Now I can hardly believe it, but Just Step Sideways has now reached its 100th post. When I started the blog three years ago, I was unsure whether I’d get beyond a handful of posts, but here we are, 100 posts later.
When I was first starting out, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d write about. Cycling, music, tech or development? That drove the choice of name, as it wasn’t specifically tied to one thing.
In the end, it’s been nothing but cycling, with a focus on my home town, Manchester and the places we visit. And when I say cycling, I’m talking about transport, utility and family cycling, rather than sport cycling.
So what better for the 100th post than to have a roundup of the 99 posts that came before? Not very original, I know. But here goes.
Three years ago, I went on my first Critical Mass ride. Since then, I’ve been to quite a few Critical Mass rides, sometimes taking the family along. As you may have seen, I’ve taken one or two photos along the way too.
In addition, I’ve been to a few City Rides in Manchester over the years. Although a bit corporate, these rides do give a glimpse of what life could be like here without motor traffic.
There’s been a few bike rides around Manchester over the last three years. Some alone, some with the family and some with friends.
CCAG funding has been a key driver to new cycle infrastructure in Greater Manchester. Although this has led to an increase in cycle infrastructure, there’s been plenty of talk on the quality and effectiveness of this new infrastructure.
The Bridgewater Way has been a recipient of CCAG money. With the Trans Pennine Trail, this has created what is good mixed use leisure route, but it’s clearly struggling as a day to day commuter route.
The introduction of new Metrolink lines has had quite an impact on cycle infrastructure in Great Manchester and on the roads used by people on bikes. In the case of the second city crossing, this has been quite negative, with the line acting as a barrier to cycling in the city centre. Right now, it’s too early to say how the Trafford Park Line will turn out. I hope we don’t see more of the same.
Many of the posts I’ve written have been set in my local Manchester, covering a variety of topics such as infrastructure improvements and events.
Living in Stretford, part of the Borough of Trafford, I’ve written about some of the good and not so good things happening here. Stockport also features a number of times, as it’s where I work and so have a vested interest in cycling there.
I have a long list of reviews I keep meaning to write, but haven’t gotten round to. The only one I have written is a review of the FollowMe Tandem. This has proved to be quite a popular post, so maybe I should write more.
Community and politics
There’s loads of great cycling communities in Manchester, which Platt Fields Bike Hub is just one. I don’t get chance go there often, but I wrote about the day I was there for the Rolling Through Winter event. I also wrote about the Normalising Cycling workshop, hosted by CycleHack Manchester.
A number of Greater Manchester boroughs have regular cycle forums, including Trafford. I’ve been attending the cycle forum and technical meetings at Trafford for the past couple of years. It’s fair to say it lost its way for a while, but since some changes earlier in the year, it feels like it had found its legs again.
The big cycling related political event was the 2017 Greater Manchester mayoral election. I covered the candidates’ views and commitments for cycling and my top 10 wish list for the Greater Manchester mayor. With Andy Burnham’s appointment of Chris Boardman as Cycling and Walking Commissioner, things have got off to a positive start. But it’s very early days, so we’ll need to wait and see. I’m hoping we’ll see some really positive changes.
There’s been one or two cycle shows in Manchester I’ve been to, but only Spin Manchester 2016 was really worth writing about. To be honest, the typical cycle show won’t interest me much, though if anyone chooses to put on a transport / cargo / family cycling show, I’ll be there!
Outside of cycling, I do have a general interest in all forms of transport old and new. I’ve not had chance to cover the multitude of transport museums and heritage railways we’ve been to, though I have covered a visit to the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester.
Now, onto the next 100 posts…