We towpath rangers in the London Way Out West team, lately known as the WOWboys, have worked out a way to make cyclists stop and get a friendly word of advice regarding their speed. As you may remember, we run these Share the Space events where we set up on a busy bit of towpath and hand out little folding maps which also include advice about the Towpath Code. The trouble has been that the very people we most want to influence are the cyclists who plough through the midst of us without stopping. So at Cowley lock on Friday we got a bit more assertive and created a barrier with a little gap and then stood in front of the gap. Speeding cyclists may be inconsiderate, but most are not homicidal so they tended to stop. I then spoke to them in friendly terms such as “Here’s a little free towpath map for you as a reward for being a considerate cyclist, so do read what it says and take care.” One or two looked a bit shamefaced at my friendly approach and cycled off more gently. Well it’s a start.
This was different from our normal STS events where we have been targeting mainly commuters. This time it was more for people out and about for leisure, and a lot more people stopped to chat and look at the maps. It was a two way conversation. I learned more about the sale of the Toll Cottage by the lock, (CRT is reported to have sold it while the current occupants still have two years of a lease left to run.) and the concerns of the very nice lady who operates the trip boat Albert, which takes parties of mainly elderly people up to Denham and beyond for cream tea cruises. She is concerned because it seems that because of HS2, there are plans to re route the pylons which cross the canal above Denham, and in so doing remove most of the trees on the offside as you approach Widewater lock. This would indeed be a tragedy as it is a particularly attractive stretch as illustrated by the photo featuring our dear departed friend Pete as we cruised that particular stretch.
As Cowley lock is only a short cruise from Herbie’s current moorings, we chose to go there by boat. It was a good thing that we did, for we came upon the mighty Still Rockin’ as we came through Packet Boat Lane bridge, so giving us the opportunity for an evening with Carol and George on Saturday and very pleasant it was. that’s a nice thing about boating, you never know what friends you might meet round the next corner.
I’m out on the towpath again later this week at Hanwell or Brentford, seeing if we can make cyclists stop and listen to our advice.
BTW we just got a message that one of the walls of Norwood top lock (above the Hanwell flight) has been damaged and is now only 13ft 7in wide until further notice. I can testify to the fact that it hasn’t been the full fourteen feet for some years as I was once on a big boat that got stuck in it. Anyhow best not to go through there two at a time up for the time being.