Catha's Seat

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Chartham Wanderers hit the New Wye Lane and take a virtual rest at Catha's Seat!

Sheila guided a walk yesterday along the new section of Route 18 with sixteen intrepid members of the Chartham Wanderers. 

We were very glad to hear that they were impressed with the improvements to the path and with the location of Catha's Seat - they even took a virtual sit down as you'll see below!

They were treated to some sweltering weather so the shade of the trees above Catha's Seat provided some welcome relief.

The Chartham Wanderers taking a virtual sit down at Catha's Seat (photo courtesy of Shelia Webb)

This is great stuff - exactly what Mum (Catha) wanted - people using the Route for enjoyment as well as a sustainable way to get from A to B. If you haven't given it a try yet then get your tyres pumped up or your walking boots on, while the weather is still fine!

The group were handed copies of our Catha's Seat leaflet and I understand a number of donations were made, for which we are very grateful. We hope that they will continue to follow the project and join us when we are able to celebrate the installation.

Thanks to the Chartham Wanderers, their organiser Ruth and also Sheila for showing us the enjoyment that can be taken up on the new section Route 18. 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Catha's Seat R&D - the original Sustrans sleeper seats on the Bristol to Bath

At the end of July we went up out west to visit our friends Mez and Anne-Marie. 

We hit the B2B Bristol to Bath cycle path along an old railway line - a great day out if you are in the area - 17 miles of dedicated cycle path with nice stop offs in old railway stations that have been converted into Cafes. 

The B2B features two of the original Sustrans seats, made out of old railway sleepers - the design that inspired Sheila's Family seat and Catha's Seat. 

Look mum, no feet!
Being in the suburban areas of Bristol unfortunately these beautiful seats have had a fair amount of abuse. Catha's Seat will be further out into the countryside so we hope it will have a more gentle treatment however, the design we are using has no expense spared to ensure robustness and longevity. The highest quality solid green oak beams will be individually selected, finding pieces with the fewest faults and no knots. These will be carefully joined and tied together with metal cables and strips. The timbers will be fixed deep into the ground.

The fashion shoot pose!
For a full view of one of these original seats follow this link

Official Launch of the new link of Route 18 - 31st May 2013

Apologies for the drought in posts recently and this latest one is a bit on the old side but nevertheless very important news that needs to be aired......

31st May 2013 was a very exciting day for us. It was the official launch of the new link of Route 18 organised by Kent County Council and Brompton Dock. The latter were also unveiling their new facilities outside Ashford International Station. 

It was an interesting sight... the suited and booted figures of Press, Councillors, Politicians and Company Executives mingled with the lycra and hi-vis cladding of the local dedicated cycle bods; an impressive turnout considering it was a weekday morning.

The MD of Brompton Dock unfolds cycles for dignitaries to try out - apparently his record for setting one of these up is less than 10 seconds!! A Brompton Dock is essentially a set of lockers each with a Brompton folding bicycle inside, which you can hire, making your onward journey form Ashford Station quick, cost effective, healthy and sustainable - a fantastic idea. There are 4 stations in Kent with these facilities (as well as 15 other UK locations) including Canterbury West. This means you can jump on Route 18 at either end - what a great way to see Kent if you are down from London (DFL) - rent a Brompton and cycle the route!

After a fair few late nights to finish off and print a first run of the Seat Leaflet before this event I was running on caffeine alone! Dad and I worked the crowd to get our leaflets and message out about the seat project. Luckily my events skills learnt during my time in sales at powerPerfector put me in good stead, and dad just has a good charm factor, so we ended up getting over 30 flyers out, meeting some exciting movers and shakers including our local MP, Damian Green.

Following the press photo shoots it was time for the serious business of the day, the inaugural ride Ashford to Canterbury on the newly enhanced Route 18, led by Spokes East Kent Cycling Campaign Chairman Steve Fawke. 

Steve kindly let me take the reigns for the ride out of Ashford and gave me the opportunity to say a few words to the group when we arrived at Catha's Seat - many thanks to Steve for accommodating this at short notice.

Time to let the photos do the talking......
Spokes Chairman Steve Fawke leads the peleton out of Ashford on the dedicated cycle paths through the Little Burton estate.
Riders approach Wye via the backroad part of route 18 that goes through Hinxhill and Naccolt. It is hoped that a new section of dedicated cycle path proposed along the Stour between Ashford and Wye will reduce the mileage and improve safety in the future.
New signage - points to the start of the new "traffic free" section off Eggarton Lane in Godmersham
The first tantalising section of freshly surfaced cycle path just off Eggarton Lane
Looking back along Route 18 towards Wye from Pope Street - a very tidy job!
The chicane safely stops riders coming out on to the road at Pope Street too quickly - avoiding any altercations with motor vehicles!
Riding the Great Stour Way closer to Canterbury. This was opened in 2011 and has the surface has settled in fantastically - it's a pleasure to ride; pedestrians and cyclists use the facilities in harmony and there are plenty of seats here! The Gentleman in the orange jacket is a committed cycle crusader in Scotland who joined us for the day - he rode the rolling contours of the route on a single speed brompton, with ease!
A well earned drink after 17 glorious miles. Luckily the Bishops Finger Pub greets you just as you finish Route 18 in Canterbury.
Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in making this new link happen over the last 20 years - the 31st May 2013 was truly a milestone for Kent cycling.