All of the new developments in Bicester love to trumpet the amount of sustainability they will bring.  Transport is a big issue amongst that.  EcoBicester is very keen to reduce car journeys allegedly through the design of their development so we thought we would investigate what is really there for the bike user in Bicester who might be serious about using it as a mode of transport to/from work or the railway station.

bicester bike loan?

Did you know that Bicester Green offer a bike loan scheme?  It was news to us but we found the information via EcoBicester's website.  If you are familiar with 'Boris Bike' type schemes, you might be disappointed though as this is not like that, the minimum rental is four days.  So no chance of Bicester Village shoppers being able to arrive at the railway station and pedal down Queens Avenue then.

A poster advertising Bicester Green's cycle hire.
A poster advertising Bicester Green's cycle hire.

So you might now be thinking, "Bicester what a great place that must be to live with it's own EcoBicester development where it's 'eco credentials' must be paramount".  Indeed you could be right as even their own transport strategy says:


Options such as walking, cycling, public transport and other sustainable options should be prioritised, thereby reducing residents' reliance on private cars, including techniques such as filtered permeability.


We had no idea what 'filtered permeability' meant so we looked it up on Wikipedia here.  We still are not 100% sure except to say that pedestrians and cyclists should be kept separate from cars at times.  We thought that was called 'paths and cyclepaths'.  It just shows how wrong can you be? 


We've asked EcoBicester for clarification when we met them at the end of March 2015.  Shockingly, despite being in existence for over six years and despite 'reducing car journeys' being a core part of the strategy, EcoBicester have not yet realised a cycling plan for Bicester.  Lets remember that EcoBicester have been in contact with Sustrans and still not managed to create a physical plan.  They have however managed to create (well their intern did last summer) three cycle paths which would be ideal as Sunday morning runs with the children but not everyday, sustainable strategies for getting commuters out of cars and onto public transport.


We did however find the map below on EcoBicester's website here.  Now before you say "I can't read that, the writing is too small and out of focus".  We have not edited this map.  This is how it was actually presented by EcoBicester!  If you can see the detail, then you will realise that they are basically declaring almost every road and path as cycleways.  Would you let your children cycle on Middleton Stoney Road?  How safe would you be feel cycling on Buckingham Road during rush hour?

So we continued our search elsewhere and found this map below at www.cyclestreets.net who are an independent, not for profit organisation.  CycleStreets map shows dedicated cycle paths in blue.  You can see that it is somewhat different with very much fewer dedicated cycle routes.

CycleStreets.net map of dedicated cycle paths in Bicester.
CycleStreets.net map of dedicated cycle paths in Bicester.