0930 on a Saturday morning. Ouch. I rounded the corner of the Civic Centre still brushing the sleep from my eyes. At least getting from bed to the town centre in about twelve minutes flat had blown off some cobwebs—and I wasn’t cold. From the Civic Centre, we cruised through town to St Mary’s and then up as far as the Swaythling/Mansbridge roundabout. route (opens in new window). As I understand it, the routes we took were approved cycle routes, except for crashing through St Mary’s saturday morning market, which will be one soon. Many of the routes through town I didn’t know of, so it was an interesting morning for me.
The highlight of the trip was the planned link from Jamie’s Computers (just beyond the level crossing in the Mount Pleasant industrial estates) along the riverside to the Horseshoe bridge. If you catch the train from Southampton Central towards St Denys (Airport and beyond, or over the river towards Portsmouth), this is one of the scenic bits of the route where the train line runs very close to the river. Just between the railway and the high tide mark, National Rail have put in some preliminary boarding, but completion of the scheme awaits funding… if Sustrans Connect2 wins the people’s millions funding, then this is one of the links they will support.
We also spent some time at the bridge by the football stadium – a weak link in the city’s cycling network but apparently it is being replaced in the next few years. Cobden Bridge is another unpopular section; apparently cyclists find it scary. From Cobden Bridge, we were mostly off-road, taking the shared-use path along the Itchen, up to the gravel path that runs along parallel to the riverside path north of Woodmill Lane, through the Mansbridge estates and a wooded path which was new to several of us, coming out by the roundabout just in time for lunch.