A few weeks ago I finally got around to taking a look at the Chester Greenway (See route here). It appears that much of the money from Cycling England’s Cycling Demonstration Towns project in Chester was spent on providing pleasant leisure facilities such as this. Whilst I stated that I felt that fixing the problems cyclists face on the main road network would have been a much better use of the money, facilities such as the Greenway at least give people somewhere to cycle whilst feeling safe, even if they tend not to lead to particularly useful destinations or run along the main desire lines for Chester cyclists.
As a leisure cycling facility, the Greenway is very nice. Similar to the Floop in Manchester, the Greenway is a former railway line conversion. Unlike the Floop, the Greenway is free from pointless anti-cycling barriers along its length, except for chicanes to prevent motor vehicle intrusion at entry/exit points. Whilst riding towards Wales on the Greenway, I was impressed by the high quality of the surface. Upon entering Wales this impressive surface quality improved even further.
I did the ride on the Brompton, out of solidarity with Ms C. who only had her Brompton and not her Kona Africa Bike in Chester at the time. Even on a Brompton the ride was silky-smooth. After a few miles, the surroundings become pleasantly scenic farmland. Eventually the path meets up with the River Dee, which also has a good quality path along it. Unfortunately the anti-cycling barriers present where the path has gaps are more excessive than on the Greenway, being A-frames rather than chicanes, but the route is still enjoyable.
From here the Dee path continues back to Chester. I am not yet sure how far the route continues in the opposite direction, but I will have to investigate further in the future. Perhaps a special Wheelers’ Brunch outing in Chester, with a cooler box and a picnic for all on the Yuba?
The Greenway and River Dee paths offer a safe haven for those who wish to cycle in Chester but are put-off by the conditions on the roads. They are pleasant & high-quality leisure cycling facilities. It is just a shame that as soon as these facilities end, their users will once again be subjected to the unappealing, cycling-hostile road network which is common to all parts of the UK.