Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Cycle 'Super' highway.

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The Cycle Super highway has no immediate benefits whatsoever to the ordinary cycle commuter. All that the new lane has done is further aggravate the already 'cycle-negative' driving public with a year of traffic disruption and compromised roads. None of this of course is the fault of cyclists, motorists however, seem to think otherwise...

As a cyclist who can reach 20-25mph as an average speed, the ill thought out, tokenistic nature of the way the lane has been planned, installed and revised once the top down plan was seen as unworkable on the ground is in a word, dangerous. Junctions with intersecting roads appear as afterthoughts or orientated in a manner that the cyclist will always lose out.

Previously, the painted lane, although seen as more dangerous actually helped the cyclist and traffic flow in harmony by channelling their priorities in the same direction. The new cycle lane crosses side roads at the point where the car would usually pull up to if turning from that side road, putting the cyclist in danger at every junction.

This, coupled with drivers attitudes towards cyclists now being more hostile than ever before due to the ordinary cyclist being the point at which drivers can vent their anger for the problems they've encountered, time lost and the seemingly wasteful project that is the Cycle Superhighway.

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I'm sure those who also cycle, and who have used the roads along this route to commute whilst the 'infrastructure' installation has been underway have endured a number of problems, however I am writing to highlight how what used to be an ordinary commute by bicycle has now turned into a daily fight.

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The cycle superhighway has large blue signs plonked in and around it stating that it is opening in 'Spring 2016' However, to the casually observing motorist, the lane looks complete and when a cyclist doesn't use the lane to avoid roadworks, masses of tyre bursting gravel and other obstacles this seems to make them extremely angry. So much so that I encounter almost daily conflict and abuse, sometimes escalating to having to defend myself whilst riding due motorists attempting to bully me towards the lane with their vehicles.

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The objective of the lane was to create a safe environment for cyclists, instead it has done the exact opposite. 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Italian Urbex - Textil abbandonata, June 2015.

Another of many disused textile mills that I've visited. This manufacturer was based in the middle of absolutely nowhere nestled within a very remote part of Italy. Part of a very long, hot and arduous 3000km road trip across Italy last summer. 

Within the small town it resides in, perched amongst mountains, this is by far the largest building and had a massive factory floor. It’s no wonder that it became abandoned as there are no manufacturing centres for miles.

The building was probably built in the late 50’s / early 60’s although I couldn’t really pin a date on when it was last used, the calendar on the wall of the offices was 1981 and there was no sign of any computerisation. The living quarters and other rooms were all of 60’s / 70’s vintage… quite simply a proper time warp.

I can’t find a shred of information about the company on the internet, nor was there much company literature around, it all seemed to have been cleared out… Presumably the company folded long before t’internet.

All that remained was mostly trade magazines etc. Anyway, there was a shitload of machinery left, all decaying, more so if it was under one of the many drips from the roof.

There were circular sock knitting machines from Leicester, which was cool to see. Most of the sewers were Strobel, Dürkopp Adler or Pfaff (German), AMF Reece (American) with some Singer versions thrown in the mix… there was also an absolute shit tonne of unsold and unused cloth dating from the 60’s and some crazy 70’s t-shirts and stuff.

Photos mostly of the factory floor and associated gubbins as the other bits were shuttered up and pitch black. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Yorkshire Woollen Industry: A continuing study.

Over the past 5 years I have dedicated a lot of time to the research and investigation of the remnants of the once might Yorkshire Wool trade. Mainly concentrating on the remaining buildings associated with the industry: Mills. This post comprises a number of photographs taken in one of many mills visited. 

This mill’s primary use was for the knitting / weaving of fabric and cloth using circular knitting machines, of which there were many still left in situ. Many of the earlier machines were made by Mellor Bromley of Leicester, probably dating from the 1960’s with later models having the addition of ‘Wildt’ Some later 80’s and 90’s machines by Camber, also of Leicester were near the back of the knitting room. 

Threads of differing gauges were fed through the top of the machines through spools held on racks nearby, patterns are then dictated by metal pattern discs. These machines produce a ‘sock’ of cloth that are either plain or patterned and then rolled and packed.

We couldn’t put a definitive use on much of the cloth that remained as it just looked like generic material, a lot of which was half finished, with ‘socks’ still on the machines. 

The equipment was cleared very shortly after we went in by Leicester Machine Movers and conversion is about to start as of October 2015. 


You can’t get more Yorkshire than a boat that says ‘Eyup’ on the side.