Journey study Bike vs Motor Broadstone to Bournemouth


Conclusion.  Unlike cities such as Bristol and London that are impossible to cross by motor our area is still manageable. This isn’t the result I wanted so the best I can do on an active travel promotional level is add the section I filmed from the bike. This is travelling from the top of Canford Heath around Mountbatten Roundabout and back onto the Bourne Valley Greenway that goes right to the centre of Bournemouth, the middle section of the strava pictures. Views to the Purbeck Hills are superb above the Canford Way, and once you leave the crawling queuing road section its traffic free again in a straight line to town. Wouldnt you rather be on top- looking down? Knowing exactly how long the journey will take every time you make it? Saving cash and feeling fit for it. It’s a choice. You can do it. Forget the ‘buts’ and lead the way.

Details- I was working in Broadstone for a week recently, the Gravel Hill roadworks provoked me into making a study of the journey possibilities again. It has to be said in context I’ve ridden and recorded these trips before, my interest came from the potential delay caused to people travelling Broadstone to Bournemouth or back. This post draws on my Poolemouth routes and illustrates the way in which bikes provide a transport choice equal to or superior to the motorcar, the results shown below aren’t exactly what I had expected from the test. (Update- readers have commented that picture of me driving my van may have helped non-cycling readers to take an interest)

Context. Firstly before you embark on this read I have to point out that Gravel Hill the A349 is falling into the bog either side, the road works there although also claimed to be for cycle and walking improvements wouldn’t have happened without the need to renovate for vehicular use. In previous posts I’ve written about directional perfection, for me travelling has and always has meant finding the exact best route that gets there quickest- can you relate? Seeing the fact that Gravel Hill was closed and forcing users to go all the way around Canford Way reminded me of the Canford Heath route I’ve been using for years- surely it was faster? Week in question I made 8 journeys in total between these locations- this is evidence of 3 of them.

The Journeys. All start/ end near where I live at Coy Pond, Bournemouth- the start of the Upper Gardens 1 mile from the Centre of town and start/ end at Broadstone Middle School on Dunyeats hill next to Broadstone. First strava record here shows an afternoon ride of 8.9 km made along Bourne Valley Greenway to Mountbatten Arms across Canford Heath past Poole Cemetary to school. A steady bike ride at average 19.2kmph the type of everyday journey I always make- 27.50 minutes.



Second choice was to go the longer 9.7km route around the Canford way road mentioned above as the diversion. Surprisingly this took 26.51 minutes but at 21.8kmph average with the downhill to Darbys corner perhaps that explains it. This peak time journey passed the daily queue from the A349 junction to Mountbatten arms.

Third journey I recorded was by motor, again at peak time I wanted to see the difference. Taking the same Canford Way route the aim wasn’t to fix these results in favour of the bike, that would have been contrived. I genuinely wanted to know how things panned out. Leaving school and arriving at the start of the queue to Mountbatten arms at A3049 roundabout I turned right and up to the end of Old Wareham Road, short delay to get around the roundabout I could again see a queue so cut into Mannings Heath through some back roads and nosed into a queue on Mannings Heath Road, leading onto Herbert Avenue- which was going a lot slower than I ride the bike at. This journey at average 23.9 kmph turned out to be 11.2 km in 28.11 minutes.

These three journeys show a slight difference between bike times, made by the descent into Darbys Corner, and a motor journey which is 2.3 km longer by road but only 1 minute slower than by bike. Route choice is important, and the directional perfection shown by my bike journeys cannot be beaten in this or any other of my routes on Poolemouth. If you consider the average speed difference shown here vehicles are actually only going around 3kmph faster than my bike.
If I had have sat queuing deliberately all the way from A349 Roundabout around Mountbatten Arms result may have been a longer time- but it wasn’t my intention to fix results, I travelled in the way anyone would have done and found the cut throughs or rat runs that form everyday travel life in G.B. To be honest I am sad that the motor choice didn’t produce a lot longer journey. There are several main ways to get from Broadstone to Bournemouth this shows two cycle ways, one bike only across the heath and one around Canford way by adjacent cycle path. Another way is currently Arrowsmith road to Queen Anne drive and Bear Cross I left this out as this distance is more than reasonably practicable. Times show only a small variance which leads me to the following conclusion, in present day Bournemouth area road times by car are not so bad that people are actively choosing bike journeys.
Funnily enough I recently saw the Wogan tribute, which for some reason showed 1972 roads and massive queues, more recently when I was applying for citizenship in Australia in 1998 (got refused) couple of ex-pats who were supporting my application said ‘nothing changes in England, they just get new cars’ and both these things ring true in 2016, journeys around this island are a disaster, apart from when you’re controlling them yourself.


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