Wow, I completely missed February. It’s funny, time just seems to fly by these days. It could be a side effect of my advancing years, but more likely having so much going on that there’s barely any time to take stock.
The truth is, things have been rather hectic out in the real world, away from the internet. Unfortunately it has meant that there’s been barely any time to keep up with what is going on, or to figure out what to do with this site in the future. I’ve not really had the time or the inclination to think about what to write –I daren’t go fishing for news on Twitter, if the broadcast news is anything to go by, but there is some good stuff that I’ve found.
The next phase of the North Road cycle lane is under construction. This is the stretch north of the ambulance station, improving the surface and making it more like the new bit further south. You can check out the plans here.
Whilst we are on the subject, the Bute Park to Western Avenue stretch of the primary east-west route is currently in the consultation phase –closing at the end of March. This runs through Sophia Gardens to link up with Llandaff. Read about that here.
The Countdown to Extinction
We’ve written before about money –in particular how money, for better or worse, makes things happen. The past couple of weeks brought into sharp relief the fragility of the status quo. A combination of COVID-19, floods and the apparent concentration of manufacturing in the epicentre of the virus outbreak, has left the markets in a spot of bother.The Morningstar market barometer is a sea of red for the past three months, with the exception of China, but this was before the outbreak. As of today, it’s red everywhere.
What is particularly interesting is the big losers during this period –travel companies & airlines; large-cap stocks in general, which are particularly exposed to a global supply-chain.
Large-cap stocks have been the hardest hit as they are more exposed to global trade than their small and mid-cap counterparts. While all UK fund categories are in the red, the best performing group has been the UK Small-Cap Equity category, which is down 7.4% since the start of the year.
Bonds and gold have done pretty well though, relatively speaking. Without a crystal ball to hand it would be difficult to know what the future held, but it would be understandable if these large-cap companies decided to shift their supply-chains to be less exposed to these regional shocks. Global manufacturing quite literally has all of its eggs in one basket at the moment.
That may mean we may end up paying more for things like cars, but that may not be such a bad thing in the grand scheme of things. You never know, we may even start trying to repair things again –like we’ve been doing with our bicycles for generations, rather than just replacing them when the fashion changes. I doubt we’ve seen the last of this funk though –rather it has exposed an underlying problem we’ve been masking with piles of really cheap debt.
A new Bike Life report has been published by Sustrans. It seems that we’ve been making some good progress since the last one in 2017. 16.5 million trips made by bike, up from 11.5 million in 2017 –400,000 of those on a Nextbike.
I’m really pleased to see that social mobility and equality has a prominent place in the report, but also that 33% (or 5,500,000 trips) are for shopping, personal business and social trips –it’s not just all about commuting. Imagine what that number would be with some more support from retailers?
It’s a great report –we’re making excellent progress and there’s a lot more to come from this council by the look of it.