If we must have a Bridge Street ban then enforce it

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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I know how Steve Ovett and Seb Coe felt as they stood on the starting line in Oslo’s Bislett Stadium on one of those hot summer evenings back in the 80s.

How do I know this I hear you ask (albeit with your eyebrows slightly raised)?

It’s the same feeling I get when approaching Cathedral Square on my bike before I cycle down Bridge Street. I know a PB and possibly a world record is on because this is a fast track. If you ever pedalled down Bridge Street you’ll know that feeling – with barely any effort suddenly you are going twice as fast as you do on other roads and cycle paths in the city.

No wonder when the city centre was the venue for those cycle tour races the competitors spoke so highly of the venue.

Bridge Street was surely designed and constructed with cyclists in mind.

Except, of course it wasn’t. And what’s more for most of the time cycling is not even allowed.

Despite my healthy disregard for authority I am actually one of life’s rule abiders and my Bridge Street cycling has always been legal – pre 9am and post 6pm.

But, boy, the temptation is great which is maybe why the ban has been so hard to enforce. Until now that is.

I tip my hat and even my cycling helmet to the city council and particularly to council leader John Holdich, as it seems they might have finally cracked it.

The new enforcement teams have become a regular sight on Bridge Street and I reckon they have significantly reduced the cyclists flouting the ban.

Although the Steve Ovett in me is not a fan of the ban, the rule abider in me says if we’re going to have one then let’s enforce it.

A lack of will from the authorities has meant for more than 20 years, although restrictions have been in place, cyclists have pedalled along without anybody putting a spoke in their wheels.

Today, even Sir Bradley and Chris Froome would find it hard to escape the enforcers no matter how fast the track is.

Home work

As is the case in the Prime Minister’s household at Thornton Towers we have ‘pink’ jobs and ‘blue’ jobs.

But there are also some grey areas. The other evening Mrs T suddenly screamed: “Something huge just flew in our bedroom.’’

I tore myself (slowly) away from Sky Sports News and went to investigate.

It wasn’t exactly ‘‘huge’’ in fact it was a blue tit, but it still freaked me out as it fluttered in a panic around the bedroom.

“Get it out, get it out!’yelled Mrs T who was as panicked as the bird.

“You get it out!’’ I replied. And, not to be outdone, repeated: “You get it out!’’

“It’s a man’s job,’’ she claimed from the safety of the landing.

“Says who,’’ I demanded while ducking as the bird strafed me.

I was all for just shutting the door and sleeping in the spare room, until I remembered it was piled high with unwanted toys, my old vinyl and Mrs T’s winter shoe and boot collection.

Finally, I took the bull(finch) by the horns and with the skilful use of a washing basket and much general hopping about, both by the bird and me, I managed to usher the unwanted guest out of a window.

Imagine!

I got an email from Richard Starkey from Highways England detailing roadworks in our region. As the pop pickers among you will know Richard Starkey is the real name of a certain Ringo Starr.

I had this vision (it was a slow news day) of the lugubrious Liverpudlian penning press releases about lane closures on Abbey Road and temporary traffic lights on Penny Lane. Diversions were in place but it meant for a Long And Winding Road!

Not rubbish

I’m a fan of the ‘public realm’ work by Peterborough City Council including the revamp of Bridge Street, Long Causeway and Cathedral Square. But my one big gripe is how bins were placed next to benches meaning anybody sitting there has to put up with cigarettes being stubbed out and fast food wrappers being discarded inches from their faces.

The latest area to benefit is Lower Bridge Street and lo and behold the bins... are nowhere near the benches!

Top work, city council!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

If I get a few spare minutes this weekend I’m heading to a furniture store - to buy a trophy cabinet.

Toddlernator the Terrible scooped first prize and with it came a trophy almost as big as he is for ‘best pre-schooler entry’ at the local village show.

As a parent I’m trying to instill into my children the old Olympian ethos “it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part’’. But having spent my formative years supporting dirty Leeds, I’m only interested in winning.

T the T was delighted with his victory, although I did think it was unnecessary to taunt his seriously unimpressed sister.

Hopefully, though, this is the start of a glittering career which will culminate in T the T captaining Leeds United to victory in the Champions League, hence the need for a trophy cabinet. I don’t think it is particularly relevant that his first trophy was won for essentially what was flower-arranging!