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Santa Monica to Llandudno - An American's cycling vision

James Intriligator on trike on Conwy quay with his small son at rear

James is baffled by the opposition to cycling in Llandudno

Raymond Notarangelo, writing in the Scotsman, said of a trip to the USA - 'It was the simple things about Santa Monica that really appealed to us: the incredible sunsets, the fun park on the pier, cycling along the promenade, going to a movie house, eating giant takeaway pizzas ................. glitzy shopping streets, and the fabulous weather'.

That was a Scottish journalist's view in a trip to one of the prized destinations in the United States. But what of an American who who leaves his birthplace in Santa Monica, and replants his family roots in the magnificent Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno in North Wales. In common with Santa Monica, it has a promenade - in fact wider than many a trunk road. And a fun park pier as well. But whereas Raymond Notarangelo was welcome to enjoy his harmless pursuit of cycling along the promenade in Santa Monica, Llandudno has security guards that let you know in no uncertain terms that you may well be welcome - but not your bicycle.

Mother and father and three children cycle on Conwy quay

The Intriligator family navigating the narrow Conwy Quayside without any conflict whatsoever

     Dr James Intriligator is a Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and Psychology at Bangor University, with a research interest in Human Perception, Visual Attention and Cognition. But despite his professional qualifications he has a great deal of difficulty understanding why others consider him and his young cycling family to be a threat to Llandudno promenade. Living on the urban perimeter of Llandudno, the safest and most direct route into the town is via the promenade, which is barely used for most of the year. The alternative is either the heavily congested Parade, running past the splendid sea-front hotels, or an impossibly circuitous and hazardous journey through the town centre retail parks.

     Like many residents of Llandudno who give any thought to the promenade (and probably most don't), James has little sympathy with a tiny group who have set themselves up as bastions against cycling.

But on the horizon there is hope for the Intriligator family. Sustrans, the charity powerhouse behind the 10,000 mile National Cycle Network, and CTC, the 70,000 member national cycling organisation, share a vision of the NCN going along the promenade in the very near future. It will then form a link with the magnificent Conwy Estuary cycle route, currently under construction, via the wide Gloddaeth Avenue.

Group of Llandudno residents who object to cycling on Llandudno prom

The determined anti-cycling Save Our Prom group.

At the moment (October 2006) the decision is in the hands of the Conwy CBC Cabinet Committee, after its Environment Scrutiny Committee has twice found positively in favour of promenade cycling. Let's hope a warmer, more welcoming wind soon blows onto Llandudno's chilly North Shore. After all, across the Liverpool Bay, rival resort Morecambe is but the latest of the many seaside resorts now encouraging promenade cycling.

And finally, a curious twist to this story...........James's grandfather was an engineer for the city of Santa Monica. One of the last jobs he did in his working life was help design part of the Santa Monica bike path!

Roy Spilsbury




Parent and small child cycle on prom

Llandudno Promenade cycling - sheer pleasure !


Annette King on bike on prom

Annette King regularly rides on the prom. She's appalled by the cycling ban. She asks 'Do you think we'll ever be allowed to cycle in peace without little men jumping out demanding we get off our bikes when we're causing no problem to anyone, - and then suggesting we write to the council to complain?'


Cyclists and roller skaters on bike path on Santa Monica's beach

Cycle path James's grandfather helped build