Wednesday, 26 March 2008

NI Cyclists Beware!

I happened to be passing the Silver Leaf Cafe on Belmont Road, Belfast, this morning and noticed a sign on the window advising passers-by that it is under new management, again. How many times has this chip shop changed hands in the last ten years? I sampled fish and chips there twice in 2007: the first time it was very good; the second time a bit disappointing so I didn't return.

There is so much competition between chip shops locally that a new one must be exceptionally good: fresh, generously-sized fish which needs to be properly cooked; sufficiently crisp batter; chips of the right consistency and quality; friendly, efficient service; spotlessly clean. Have I missed anything there? I intend to try the new Silver Leaf at any rate, and I'll report back.

This afternoon has turned out sunny so I cycled to Sainsbury's store at Holywood Exchange, Belfast. They've spent a fortune on re-vamping the store and I honestly cannot detect any real improvement. It was perfectly acceptable as it was before the costly renovation, to my mind. Now customers must become accustomed to all the groceries being at different ends of the store!

Cycling home I had difficulty at the new road layout on Holywood Road/Parkway. The NI Roads Service, in their wisdom, appear to have no provision for cyclists at all. Two lanes go to Parkway; one lane is for Holywood Road. So where does that leave the poor cyclist? Are cyclists meant to ride on the far right-hand side if they wish to cycle along Holywood Road? I couldn't see any cycle lanes at all on this brand new layout. Roads Service still reckons that the Car is King. I'm a motorist and a cyclist. Does the Roads Service want to force cyclists on to the footpaths?


John Self said...

We keep meaning to try the Silver Leaf. Belmont Bethany is disgusting. We rely on the Fryar Tuck at Bloomfield Roundabout, a little further afield but unmatchable for fish and chips in my experience.

I agree the 'new improved' Sainsbury's seems to be neither. And I dread it becoming busy with passing trade from Ikea (though that doesn't really seem to have happened yet), as I like to think of it as my own private supermarket... Then again, if it doesn't pick up, it will surely be for the chop. They've been distributing money off vouchers in Newtownards recently to try to entice new customers from further afield.

Agree also about the cycle provision. I live off Belmont Road and work in Holywood, a 3.5 mile journey which I could easily do by bike, but I am put off transferring to two wheels by the difficulty in getting across the main junctions - not to mention Holywood High Street, which is barely wide enough for two cars to pass at some points.

Timothy Belmont said...

We used to use Fryar Tuck in the seventies; must make an effort and go there soon.