by anything you can't vote for by telephone on a Saturday night, but that doesn't mean we should dumb every damn thing down to what marketing Barbies can understand. Which shows why I should never go into politics, TV, marketing, or probably any sort of paid employment.
So I was pleased to see this sign in Hull on yet another of my recent trips there. The National Cycle Route fishtail sign here (above right and right) is right in front of one of the few central Hull buildings not to have been relaunched by the Luftwaffe as a pile of rubble. It proudly encourages you to cycle to ROTTERDAM 231m ZEEBRUGGE 235m. And all but five of the miles the signposts tell you about are actually done by the North Sea Ferry, an easy flat cycle path up the road, while you sleep. I like that kind of cycling.