Bumpy Alban Way gives cyclist pain in the backside

Cyclist says “naff all” is being done to fix trail between St Albans and Hatfield

ALLEGATIONS that the district council has done nothing to improve the surface of a footpath and cycleway have been made by a local cyclist.

Alan Whittingham, of Highfield Park, who bikes from St Albans to his work in Hertford at least once a week using the Alban Way and neighbouring Cole Green Way, has had to send off his watch for repairs after it was damaged by vibrations while riding along the trail.

A director of AD Architects in Hertford, Alan said: “It’s been interesting to see which of the three local authorities has made any improvements to the routes since last year.

“Welwyn Hatfield gets the gold medal for laying a kilometre of beautifully smooth tarmac between Welwyn Garden and Cole Green, as well as renewing many patches through Hatfield where tree roots were pushing through.

“East Herts has at least made some efforts to re-lay a few small rough sections near Hertingfordbury and Cole Green. As far as I can see, St Albans has done ‘naff all’.”

Alan has urged St Albans district council (SADC) to fix the surface. In a letter to the council he said while the Alban Way, particularly the section between Hill End Lane and Ellenbrook, “may be tarmac, it is the bumpiest and most uneven tarmac imaginable.”

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Alan said it was literally a pain in the posterior cycling along the local stretch of Alban Way, despite suspension seat posts and padded shorts.

The route is a trail of about 6.5 miles for cyclists and walkers along the former branch line of the great north railway between St Albans and Hatfield.

Responsibility for management of the Alban Way lies with its owners SADC and Welwyn and Hatfield borough council, with day-to-day maintenance coordinated by SADC’s parks and green spaces team.

Alan said there was a safety issue in that he sees fellow cyclists risking life and limb biking near articulated lorries on busy Hatfield Road, parallel to and with a smoother surface than Alban Way.

He added: “I know the council has a lot of call on resources, but what about the cost if a cyclist is killed on that road?”

District councillor for Colney Heath, Chris Brazier, has pledged his support for Alan’s bid to improve the route.

Richard Shwe, head of council’s community services, said although there were limited resources the local authority was, “actively seeking funding for these improvements.”

He added: “The Alban Way is an off-road route used by cyclists and walkers. Officers and our contractors regularly visit the route and assess the path surface. Repair work is carried out as and when required.

“We recognise residents’ interest in the route and we want to improve its quality.”