£2/free to members
Money matters Riding for charity
Tour de France How to get involved
Health kick Why cycling’s good for you
Rites of passage Making the most of London’s canals
PLUS! Upgrade your wheels
BBC London’s Robert Elms My bike & I
Ken Worpole The wonderful world of maps
Discounts for members ■
final NEW01_Covb_0405_AR.indd 1
As I crossed Chelsea Bridge on the day the congestion charge zone expanded, I was struck by how quiet the streets were. Aside from a bit of extra bus activity (and many of the buses were full), the streets were relatively traffic-free. Except for the cyclists. At junctions or traffic lights where I would normally pull up alongside a few people, I was a lined up next to half a dozen. In green boxes usually home to half a dozen of us, there was a dozen. It's too early for official stats, but on February 19 (the first day of the new set-up), LCC's website was inundated with hits from people wanting information on cycling in London – further evidence that LCC is increasingly the first port of call for anyone looking to take to two wheels. But it isn't just on the streets and online that cycling is reaching new highs: in the mainstream daily press – often criticised by campaigners for being too pro-car – cycling is winning friends and column inches (see page 4). As I write this on a rainy Saturday afternoon, The Guardian's 100-page cycling supplement and The Independent's focus on cycling kit both sit by my side. This sort of high-profile coverage is a huge victory in the campaign for the general acceptance of cycling by the average Londoner. Imagine a day when cycling was perceived as a 'normal' everyday activity, something Lynn Sloman (page 13) argues needs to happen before London finally makes it into Europe's elite league of cycle-friendly cities. Lynette Eyb
30 LCC members’ page Making the most of your membership with bike shop discounts and other perks
32 Local group news What’s happening in your bit of town
Features COVER STORY
Barry Mason explores London's historic canal system COVER STORY
Join an LCC ride to the greatest bicycle show on Earth
18 Riding for charity We look at the boom in cyclists taking part in fundraising events
Regulars 4 News Four pages dedicated to news related to riding in the capital
7 Letters plus Zoe Williams 13 Opinion Lynn Sloman argues that we need to make cycling 'normal'
Events and rides for all cyclists
40 Books ’n’ things
14 Waterways come alive
16 The Tour de France
24 Your health
Books, films and exhibitions
Why cycling's good for you
41 Backpedalling with Ken Worpole
25 Workshops Maintenance courses across the capital
43 My Way
Muswell Hill to the Ritz
44 Outward Bound
26 Upgrading your bike?
Making tracks to Flanders
We've got the newest wheels on London's streets
49 Dispatches On the road in Cape Town
50 My Bike & I
28 Put a little colour in your pannier
BBC London's Robert Elms
a supply of smoothies
One for the girls
29 Energy bars Are they really any good?
A selection of cereal bars
20 Bike stands Tom Bogdanowicz looks at the different parking options available on our streets
22 Fitting panniers Let your bike take the load
On the cover: Cycling London's canals, courtesy of Mike Wells (see page 14)
Editor Lynette Eyb Product reviews Erin Gill, Mel Allwood Design Anita Razak Marketing Sophie Cutter Advertising Mongoose Media, Dan Rich Tel: 020 7306 0300 ext 116 Fax: 020 7306 0301 firstname.lastname@example.org ■ London Cyclist welcomes voluntary contributions, including photographs. All work is accepted in good faith. Content may be edited and reproduced online – see www.lcc.org.uk/londoncyclist You can contact LC at 2 Newhams Row, London, SE1 3UZ. T: 020 7234 9310 email@example.com All views expressed in London Cyclist are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the editors, nor do they necessarily reflect LCC policy. All material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the written permission of the editors. London Cyclist is printed by Wyndeham Grange on paper made from 100% de-inked post consumer waste. See page 30 for more on the London Cycling Campaign.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 3
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News LCC NEWS
Director’s column Simon Brammer For more than a thousand years, travel in London was easiest by water. London’s canals provided that network and became the life-blood of industrialisation. More recently, they fell into disuse and disrepair. That was until a few years ago. As Barry Mason’s fascinating article in this issue (page 14) explains, London’s canal towpaths are experiencing a revival of interest and investment, bringing back to life what were once the arteries of London’s economic success. And thanks to the determined work of LCC’s Parks and Canals Working Group, cyclists are a driving force behind this renaissance. London’s waterways are attracting new generations of users, with both cyclists and walkers finding the towpaths offer elegant and efficient commuting and leisure routes. It is crucial to ensure considerate shared use of this network, which is why LCC is contributing to discussions about improvements, signage and a code of conduct to ensure that everyone can make the most of what our majestic canals have to offer. But it’s not just along our canals that cycling continues to boom. The muchrepeated Mayoral target of an 80% increase in cycling by 2010 is now way out of date – that target was exceeded back in 2005. So it’s good to hear the Mayor has adopted a new and more ambitious target of a 400% increase by 2025 (from 2000 levels). What that means is 1.5 million cycle journeys a day compared to today’s 450,000 – still behind Amsterdam (28% of journeys) and Berlin (12%), but a step in the right direction. If the Mayor wants to realise his ambition of making London the greenest capital in the world (as stated in his recent climate change action plan), he needs to back his new cycling target with a high priority and well-funded programme, matching his commitment to the London Bus Priority Network. The first steps have already been taken: Transport for London is investing upwards of £24 million a year in cycling; LCC volunteers have invested thousands of hours of time in rides, workshops and route consultations; and Londoners have voted with their feet, taking to the two wheels in their thousands. What we need now is a determined push from all London authorities to deliver a truly world class cycling city.
4 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
All aboard the bike bus Camden pilots new scheme in Hampstead Camden Cycling Campaign (CCC) has won a grant from the Cycle London Promotion Partnership to run a pilot ‘bike-bus’ project in the Hampstead area. With North Hampstead having the highest concentration of primary schools in the country, CCC is set to take positive action to help reduce school run traffic in the area. The bike-bus will see children and parents cycle to school together on a predetermined route and pick up ‘passengers’ along the way. The concept provides safety in numbers: a group of 10-15 parents and children cycling together is highly visible, while at the same time providing children with safe on-road cycling experience. Hampstead Parochial school will pilot the first CCC bike bus. School keeper Bob Spellar has promoted cycling at this school for several years, with a number
Jail for causing death A Norwich man who killed top UK cyclist Zak Carr when his car ran into the back of Carr’s bike has been jailed for five years for causing death by dangerous driving. Donald Pearce is thought to have fallen asleep at the wheel near Wymondham in October 2005. CTC campaigns and policy manager, Roger Geffen, said the sentence was only a fraction of the one available to the courts.
Survey for women Clare Johnson, a Hackney resident, is doing some research to find out whether women cyclists are satisfied with the choice of cycling equipment and clothing that’s currently available. The research is an individual effort and not on behalf of any company or organisation. Responses are anonymous and can be offered at www.geocities.com/ womencyclingsurvey
Commuter feedback South Bank University student Bern Toomey is researching cycle commuting. He has a 10-question survey available for cyclists to complete by April 16. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the survey.
of parents already riding to school with their children. CCC are now in the process of collecting responses to a letter sent to all parents to identify those interested in joining the scheme; this process will also identify the first route. Parents and children will then be trained to cycle together safely. The grant is sufficient for the pilot scheme only, with the principal goal being to set up one successful bike-bus and have it operating throughout the 2007 summer term. CCC may enlist the help of the Camden borough cycle training team and the local police community cycle officer to continue the scheme with a view to expanding it. CCC is keen to share its experiences from this project with other groups interesting in setting up similar schemes. Jean Dollimore and Stefano Casalotti
Cycling in the media spotlight Cycling is the ideal alternative to paying the congestion charge. That’s the view of the Times and the Evening Standard, which both featured cycling on February 21, two days after the congestion charge was extended westwards. The leader article in the Times argued that road proceeds should be invested in cycling. “It may seem paradoxical that an intermediate technology is now the future,” it said. “But it would be churlish not to encourage cycling as the cheap, green answer to ... contemporary troubles.” The article suggested people who endure the grinding “stop-and-start” experience of driving in London would save time and money by cycling. It described cycling as an “elegant and intelligent response to pollution and traffic congestion”, and finished “may those who cycle be blessed with clean consciences, stronger arteries and safer journeys”. The online version of the article generated comments such as “I wouldn’t commute by any other means than my bike” and “Great to see some encouragement for cycling”. The Evening Standard ran a double page centre spread on cycling, entitled “Revolution on wheels: First tube fares went up, now the C-Charge zone has doubled, making 2007 the perfect year to start cycling”. Columnist Will Self described cycling as “a joy in the city”. Self calculated that he saves “at least £500 a year cycling”. And then there’s the sheer convenience: “I always – I repeat always – know how long a journey is going to take me, even one I haven’t done before”, not to mention the freedom: “No longer yoked to capricious transport timetables, or the vagaries of the traffic, you’re at liberty to come and go as you please. Once you’ve grown accustomed to negotiating the traffic, you can actually look around you at the city.” The article featured extensive information supplied by LCC on bikes and bike shops, security, rides, routes and more. These articles were followed by a week-long focus on cycling in The Guardian and a feature in one of The Independent’s weekend magazines.
For more news, go to www.lcc.org.uk
News Send items for the news pages to email@example.com or write to the address on page 3
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
The call is made to help save the Eastway legacy
Cadden case victory
In an astonishing turnaround, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced plans to shrink the successor to the legendary Eastway Cycle Circuit in East London from 34 hectares to 10. New proposals leave no provision for off-road sport and a 1.6km ‘U’-shaped road circuit tight against the arterial A12. Campaigners are furious that earlier promises have been broken. A massive, detailed planning application of 10,000 pages for the whole Olympic area was submitted to the ODA to the surprise of Eastway users, who were not consulted on the design
34-hectare site would be a worldclass replacement. London gave protected land and the money to build. Let’s remind London 2012 of its promise to cycling.” The LCC and the EUG have submitted objections to the planning applications.
of the circuit proposals. “London 2012’s bid promised a legacy for the Olympic sports of mountain bike, time-trial and road racing events,” said Michael Humphreys, chair of the Eastway Users’ Group (EUG). “The IOC and users agreed the
HOW TO GET INVOLVED There is a template letter at www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns which members can use to write to 2012 chairman Lord Coe and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, urging them to reconsider this decision. Members without web access should call LCC (see page 30 for contact details).
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
Mayor’s £40m bike pledge Cycling and walking on track for 2007/08 boost LCC has welcomed Mayor Ken Livingstone’s budget proposal to spend an additional £40 million on cycling over the next three years. “I welcome the increase in funding for both cycling and walking initiatives in London in this year’s budget agreement but must stress it is not just about funding,” said LCC director Simon Brammer. “We now want to see that increase in investment turned into measures which result in further and sustainable increases in walking and cycling. “The Mayor has rightly prioritised climate change, but this is not an issue we can tackle overnight. “This announcement is a great start, but with further significant increases in investment over the next 20 years, we should be aiming for 20% of journeys to be made by bike. That really would be a substantial contribution to tackling climate change.” The 2007/08 budget promisees to deliver an extra £47 million to help make London a green city “at the forefront of climate change”, said the Mayor. It will see an additional £4.6 million spent on the promotion of walking, and £5.5 million more spent to encourage other forms of sustainable transport. “It is no accident that London is leading the way on climate change issues,” said Mr Livingstone. “London is the only region in the country where the Greens are an active partner and [this] package will
For more news, go to www.lcc.org.uk
help us maintain that leading position.” He said tackling climate change was “the number one priority” for his administration. Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones also welcomed the budget. “This agreement will help London lead the way on climate change, traffic reduction and green energy,” she said. “These new proposals build on the work we have already carried out on safer roads, cleaner air and better food.” The Mayor renewed his commitment to complete all but 50km of the LCN+ by the end of 2009/10, with the remaining stretches finished by the end of 2010. There would be a continuation of funding levels for cycle parking in schools; cycle parking at all rail, tube and DLR stations would be tackled via £600,000 four-year action plans; and green and offroad cycle routes would receive a £1.5 million boost. An additional £1 million was earmarked for cycle training in 2007/08, bringing that budget for 2007/08 to £2.8 million. From 2007/08, cycle training would be provided for every primary school that requested it, said the Mayor. He said TfL would meet or exceed targets to train half Year 5 and 6 school children to level 2 of the national standards by 2009. Refresher courses will also be available for secondary school children, he said.
A cyclist who was fined for ‘unreasonable riding’ after police stopped him for cycling on the road in Telford, Shropshire, has had his conviction overturned on appeal at the Shrewsbury Crown Court. Police had fined Daniel Cadden, 25, £100, claiming cars were having to cross double lines to overtake him. However a judge in January overruled the original conviction, saying Mr Cadden had every right to be on the road.
Corbyn top MP rider February saw the release of details of Westminster MPs’ expense accounts. A small number of MPs claimed the 20p-per-mile for cycling, with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP for Islington North topping bill with £230 (or 1,150 miles). CTC reported that despite his high-profile bicycle rides, Conservative leader David Cameron was not among the 10 MPs who claimed expenses for cycling. Other cycling MPs included Labour MP for Wakefield, Mary Creagh (£230) and Conservative MP for North East Hampshire, James Arbuthnot (£176).
Borough initiative Eleven London local authorities have signed up to the CTC’s Regional Benchmarking Initiative which will see borough representatives and cycle campaigners visit other boroughs to evaluate local cycling initiatives. The participating London boroughs are Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Sutton, and Tower Hamlets.
Cycle Show moves The Cycle Show, the largest bicycle exhibition in the UK, will move from ExCel in the Docklands to the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre this year in an effort to broaden its appeal. The show will run October 11-14.
Left: The ceremonial burning of the Olympic flag at the old Eastway cycle circuit. Campaigners are concerned the promised ‘Olympic legacy’ may not come to fruition Far left: Bulldozers move in to level the pavilion at Eastway earlier this year
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 5
‘Cycling gives me freedom’
Tom Lynch rewarded for his commitment to cycling
Green London Assembly member Jenny Jones headed a group of cyclists on March 3 urging women to get on their bikes. Ms Jones set out from Brixton with other cyclists, including LCC members, to highlight the importance of cycling for women. They were en route to Capitalwoman 2007, an event celebrating women. LCC promoted cycling at the event with an information stall and a free maintenance workshop. See www.lcc.org.uk/news for more.
It’s an impressive resumé: former British and European BMX champion, creator of London Ambulance Service’s pioneering Cycle Response Unit (CRU), MBE recipient. Tom Lynch, took his first bike ride on a Raleigh Chipper, aged seven and he says he “has never got off since”. At 11 he was a BMXer, with racing taking him all over the world and on to the winner’s podium in all major championships. “Cycling has always been special to me as it has been a great form of transport, giving me great freedom to explore,” he says. “I used it for competition and it has kept me in good health. Cycling makes sense even more so now as we should be concerned about the costs to the environment.”
How you can celebrate the bike in June Organisation is well under way for Bike Week, set to run June 16-24, and again incorporating Bike2Work and schools events. Last year 1,717 events were registered across the UK; more than 220 of these taking place in Greater London, with the capital’s biggest event the London to Brighton ride (see page 18 for our charity feature). Local groups are encouraged to register all rides and events at www.bikeweek.org.uk. Free advice is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0845 612 0661. Advice is also available from LCC (see page 30 for contact details). See the June/July issue of LC for coverage of what’s happening in your borough; the LCC’s website will also carry news on Bike Week activities. See www.lcc.org.uk.
Tom Lynch on the road The “ambulance idea” – the Cycle Response Unit – was trialled in the summer of 2000 in the West End, and by 2002 its first team of riders was working in central London with spectacular success. The subsequent establishment under Tom’s supervision of a unit at Heathrow was the first of its kind at a European airport, with other aiports following suit. The idea has been copied from Manchester to Weymouth, with Tom coaching each city’s
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
LCC pushes for HGV mirrors LCC is lobbying for all lorries to be fitted with mirrors.
LCC is urging members to help lobby for laws requiring HGV lorries to be fitted with mirrors to give drivers a better view of cyclists and pedestrians. An EU directive passed in 2003 means new trucks over 3.5 tonnes must have effective mirrors, but more than five million older trucks in the EU still pose a risk to road users. Each year, 400 people lose their lives because they were not seen by lorries. In London, more than half cyclist fatalities involve lorries, mostly turning left at junctions. Another EU directive has now been proposed to require
For more news go to www.lcc.org.uk
cycling life savers. As a trained instructor for the International Police Mountain Bike Association, he was well placed to develop the protocols and guidelines that underpin these nationwide units.Tom’s fame has spread. He is now answering calls for his advice and training across Western Europe. “It is indeed an honour to receive [the MBE] as my BMX and ambulance careers have been very enjoyable, and have provided great success. Thanks to him, the UK leads in Public Safety Cycling, (PSC), and with his sights on even more positive change, Tom hopes for raised awareness of cycling’s health and environmental benefits, and a more cohesive relationship between road users. The launch of a PSC website in mid April will raise a standard for all Tom’s many public service oriented ambitions. Gary Fahy See the June/July issue of London Cyclist for our profile of Derek Roberts MBE.
all trucks to be fitted with the mirrors, regardless of age. LCC is urging members to write to MEPs to support the proposal. The Minister of State in the Ireland’s Department of Transport, Ivor Callely, says the adjustment to HGVs cost as little as a tank of diesel. The British government commissioned the original research which illustrated the benefits of additional mirrors, with Holland, Belgium and Denmark subsequently acting on the recommendations; the UK has not taken action since the report was released in 1999. HOW TO GET INVOLVED There is a template letter at www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns which members can use to write to their MEP. Members without internet access should call the LCC office (see page 30 for contact details).
Movers on the web Wandsworth Cycling Campaign (WCC) has launched a website to showcase its recent Movers & Shakers project aimed at getting community leaders cycling. WCC is keen to hear from and help other groups interested in running similar schemes in their area. See www.movers-shakers.btik. com or email movers@ wandsworthcyclists.org.uk
Hackney on the map The Hackney Environment Forum has launched a Big Green Map of the borough. Hackney Cyclists and local bike shops are listed on the map. Barking & Dagenham, Lewisham and Haringey also have maps as part of a London 21 Sustainability Network (www.london21.org) initiative aimed at highlighting environmentally and ethically sound facilities.
Report a pothole The CTC’s www.fillthathole. org.uk allows cyclists to mark the location of defects online, with information passed to local authorities which then have a duty to repair the road fault. To report potholes in the London area, visit www.lcc. org.uk for extensive links and contact details.
Stands for Islington Islington Council will set up a £3m Climate Change Fund for energy efficiency measures and green transport projects. It will also install a 500 new bike stands during 2007/08.
London Ambulance Service, Charlie Lloyd
Two LCC members and cycle stalwarts were awarded MBEs in the Queen’s New Year honours list. In this two-part series, we profile both men, starting with Tom Lynch
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 7
Historic bike shop closes
End of the road for family-run Wilton Cycles
Community funds on offer for projects The Community Cycling Fund for London (formerly CLPP) is now open to all community groups in London. Groups can apply for up to £5,000 for projects such as cycle training, school events, bicycle provision, organised bike rides and maintenance courses. See LC Feb/Mar for examples of projects funded last year. There are three big cycling events in London this year – Bike Week (see page 7), and the Tour de France and London Freewheel mass bike rides (see page 16). All events will have entertainment for children and community groups. If you want to work with your community on preparatory rides, cycle training or bike repairs ahead of these events, the Community Cycling Fund could help with financing. To apply or to discuss ideas, see www.lcc.org.uk or contact Sarah Slater, LCC’s community cycling officer, (email@example.com or 020 7234 9310 ext 212). The Community Cycling Fund for London is now delivered directly through LCC.
at the Motor Cycle and Cycle Car Exhibition in Olympia. Trade flourished, with three tourers exhibited alongside Morris Motors at the 1919 Motor Show. But prices ranged from £395 to £425 (Cowleys were half the price), with the company
Whilst not eating up the miles as he once did, John Powell – believed to be LCC’s oldest member – still rides at the age of 94. John began his two-wheeled adventures aged five, cutting his teeth on a second-hand tricycle. He modestly tells of his racing ambitions in his late teens, breaking evens in some 25-mile time trials but modestly says he was “just an average clubman”. John has toured extensively through Europe, and cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats to celebrate his 80th birthday to raise money for a local hospice. Among his other adventures, he recalls his tour of the Blue Mountains in Australia, citing the scenery and weather as highlights. He attributes his long and healthy life to “steady and consistent exercise” (see page 24 for the health benefits of cycling). John says the advances in lightweight technology have made cycling more pleasurable, but while the precision-made components work much better and are beautifully crafted than ever, he says they lack the longevity of their old, steel counterparts. The other most obvious change has been to
Met joins Ride2Work Evans Cycles have signed a contract to provide a salarysacrifice bike-buying service to the Metropolitan Police. Under the agreement, Met workers are entitled to tax breaks and up to 50% off the price of new bikes via Evans’ Ride2Work programme, developed as a result of the government’s Cycle To Work initiative. For details on Cycle To Work, see www.lcc.org.uk.
John’s wheels keep on turning
For more news go to www.lcc.org.uk
ignoring the cost advantages of mass production. Wilton Cars Ltd ceased production in 1924, but the Wilton Cycle and Motor Company on Wilton Road, Pimlico, was a separate enterprise, and went on to enjoy the boom in radio crystal sets. Robert Head, the third generation custodian of the business was forced to close its doors after struggling to justify its costs. Trade, he says, had fallen away over the last two years in line with the decline in small, family-run businesses. The Wilton bike shop started life at the turn of the 19th century, and all was as it had always been as the 20th century dawned. Now, in 2007, that brave little flicker has finally been extinguished. Gary Fahy
The boroughs of Lambeth and Kingston, along with the City of London, have been named finalists in the cycling category of the London Transport Awards 2007, to be announced on April 25.
Success for baiting
traffic. John has lived in Woodford Green for 40 years and recalls how he would see a car once every 30 minutes on the Chigfield Lane. He could ride for miles enjoying “beautiful scenery” without interruption. Now there is a constant hiss of traffic rushing past. None the less, he does not feel driver standards have fallen, saying accidents have increased through the sheer volume of motorised traffic. Pulling no punches, he feels disappointed in the behaviour of cyclists who ignore the Highway Code, particularly those who jump traffic lights and ride unlit at night. “If the public are to be on the side of cyclists as road users, we must be seen as law-abiding citizens,” he says. Michael Stenning
Police will look at using bait bike technology to break up gangs of bike thieves in London following a successful operation in Tower Hamlets that resulted in six convictions. Bike baiting involves decoy bikes being fitted with trackers. The bike baiting in Tower Hamlets, coupled with a crime prevention advice campaign, saw a 17.4% fall in bike thefts.
'I love my bike day' Pupils at Ambler Primary School participated in an ‘I love my bike day’ in February. The school, one of four in Islington taking part in Sustrans’ Bike It project, received bike bells and stickers, thanks to money raised recently by pop band the Scissor Sisters. The band supported Bike It at a recent gig after hearing of its success in encouraging children to cycle to school.
Gary Fahy, Alan James
After 80 years beguiling generations with die-cast delights, the Wilton Cycle and Wireless Company of Tachbrook Street, Pimlico – a pristine example of ’50s retailing – has closed its doors for the last time. Until February 3, you entered the store to the smell of tyrerubber and a children’s corner of rainbow-coloured bikes, and stacks of delicately balanced Airfix and Revell kits – everything from pocket battleships to Lancasters and Harriers. In 1895, the founder, Charles Halsall began work as a cycle repairer at the age of 14, living above his premises at 8 Hindon Street in Victoria, subsequently moving to 110 Wilton Road, and ‘Wilton Cycles’ was born. By 1910 they were exhibiting
June 3-17 will be London Sustainability Weeks. Hundreds of events will take place covering everything from sustainable transport to wildlife protection. See www.lovelondon.org for details or call 020 8968 4601. Organisers are keen to hear from groups interested in organising local events.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 9
Letters Have your say Books ’n’ thin
and kept her cycling for 12 years. Thanks also to all the readers who have sent in feedback following our relaunch. The response has been fantastic.
Extract from South Of The
Book ’n’ things
Global Warming: Border “ The Paul Brown (GuardianLast Chance For Change, But don’t you Books) ever get This is a very days when you rational and informative think ‘Oh account of the burn and a young to hell with it!’ threat to our When planet and the inevitable child stood against you just want social, economic to pack and environmenta the backdrop up and go home?” l consequence of global warming. s of a burning oilfield “Not really. I The most compelling have chapter, ‘Mad, are of the most shitty days like Bad today explores the refusal or Greedy’, poignant. Imagery when I can’t go of developed any (and developing) shot from space further, and when nations highlights the every sustainable technologies, to adopt erosion of the mile is an endurance polar ice caps largely due to the small but and encroaching sea test. But I’ve powerful scientific never levels. community paid The author argues moment thought for a by conglomerate no magic trick of actually packing to s create a smoke solve our energy will it’s just something up; screen to dismiss crisis – individuals I’ve set myself any suggestion have to force to do.” “Yes, but you’ve of climate change. governments already gone The book maintains and industries a long way. It’s a hell of a real sense to buy into new not as though of pragmatism technologies. you have only managed and hope in spite It is happening, to get down the of the gloom, but the revolution road.” I thought about drawing upon needs to gather the this later and experiences of momentum – questioned myself. It was Denmark and and fast. true, Sweden who This is the most days which were I had had so many have invested balanced account a struggle, in sustainable technologies. heavily in of the fact most of my days were subject I have extremely read and, at The photography a whisker under was always something strenuous. There throughout is £20, it is excellent breathtaking; value for money, or mental endurance; to test my physical a Russian soldier particularly given dragging on a wind, bad roads, the quality of painful bum, cigarette as oil photography. hills, mountains, fields and later on, Michael Stenning the awful heat. I did not doubt Nuclear Power my mental stamina, it was Is Not The Answer, my physical limitations (The New Press) Helen Caldicott were usually which the cause of Having grown my difficulties. I wondered if up in the shadow someone of much nuclear power of physical strength great station (the reactors Bradwell, Britain’s first and grandfather in were welded found it significantly stamina would have the 1960s), I by my late approached easier than I did. Caldicott presents Yet it was not a powerful argument this book with interest. simply that I was asking whetther against nuclear and lacking muscle female nuclear energy power, and lung capacity. will ever be a effective energy After all, Dervla safe solution. She Murphy and Bettina delivers a rational and cost nuclear energy Selby seemed demands great commentary, to float through citing that reserves, as well funding. The their one-hundredbook argues as substantial plus miles per that we are sitting government elderly reactors day with no trouble, and on a nuclear ceasing to operate time bomb with some to decommissio safely yet being cyclists supposedly super-human n. More too dangerous achieve two hundred, within our reproductive alarming is the claim (or costly) I could only balk that we all carry organs which at the thought radioactivity generations. will affect the of that. The most health of future I ever did was Caldicott says ninety, and that was we must address an exceptional use sustainable our day. So why then transport to minimiseculture of energy consumption did I never give energy. She puts and emissions, thus a thought to packing the whole the onus on consumers reducing thing up? Why, demand for appliances, dual to drive demand days when I was even on fuel cars (and, for energy efficient almost reduced yes, bicycles), turning lights did I not entertain to tears, and appliances and to conserve the idea of stopping? off when not energy by This is a fascinating, in use. It was hard to if chilling, book know why not. that argues with a refreshingly Part of course, was that a change balanced approach that I was determinedof it. of mindset can life. MS lead to a more finish what I had sustainable way stated; to paraphraseto of Bryson ‘Cycling Bill Tour de France: is what I did’. Partly it was because I had The History, The Legend, loved North America Riders, Graeme The – every day had Fife (Mainstream been a revelation, so much Publishing) After a few chapters day had revealed every of this book, another of its I felt as though gems. But I think it was I’d ridden the length also due to what of Oxford Street I can only call at rush hour. London: A Life In the ‘completenes The book weaves Maps is on s’ of my journey. It through myriad at the British Library was not merely Tour facts and figures, until a bike ride, it was whole, colourful anecdotes March 4. See London rounded thing. and provides as a detailed commentary you’ve never seen of the last nine it before South Of The races, including as the city’s history Border (Mexico the 2006 race which comes to Costa Rica), Gwen resulted in Floyd to life through an Maka, £7.99. Landis incredible Gwen’s surrendering first book was the winner’s position collection of maps, Riding testing positive letters, after (Seattle to Mexico). with Ghosts to drugs. and other ephemera Both books are sometimes bewildering, The level of detail is from Eye Books, www.travelle from the library’s vast but Fife’s passion sport of cycling, and varied rseye.com for the and this race collections. See in particular, is admirable. www.bl.uk Andrew Barnett or call 7412 7332 34 February/Marc for more
When LC arrives, I’m usually in a hurry to get off to work and just have time to look at the pictures as I scoff my muesli. First thing I look for is Elsie. When the new-look LC plopped in and I struggled to come to terms with the unfamiliar design, I searched for some continuity with the old LC. Pages became muesli bespattered as I choked with indignation: she wasn’t there. Are other readers missing Elsie? Josie Dew perhaps, who as a new mum – congratulations! – could learn a lot from Elsie about bringing up mini-cyclists? Please reassure me that Elsie is taking time out with her twins and will be back soon. Richard Evans, via email Ed: Sorry Richard, the Elsie era has drawn to a close. Many thanks to Hugh Morgan, who created Elsie
Great gift ideas
A big thanks I recently suffered a broken bracket on my pannier while a dozen miles from home. I would like thank the stranger who gave me two new bungees to strap the bag onto my bike as a ‘get-me-home’ solution. It’s really encouraging when cycling in London to get help like this. Roger Orr, SE14
details and opening
FebMarBooks34-5 RL.indd 34
freighter, are published
a bike Cameron rode of When David the public view to parliament, – people suddenly him changed of the had higher expectations that So much so Tory leader. when there was indignation a car carrying people discovered Cameron his papers followed he was that on his bike, and he wanted not riding because but because to save the planet, The fact he enjoyed cycling.a cyclist led was that Cameron his that to the expectation would be every behaviour exemplary. the Government between the than take action, The contrast lamenting the expectation sits on the fence higher public the French police, warming, the lower impacts of global of cyclists and can become restraints on other road reluctant to place expectation of a self fulfilling promote be greater. driving or to seriously users couldn’t prophesy: 60% with tinted sustainable transport. expectation Drive an SUV of motorists exceed bull-bars (known The public’s greater realistic many windows and and speed limits and not be of cyclists may by some as child-bars) are little different use mobile phones for granted that – after all, cyclists Many people will take – but while driving. 60mph in 20mph of the population rest reach the will to think you If cyclists a DVD offenders don’t it is to be welcomed. considerate anything zones while watching phone. more they are doing a mobile are consistently public is and talking on as well the wrong and the other road users, encourage such than Jeremy Clarkson, that accept that may and motoring beginning to being greener, as a Even the BBC presenter promote cycling made a behaviour is normal. casualties politicians to columnist, has of road problems. out of fact that 15% we solution to transport lucrative career hit-and-run by however, is that disdain of in London are A key lesson, declaring his lly little attention. lower expectations environmenta drivers draws must challenge people anything that’s even have a word, You hear some a cyclist to say In Britain, we of motorists. as friendly. Were that in road over run motorists implies all that accident, saying they treat they would deliberately cars, is to blame. In Not only is that damage crashes no-one they homicidal maniacs. I suspect pedestrians or be but Poland or Italy, public would countries like far from the truth, the press and – called said really mean is when Clarkson are – more accurately a word what these critics alert for poor outraged, yet his though on the cyclists under incidents even that they are he would crush no-one Making that accident exists. delayed him, equivalent to of driving by a minority. because to wheels if they was own expectations HAVE YOUR SAY surprised – he important is mildly Drivers’ even distinction and was . you have also shaped, Does society up to expectations motoring are improve behaviour . stream simply living Sissela the constant expect too much distorted, by to raise expectations As the philosopher, of having has for motor vehicles. in perception of cyclists and danger of promotions A turnaround – ts assert Bok argues, the of anyone, drink driving not enough of Not only do advertisemen taken place with a lower expectation and use, are cyclist or wouldn’t encourage motorists? If that car ownership, even Clarkson whether motorist, they tend to approbation and Mobile phone so, how can is that steps to social also of ‘one for the road’. motorcyclist and the fitting status but they down) to that the balance be higher social use when driving day, also fall live up (or rather One classic of open roads one redressed? promise a vision UK bull-bars may, lower expectation. student As a leading anti-social category. Share your during and high speeds. into the same example was observes: “People incessant promotion thoughts by ’60s when the psychologist that Sadly, with the unrest in the by advertising it may take longer emailing us at of whom no-one are persuaded of fast driving, social French police, . will meet with acceptance of behaviour, beat firstname.lastname@example.org buying a car – and to reverse the expected decent to with be liberating ely resulting writing will or the and uk and approval face speeding, students indiscriminatBritish bobby, hit by taxes and norm. the the address on then they are fatalities, as a batons, whereas It’s a recipe page 3. was expected, endless congestion. Rather of whom more and conflict”. greater restraint. 2007 9 frustration with ch behaved as with for February/Mar of motorists, LONDON CYCLIST Expecting little 17/1/07 21:54:53
Greater expectations “Does society expect too much of cyclists and not enough of motorists?” (Greater Expectations, LC Feb/Mar). The cost of motoring has gone down, while the cost of public transport has rocketed. There is no systematic testing of motorists for drink-driving. It is possible to kill another road user and receive only a driving ban and a fine. Motorists’ organisations campaign against the enforcement of speed limits and have wide support in the press. There is no sign that if all cyclists were paragons of virtue, drivers would change their ways. Cyclists are seen as cheapskates and a nuisance. Official rhetoric of promoting cycling is contrary to the actual practice. Peter Salter, SE16
£2/free to members
Community grants From Bayswater to Blackheath
Potholes The law and you
On conceiving and cycling
Artist Ed Gray:
My bike and I
How it started Where to play ■
ASSERTIV E RIDING ADVICE
What to do if le you hit a potho
Solicitor and of the road surface. to you the condition this happens are caused by what to do if Many crashes n advises on by showing Mark Bowma defend any claim LCC member of the road) may circumstances or other defect of a pothole you f you crash because there are things that surface in the road should do.
CONTACT THE LCC If you are involved in a crash get in touch with the LCC as soon as you can. Members
you can crash are entitled to as precise as location. Be free, expert legal number name and the 1. Note the exact advice. have the road by making by ensuring you outside and For further it happened Post Office’. of the building information see: eg ‘opposite www.lcc. reference to landmarks, of the crash org.uk/index. of the cause 1 take photos asp?PageID=39 the size and depth 2. Immediately area. Measure an item and the surrounding don’t have a ruler, use If you If you do of the pothole. the rough size. of the card to show to the scene such as a credit on you, return not have a camera you can to take photos. as accident as soon or about the pothole signs warning chalk marks 3. Look for example white (for road the signifying markings on the pothole) paint around body is or red or yellow other responsible of authority or Take photos that the local of the pothole. existence aware of the any markings. address and the details (name, it happen. 4. Take down saw of anyone who phone number) your to your bike, See damage done 5. Note any sions and yourself. aware that medical clothing/hel met/posses are in pain. Be a doctor if you present themselves advice do not always symptoms seek specialist , so you should hurt yourself. immediately not feel you have even if you do crashes specialises in who solicitor do, do not 6. Contact a Whatever you involving potholes. the authority until the to report the crash 2) have been step (especially above steps crash to the you report the bly be taken. Once it will understanda responsible body pothole and eliminate the repair keen to you might have. any evidence
Bringing a claim
a in a crash involving you can Being involved not guarantee pothole does for personal pursue a claim successfully the courts matter of policy, injury. As a unreasonab le it would be and have decided to be responsible every accident for local authorities to insure against therefore have a result of a pothole. 58(1) of the that occurs as law is in Section the authority The relevant that states This 1980. and Highways Act for maintenance responsible (or other body
repair in all the “such care as that part of the it has taken required to secure was reasonably for traffic.” s not dangerous needs to highway...wa an authority this means a reasonable In practice, and observed the prove it instituted and repair. In assessing courts will system of inspection a system the ess of such include: reasonablen of factors. These for a number have regard the traffic reasonably the road and of maintenance the nature of use it; the standardstate of repair an expected to the road; a whether for such appropriate it to be in; and would expect to know, ordinary person be expected knew or could the authority a danger to users. cause to likely as a result, the road was defence and, tricky. This is a wide-ranging are notoriously from potholes pothole existed, claims resulting of claiming the case a claim. simply is a valid It is not deep and there was two inches
may respond How the authority collisions involving another
as Unlike road traffic rarely admitted is therefore very via its vehicle, liability Instead, an authority, of a a matter of course. to notification typically respond of inspection in insurers, will it had a system claim by stating and that no matter was reasonable, meet the claim. place, that it was, it will not a how big the pothole the authority may have little In certain situations lines and there will be along these It is advisable valid defence with a claim. prospect of succeeding whether the authority advice to assess has to seek legal defence. If it the statutory litigation has satisfied in continuing to there is little point matter proceeds because, if the likely to be forced court, you are legal costs to pay the authority’s damages – a no while recovering outcome. potentially costly look at the A solicitor will account into taken be factors to assessing by the court in system of the authority’s will advise inspection. S/he are likely whether the factors favour or that to weigh in your and therefore of the authority financial whether it makes litigation. sense to pursue will not every crash Remember – claim. result in a successful in cycle About the author (above left) specialises contact Mark Bowman For free initial advice collision claims. 7861 4043 or email@example.com LONDON CYCLIST
ch 2007 19 February/Mar
February/Mar ch 2007 35
society has argues that when be a better will Bogdanowicz cyclists, the roads ns manager Tom LCC’s campaig tions of motorists as it does the same expectae place for everyon
to New Zealand by Russian on 1 March by Little, Brown.
Main image BritainOnView
Congratulations on the new look – you have made a good read better. My one complaint is that Zoe Williams’ section has shrunk. Her column is a hit in my household – can we have more please?! I was also interested to read about Blackfriars Bridge. I feel that it’s a case of ‘one step forward, another back’. The cycle lane over Waterloo Bridge has been made far less safe. Ric Hill, NW1 Ed: LCC has highlighted the problems at Waterloo on its website (see www.lcc.org.uk). LCC members recently met London Assembly member Jenny Jones and a Lambeth Council representative to review the problems.
h 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
Brilliant. Love it. And a great first edition cover! Dr A Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
given no consideration by cyclists. Where are the articles on responsible cycling? Obeying the law, not running red lights (you need to get off the fence on this) and not cycling on pavements should be encouraged. We cyclists are far from perfect. LC must stop ignoring this. Matt Collins, N19
New World Disorder 7 - Flying High Entertainme Again (Freeride nt) (58 min) Free riding is a branch of mountain from BMX and biking that grew involves variety of environments high speed jumps and tricks in a . The film features free ride world, stars from the camerawork is slick, and the are breathtaking Since I last backpedalle locations (footage was shot in places d my as Utah and way into these Turkey). as diverse pages I have Awe-inspiring experienced as the a surprise with becomes tiresome rider’s skills and the cinematograp a rear dropout: a mini cyclist hy may be, the suggest a return and predictable, a shame has dropped film because the to the engaging out of my rear opening minutes ’70s and ’80s. outlaw persona dropout area. That said, there of mountain biking are hear the sound It was all quite in the of broken frames some very amusing scenes. unexpected. around the capital I expect to For and blown fork one thing I thought seals in streets soon. Michael I was familiar and parks Stenning and for another, with my bottom bracket region, A Year Of in my late teenage told me I would years a doctor Adventures; never produce suggestions closer offspring (too time spent sitting much 132: Seize The on bikes – or in Gwydyr Forest to home (biking Days some such silliness). But I returned Park in Wales). (Lonely Planet) home from a 132: Seize The year away (nine months cycling Days The two Lonely around New Zealand similar inspirational is along too many months plus far lines. This is Planet books spent lost at smart and well-designe a sea on a Russian rustbucket), was d gem that reviewed here reunited with provides ideas the builder (very and got pregnant. rather than practical offer a departure nice) Body then went knowhow. The overload: up into hormone premise is simple: until this point, from what we’ve the average Brit the only come to expect I was familiar has 132 weekend from the ‘traveller’s with were endorphins hormones days, holidays and hormones. These Bible’, but – happy bank holidays they are very are the ones each year, and much in tune that surge into at such enjoyable this guide aims with the publisher’s action moments as to encourage us move slaloming among London buses to make the most design-led content. into more a second before of them. The gap closes, or the bone-crunch listings Adventures offers A Year Of riding full throttle ing bag (‘river bugging’, are a mixed into the IMAX suggestions for off Waterloo Bridge what to do around roundabout and anyone?), but surviving drain cover pothole the world each and every day and the onslaught that suicidal cycling rates of the vehicles and several of kamikaze those inconvenient a cycling perspective,year. From mentions, including lights that turn ly positioned it takes in everything from traffic red extreme cycling, the expected the corner towards just as you’re swooping around the (the Tour de France) Waterloo station. Hadrian’s Cycleway to Unfortunately Friendship Highwaythe isolated (the , three months and volunteering into my fattening status all the from Lhasa to on horribleness Kathmandu), a Sustrans route. of a miscarriage however it also The hospital struck. has said it was just Lynette Eyb one of tricks of nature and hadn’t occurredthose unpleasant anything I had because of done fact that my body – like too much cycling. The was used to cycling fine to continue meant it was Skeese greeting cycling while pregnant as long cards (www.skees felt like it – without What happens as I going overboard e.com) when cycling I couldn’t stop – they said. But and art to are combined blaming myself. stock with the need I felt I shouldn’t cycled so far, to stay in touch with or so fast as have them, ask the I had every day. family and friends? I decided it was The result is no good moping store to email a range so I got on with or looking back cards by American of greeting writing books info@skeese. about bobbing in a Russian tub triathlete Stacy Keese. Often about and com as Stacy using nothing around New Zealand my cycling misadventure is looking for more than a chain s UK distributors. for inspiration, weather on record. during the country’s worst Skeese has created a During this creative card for every I discovered I interlude occasion. There was pregnant Ella Doran Travel again. This time is everything continued cycling I from candles but in a far less from John Lewis Journal, £16, and cakes to manner – at least lung-bursting a guitar for the bicycle-riding I did for the fi This travel journal rst 12 the mini cyclist musician in with a your life. within was establishingweeks while photographic developing the print of a Chinese itself and The cards are means for strong bicycle on the available online As the summer strapping thighs. cover has blank at www.skeese months rolled pages inside .com, as well by every day but and is divided as in selected bike went further and I kept riding into six sections to shops and card further, more measured accommodat outlets. If you manner, as weaving albeit in a e pockets for cuttings want your local between lines a narrow path or postcards. shop of traffic or falling It is one of a steep winding 40mph down range of journals a hill takes on a and different dimension when you’ve storage boxes got a belly full of arms or legs. Following one the East Londonsuch hilly ride I arrived home, bit odd and a based designer few hours later felt a Molly was born. has designed for NEW ADDITIONS John Lewis. TO THE JOSIE DEW Find BOOK FAMILY Long Cloud Ride out more about – a 6,000-mile her cycle journey around Zealand (hardback) at www.elladora New and the paperback n. at version Sea – a 15,000 mile co.uk. of Saddled journey Gary Appleton
Your new-look LC Congratulations on the new-look > LC. It looks really impressive and is a massive improvement. It makes the organisation appear more professional. Great Stuff! Graham Freer, via email
My heart dropped to see a fantastic new-look LC spoiled by an article endangering my wellbeing as a cyclist. While Tom Bogdanowicz makes some valid points in his piece, the overriding effect is to strengthen the sense that cyclists are at war with motorists. In fact, my experience as a cyclist is one of considerate motorists giving me a wide berth. What’s more, when out walking, I have frequently been
Tom Bogdanowicz is mistaken if he thinks that David Cameron riding a bike convinced the public that he was trying to save the planet or simply enjoying cycling. Surely I am not the only one to view it as a PR exercise. David Cameron FLEW to Norway to inspect the ice caps when aviation accounts for over 10% of the UK’s CO2 emissions. J Singer, E5 Cycling and the environment Why is LC reviewing environmental books? Do you imagine that we all agree with the views expressed in the first two books reviewed in the Feb/Mar issue? Are you going to give equal prominence to books debunking the global warming hoax or supporting nuclear power? I think not! No book from either side of the debate has any place in a cycling magazine. This magazine is about cycling, not about pushing left-wing agendas. Many leftists assume everyone shares their views, and they are astonished when rightwing governments get elected or when people are sceptical of environmentalists’ claims. I suggest these reviews were printed because the editors fell into that same trap. Jeremy Benjamin, CR2 Report pothole problems The advice by Mark Bowman re potholes is useful (LC Feb/Mar). By following this procedure (and with help from an LCC-suggested
SEBASTIANS S o l i c i t o r s
NO FEE - WIN OR LOSE Your case will be run by an experienced solicitor, Law Society Personal Injury Panel member, cycle injury compensation specialist and committed cyclist For your free consultation call Simon Robeson 020 7583 2105 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org SEBASTIANS 92 Fleet Street London EC4Y 1PB
10 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
Letters can be sent to email@example.com or to the address on page 3. Letters may be edited for legal or space reasons (please keep them short and concise)
What a bright idea How disappointing that no-one has designed lights which, when removed, interlock neatly to each other with their switches concealed to prevent them from switching on while inside a bag/pocket. S Woodgate, via email A new bike theft threat? On February 7, my bike was stolen from Leicester Square despite the fact that I had used three locks. A community support officer informed me that in the previous week a person who had been arrested had a complete set of skeleton keys for most bike locks on him/her. Are none of our bikes safe, regardless of the quality of locks we use? Will we soon be unable to get insurance for our beloved bikes? Richard Jackson, SW11 After my bike was stolen, I asked the police officer what advice he’d give me if I wanted to go to Brick Lane to find my bike. He said I could pay to buy it back or I could call the police to help get it back. We had only been in Brick Lane 20 minutes when we saw my bike. I called the police and, to the annoyance of the ‘traders’, my Giant and I were reunited. The good guys won! It shows that you can go to Brick Lane, find your bike and call on some great help from the police to get it back. Name withheld by request Bike box frustration I am annoyed by the mopeds and motorbikes that try to get ahead of traffic by occupying the green ‘bike box’ at traffic lights. To add insult to injury, I have found they also decide to use cycle lanes. Does anyone else find this? Frustrated, Brixton
Blackfriars Bridge feedback Your article on Blackfriars Bridge (LC Feb/Mar) was interesting. The bridge itself is a huge improvement but I see two particular problems. 1. The north-east exit onto Queen Victoria Street is more dangerous. I now have to manoeuvre into the right-hand lane. I then opt for the inside of the outside lane even though some Farringdon Road cars cut across me. If I arrive at the traffic lights when they are green, working across the traffic is unsettling, especially as the cycle lane causes traffic to veer unpredictably. 2. Moving west going southwards is also uncomfortable. I regularly have to stop on the left-hand side of the road before turning right down Stamford Street. I would prefer to go down Upper Ground but I can’t get onto the pedestrian crossing unless the lights are red. I agree with Rik Andrew about the exits. It is a pity that so much good work was done without, apparently, looking at the entry and exit routes. Christopher Hedley, via email Ed: LCC is lobbying Transport for London (TfL) to complete its study of the north junction and to carry out sustantial improvements. LCC has also asked TfL to address the problems on the south side. Additional pannier features I was surprised your Ortlieb pannier review didn’t mention the converters that enable you to walk around with your pannier on your back. As for Zoe Williams, isn’t there a group that meets her capabilities? When I started with the local CTC group there was the Easy Riders group, the Club Riders and the Hardriders – one for everyone. Thanks for the news of Josie Dew and well done on the new magazine – a better read! Andy Bebington, Croydon Products reviewer Mel Allwood writes: I’ve used the Ortlieb rucksack converters, and they are very handy if you’re mixing biking with walking. Tags at the top of the converter clip into the pannier hooks, and the bottom attaches to the plastic strip at the bottom of the pannier. They pop on and off in seconds. But for around town, I’m happy to simply use the padded shoulder straps that come standard with the bags. The converters will only take a single pannier, not a pair.
Zoe Williams I have given up cycling for a bit, in favour of exercise-biking. I am still using my bike, mind, just not for fitness. It’s more for perambulating about, like Cate Blanchett in Notes On A Scandal. I’m just waiting for a 15-year-old boy to find my two-wheeled stead irresistible and try it on with me. Sorry, I’m digressing. I’ve stopped knackering myself because, as it turned out, I was not fit enough to do it in a group (no offence to the Dulwich Paragons, who made every effort to mask this glaring fact), and I lack the discipline and the navigational skills to do it on my own. I’ve turned instead to spin. I wonder how many of you remember spin first hitting this country when Madonna had just married Guy Ritchie. She said it was better than sex. Am I the only person who remembers this? I have to admit, it’s not unfun. You can listen to music – I was always really superstitious about listening to music on my bike, a) because it’s good to be able to hear cars, and b) depending on the song, I would be much more likely to scream at a driver who would then get out of the car and biff me. No such danger in a spin class. I did have a pre-spin spat with a lady over the source of problems on housing estates (it was her belief that bad things happened on them because only bad people lived there…), but when you’re keeping the kind of company that cycles in a brightly lit room and never actually arrives anywhere, you’re going to get the odd bad egg. At least I’m not getting rained on. There are other advantages. The instructor shouts things like, “this is a mountain! Go team!” I can’t pretend it actually speeds me up, but it makes me laugh, which never happens when I’m going up a real mountain. Serious cyclists like that moment when you look up an incline and the only thing you can do is grit your glutes (as they’re known by motivational team-builders) and peddle. I like it more when the mountain is a theoretical one, and if you don’t like the turn it’s taken, you can just turn off your resistance and pretend you’re going up a mountain (close your eyes and make an ugly face – it always works!) I think, for a temperament like mine, it’s actually good for fitness, since the very security that I can only hypothetically get left behind makes me work harder; when I’m in the real world, I always feel as if I have to keep something back just in case I get, I don’t know, chased by a bear later. I wouldn’t do it as long-term, though – this is only until it gets me fit enough to rejoin a gang. Every now and then you get this grim flash of how long the world would last if everyone behaved like you did – needlessly generating energy on machines that need energy just to satisfy your vanity. And plus, Madonna’s right, it is fun, at its best. But that still doesn’t say an awful lot for Guy Ritchie’s, erm, technique.
solicitor), I got compensation. A new service from the CTC, www.fillthathole.org.uk, makes reporting potholes easier. Without this service I would have had to contact Westminster, Lambeth and Transport for London. If you hurt yourself, check the site to see if the hazard has already been reported. If it has, you increase your chances of compensation. The more hazards we report, the more we protect ourselves and each other. Mike Cushman, SW2
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 11
Life as a ‘normal’ human being We know we’ll have developed a European-style cycling culture when it’s considered ‘normal’ to ride a bike, says author Lynn Sloman
me?), and nobody tut-tuts or rolls their eyes and tells me cycling is too dangerous except in the park. I would like to be allowed both to cycle, and to be normal. This isn’t just a selfish desire to fit in. Thinking a bit more strategically for a minute, we are going to have to transform London into a sustainable, low-carbon city over the next 20 years. I can’t see that this is possible unless cycling starts to play a more significant role. The tube is a fantastic peopleshifting machine, and buses are even better. Between them, they move about seven million passengers every day. But there are also 11 million car trips each day. It would be a lot easier to cut our car use by half (which is a conservative estimate of what we need to do) if a lot more people used a bike, at least some of the time. These people wouldn’t be ‘keen cyclists’, any more than they were ‘keen bus users’ or ‘keen motorists’. And this in turn means that people who think that cycling is not for them need to be persuaded that it is. Cycling must be made an attractive option for some journeys whether you are a middle-aged professional woman; a teenage girl; a retired taxi driver; or recently arrived in London from a country with little cycling culture. Cycling should not be a cult thing, where to ride a bike is to join the club. It should not be what defines you. It takes a long time to achieve this
Top: Commuters go about their business in the Danish capital, Copenhagen Above: Bikes immortalised in art on the Copenhagen Town Hall
HAVE YOUR SAY Is Lynn Sloman right? This was a hot topic of debate at LCC’s AGM late last year. Share your thoughts on how we can make cycling a ‘normal’ activity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. uk or write to the address on page 3.
sort of change. If you talk to the transport planners in towns like Freiburg – where cycling now accounts for more than one in four trips – they will tell you that they have been investing in cycle paths, bicycle streets, 20mph zones, cycle parking, their bicycle stations and so on for over 30 years. They have spent a lot of money on promoting cycling, and on building a cyclefriendly street environment. Cycling in London is growing. The figures show that Londoners make 70% more cycle trips than five years ago. We have started on what – in optimistic moments – I hope will be a transformation of our streets and our culture. If it happens, it will take a couple of decades, and it will cost a lot of money. But the prize – a civilised, inclusive, ecologically sustainable city – will be worth every penny. Lynn Sloman’s book, Car Sick: Solutions For Our Car-addicted Culture, is published by Green Books. To order your copy at the special price of £8.95 + free p&p, phone 0845 458 9910 quoting ‘London Cyclist reader offer for Car Sick’.
I don’t know about you, but when people ask if I’m a ‘keen’ cyclist it makes me flinch. Before I lived in London, I lived in small towns where a bicycle was just a practical way of getting around, and it never occurred to me that it might be some sort of politicalwith-a-small-‘p’ statement about my outlook on life. To cycle in London is to be instantly pigeonholed. People will quickly assess whether you are a Green Party-supporting, Stoke Newington-living charity worker, a muscle-building fitness fanatic, or a thrusting politico who aspires to be the next David Cameron. However, there is no category labelled ‘normal regular person who just happens to use a bike to get around’. The problem is made worse by the weird clothes that some people think are needed in order to ride a bike. I don’t want to be the clothes police – if you favour wearing skintight yellow spandex, that’s up to you and I hope you enjoy it. But it shouldn’t be necessary for the rest of us. We ought collectively to be capable of designing a city in which people who don’t want to wear expensive techy gear still feel that cycling is for them. This came home to me when I was researching how some cities have started to tackle car culture. A citizen of Utrecht (or Copenhagen or Freiburg...) would no more think of putting on special clothes to ride a bicycle than of donning Bigglesstyle goggles and a leather hat with ear-flaps to drive a car. Cycling in ordinary clothes is the sign of a civilised city. In Utrecht, there is no particular need to ride defensively, or to assert your road position, or to cycle at the speed of the traffic – and consequently, there is no particular need to wear reflective spandex or a helmet. My aspiration is that cycling should become a normal way of getting around, so nobody bats an eyelid if I arrive at a meeting by bike, nobody asks me how much my Brompton weighs (answer: I don’t know, actually, but would you like to carry it downstairs for
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 13
Route canal treatment With British Waterways set to scrap the need for cycle permits on London’s canal towpaths, Barry Mason takes a wander through the history books to help explain the allure of the capital’s extensive canal system
little bit of heaven between the gaunt wharves,” reads a caption in the 1924 silent film Barging Through London. Eighty years after that wonderfully evocative film, that gauntness is being stripped away as canal-side sites are flattened and the last of the lime warehouses are converted. But the slow-world magic remains, along with the lonely up-river feel of a water hyacinth-choked stretch of the Bow Back Rivers on a hot summer evening. “It’s a leisure park, a wildlife sanctuary, an industrial heritage site and a transport system all in one,” is how the Inland Waterways Association describes it. Birmingham may have more canals than Venice, but London’s got more than both: 65 miles against 35 and 26 respectively. British Waterways London – canals were nationalised in 1948 – is in charge of those 65 miles, 40 miles of rivers (but not the Thames), and
110 acres of docks. From Brentford in the west, the canals loop east to Paddington, Regent’s Park, Angel and Hackney, onto Limehouse Basin and back to the Thames. The Limehouse Cut links to The Lea. The dead straight Hertford Union Canal connects the main loop to The Lea, by-passing Limehouse. It doesn’t take long to get to know these water routes, and almost all of them are rideable via towpaths. There’s the magic Bow Back Rivers and Three Mills – and the Greenway, with the sewage of four million Londoners bubbling beneath your tyres. Other routes have dwindled away or been lost to ‘progress’: Croydon Canal (Surrey Docks to Croydon), Grand Surrey Canal (Surrey Docks to Camberwell and Peckham), Grosvenor Canal by Chelsea Bridge, Kensington Canal (Chelsea Creek to Olympia), and the Fleet that enters the Thames under Blackfriars Bridge.
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The boom started in 1776 at Duke Bridgewater’s mine 10 miles from Manchester. Horses and mules could carry 125kg of coal on their backs; barges moving three miles an hour could carry 50 tons. By 1790, the Duke’s engineer, James Brindley, had used canals to connect England’s four great river basins; the ‘Grand Cross’ linked the Severn, the Trent, the Mersey and the Thames. These new watery slivers that more than halved the cost of transport and fuelled the Industrial Revolution linked Limehouse Cut to the Thames and the Lea in 1770, and by 1800 the Grand Junction Canal (it wasn’t called the Grand Union Canal until 1929) from Birmingham and Oxford reached out and touched Brentford. In 1801 a branch reached Paddington. In 1815 architect John Nash pushed the hornyhanded navvies and their Regent’s Canal north of his new park and posh villas, and by 1830 the Hertford Union Canal linked Regent’s Canal to the Lea Navigation. Then the railways arrived and, overnight, canals were too expensive, too slow. In 1845, a consortium nearly converted the Regent’s Canal into a railway. The golden age was over.
The second coming London canals still carry some weight (planning permission for the demolition of the London Arena on Millwall Dock states that 10,000 tons of rubble has to be barged out), but now leisure craft rule the waters, while fishermen, walkers, joggers and cyclists are using the towpaths in increasing numbers. In 1968 Westminster City Council was the first local authority to open a canal walk for public use: Primrose Hill to Lisson Grove. All London towpaths are open now, and houseboats are encouraged along much of the system. The network has never stopped changing. The maze of channels of Bow Back Rivers will be neutered by the 2012 Olympics, although pressure to preserve the best of these channels is increasing. In February, a tiny lock-keepers office circa 1820 on the long gone Surrey Canal was flattened in a day. But many of the locks (or the lack of them for 27 miles west of Camden), the ramps that rescued startled horses from the canals, the rope-rubbed bridge supports and the mooring points remain, as do the legends. The Inland Waterways Association does heroic work to help preserve all this history, while LCC’s Parks and Canals group continues to push for improvements for cyclists. In February, British Waterways and Transport for London started a £446,000 towpath safety project along Regent’s Canal. This project was followed by the news that a cycle permits system – in operation since the ’70s – will be scrapped from May 14 when British Waterways completes the introduction of signage and speed devices. “The permit has its origins in our bye-laws which don’t allow cycling unless permission is given,” says Debbie Walker, spokesperson for British Waterways. “But as this system is unenforceable (we don’t have the policing resource), we are trialing a reversal in London. We’ll permit the right to cycle on our towpaths except in areas where it is specifically signed ‘no cycling’ in places of heavy pedestrian use
MORE INFORMATION ■ British Waterways has a site dedicated to the recreational use of waterways (www.waterscape.com) General enquiries can be directed to 01923 201120. ■ The Inland Waterways Association (www.waterways.org.uk, 01923 711114) is an excellent resource. Its shop has a great selection of books, including Exploring The Regent’s Canal by Michael Essex-Lopresti (£8.95). ■ The London Canal Museum (12-13 New Wharf Rd, N1; 020 7713 0836, www.canalmuseum.org.uk) has
Above: This map from the London Canal Museum (pictured opposite page) shows how extensive the network remains
good displays, a bookshop and leaflets. Its staff are friendly and knowledgeable. ■ GEOprojects (01189 393 567, www.geoprojects.net) publishes an extensive range of books and maps covering the entire London waterway system. ■ LCC’s Parks and Canal Group can be contacted via the LCC office (see page 30 for details). There is a lot of information at www.lcc.org.uk on cycling the canals. Simply visit the website and type ‘canals’ into the search box.
(like the towpath alongside Sheldon Square and Paddington Basin). “The permit system has been a useful way of communicating with cyclists, but we are replacing this with new signage, a new code of conduct, our ‘two tings’ campaign to encourage the use of bells, cycling awareness days, etc.” The no-permit area covers the Grand Union Canal south of bridge 175 in Rickmansworth, the Grand Union Canal’s Paddington Arm, Regent’s Canal, Limehouse Cut, Hertford Union Canal, River Lea Navigation and the River Stort Navigation. The area is outlined at www.britishwaterways.co.uk/downloads/ general/index.html In the January edition of Waterways World, a magazine for house- and narrowboat users, Adrian Stott writes: “As towpath bicycling grows, so does the aggro... public funding means that towpaths are open to all. Banning cyclists is out of the question ... signs don’t slow them [but] the right surface can … hence the new speed humps going in.” However the introduction of speed bumps and chicanes has met with criticism from some cyclists who say the speed-slowing devices restrict access to and enjoyment of the canals. British Waterways say the trial chicanes will be two metres apart and designed to slow cyclists rather than force them off their bikes. ‘Rumble strips’ would be used at blind corners and bridges with bad sightlines. Time and additional towpath use will help determine how effective these changes are, and whether they benefit cyclists. Explore and love the canals, and respect them and their users. These towpaths are not merely cycle routes but tracks through the years. Let them seduce you. USING CANAL TOWPATHS ■ British Waterways is set to published a new code of conduct for all towpath users. It will include guidance for cyclists and pedestrians. The June/July issue of London Cyclist will carry a leaflet outlining the code. ■ If you come across any sections where maintenance is needed, call British Waterways on 020 7985 7200 or email email@example.com. ■ If you are involved in an incident of any kind on a towpaths, report it by filling in the online form at www.britishwaterways.co.uk/responsibilities/safety/ visitor_incident_reporting or by calling 020 7985 7200.
British Waterways, London Canal Museum
An industrious idea
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Turning up the volume LCC is taking charge of mass participation rides into the heart of London for the Tour de France. Charlie Lloyd has the details ut two dates in your diary: July 7 and July 8. History will be made this year when the Tour de France sets off from London, and all Londoners will get the chance to participate in a mass bike ride to coincide with the main event. The Tour, along with a second mass particpatioin event in September (see page 17) should help get more people on their bikes more often.
Ride to the Tour Every year the Tour de France inspires millions of people to get out on their bikes and ride. London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone expects it to bring in substantial tourism revenue as well as boosting the image of cycling. “Hosting the first stage of the legendary French
“For three days, London will go cycling-crazy, starting with a party in Trafalgar Square”
cycle race will raise the profile of cycling in the capital, attract visitors and promote the capital as a venue for international sporting events,” he says. For three days, London will go cycling-crazy. A massive launch party will kick things off in Trafalgar Square on Friday, July 6 – the start of a weekend-long celebration of cycling. On the Saturday, the Tour’s Prologue race will take to the streets of the capital, with 200 cyclists racing against the clock around a five-mile route through the heart of London. On the Sunday the first stage of the Tour begins on The Mall, running through the City, over Tower Bridge and on to Canterbury. After that, the riders cross the Channel and race on through France, Belgium and Spain before finishing in Paris three weeks later. Transport for London (TfL) wants the event to help get Londoners cycling. The challenge is to encourage new and infrequent cyclists to jump on their bikes and make the trip to central London to be part of what is a showcase event on the world sporting calendar. LCC will make this happen by organising group
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HOW TO GET INVOLVED See www.tourdefrancelondon.com for details on the Tour in London; full race details are at www.letour.fr Information on LCC events (including how to register to take part in the
Above left: The Tour of Britain last year gave Londoners a taste of top-level cycle sport Other pictures, both pages: Dr Bikes and cycle training sessions will be a feature of the Tour de France celebrations, helping new cyclists onto the road
rides) is at www.lcc.org.uk See the June/July edition of London Cyclist for our comprehensive coverage of the 2007 Tour de France in London.
Chance to Freewheel The Tour de France won’t be the only opportuity to take part in a mass participation ride through London. Cycling is a key part of the Mayor’s transport strategy and is growing in popularity every year. Starting this year, the Mayor and Greater London Authority will be promoting another mass cycling event, this time on September 23 and linked to the sustainable transport activities. The London Freewheel ride will have a central London circuit on roads open only to cyclists. It’ll be a day for cyclists to enjoy themselves and/or use it as a chance to raise money for charity. LCC will organise and lead rides to staging areas in six parks from where cyclists will join the route to the main event. It is hoped the event will see both experienced and new cyclists taking to the streets. In the months leading up to the day, groups will be able to apply for Community Cycling Fund for London money (see page 9) to help with training and other initiatives. Full details of this new event will be on the LCC website in the coming months.
Tour of Britain photo: Lynette Eyb
rides from locations all over London to a special viewing area reserved for members and all the new cyclists they can encourage to tag along. This exclusive spot will effectively be a front-row seat for the Prologue race on the Saturday. Secure cycle parking will be based near the ‘People’s Village’, a three-day cycling promotional event in Hyde Park. More than half a million people are expected to line the Tour de France’s London route. For cycling in London, this is an opportunity to demonstrate the foresight of LCC’s Active Spectator Strategy, which outlines how all sporting events can promote active travel. The strategy was a feature of London’s successful 2012 Olympics bid and, with TfL support, it is currently being trialled to help Londoners make the most of the Games. LCC needs the support of its members to get people active and involved. Anyone wanting to join the rides to the Tour will be able to register on the LCC website. Members are encouraged to bring their friends and family along, and urge people who may not cycle often to take part in a unique cycling experience. You’ll have the chance to see stars like Olympic gold medal-winner Bradley Wiggins, enjoy the festive atmosphere and entertainment on the route for before the race, and join in the fun in the People’s Village. LCC is looking for experienced cyclists, preferably with National Standards training, to be leaders and marshals on rides to the Tour. If you can help, see the website information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the year to get involved in mass participation bike rides – events that will help nudge London closer to becoming a true cycling city.
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Cyclists pedal thousands of kilometres every year for hundreds of different causes. We look at the popularity of charity rides, the history of London’s largest ride and chat to one cyclist with a charitable habit
ne of the key statistics to have come out of LCC’s annual survey last year was the fact that some 68% of members had participated in a charity bike ride. Whether cycling’s boom has led to an increase in charity events or whether charity events have spawned an interest in riding among the previously unconverted is difficult to say. What is clear is that charities the length and breadth of Britain have been quick to see the potential of cyclists as fundraisers.
“Cycling for a common charitable goal has to be one of the most ethical things you can do.” Simon Albert, the director of adventure travel company Charity Challenge, which organises hundreds of fundraising expeditions each year, says his firm has seen a 34% increase in the number of people doing its bike rides since 2001. While walking and trekking still lead the charity pack, cycling, he says, is fast closing the gap. “Trekking is more popular because mountain climbing like Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp will always be popular, but the biking Cuba is also big and has been for the past five years now. Rajastan in India is increasingly
popular, and the Vietnam to Cambodia bike ride we introduced a few years ago has taken off, so the market is there and people do want to do it. “Some charities have a strong group of bikers who do cycle challenges year in, year out. People do these rides for different reasons, but most people have an emotive reason for choosing a particular charity.” Dominic Carolan, from Skyline Events, which runs www.doitforcharity.com, says his company has 1,500 charities on its database, resulting in hundreds of cycle rides. “But this is only a fraction of all the charity events taking place in the UK,” he says. Dominic estimates up to 1,000 charity rides involving as many as 150,000 cyclists take place in the UK each year. This excludes the many experienced riders who undertake trips independent of charity head offices, using their own initative to raise money for their favourite cause. The British Heart Foundation’s annual London to Brighton ride is the largest ride leaving the capital each year and is always hugely oversubscribed. Organisers expected all 27,000 places on the June 17 ride – which coincides with annual Bike Week celebrations – to be taken by the time LC went to press. The largest event based wholly in the capital each year is Leukaemia Research’s London Bikeathon, which has grown from a small ride in Woking in 1989 to a 5,000-strong, multi-route event. The Bikeathon was the brainchild of fundraiser Tony Carter, who watched his wife complete the London to Brighton ride in the late ’80s. He quickly realised the potential of using bikes to provide a simple and enjoyable way of raising funds for good causes. “Cycling a route with others was never a new
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are still some inland mouths like Monmouth I haven’t done. These rides were just extended pub crawls, really, since that’s where you can collect money (you need a licence in a town square). I always wear a T-shirt with a logo, have an official collecting tin and a letter from the charity. I take no for an answer, cover my bike in bunting and flyers, and try to be sweet (not sweat!) smelling. My next ride for Afasic will be from Great Yarmouth to Barmouth from June 16-23 – 350 miles. It’s £110 to register (that includes board and lodging, luggage transport, maps, insurance, a last night quiz/do at a pub and a lunch and reception in Barmouth). You are also asked to raise at least £250. Anyone interested can call me on 020 7704 1884, Mark Thompson on 020 7490 9410, or send an email to email@example.com
Opposite page: the start of the last year’s London to Brighton ride and, left, cyclists relax on the beach after making it to the coast
idea, but the feeling of togetherness and enthusiasm generated by the ride was fantastic,” he says. “Cycling for a common charitable goal has to be one of the most ethical things you can do.” Tony was already a keen supporter of Leukaemia Research when Alec Grayson, the then mayor of Woking, came to a local branch meeting in 1988 looking for a way to raise money in memory of a friend. Almost 1,000 people raised £30,000 riding around Woking the following year, and the popularity of the concept saw Tony take early retirement from the computer industry and focus his attention on developing the concept.
The Bikeathon gets bigger and better In 1993, with the backing of Leukaemia Research head office, Tony set off on a tour of the UK with his friend John Stafford-Smith. Soon, locals in Doncaster, Pendle, Winchester and Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands were working on their own events. By 1996,
there were 19 Leukaemia Research Bikeathons in the UK; Tony set about planning a major ride in London. Support from the mainstream press proved key to getting the message to the capital’s commuter and recreational cyclists. “I remember a very sweaty cyclist arriving at Leukaemia Research head office to sign up for the Bikeathon, Times in hand,” says Tony. “The publicity was just so important in the growth of the ride on a grassroots level.” Also pivotal was the support of ex-England footballer Gary Lineker, whose high profile last year helped attract 5,000 cyclists who raised a record £400,000. “More people are riding, and raising more money than ever,” says Tony, “but without the commitment of volunteers and everyone connected with the ride, such growth over the last 10 years would not have been possible.” This year’s London Bikeathon takes place on Sunday, July 15. For more information about the ride, visit www.londonbikeathon.co.uk or call 020 7269 9097. For information on other Leukaemia Research bikeathons (including Woking), see www.lrf.org.uk/cycling
HOW TO GET ON A CHARITY RIDE ■ Charities advertise their events in the mainstream press, as well as in publications such as London Cyclist. If you have a charity of choice, check its website or phone its head office to enquire about planned rides. ■ Charities also use organisations such as Charity Challenge (www.charitychallenge.com) and Do It For Charity (www.doitforcharity.com) to muster support and/or help with the organisation of rides, particularly longer rides or rides based abroad. Such companies will either ask for an upfront fee to cover logistics or they will take a percentage of fundraising revenue. ■ LCC now also has a dedicated charity rides page at www.lcc.org.uk (see the ‘rides and events’ section). Here, you will find lists of events requiring riders or volunteers, as well as tips on raising money and ideas for popular routes. ■ See Diary, pages 36-37 for the Stroke Association’s call for volunteer marshalls for its charity ride along the Thames.
British Heart Foundation, Jonathan Edwards
CYCLING MOUTH-TO-MOUTH Jonathan Edwards is just one of hundreds of London cyclists who make a habit of riding for charity. Here is his story. “Some 12 years ago, I was looking for a logical ‘from and to’ ride for my first extended bike tour. I chose Barmouth to Great Yarmouth, and my sister suggested that since it was from ‘Mouth to Mouth’, I should collect money on the way for Afasic, a charity that works to help speech-impaired children. Such children are little noticed by the public but there are something like over a million of them, so raising awareness was as important as raising money. I followed this ride up with an ‘End to End’ (via Falmouth and the Kyle of Tongue), which was the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike. Since then, I have visited all the mouths I can find along the coast of Britain. There
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Stand and deliver Thankfully, gone are the days when all we had to chain our bikes to were lamp posts. Tom Bogdanowicz has this wrap of the many and varied bike stands now available on our streets The explosion of cycling in London has brought with it a booming interest in cycle parking. LCC’s cycle parking conference in June 2005 was closely followed by the Reinventing The Bike Shed exhibition (which was promoted as part of the London Architecture Biennale), and Transport for London’s Take-A-Stand initiative to help employers get their staff cycling. More recently, Central St Martins College of Art and Design launched a project to design new bike stands.
In terms of value, convenience and flexibility, it’s hard to beat the well-established Sheffield stand, which is now more than 30 years old, but Adam Thorpe of the Central St Martins Bikeoff (www.bikeoff.org) project argues that their innovative M-type design encourages people to lock both wheels and frame to the stand. Other stands also have their own fans – with the A-stand the most popular alternative to the plain Sheffield. Here’s a selection of the stands that can be spotted on the streets of the UK. The Penny Farthing, Leytonstone
LCC’S SUMMER BIKE PARKING CAMPAIGN Look out for this summer’s LCC campaign which will encourage all retailers to provide cycle parking. More in forthcoming issues of LC and on the LCC website.
The Waterloo Triangle, Upper Ground, SE1 The Merry Go Round, Bunhill Row, EC1 – this stand can take 30 bikes
The Heritage, Leicester Square
The Long Bar, Cannons Health Club, 11 Endell St, WC2
The Stand and Chain, Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row, WC1
The Double Bar, off Trafalgar Square
The Nappy Pin, Hoxton Street, N1
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For more on cycle storage and parking, follow the ‘cycling info’ links at www.lcc.org.uk
The M-stand, Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row, WC1
The City is found in the City of London
The Wiggle, Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row, WC1
The Pennant, London Bridge, SE1 The Josta can be seen at Surbiton station
LCC ADVICE ON CYCLE PARKING Employers and retailers can contact LCC for advice on cycle parking. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7234 9310
The Southwark Hoop, Bermondsey Street, SE1
The Vertical Sheffield, Whetstone Park, WC2
The A-stand, found all over London
The Regent, Regent Place, W1
BIKE PARKING AT TOURIST ATTRACTIONS – GET INVOLVED LCC is working to encourage the operators of London’s leading tourist attractions to provide bike parking for visitors. LCC members can download a sample letter from www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns to sign and send to attractions and landmarks not catering for cyclists. Members without internet access can call or write to the LCC office (see page 30) for a copy of the letter.
Tom Bogdanowicz, Ben Crowley, Rosie Downes, Lynette Eyb
The Newcastle can be found in Grey Street, Newcastle
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A bag full of tricks Why carry a bag on your back when your bike could be carrying it for you? Michael Stenning has this guide to fitting a rack and panniers
There’s nothing fetching about a sweaty back or muscular aches and pains brought about by wearing a backpack while riding. Panniers not only take the pressure off your body, they also give you better balance as you cycle. But if you’re going to let your bike take the load, you’ll need to fit a rack and some panniers.
What you’ll need Aside from suitable panniers, you’ll need a strong and rigid rack to mount them to. These come in two basic types: steel and alloy. Alloy racks are far more plentiful and relatively inexpensive. A cheap but cheerful model will cost about £20, although better
GENERAL PANNIER TIPS * Distribute weight evenly in each pannier bag, with the heaviest items at the bottom in order to keep bike handling stable. * When fitting racks, a drop of thread lock or plumber’s mastic on the threads can stop the rack fittings loosening. * Bind electrical tape around the frame of the rack to prevent pannier fixings wearing through the paint/metal.
Right: A four-point carrier fixing
Below: A mono-stay
designed and more durable models will cost around twice that. Steel racks have a quiet following these days but are durable, are easy to repair by a garage, blacksmith or anyone with basic welding equipment (making them particularly suitable for expedition touring). However, expect to pay between £50 and £100 for a lightweight model, although Minoura make a nice, if weighty budget model for about £20. Regardless of which material you choose, opt for a fourpoint design as this is the most rigid option. Inspect your bike Before splashing out on a nice rack, check that your bike is suitable. Most touring frames worth their salt will take a rack and expedition panniers as a
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WHAT’S A MONOSTAY? This refers to the frame shape. When you build a frame, there is normally a pair of tubes, on either side of the bike, joining the rear wheel axle to the part of the frame where you adjust your seat height. These are called seat stays. It’s these seat stays that we’re suddenly interested in. In most bikes, these are two seperate tubes which run all the way up. Occasionally, the frame is made so that these two tubes join just above the rear wheel, and become a single stay for the short remaining distance. This is a monostay design. The blue bike in the pictures is of this design. Normally, this doesn’t make a great deal of difference, however if you’re trying to fit a rack, it’s a bit of a pain because they’re designed for the more common double stays, which are further apart. But with a bit of jiggery, you can normally bend the rack to fit. Mel Allwood, bicycle mechanic matter of course. The same is true for hybrid/city bikes but plenty of other machines will accept or can be converted to take luggage. The ideal bike has four-point carrier fixings brazed into the frame (see picture above right). Good quality rigid mountain bikes traditionally had carrier mounting points, although some (and a few road bikes) have a mono-stay with brazed on rack mounts. This is still fine, but can prohibit some designs of rack. Fitted to the machine pictured left is machine is a Surly Nice rack which costs around £90. If you don’t have fittings like these, all is not lost – in many cases rear racks can be fitted using plastic coated ‘P-clips’ which attach around the frame’s seat stays (although this is not recommended for prolonged heavy load carrying). In such cases, care and consideration needs to be taken when choosing pannier size – should the chainstays not be long enough, you run the risk of your heels catching the bags. Seek the advice of a knowledgeable friend or your friendly local bike shop if you’re unsure.
Right: A four-point fixing rack. It’s bolted on at four points – at the top and front, and at the bottoms of the legs.
solution (seat post mounted racks mount around the seat post). Cheap units (under £30) are best avoided but better models can manage small panniers. However, their other downside is that most are quick release meaning that unless you have very secure cycle storage you’ll either need to remove it when you lock up or exchange the quick release for a bolted assembly. Fitting a carrier Fitting a rack is a fairly straightforward procedure. 1) Attach the arms loosely to the rack. 2) Offer the rack up to the frame – you may need to splay the legs of the rack open to fit them around the outside of the frame at the bottom. Grease the fixing bolts, and thread them loosely into the frame mounting points/P-clips. 3) Move the rack upright until it is level. You may find you need to adjust the arms of the rack to get it aligned correctly with the mounting points or P-clips. 4) Once you’re satisfied you have the rack positioned correctly, tighten the fixing bolts at the frame, and the bolts that secure the arms to the rack.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PANNIERS Consider how much you are going to be carrying. I run a pair of 80 litre expedition panniers made of waterproof Codura bought in a sale for £90 a decade ago. The river runs too fast for me to recommend specific models, but Altura and Edinburgh Bicycle’s revolution ranges are nice budget options. Look for good waterproofing and simple fixings that enable you to whip them on and off in a flash – there’s nothing worse than fighting with a pannier on a wet Friday night in Oxford Circus. Consider panniers with a locking mechanism to prevent them bouncing off or being stolen. Resist the urge to put laptops in traditional panniers. There are laptop carry cases on the market, as well as briefcase panniers. Some higher end messenger bags have secure laptop storage and would be fine for short to moderate commutes.
Seat post mounted racks If your bike is incompatible with a traditional rack and pannier combo, seat post mounted racks can be a
Left: A seat post mounted rack
See LC Feb/Mar 07, as well as page 28 of this issue, for pannier reviews .
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A very healthy habit (high blood pressure, coronary heart disease), depression, diabetes and back pain because of its proven therapeutic benefits.
We all know cycling is good for us, but do we know why? Here, Dr Joanna Bowtell, explains exactly what effect pedal-pushing has on the body The media is filled with stories of the NHS struggling to combat the rising tide of obesity, and the demands placed upon it by an ageing population. Part of the problem is that medicine focuses on treatment rather than prevention. We have in many ways delegated responsibility for our health to professionals who treat us when we fall ill. However, if we take responsibility for living a healthy lifestyle, we reduce the likelihood that we will become ill in the first place. Since the Industrial Revolution, technological advances have reduced occupational and household physical activity to the extent that inactivity is now endemic and is one of the main causes of ill health. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that we perform at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking or cycling five days a week, but currently only around 20% of us achieve this. Yet, the risks of developing diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, osteoporosis, bowel and many other cancers can be significantly reduced by increasing the amount of physical activity we do. Regular exercise promotes loss of body fat, improves heart function, reduces blood pressure and blood lipids, improves glucose tolerance, improves functional capacity and body balance and strengthens bones. But it’s not just prevention, but treatment and cure as well. Physical activity or exercise is now incorporated into treatment plans for people with respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cardiovascular disease
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr Joanna Bowtell is head of sport and exercise science research at London South Bank University. If you are interested in learning more about courses, research activity and exercise testing services at the university, see www.lsbu. ac.uk/sports
Putting theory to the test To understand how exercise exerts some of these beneficial effects, let’s use the example of Betty, who cycles to and from work every day (six miles, five days a week). The leg muscles contract in a co-ordinated fashion to turn the pedal and make the bike move forwards, and muscle contraction requires energy. At moderate intensity, this comes mostly from oxidising (burning) fuels: fats and carbohydrates, which are either circulating in the blood or stored in the muscle or adipose tissue (fat stores). The energy cost of cycling six miles every day is approximately 260 kilocalories; Betty can either have an extra apple Danish every day and maintain her body weight or, if she doesn’t increase her energy intake, she will lose just under 1kg of body fat per month. Regular exercise is therefore a very effective component of any weight-loss programme, particularly as it promotes the loss of body fat rather than muscle. The increased turnover of fuel (fat and carbohydrate) also has important metabolic benefits. The muscle becomes more efficient at ‘sucking’ glucose out of the blood, to be used by the muscle as a fuel or to replace their stores of carbohydrate (glycogen) in recovery. This effect is one of the reasons that exercise can help prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes. Fat is stored in the adipose tissue and transported through the blood to where it is needed. It is transported in many forms, including in low and high density lipoprotein cholesterol. The bad guy in this story is low density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is very susceptible to being deposited in the artery walls, causing atherosclerosis. This process is at the root of cardiovascular disease either in the coronary arteries (coronary heart disease) or blood vessels of the brain (stroke). The good guy is high density lipoprotein cholesterol which helps to remove cholesterol from the circulation before it can contribute to atherosclerosis. Regular exercise reduces the bad guys and increases the good guys, lowering the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. Also during exercise, the respiratory and cardiovascular systems have to work harder to supply the muscle with more oxygen to oxidise the fuels to keep up with energy demand. This is achieved by increasing breathing rate and depth; and heart rate and stroke volume (volume of blood ejected from the heart per beat). This improves the fitness of the heart muscle, contributing to the protective effects of exercise on the cardiovascular system. It sometimes takes more mental effort to get on your bike; hopefully the knowledge that you are keeping the bad guys at bay – while at the same time having fun – will make you feel even better about your cycling habit. MORE INFORMATION For more advice on how to get cycling more often, see www.lcc.org.uk and follow the links to ‘cycling info’. See our feature on page 16 and the Group News (Diary) on page 36 for rides and events.
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Visit www.lcc.org.uk/info for more on bike maintenance. To list a workshop on this page, please email email@example.com
Want to know how to maintain your bike? Try a course or workshop
Camden What: Course includes puncture repair, brake tuning, chain repair, tuning gears, cleaning. Two tutors, maximum 12 participants. Details at www.camdencyclists.org.uk Cost: For all three sessions £45 When: Bookings now open for courses in April Time: 2pm-5pm At: Velorution, 18 Great Titchfield St, W1W 8BD Contact: Stefano Casalotti (020 7435 0196, firstname.lastname@example.org ) Central London What: One-day courses, basic and intermediate at weekends; one-toone, or group bespoke sessions; bike assessment and adjustment; puncture masterclasses Cost: £60/one-day course, £27.50/ hour for bespoke tuition; £100 for assessment and adjustment; £20 for punctures. When: Basic: April 21, 22, May 19; Intermediate: May 20; Bike assessment (ask for details); Puncture masterclasses: every second Wednesday; 6pm-8pm. At: CTUK training room Discounts: 5% for LCC members Contact: CTUK (020 7231 6005, email@example.com) www.cycletraining.co.uk What: Regular courses (max’ four participants). You work on your own bike. No mechanical knowledge is assumed. Topics covered include: cleaning and lubrication, machine inspection and safety checks, tyres,
tubes and punctures, adjusting brakes/gears. Six hours’ tuition Cost: £58 (£52 for LCC members) When: Saturdays Time: 10.30am-5pm At: Bikefix, 48 Lamb’s Conduit Street Contact: Patrick Field (020 7249 3779, www.londonschoolofcycling.co.uk) Greenwich What: Year-round maintenance classes comprising classes for all levsels and including advice on tyres and punctures, brakes, gears, hubs, etc. Bring your own bike, along with any parts you want to fit eg brake cables or pads, racks, etc. Cost: Call for details When: Call for details Time: 7pm-9pm At: Armada Centre, Armada Court, 21 McMillan Street, SE8. Contact: Julian Dobson (07771 692 344, 020 8463 0801 firstname.lastname@example.org) www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk Hackney
What: Evening workshop Cost: Free. Donations appreciated When: First and third Tuesdays of each month, 7pm-9pm At: The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Rd Contact: Adam (07940 121 513, email@example.com) Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) Ross (email@example.com) www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk/ workshop.htm Islington What: Monthly, 2.5-hour, self-help cycle maintenance workshop Cost: £1 (50p unwaged) When: Fourth Wednesday of month (not August/December); 7pm-9.30pm At: Sunnyside Gardens, at the corner of Sunnyside Road and Hazellville Road, N19 (off Hornsey Rise) Contact: Adrian (07810 211 902) What: Ongoing programme of one-day cycle maintenance workshops. Each covers adjusting,
CTUK has two new courses. Bike Assessment and Adjustment for Cycle Activity Leaders is for National Standard provisionally accredited instructors, but it’s also suitable for volunteer instructors and ride leaders. The second course, Puncture Masterclass, is expected to prove popular. See CTUK’s central London listing below.
cleaning and lubricatng your bike; fixing punctures; fitting brake blocks; and adjusting gears Cost: £20 (£12.50) When: Saturdays, as often as there is demand for them Time: Please call for details At: A venue in N7 Contact: Jonathan Edwards (020 7704 1884). Regret no email
firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chris (020 8989 9001, email@example.com) www.redbridgelcc.org.uk Southwark What: Three-week course including: puncture repair; cables, brakes; chains; trueing wheels. Maximum eight students to two mechanics Cost: £36 per course When: Tuesdays 7pm-9pm (call for dates) At: On Your Bike, 52-54 Tooley Street, SE1 Contact: Barry (07905 889005)
Kingston What: Two options introducing maintenance and first aid‚ repairs to help people keep their bikes in good working order, safe and easy to ride Cost: Six sessions are £40 or a one-day session is £22 When: The one-day course is on May 10, 10am-4pm, while the six-session option starts June 4 and runs 7pm-9pm At: North Kingston Centre, Richmond Road Contact: Kingston council (adult. firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rob (020 8546 8865, email@example.com)
Sutton What: Twice-yearly basic class and Dr Bike (free cycle safety check). Cost: £5 per person per class, reductions for families When: Autumn (phone for detaiils. Contact: Chris (020 8647 3584, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Shirley (020 8642 3720)
Lambeth What: Five-week introduction to bike maintenance (cleaning, brakes, gears, cables, etc). Preference given to LCC members who live or work in Lambeth Cost: £55 (£5 concs) When: April 4 and May 15; 6.30pm8.30pm At: 336 Brixton Road, SW9 Contact: Janet Paske (07740 457528, email@example.com) Redbridge What: Three-week courses covering: puncture repair; fitting brake blocks; gear adjustment; general check (pedals, spokes, bearings, brakes, headset and bottom bracket) Cost: £15 per course When: May 2, 9 and 16; 7pm-9pm At: Wanstead House, 21 The Green, Wanstead, E11 Contact: Terry (07795 981 529,
Tower Hamlets What: Hands-on workshops. Tools, demos; bring your own spares Cost: Free. Donations welcome! When: Last Saturday of the month (except December) Time: 11am-3pm At: The Boxing Club, Limehouse Town Hall, 646 Commercial Road E14 Contact: Owen Pearson (07903 018970, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.wheelers.org.uk/workshop
Walthamstow What: Workshops where you can maintain or assemble a bike. Cost: £1 per session When: First and second Saturday of each month; 9.30am-12.30pm. Reconditioned bikes for sale the first Saturday; 1pm-3pm At: Council Transport Depot, Low Hall Manor, South Access Road, Walthamstow Contact: Geoffrey (020 8521 2683)
CTUK, Adam Thompson
Bromley What: Bigfoot Bikes workshops include hands-on sessions. Suitable for beginners. Bring your bike but clean it first! Booking is essential. There are two courses: The Basics (pre-ride safety checks, fixing punctures, cleaning and lubricating a bike, etc). Brakes and Gears (tuning up gears, tightening and adjusting brakes, changing cables, replacing brake pads). NB Disc brakes are not covered but a session may be organised if there is demand Cost: £20 – includes a maintenance pack worth at least £9. When: Call for details Time: Call for details At: Hayes Old Church Schools Contact: Bike Foot Bikes (020 8462 5004, email@example.com) www.bigfootbikes.com
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 25
FINALApr Workshops25.indd 25
Product reviews New bikes Has the time come for you to buy a new bike? Mel Allwood has given three cycles that are new to London streets a spin London Scorcher City 3 Speed, £880 Velorution (020 7637 4004, www.velorution.biz)
The Scorcher has been designed specifically for London cyclists, and comes in three versions – single speed, three speed and eight speed. I tested the three speed version, which has a Sturmey Archer hub gear. Although we tested a stock model, the bikes are individually assembled. This means that you can specify different components when you place your order. This can significantly affect the price, of course, but it also means you get a bike equipped with the components you like best. The bike is built around a steel frame, not aluminium, making it light and nimble but also robust enough to last for decades. The model I tested was battleship grey, but because Scorchers are assembled on an individual basis you can have one in any colour you like. The Scorcher’s finishing kit is superb – leather saddle, beautiful chainset, every component built to last. The only thing I didn’t get on with were the aluminium mudguards. They’re made of a clean sweep of metal, which looks very tidy, but the corners took chunks out of my shins. The bike came equipped with moustache style handlebars, which swept down and back. I didn’t get on with the position – it made me feel quite closely packed. I persevered over a couple of long trips, then gave in and flipped the bars, creating a solid, chappish town bike position. Once I’d fiddled with the bars, the Scorcher came into its own. The comfy steel frame means you can sit on the bike all day, pedalling away merrily. Particular mention should go to the leather grips. They feel warm without gloves on, and are just firm enough without being spongy. You may think that three gears is too few but they were the right three gears for me. The low one is for Conclusion starting off and getting up hills, the This bike is beautifully put middle one perfect for riding about in together and, with a steel traffic, and the high one is for when frame, is built to last. You you really need to go for it and get can customise it to suit somewhere quickly. If you’re used your needs. It’s just the to a bike that’s well-endowed in the thing for cyclists who want gear department you’ll notice that the hassle-free commuting gaps between the Scorcher’s gears and a bike suitable for full are much bigger than you’re used to. days in the saddle. I found I quickly got used to this.
Ridgeback Element 1.0, £399 Ridgeback (www.ridgeback.co.uk – look under Rapide series) The Ridgeback is the most conventional of the three bikes tested for this issue. It has a diamond frame made of aluminium and 24 derailleur gears. The most obvious sign that you’re getting something with an extra bit of class are the carbon forks. They’re stiff, so the bike goes exactly where you point it, but they also absorb vibrations from the road, so are more comfortable than an aluminium equivalent. The seatpost matches, too. It’s obvious as soon as you get onto the Element that this is a bike built for speed. It’s light and nippy, and as soon as you push down on the pedals, it’s leaping away. The position is fairly long, giving a comfortable stretch, but the stem is angled steeply upwards so you don’t have to crane to see the traffic. The brakes and gears are all by Shimano, and work well enough that you don’t really have to think about them. The gear levers were noticeably more comfortable than those that many cyclists have to contend with - the part that fits into your hand is sculpted to fit. The saddle looks quite severe but thankfully proved more comfortable than it appeared at first glance. For me, puncture resistant tyres are essential on a commuting bike. There’s just too much
Pinnacle Stratus 1.0, £275 Evans (0845 006 3885, www.pinnacle-bikes.co.uk) The Pinnacle Stratus comes in both a diamond frame and a step-through frame. We tested the latter. Our test bike came with a bright, metallic red paint job, which did not draw crowds of envious admirers. On the plus side, it arrived with all the accessories you need to get straight on the road. The rack and mudguards that come as standard aren’t particularly glamorous, but they’re highly functional and easily carried my junk around and kept road spray away from feet, bottom and back. The gears are operated by using twistshifters. Twistshifters are often sneered at by the cognoscenti, but they’re reliable, durable, and fairly cheap to replace if you manage to break them. The Stratus has 24 gears, which is more than ample for anything you’re likely to get up to in London. I spent most of the time in the middle chainring at the front – the gears on the back have a good range, including a really low one for emergency bail-outs halfway up a steep hill. I didn’t warm to this machine straight away, but then one day I found myself having to drag a loaded trailer across town in a storm. I’d normally sling the trailer on the back of my singlespeed but the weather was a bit severe, and when I heard they’d closed my local park because the wind was uprooting trees I realised I’d need a few more gears. Halfway home, when a gust of
26 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
Buying a new bike – top tips Think carefully about what you’ll really be using the bike for and choose something suitable. You may dream of off-roading at weekends but if you’ll mainly be commuting to and from work you need a bike designed for the urban environment.
Test ride a few bikes before you make a decision. Whatever reviews say you have to choose a machine that fits your body shape and cycling position. A good bike shop will encourage you to try several bikes before deciding. Bike shops will usually offer a free service for your bike after you’ve been riding it for a month or two. Be sure to take advantage of this – your bike will run much more smoothly in the long term if it’s serviced a few weeks after you’ve begun riding it.
headwind and a particularly vicious speed bump almost brought me to a standstill, I began to feel differently about the Stratus. It might not be quick, but it’s loyal, stubborn, and dependable. It’s the sort of bike that just keeps going doggedly on without quibbling. The Stratus wasn’t as beautifully set up as the Scorcher or as speedy as the Element, and I had to wave my tool kit at it a few times in the first couple of weeks, but it got me everywhere I needed to go.
Conclusion The Pinnacle Stratus might not be a looker, but it’s just the thing for popping about town for shopping and errands. It’s comfortable, and the upright position gives you plenty of visibility. Mudguards and a rack as standard are big points in its favour.
You’re most likely to have a bike stolen when it’s brand new. If you’re not confident about how best to lock up your new steed persuade your bike shop to show you a reliable security procedure. Or, decorate your bike so it’s less appealing to thieves. Tape, stickers, whatever. Just don’t obstruct moving parts. If you like everything about your bike except the handlebars (or the saddle, or the pedals, etc) don’t suffer in silence. Ask your bike shop to help you swap parts in order to maximise your comfort.
glass around to waste time putting up with cheaper, more vulnerable tyres. The Element comes equipped with Continental Contacts, which have plenty of puncture resistance without being heavy and sluggish. Unlike the other two bikes on test this issue, this one didn’t come equipped with mudguards, rack and (in the case of the Scorcher) a dynamo light. You would need to factor in a few additional purchases before this bike Conclusion could be London road worthy. That said, the frame has all the fittings you This would be the bike I would choose for fast, need to attach everything securely, busy commuting. It will and all reputable bike shops are get you where you need happy to fit rack, mudguards and to go without wasting the like free of charge if you’re any of your energy. buying a new bike from them.
Leave enough room in your budget for accessories like locks, mudguards, a rack, panniers and lights. Some bikes come equipped with almost everything but a lot of bikes are supplied almost bare.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 27
Product reviews Panniers Is London ready for a quirky, girly pannier? Mel Allwood examines a pannier with a difference
Basil Mirte bag, £35 Velorution (020 7637 4004, www.velorution.biz) The Mirte bag by Basil is a pannier quite unlike any other I’ve come across. It’s made of vinyl, and the version we tested was bright green with pink flowers printed all over it. Basil also makes a slightly more sober version, sporting a white background covered with black leaves. If you ask me, if you’re going to have a flowery bag you might as well embrace your inner Barbie and go the whole pink hog. The Mirte has two big shopping-bag handles for carrying off the bike. A zipped patch at the back of the bag conceals a pair of simple pannier hooks that attach to your rack. A big zip across the top of the bag is the closure and there’s a small pocket inside the bag as well. That’s about it for features. The zipped patch that covers over the hooks when you’re not using the bag as a pannier is neat. It hides the bag’s true purpose and also stops the hooks from getting caught up in your clothes when you’re walking along. The shopping bag handles are big enough that you can actually carry it over your shoulder (I’m unqualified to comment as to whether the fashion police would condone this act, but it worked very well when I had my hands full of other stuff). The size of the
handles also allow you to sling the bag over the handlebars if you can’t be bothered to put it properly on the rack. The fitting hooks are quite basic, and I probably wouldn’t put my laptop in the Mirte without using a bungee or a cable tie for a more secure attachment. However, I should make it clear that the bag didn’t jump off over potholes. The big, friendly handles might make it tempting for somebody to lift the whole thing off while you’re stopped at a traffic light but would they really be expecting the contents to be highly valuable? The Mirte seems to be crying out for a bottle of plonk, some decadence from the deli counter, and a pair of emergency pants – not a laptop, expensive mobile and a few platinum credit cards. If you’re after something 100% waterproof or super secure (or discreet!) look elsewhere. If you want a feminine bag that makes people stop you in the street and ask you where you got it, the Mirte is for you. I’ll leave the final word to my enthusiastic tester, Sarah: “I love it! Practical yet feminine. It’s a going out bag, for when I have nice clothes and a jacket on and don’t want to look like an engineer.”
WIN A TWO-WEEK SUPPLY OF SMOOTHIES WIN! In keeping with our healthy theme in LC April/May (see also page 24), we have teamed up with Innocent to give three lucky LC readers 10 smoothies each week for two weeks. The smoothies are from Innocent’s new ‘superfoods’ range, designed to help make breakfast easy for anyone short of time. Dubbed ‘breakfast thickies’, the
drinks are full of low fat yogurt, fine-milled oats and crushed blueberries and raspberries. Innocent are calling it breakfast in a bottle. To be in the running to win two weeks’ supply of smoothies, email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, April 30, or send a postcard to the address on page 3. Please mark all entries ‘Innocent smoothies’, and include your full name, postal address and phone number. For more on Innocent, see www.innocentdrinks.co.uk
28 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
Cereal bars Need a snack? Erin Gill asked a selection of London cyclists what they thought of four British-made cereal bars Jordans The Superfoods Bar, approx £2.70 per pack of 3 (0800 587 8901, www.jordans-cereals.co.uk) 45g, 171kcal, 7% protein, 10.9% fat. Made with “conservation grade” grains. Many other Jordans bars on the market. Jordans makes a dizzying range of bars. Some are grain-based while others are made from 100% fruitbased ingredients. The Superfoods Bar appears to be one of Jordans ‘premier’ bars and is definitely aimed at health-conscious adults. Our testers generally weren’t all that keen on it. Some found it too sweet, others described the flavour as too ‘acidic’. It’s studded with cranberries, almonds and pumpkin seeds and it looks attractive but it was drier than the others. Overall: poor to OK, but none of the testers asked for more of it.
Doves Farm Organic Tropical fruit and nut cereal bar, approx £2.50 per pack of 5 (www.dovesfarm.co.uk) 40g, 196kcal, 6.5% protein, 11.5% fat. Organic, fairtrade, wheat-free & vegan. No GMO & enzyme technology. A low-fat ‘fruity oat’ bar is also available. Everyone loved this bar. It doesn’t taste worthy at all, despite the fact it’s vegan, organic and boasts the fairtrade label. It has a higher proportion of fat than any of the other bars, so maybe that’s why everyone liked it. One tester looked around to see if there were more of these bars lying around, saying: “I could eat a lot more of this!” Another described it as “a pudding bar”. This bar is chewier than the others and the mix of grains, fruit and nuts is particularly good. The inclusion of mango seems to work very well. Overall, this was the winner.
Torq bar2 Sundried Banana, approx £1.15 per bar when buying pack of 24 (0845 128 4312, www.torq.ltd.uk) 65g, 324kcal, 4% protein, 1.9% fat. Vegetarian. Some Fairtrade ingredients. Also available in pineapple and ginger, and tangy apricot. Torq bars aren’t cereal bars at all but carefully-calibrated energy bars aimed at athletes who want an alternative to the over-processed energy bars and gels that dominate the sports market. Torq bars provide almost double the calories of the other bars we tested and offer both instant and lasting energy for people who are in the saddle for hours at a time. Most of our testers really didn’t like this bar, complaining that the flavour was ‘unidentifiable’ and the texture vile. However, a couple of testers loved it, proclaiming that it’s now become part of their essential kit when they head to the Surrey or Kent hills for a hard day’s ride at the weekend. Probably not what you need if you only cycle a few miles at a time within London.
WIN 39 CEREAL BARS! The Village Bakery Organic 4Bars Fruits, approx £2.15 per pack of 4 (01768 881 811, www.village-bakery.com) No weight data provided, 150kcal, 3.8% protein, 5.9% fat. Organic, wheat free. Also available in nut and seed flavours. This organic bar got the thumbs-up from all our testers, although it wasn’t the out and out winner. The bits of puffed rice were appreciated by some and the taste was generally approved of. It isn’t a stodgy bar at all and could be popular with people who want a genuinely light snack rather than a lead-in-the-bottomof-the-stomach type of bar. The Village Bakery is a brand well known to people who shop in wholefood shops, and one of the company’s claims to fame is that many of its products are baked in high-tech, wood-burning ovens. That’s renewable energy, you know.
LC has a bunch of cereal bars to give away to one lucky reader. These aren’t identical to the bars reviewed here but they’re produced by the same companies. Here’s what our winner will receive:
■ 3 Torq4 pineapple & ginger bars ■ 16 Doves Farm organic and fairtrade low fat fruity oat cereal bars ■ 8 Village Bakery organic & wheat free seed and nut bars ■ 6 Jordans fruit & nut multigrain bars ■ 6 Jordans apple & sultana multigrain bars If you fancy consuming 39 cereal bars, send a postcard to the address on page 3 or email email@example.com by Monday, April 30. Please mark all entries ‘Cereal Bar Prize Draw’, and include your full name, postal address and phone number.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 29
You can contact the membership team on 020 7234 9310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
LCC members’ page
This page has all you need to know to get the most out of your LCC membership LCC’S VISION LCC’s vision is to make London a world class cycling city
BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP LCC is a campaigning charity mainly funded by your membership. We work to improve conditions for cyclists and to promote cycling throughout London.
INSURANCE & LEGAL Third party insurance If you cause damage to a person or their property while cycling, they may make a claim against you. As a member of the LCC, you are covered for up to £2 million. If such an incident occurs, phone the LCC office for immediate advice and assistance.
Free legal advice
STRATEGIC AIMS ■ To involve people from all communities in cycling ■ To improve the quality of life in London by increasing cycling ■ To bring about the best possible services for people who cycle or want to cycle in London ■ To be leaders in urban cycling
CONTACT LCC 2 Newhams Row London SE1 3UZ t: 020 7234 9310 f: 020 7234 9319 e: email@example.com w: www.lcc.org.uk
Theft insurance LCC Cyclecover theft insurance also comes with free personal accident cover for LCC members. Theft insurance costs about 10% of the value of your bike and is a ‘new for old’ policy. For an instant quote, please call 0870 873 0067 and have your LCC membership number to hand.
INFORMATION & CAMPAIGNING Local groups LCC has a local group in every borough, plus the City of London. These groups campaign on local
HOW TO HELP LCC GROW Ask a friend to join
Contact the LCC Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can help boost our work by recruiting members to LCC. The more members we have, the greater our campaigning voice. Simply ask your friend or colleague to visit www.lcc.org.uk/join to join online or ask them to call 020 7234 9310 to join over the phone.
Registered charity number: 1115789
cycling issues, and also organise events, meetings, workshops and social rides. See page 32 to find out what your local group is up to.
Tell your boss about us
Free legal advice is a member benefit. If you need any legal assistance on a cycling-related issues, please phone the LCC office and we will put you in touch with a cyclist-friendly solicitor.
London Cyclist free of charge (see page 32). Send your short, concise ad to email@example.com or to the LCC (address above right). Ads from businesses are not accepted.
£2/free to membe rs
Money matters Riding for charit
Maps LCC, in partnership with Transport for London (TfL), has produced free cycle maps covering all of London. These can be ordered via www.lcc.org.uk or by phoning TfL on 020 7222 1234.
Tour de Fran ce
How to get involved
LCC has several schemes to help encourage employers to help make riding to work easier. For detaiils, see www.lcc.org.uk or call our office and ask for information on our corporate affiliates programme.
Why cycling’s good for you
Volunteer your time Rites of pass age
Making the mos
t of London’s
PLUS! Upgrade your wheels Maintenance workshops Discounts for members ■
ZOE WILL IAMS
BBC London’s Robert Elms My bike & I
Ken Worpole The wonderful world of maps
FITTI NG PANN IERS
Our small office in central London relies on volunteers for its membership administration and campaigning. If you have some spare time, we could use your help! Phone the office for details.
final NEW01_Covb _0405_AR.ind d 1
London Cyclist magazine This magazine is sent to members every two months. It is packed with news, features, cycling tips, products news and the latest on our campaigns. It has been voted the number one member benefit.
Who needs eBay? Members who have bikes or accessories to sell can advertise in
How to join LCC If you like what you see in London Cyclist but you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join the campaign to receive the magazine delivered to your door every two months. Members also receive the great package of other benefits listed on this page. You can join by calling 020 7234 9310 or via www.lcc.org.uk/join.
Member discounts Anyone who joins LCC can cash in on a range of ongoing benefits open only to members. They include:
who care about the environment. For further details, phone the ETA on 0800 212 810 or see www.eta.co.uk. You will need to quote your LCC membership number and reference 1061-9001.
Bike shops Maintenance Cycle Training UK (CTUK) offers LCC members a 5% discount on bike maintenance training. You can call CTUK on 020 7582 3535.
Breakdown cover LCC members get a 50% discount on membership of the Environmental Transport Association (ETA). ETA is a breakdown service for transport users
LCC members also get discounts on bikes, accessories and servicing at the follwowing bike shops in the capital. Remember to show your membership card before you make a purchase or book your service. MAIL ORDER Cotswold Outdoor Quote ref 2115 at www.cotswoldoutdoor.com ♣ Loads Better Mail order only. Suppliers
of xtracycle and Kronan bikes (0845 8682459) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5 Old Bicycle Trading Co Mail order only. Hub gears new and vintage parts (020 8306 0060) ● ✔ www.oldbiketrader.co.uk Outdoor Indoor Ltd Mail order clothing Supplier. ● ✔ www.outdoorindoor.co.uk CENTRAL Action Bikes Dacre House 19 Dacre St SW1 (020 7799 2233) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-5.30 Action Bikes 23-26 Embankment Place Northumberland Avenue WC2 (020 7930 2525) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8 Bikefix 48 Lambs Conduit St WC1 (020 7405 1218) ● ➔ Mon-Fri 8.30-7 Sat 10-5 Condor Ltd 51 Grays Inn Rd WC1
(020 7269 6820) ● ✔ Mon-Tues Thurs-Fri 9-6 Weds 9-7.30 Sat 10-5 Cavendish Cycles 136 New Cavendish St W1 (020 7631 5060) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 Cotswold Outdoor 23/26 Piccadilly W1 (020 7437 7399) ♣ (quote ref L2115 and show card) Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat, 10-6 Sun 11-5 CycleSurgery 3 Procter St Holborn WC1 (020 7269 7070) ▲ ✔ Mon/Weds/Fri 8.306 Tues/Thurs 8.30-7 Sat 10-5 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 51-52 Rathbone Pl W1 (020 7580 4107) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9-6 Sun 11-4 Evans Cycles 69 Grays Inn Rd WC1 (020 7430 1985) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Tues closed 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-5
30 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
LCC members’ page Many of these shops have email and websites. For details see www.lcc.org.uk
Evans Cycles 178 High Holborn WC1 (020 7836 5585) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Tues closed 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-4 Fluid Cycles Mobile repairs and servicing in Underground zone 1 and the Docklands (020 7021 0742) ● ✔ (on servicing and repairs) Mon-Fri 8.30-6 Weekends by arrangement Re-rolling Mobile puncture repair service within central London (Cycle Guide no. 10) but may travel further (07715 711150) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 7.30am-7pm Velorution 18 Great Titchfield St W1 (020 7637 4004) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8- 6.30pm Sat 10-6pm Also sells secondhand bikes EAST Bicycle Magic 4-6 Greatorex St E1 (020 7375 2993) ■ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 Bike Shack 621 High Rd, Leyton E10 (020 8539 5533) ● ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5 Wed & Thurs 9-6 Brick Lane Bikes 118 Bethnal Green Rd E2 (020 7033 9053) ■ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-7 Sat-Sun 11-6 Chainlink Cycle Centre 140 Hornchurch Rd Hornchurch RM11 (01708 470 007) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Cotswold Outdoor Ground floor, St Clements House, Leyden St E1 (020 7655 466) ♣ (quote ref L2115 and show card) Mon-Fri 10-7, Sat 10-5 Cycle Asylum 700 Romford Rd E12 (020 8478 2540) ■ ✔ Incl servicing. Mon/Tues/ Fri-Sat 10-6 (Closed Weds/Thurs & Sun) CycleSurgery Brody House Strype St E1 (020 7375 3088) ▲ ✔ Mon/Weds/Fri 8.306 Tues/Thurs 8.30-7 Sat 10-5 Sun 10-4 CycleSurgery 12-13 Bishops Sq, E1 (020 7392 8920) ▲ ✔ (excludes Marin bikes. Full SRP items only. Excludes Selfridges concession.) Mon-Sat 10-6 Sun 12-6 Ditchfields 792/794 High Rd Leyton E10 (020 8539 2821) ● ✔ (everything over £10) Mon-Sat 9.15-5.30 Evans Cycles The Cavern 1 Market St (Off Brushfield St) E1 (020 7426 0391) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-6 Evans Cycles 1 Farringdon St EC4 (020 7248 2349) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 18-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles Cullum St EC3 (020 7283 6750) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Mon 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-5 Evans Cycles Unit B, Reuters Building, 30 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf E14 (0870 164 4037) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-6 Fluid Cycles Docklands See ‘Central’ Heales Cycles 477 Hale End Rd Highams Park E4 (020 8527 1592) ■ ➔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5.30 London Fields Cycles 281 Mare St E8 (020 8525 0077) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-6 Sat 10-6 S & S Cycles 65 Woodgrange Rd E7 (020 8503 1000) ● ✔Mon-Sat 10-5.30 Wharf Cycles Unit B6, Lanterns Court, Millharbour E14 (020 7987 2255) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-7 Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 Wizzbike.com 113-114 Brentford High St TW8 (020 8568 1633) ■ ✔ including servicing. Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9-6 NORTH Action Bikes 64 Ballards Lane N3 (020 8346 2046) ▲ ✔ Discount also on servicing Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Bike and Run 125 High Rd N2 (020 8815 1845) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9.30-5.30 Bike Mech The Castle Climbing Centre Green Lanes N4 (07762 270 616) 10% discount on servicing only Mon-Fri 9-7, Sat 10-5
Bikes R Us Mobile cycle repairs throughout north London (020 8882 8288 – workshop, 07949 066 889 – van) ● ✔ on servicing and most repairs Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 Holloway Cycles 302/304 Holloway Rd N7 (020 7700 6611) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8.306.30 Sat 9-6 Sun 11-5. CycleSurgery 70 Holloway Rd N7 (020 7697 2848) ▲ ✔ Mon 9-6 Tues 9-7 Weds 8.30-6 Thurs 9-7 Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5 Mosquito Bikes 123 Essex Rd N1 (020 7226 8841/020 7226 8765) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8.30-7 Sat 10-6 Sun (summer only) 11-4 Cycle Store (The) 201 Woodhouse Rd Friern Barnet N12 (020 8368 3001) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 (Closed Weds) Sat 9-5 Sun 11-3 Pedal Power 210 Baker St Enfield EN1 (020 8363 8618) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5 (Closed Weds) S & S Cycles 29 Chapel Market N1 (020 7278 1631) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 10-6 Sat 10-5.30 Sun 10-2.30 Shorter Rochford 27 Barnet Rd Potters Bar EN6 (01707 662 332) ▲ ✔ on RRP Mon-Fri 9-6 (Closed Weds) Sat 9-5 Shorter Rochford 65-67 Woodhouse Rd N12 (020 8445 9182) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 (Weds 9-7) (Closed Thurs) Two Wheels Good 165 Stoke Newington Church St N16 (020 7249 2200) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 8.30-6 Sun 11-5 Two Wheels Good 143 Crouch Hill N8 (020 8340 4284) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 8.30-6 NORTH-WEST Broadway Bikes 250 West Hendon Bwy NW9 (020 8931 3925) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 Sun 11-1 Chamberlaines 75-77 Kentish Town Rd NW1 (020 7485 4488) ■ ✔ Includes shop discount Mon-Sat 8.30-6 Cycle King 451-455 Rayners Ln Pinner HA5 (020 8868 6262) ■ ♣ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 9-4.30 Cycle King 173 Hillside Stonebridge NW10 (020 8965 5544) ■ ♣ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-5 CycleSurgery 44 Chalk Farm Rd NW1 (020 7485 1000) ▲ (except Marins) ✔ Mon/Weds/Fri 9-6 Tues/Thurs 9-7 Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5 CycleSurgery Hampstead 275 West End Lane NW6 (020 7431 4300) ▲ ✔ Mon/ Weds/Fri 9-6 Tues/Thurs 9-7 Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5 Cyclopedia 262 Kensington High St W8 (020 7603 7626) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10.30-5 Evans Cycles 250 Watford Way, NW4 (0870 142 0108) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat 9.30-6, Sun 11-5 Simpson’s Cycles 114-116 Malden Rd NW5 (020 7485 1706) ● ✔ (Birdys ➔) Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5.30 Sparks 5 Bank Buildings, High St NW10 (020 8838 5858) ● ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-6 SOUTH Bikes Plus 429 Brighton Rd Croydon CR2 (020 8763 1988) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Cycle King 26-40 Brighton Rd Croydon CR2 (020 8649 9002) ■ ♣ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 9-4.30 Evans Cycles 5 London Rd Croydon CR0 (020 8667 1423) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing MonFri 9-6 Thurs 9-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 SOUTH-EAST Bigfoot Bikes 50 Hayes St Bromley BR2 (020 8462 5004) ● ➔ Incl servicing MonSat 10-5.30 Bike Shop (The) 288-290 Lee High Rd SE13 (020 8852 6680) ▲ ✔ on items over
£10 Mon-Fri 9-5.30 Sat 9-5 Blackfen Cycle Centre 23 Wellington Parade Blackfen Rd Sidcup DA15 (020 8303 3761) ▲ ✔ (Incl labour) Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5.30 Sun 10-3 Bromley Bike Company 27 Widmore Rd Bromley BR1 (020 8460 4852) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 Thurs 9-8 Comptoncycles.co.uk 23-25 Catford Hill Catford SE6 (020 8690 0141) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5 Crayford Cycles 3 Empire Buildings Waterside Crayford DA1 (01322 400055) ■ ➔ Incl servicing Mon-Tues Thurs-Sat 9-5 (Weds closed) Edwardes 221-225 Camberwell Rd SE5 (020 7703 3676) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 8.30-6 Evans Cycles 111-115 Waterloo Rd SE1 (020 7928 2208) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 10-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 77-81 The Cut SE1 (020 7928 4785) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing MonFri 8-8 (Closed Weds 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 6 Tooley St SE1 (020 7403 4610) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing. Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Herne Hill Bicycles 83 Norwood Rd SE24 (020 8671 6900) ● ➔ Tues-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 (Closed Sun & Mon) London Recumbents Rangers Yard Dulwich Park College SE21 (8299 6636) ● ✔ Variable discount on bike hire. Mon-Sun 10-6 On Your Bike 52-54 Tooley St SE1 (020 7378 6669) ▲ ✔ Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5 Also has bike hire ReCycling (Only sells catalogue returns, renovated and second-hand bikes) 110 Elephant Rd SE17 (020 7703 7001) ▲ ✖ Mon-Fri 10-7 Sat 9-6 Sun 11-5 Robinsons Cycles 172 Jamaica Rd SE16 (020 7237 4679) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-6 Thurs 9.30-2 Sidcup Cycle Centre 142-146 Station Rd Sidcup DA15 (020 8300 8113) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-5.30 Thurs 9-7 Sat 9-5 Park Tools school Wilsons 32 Peckham High St SE15 (020 020 7639 1338) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 10-6 Sat 10-5 Witcomb Cycles (Frame-builder and repairs) 25 Tanners Hill Deptford SE8 (020 8692 1734) ■ ✔ (Mon closed) Tues, Weds, Fri 9.30-5 Thurs, Sat 9.30-4 Xadventure Bikes 25-29 Perry Vale Forest Hill SE23 (020 8699 6768) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 SOUTH-WEST A W Cycles 23 Abbey Parade, Merton High St SW19 (020 8542 2534) Mon- Fri 8.30-6 Sat 8.30-5 Closed Wed & Sun ▲ ➔ Brixton Cycles 145 Stockwell Rd SW9 (020 7733 6055) ● ✔ Mon-Wed & Fri-Sat 9-6 Thurs 9-7 Cowley Security Locksmiths (Locks and key cutting) 146 Colne Rd Twickenham TW2 (020 8894 1212) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-5 Cycle City 57 Approach Rd Raynes Pk SW20 (020 8542 4076) ■ ➔ Mon-Fri 8.306 Sat 8.30-5 Closed Sun Cyclopedia 256 Fulham Rd SW10 (020 7351 5776) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10.30-5
Dialabike 30 Strutton Ground SW1 (020 7233 4224) ■ ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-5.30 Evans Cycles 13-15 Jerdan Pl (off Fulham Bwy) SW6 (020 7384 5550) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8am-8pm (Closed Mon 11-12) Sat 9.30am-6pm Sun 11am-5pm Evans Cycles 320-320b Vauxhall Bridge Rd SW1 (020 7976 6298) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Tues 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 48 Richmond Rd Kingston KT2 (020 8549 2559) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 9-6 Thurs 9-8 (Closed Thurs 1112) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10-4 Evans Cycles 167-173 Wandsworth High St SW18 (020 8877 1878) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10-4 London Recumbents Staff Yard Battersea Park SW11 (020 7498 6543) ● ✔ off hire only. Open weekends and school holidays Luciano Cycles 97-99 Battersea Rise SW11 (020 7228 4279) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 95.30 Sun 10-3.30 Mike’s Bikes 27 Aberconway Rd Morden SM4 (020 8640 1088) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 8-5.30 Sat 9-4 Moose Cycles 48 High St Colliers Wood SW19 (020 8544 9166) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-7 Munden Bikes 8 North Parade Chessington KT9 (020 8397 5287) ▲ ✔ plus ✔ on repairs Mon-Tues, Thurs-Sat 9-5 Weds 9-12 Pitfield Cycles 137 Kingston Rd New Malden KT3 (020 8949 4632) ■ ➔ Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Siecle 789 Wandsworth Rd SW8 (020 7978 2345) ❋ ✖ (applies only to bikes) Mon-Fri 9.30-5.30 Sat 10-4 Smith Brothers 14 Church Rd SW19 (020 8946 2270) ▲ Also offers bike hire services Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 South Bank Cycles 194 Wandsworth Rd SW8 (020 7622 3069) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Stratton Cycles Ltd 101 East Hill SW18 (020 8874 1381) ● ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Triandrun 53 Wimbledon Hill Rd, SW19 (020 8500 4841) ▲ ✔ Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri 10-6, Sat 9-6 Closed Wed & Sun WEST Action Bikes 101 Uxbridge Rd W12 (020 8743 5265) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Action Bikes 176 Chiswick High Rd W4 (020 8994 1485) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Bikewise 61 Swakeleys Rd Ickenham Middx UB10 (01895 675376) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Sun 10-2 Bonthrone Bicycle Company 917-919 Fulham Rd SW6 (020 7731 5005) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 11-7 Thurs 11-8 Sat 10-6 Sun 12-5 Evans Cycles 548-550 Chiswick High Road, W4 (0870 060 5489) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat 9.30-6, Sun 11-5 Mend-a-Bike 19 The Arches 33 Munster Rd Fulham SW6 (020 7371 5867) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-7 Sat 9-6 Woolsey of Acton 281 Acton Lane W4 (020 8994 6893) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-6.30 Sat 9.30-6 (Closed Weds)
• Show your LCC card to claim your discount. • The discounts vary and are not negotiable. ● ➔ means no discount on a bicycle and 5% discount on parts and/or accessories. • Discounts don’t usually apply to special offers or sale items.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 31
Local groups News Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.lccenfield.fsnet.co.uk
We had the AGM and the existing committee was voted back in as no-one else stood. Still, there is change elsewhere in Barnet. Bittacy Cycles, a much-loved traditional bike shop, has closed down after about 50 years. Rumour is that it will be reopened as a branch of Raleigh Cycles. And Evans Cycles is opening a branch in Hendon. If you’ve never been able to come out on a Sunday ride, how about an evening ride now summer is coming? They start at Tally Ho at 7pm and end at a cafe/pub for a meal. The series starts Monday, April 2 and again on Tuesday, May 1. Meetings: Last Thursday of the month at 8pm at Trinity Church Hall, Nether St, N12 Contact: Jeremy Parker (020 8440 9080, BarnetLCC@come.to) Website: www.barnetlcc.org
Meade McCloughan and Colleen Macaulay of Camden Cycling Campaign test the innovative cycle stands at the Design Against Crime Research Centre at Central St Martins. Cyclists are invited to try out the stands on Southampton Row WC1B. See www.bikeoff.org/comment
Contact: Stefano Casalotti (020 7435 0196, email@example.com) and Jean Dollimore (020 7485 5896, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.camdencyclists.org.uk
We have had a meeting with British Waterways and Brent Council – great presentation by David Arditti. It was a productive meeting with further study recommended into routes in and around the Welsh Harp reservoir as part of the Western Alternative as a means to overcoming the fragmentation of routes. Route 15 along Nicol Road is dependent on the redevelopment of Harlesden Town Centre. For the moment we have a return to the Stonebridge Recreation Ground alignment which will revert to a local route when the redevelopment is finalised. We will then have the option of the more direct route from Wembley Triangle down through Harlesden. The Stonebridge route is now well-lit most of the way; the path has been moved out from the trees and security is 24 hours at the stadium. A great result. We have rides planned into the autumn. Thanks to all for your valuable help and organisation. Meetings: The first Wednesday of each month (April 4; May 2 – also our AGM) at Willesden Trades & Social Club, 375 High Rd, NW10. Contact: Patrick Rogan (020 8961 5740, 07815 501 190, email@example.com) Website: www.brentcyclists.org.uk
Hackney Cyclists, Camden Cycling Campaign
We were pleased to hear that we have been awarded a grant for initiating our first bike bus (see page 4). The Hampstead Heath consultation is now under way. The City of London is asking for feedback via http://tinyurl.com/38lcbh. CCC has written a response in which the main point is to ask for cycle links from the edges of the Heath to the existing cycleways. See our website for more and please support the case for better cycle links. We had fun assessing some designs for bike stands at the Design Against Crime Research Centre at Central St Martins. There were about 10 designs – most intended to secure a bike with a single lock, to give protection to at least one wheel and to stop the bike falling over (see photo). Meetings: April 2, 7.30pm at the Primrose Hill Community Association, 29 Hopkinsons Pl, NW1 8TN (put your bike on railings outside). May 14, 7.30pm at Central St Martins, cnr Theobalds Rd and Southampton Row (use entrance opposite Red Lion Square).
Cycling continues to boom in the City. Dr Bike events which promote subsidised cycle training were held every Friday lunchtime in March outside Liverpool Street station from 12pm-2pm and then rotated around high-profile locations in the City. Dr Bikes have also visited bike-friendly businesses such as UBS bank and the Linklaters law firm, plus small City residential communities. The Tour de France roadshow comes to Liverpool Street at lunchtime on May 25 with St Paul’s being the focus on the day the Tour leaves London. A ‘nocturne’ is “95% certain” to go ahead between 5pm-10pm on June 23 as a warm up. This professional bike race around Smithfields Market would include amateur and novelty rounds featuring couriers and Bromptons. The next meeting of the City Cycle Forum is also planned for June. Our campaigning to increase on-street parking is showing results though we’re still struggling to ensure new buildings have stands outside for visitors. The City Crime Reduction Partnership has said cycles parked inside buildings have the highest rates of theft as people are less careful than when locking their cycles on street. Cycle route studies have been hampered by the quality of consultants involved, and also by the lack of support in City committees. TfL lost momentum after Blackfriars Bridge and tore up agreements made at CRISP meetings and held a secret meeting excluding the LCC in order to prevent Tower Hill being made an LCN+ route. If you can help in any way, please get in contact. Meetings: Check the website or email for details Contact: Ralph Smyth (firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.citycyclists.org.uk. ENFIELD
We are busy putting together plans for Bike Week. Despite Enfield Council’s rather lukewarm attitude to cycling, the council is keen to organise a cycling festival in Enfield during this year’s Bike Week, so we look forward to working closely with them. Meanwhile, the lively rides and social side of our group continues. Do come along to a ride or meeting. Meetings: April 5 at 8pm at Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, Fords Grove, N21; May 3 at 8pm at the Six Bells, Chase Side, EN2
A huge safety study of the A10 in Hackney has emerged, making interesting reading but suggesting some rather last-century remedies (eg more guard railing). This will be revised as part of TfL’s new ‘corridor’ approach. We want a more people-friendly, less heavily engineered approach, and a 20mph zone on the A10 in Dalston. The Frampton Park Estate bicycle user group has funding from TfL for 75 individual bike lockers. LCC members helped distribute leaflets advertising them to residents. This will be our biggest installation of secure residential cycle parking. We were the first London borough to be visited by the CTC benchmarking project, which will compare what boroughs are doing to support cycling and share best practice. We understand the team was impressed. The Regent’s Canal towpath is being upgraded, with surface improvements, new signage, mirrors under bridges, and a trial of chicanes designed to deter the sprinters (see page 14). Watch out for the temporary closures. There’ll be an awareness campaign supported by LCC groups, Living Streets and British Waterways. We had another great Burns Night dinner and dance. Thanks to all who came along and to all the volunteers. We recovered our megatrailer, but are still looking for premises for this and our Brox. A correction to last issue’s Hackney news: the route maintenance work programme will be carried out in 07/08, not in 06/07. Finally, the famous East London Railway ‘cyclists dismount’ sign appeared again, this time instructing 2000 cyclists per day to get off and walk on Kingsland Road. We had it removed, but not before a concerned citizen changed the wording to ‘Share The Road’. Meetings: First Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm at Marcon Court Estate Community Hall, cnr Amhurst Rd and Marcon Pl, E8. Contact: Richard Lewis (020 8525 4512) and Trevor Parsons (020 7729 2273); email@example.com Website: www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk
A ‘cyclist dismount’ sign on Kingsland Road was amended by a rider before being officially removed at Hackney Cyclists’ request HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM
Spring is here and we have a ride in the H&F festival on April 1. We will also have a barbeque near the milepost to watch the boatrace on April 7. We have started planning the Greenfest West London, to be beside the river in Hammersmith on June 17 during Bike Week. Among other attractions such as Des Kay, we hope to have the York Company of Cyclists with bike tryouts, thanks to LBHF and TfL. You are invited to be
32 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
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Local groups See the ‘local groups’ section at www.lcc.org.uk for more contact information and news from your area
involved (see www.greenfest.org.uk). Meetings: First Tuesday of the month Contact: John Griffiths (020 7371 1290, 07789 095 748, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.hfcyclists.org.uk HARINGEY
On Saturday, March 31, Haringey Cycling Campaign will be taking part in the Sustainable Haringey conference. Anyone who lives or work in Haringey (and receives their LC before this date!) is invited; entrance is free. Many issues will be discussed on the day and there will also be a transport workshop. One of the questions being will be, “how do we encourage more walking and cycling?” Meetings: Please email for details Contact: Adam Coffman (email@example.com) HILLINGDON
Our most recent meeting with the council cycling officer discussed the following cycling schemes: Uxbridge Road (Route 39), Heathrow/Harlington’Hayes (Route 88A), Heathrow to Uxbridge (Route 89 south), and Uxbridge to Pinner (Route 89 north). If you have any ideas about these routes, please come along to our next meeting. At these meetings we also get updates on the plans for the Sustrans National Cycle Route 6 which was set to go through Hillingdon via Ruislip Woods. The details are still being negotiated. As we are quite a small group and there are numerous CTC rides organised in the area, we unfortunately do not organise LCC rides, but work with CTC groups as many of us are members of both organisations. Enquiries welcome! Meetings: Phone for details Contact: Sarah James (020 8868 2912); Steve Ayres (01895 230 953) HAVERING
Our cycle liaison group met in February. The 2007/08 LIP funding settlement for cycling is £210,000. Officers met with TfL to discuss the level of settlement and whether any lessons can be learned to assist future bids. Harrow Lodge Park now has its new, re-routed shared-use path 95% completed (pictured). The surface is excellent but the lamp standards encroach into the path. We’re also surprised to see that ‘toy’ Sheffield stands have been installed instead of the tall, narrow variety promised. Proposed parking at Hacton Parade Shops has been rejected. The reason seems to have something to do with the desire to see an overall regeneration scheme implemented but this has nothing to do with cycle parking, so the TfL funding shall be lost. Most of the other local shopping centre and library locations have been approved. Havering is bidding to Sustrans for a Harrow Lodge Park now has its new, re-routed shared-use path
‘Living Landmarks’ project in the Ingrebourne Valley Greenway to run a new shared-use path through the Country Park. Proposals for shared-use pathways across Rainham Marsh Reserve and alongside the river are advanced. Three schools have been chosen for Bike It projects. There’s also £20,000 for pupil cycle training. The borough wants to train its own cycle instructors. We’re getting upset at the frequency of consultation responses being ignored. Despite our advice to the contrary, for some road safety projects, the adjacent cycle lanes have been removed. We’ve been at great pains to point out that these are the locations where marked lanes are most needed. Terry has written to the council to seek dialogue. Group liasion meetings: May 15, 4pm-6pm, Planning Deptartment meeting room, Mercury House, Romford. Contact is Daniel Douglas, assistant transport planner, Greater London Borough of Havering (01708 432 850, daniel. firstname.lastname@example.org) Havering Cycling Campaign contact: Bernie Curtis (01708 347 226, CurtisBernieS@aol.com, HCC@dynoweb.f9.co.uk)
Road congestion and climate change are the big issues. To tackle the latter, the only fair and realistic way to deal with this is Mayer Hillman’s solution: carbon rationing (see his book How We Can Save the Planet (http://tinyurl.com/2n5me6). As for congestion, road pricing seems a nobrainer. Roads get congested because demand exceeds supply. Introducing the price mechanism will balance supply and demand. It’s rubbish to say the poor will be hardest hit: the poorest don’t own cars. The effects will be redistributive, as long as the revenue is invested in more sensible modes of transport like cycling and buses. I could be swayed by the policy of the Official Monster Loony Raving Party: “To combat congestion we will immediately close all motorways to all vehicles with the exception of bicycles to encourage our green policy and fitness”. Annual General Meeting: 8pm May 16 at the All Saints Centre, All Saints Rd, SW19 1BX. Anyone wanting to stand for election to MCC management committee or put a motion to the AGM must do so by May 2 (see MCC constitution on the website). Monthly meetings: 8pm, first Thursday of the month (email or phone for details) KINGSTON Contact: Richard Evans (020 8946 0912, John Legate has been doing stirling work in email@example.com) foul weather with TfL on their CRIM for the A3, recommending that improvements to crossings of Website: www.mertoncyclists.org.uk the A4 are as important as making the road better for cycling. It looks like the Robin Hood junction REDBRIDGE has been receiving some design attention. We’re The proposed Hog Hill cycle facility on Forest running a one-day maintenance class on May Road has received planning permission 12 and a six-session course starting June 4. The for 2km closed road track, mountain bike French city of Lyon and its amazing Vélo-V hire routes, cyclocross, BMX,pavilion, conference/ system is our favourite for a fact-finding weekend meeting room and car parking. Redbridge has later this year. We’ve met with the council and commissioned a study for a cycle route down at discussed its three-year, £2.8m programme of least part of Forest Road to get to it. The opening LCN works for the borough. Our Bread Pudding date is late 2007. Interim facilities are available rides seem more popular than ever (see page 36). onroad at The Royals, Victoria Dock, or off-road Meetings: April 10, May 8. The venue may at Hainault Forest Country Park (see Hubbub). change, so please check the website or Studies have been done to open up an offroad phone before setting out. route through Happy Valley, Seven Kings; to Contact: Rob James (020 8546 8865) improve the cycle route along A118 Woodford Website: www.kingstoncycling.org.uk Avenue; and traffic signals should by now be installed at the junction of Chigwell Road/Snakes Lane on the Roding Valley Way. Please support LEWISHAM the LCC stall and Dr Bike at the Redbridge Green 2007 brought a very well attended AGM chaired Fair on May 27. Book now for two trips away, one by LCC’s Charlie Lloyd. Speakers included GLA at Easter and one over the May Bank Holiday (see reps Darren Johnson and Murad Qureshi, Cllr Hubbub). Our summer family rides start April 15. Heidi Alexander (Lewisham Deputy Mayor and Meetings: March 20 at 8pm at Wanstead House, cabinet member for regeneration) and Cllr Mark 21 The Green, Wanstead E11 Morris (leader of the Liberal Democrat group in Contact: Gill James (020 8989 4898, Lewisham). Topics included the delivery of the firstname.lastname@example.org); Chris Elliott LCN+, what the next ‘big’ headline for cycling should be and Cllr Alexander’s eight-month wait (020 8989 6285, email@example.com) for a key to the showers at the Town Hall. Well over 30 people attended. We now need to keep RICHMOND the political contacts live for 2007 and start using The group continues to grow in terms of the TdF to keep the message out there. A mention participants at rides and meetings, and through must be made of our treasurer Ian White who has our email distribution. During March we travelled stepped down after many years. Please check into London, around the borough twice and held out our website for details of the many rides we our first gentle mid-week ride in and around organise, many including GPS tracks so you can Bushy Park. See page 26 for rides.We are setting follow them yourself after the event. up a website we will advertise in the next LC. Meetings: Third Wednesday of the month, 7.30pm, Route initiatives include the South Circular and the Albany, Deptford (bring bikes upstairs) Kneller Gardens. Contact: Roger Stocker Meetings: The second Monday each month (firstname.lastname@example.org) (phone for details) Website: www.lewishamcyclists.net Contact: Ian Lyall (Ianlyall@BTOpenworld.com) LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 33
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Local groups JUNE/JULY DEADLINE: 6pm Thursday, May 3 Please email news to email@example.com – photos are welcome and will be published if space permits. Please keep contributions as concise as possible.
is affected by the installation of bollards near the US Embassy. We are hoping that, when the bollards are raised, cyclists will still be able to ride between them. A number of potholes have opened up on Westminster’s roads. If you report them at www.westminster.gov.uk, a temporary repair will be made, while a permanent repair will be scheduled. But you will probably have to report the hole again when the temporary repair wears out. Meetings: Wednesday, April 18 at 7pm in the Library Bar of the Victoria Pub, Strathearn Pl, W2 Contact: Colin Wing (020 7828 1500, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.westminstercyclists.fsnet.co.uk) WANDSWORTH
Two main projects are bouncing us along in Wandsworth. Our Movers & Shakers scheme has hit the spot, and we’ve persuaded a dozen local big cheeses to climb on bikes and show others that cycling really is easy. They’ve all had their training now, and the celebration party looks set to be lively – it should produce some good publicity. We have £1,200 in donated funds to spend. We need ideas for projects to use this on. We’d like to hear from anyone with a good suggestion. Email treasurer@wandsworthcyclists. org.uk by April 8 in time for discussion at our next meeting. Ideas so far include organising public debates, a project aimed at educational institutions, and publishing leaflets to motorists Meetings: Second Tuesday of the month at 7pm. Contact: Simon Merrett (020 8789 6639, email@example.com) Website: www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk
BARKING & DAGENHAM Contact: Colin Newman (020 8591 9225, 07761 577255, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.stibasa.org.uk BEXLEY Contact: Frances Renton (01322 441979, email@example.com) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups BROMLEY: www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups CROYDON Contact: Liz Mincer (07946 362193) or Trevor Rolfe (020 8681 1518) www.croydon-lcc.org.uk EALING Meetings: First Wednesday of the month Contact: David Lomas (020 8579 0805, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.ealingcycling.org.uk GREENWICH Meetings: First Wednesday of the month Contact: Julian Dobson (07771 692 344) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups HARROW Contact: Jacob Farley Gloor (020 8866 8894) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups HOUNSLOW Meetings: Last Wednesday of the month Contact: Liz Trayhorn (020 8751 5430) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups ISLINGTON Meetings: The second Wednesday of the month Contact: Alison Dines (020 7226 7012, email@example.com) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups KENSINGTON & CHELSEA Meetings: Phone for details Contact: Philip Loy (020 8677 8624, 07960 026 450, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups
Some progress is being made with a route between Bayswater and Tottenham Court Road, avoiding the Lancaster Gate gyratory and most of Oxford Street. Westminster’s officers are seeking councillors’ approval for further consultation and design work, while the Royal Parks have been consulting the public about allowing cycling along the north side of Kensington Gardens. This route
OTHER LOCAL GROUP CONTACTS
LAMBETH Meetings: Third Tuesday of the month Contact: Philip Loy (020 8677 8624, 07960 026 450, email@example.com) www.lambethcyclists.org.uk
Mover & Shaker Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, arrives at Parliament Square with Rob James of CTUK during a cycle training session on March 1
Members’ adverts OLD BIKES FOR SALE: Good condition, space needed. Large Holdsworth touring bike £100 ono. Large mountain bike £80 ono. Slighlty smaller Falcon hybrid £50 ono. Call 07958 289607 or 020 8361 7526 (Arnos Grove area). FOR SALE: Front and rear Rigida road wheels (700x25) DPX SAT 24 paired stainless spokes, Quando quick release hubs, includes Continental Contact tyres and tubes. £50, collect from WC1. Call James 07914 871 650. How to advertise Non-business ads are free for LCC members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the address on page 3, and include your full name, address and membership number. The June/July issue deadline is: Thursday, May 3. Businesses or members interested in larger advertisements should contact Dan Rich on 020 7306 0300 ext 116 or email email@example.com
NEWHAM Contact: Bernard McDonnell (07947 236 965) www.lcc.org. uk > Local groups SUTTON Meetings: Second Tuesday of the month Contact: Chris Parry (020 8647 3584) www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups TOWER HAMLETS Meetings: Second Wednesday of the month Contact: Owen Pearson (020 7515 9905, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.towerhamletswheelers.org.uk WALTHAM FOREST Contact: email@example.com www.wfcycling.org.uk Most groups have email lists to communicate with members and exchange ideas. Ask your local group for detaiils.
Compare. Grange Road, Bermondsey. Deepest SE1. Spa Park been beautifully restored as part of the big Bermondsey Spa regeneration project. Parkside of Grange Road is a new block of flats. Opposite, 30 metres away across the road, is a new Children’s Centre that recently got 12 pages in the RIBA journal. Outside the first are a dozen Sheffield stands. But 30 metres away outside the second is an equally new shiny nasty little set of three frontwheel grippers. Useless. How does quality work let itself down in such trash detail? We’re even getting Dr Bike. Our Afterworkers will focus more than usual on canals, and not only because of the 15km of 2012 site fencing going up around the Lee delta in July. The July 22 Latin Carnaval of Indepencias on Peckham Rye asked us to do rides there. Brand new partnerships emerge. April starts with the Good Friday International at Herne Hill Velodrome. Catch our ride there. After our Whitstable Weekend we launch Young Southwark Cyclists on April 27 – the day before the last of our pioneering Bikestart easy rides for novices. Southwark Living Streets and Southwark Cyclists signed Vision for Southwark. Walking and cycling – natural but all too infrequent allies. Try just one of our meetings. The question isn’t how to better our 2006 Bike Week or the 120 miles of the 15th Dunwich dynamo on July 28 or the 88 miles in the mountains on our Wild Wales Weekend at the end of August that niggles away – it’s how to lose those winter pounds in time for June 9’s Naked Bike Ride. Too many reasons for not doing that ride. Keep knocking away those excuses. Shower that morning. Meetings: The second Wednesday of the month at 7pm at Blackfriars Settlement, 1/5 Rushworth Street, SE1. Pub after. Contact: Barry Mason (07905 889 005) Website: www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk
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final NEWAprBorough 32,33,5_AR.i35 35
Local groups Diary Your guide to events and rides that are open to all cyclists
Sunday, April 1 ◆ Little Green Ride 9.50 from
What you need to know about social rides Unless stated, train-assisted rides meet at the relevant ticket office. Lunch is at a pub or take sandwiches if you prefer. Don’t forget: water, lights, a spare inner tube and tools.
Armchair riding To keep up with late changes and extra information, subscribe to the London Riders email list. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisers To publicise your ride or event, enter details onto the LCC database (www.lcc.org.uk). To get events into the June/July issue, please upload full details by noon, Thursday, May 3.
Tour de France roadshows Transport for London’s programme of Tour de France roadshows rolls on to get Londoners excited about the Tour coming to town. The roadshows include lots of info on the race and competitions with a cycling theme. See www.tourdefrancelondon.com or ask your local group coordinator if a roadshow is coming to your borough. See page 16 for LCC’s spectator rides to the Tour. LC’s June/July issue will carry a full preview of the Tour’s visit to London.
3.30pm, and start at the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge on Rangers Road, Chingford (next door to the Royal Forest pub). The rides are for all ages, but a reasonable level of cycling
experience is recommended. The rides explore Epping Forest, stopped en route for a pub lunch. More details are available from Ian Greer at Ian.email@example.com.
Incentives for cyclists to ride in France SeaFrance Dover-Calais Ferries has launched a new website (www.sailandcycle.com) to encourage Brits to explore the Continent on two wheels. SeaFrance is also offering 20% off its foot passenger fares to anyone travelling with a bike from now until June 15. During Bike
Week (June 16-24), foot passengers with bikes will travel free, while cars carrying bicycles will receive a 10% discount. Anyone without internet access can claim the discounts and free tickets by calling 0871 663 2559 and quoting FOOTWK20.
Walking and cycling festival in early May The largest-ever North Devon and Exmoor Walking and Cycling Festival will be held May 3-11. The programme features 62 guided walks and cycle rides, half of them new to the festival. The cycling programme concentrates on mountain bike rides, with experienced leaders weaving challenging offroad trails through Exmoor. On the May 7 bank holiday, there will be a ‘cycling circus’ at Barnstaple’s Rock Park, with visitors able to practise their skills on unicycles and trick bikes. For more information, see www.walkcyclenorth devon.co.uk, email bryan @westcountrywalks.co.uk or call 01271 883 131.
Finsbury Park Station (overground ticket office). A 30-mile ride into Hertfordshire with pub lunch. Meet at 9.49am for the 10.11am train to Knebworth/Stevenage. Contact: Sue Dorey (020 7729 5409, not before 11am on Saturdays). ◆ Historical Ride 10am from Ealing Town Hall. Leisurely ride to see historical features within our borders and south into Isleworth. Contact: David Eales (07990 531 472, firstname.lastname@example.org) ◆ Spring Ride to Richmond 11am from Interchange Centre on Haverstock Hill (Hampstead Old Town Hall). Ride the Thames towpath to Richmond, returning via Wimbledon Common, Wandle river Wandle and Clapham. Lunch and tea stops. Contact: James Brander (020 7267 3585) or Jean Dollimore (email@example.com)
Friday, April 6 ◆ The Good Friday International
Pencil these Epping Forest rides into your diary A series of rides is planned for Epping Forest this year, starting on Sunday, April 29. Other dates include Sunday, July 29 and Sunday, September 16. All rides run from 11am-
RIDES AND EVENTS
Day of racing and events at Herne Hill Velodrome. Spectator ride from Southwark. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005). See also www.vcl.org.uk
Saturday, April 7 ◆ Bikestart! Healthy rides for all. Meet 10am at Dulwich Park cafe for Dr Bike inspection with an 11am ride start. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005, info@ southwarkcyclists.org.uk)
Sunday, April 8 ◆ Easter treasure hunt/quiz ride 10am from Outside Enfield Civic Centre, Silver Street, EN2. Family-friendly ride of 10-20 miles with a quiz/treasure hunt. (Chocolate eggs will be involved!) A mix of quiet roads and off-road tracks. Pub lunch, or bring own lunch. Finishes around 4pm. Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Saturday, April 14 ◆ Bikestart! Local healthy rides for
Explore the Peak District and Derbyshire The Peak District and Derbyshire are hoping to cash in on cycle tourism with the launch of a Walking & Cycling Breaks brochure. The 12-page booklet provides details and maps of themed routes such as ‘Edges and Ales’ and ‘Castles and Caverns’. The brochure ties in with the promotion of themed holiday options for walkers and cyclists, with cycling holidays
starting at £115 (including accommodation). Everyone booking a weekend break receives a pack featuring a full itinerary, walking or cycling route notes, a laminated map, OS maps for the area, and accommodation information. Copies of the walking and cycling booklet are available by calling 0870 2255 450 or via www.visitpeakdistrict.com/walk
all. Meet 10am at Peckham Pulse for Dr Bike inspection with an 11am ride start. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005, email@example.com)
Sunday, April 15 ◆ Bread Pudding Ride 10.30am from Kingston Market Place, Queen Anne’s Statue. An easy-paced ride into the Surrey countryside with the Kingston Cycling Campaign. Tea stops, pub lunch and a slice of bread pudding for all. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875, firstname.lastname@example.org) ◆ Little Green Ride see April 1
36 April/May 2007 LONDON CYCLIST
Local groups For last-minute rides, contact your local group (details page 32) or go to www.lcc.org.uk
10am from Cricklewood station to Harpenden (£7.20 return fare) then a loop around Harpenden, Luton Airport, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and back to Harpenden. Distance (38km/24 miles). Contact: Paul Hayward (07762 279 149, paul. email@example.com) ◆ Vanunu Freedom Ride Peace ride from Scotland arrives in London. Cyclists welcome to join. Contact: David (0845 458 1965, firstname.lastname@example.org) See www.vanunufreedomride.org.uk
Saturday, April 21 ◆ Bikestart! Local healthy rides for all. Meet 10am at Southwark Park cafe for Dr Bike inspection; 11am ride start. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005, email@example.com) ◆ Whitstable Weeekend 65 miles on Saturday, 55 miles Sunday with Southwark Cyclists. Train back. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday, April 22 ◆ Edmonton to Blake Hall 9am from outside Edmonton Old Leisure Centre, Plevna Rd, N9. Road ride to the Battle of Britain Operations Rooms at Blake Hall (there’s a fee to go in). Cafe lunch (or bring your own). 30-40 miles with steep hills. Back 6pm(ish) Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, email@example.com)
Wednesday, April 25 ◆ Midweek Ride 7.30pm: Kingston Market Place, Queen Anne’s Statue. Easy-paced short local ride with the Kingston Cycling Campaign. Pub stop is on the menu. Bring lights. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, April 27 ◆ ICAG Ride to Critical Mass 6.15pm from Islington Town Hall, Upper Street N1. Join Islington Cyclists’ Action Group’s feeder ride to London’s largest monthly cycle ride. Contact: Alison Dines (020 7226 7012, email@example.com)
Saturday, April 28 ◆ Bikestart! See April 7 Sunday, April 29 ◆ Little Green Ride see April 1 ◆ Bread Pudding Ride see April 15
◆ Greenwich Mayor’s Cycle Ride 11am from Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10. 10-mile ride in aid of Demelza Children’s Hospice and Greenwich MIND. £5 entry (under 12s free). Contact: Janice Harwood (020 8921 5033, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday, May 6 ◆ Ruislip Lido 10am from Ealing
Discover Scotland’s lochs and glens Sustrans and publisher Pocket Mountains have released a new guide to Scotland’s 430-mile Lochs and Glens Cycle Route. Sustrans has also updated two of its maps for the northern and southern sections of the route. The Lochs and Glens route meanders from Carlisle through farmland and mountain ranges Loch Katrine in the Trossachs to the Inverness. The 96-page Lochs and Glens guide is split into day-long sections. The Lochs and Glens South Cycle Route Map covers the 214-mile section which offers a gentle, more tranquil ride compared to its northern counterpart, the Lochs and Glens North Cycle Route Map. The guide (£6.99) and maps (£6.99) are on sale via 0845 113 0065, from www.sustrans.org.uk or from selected bookshops and bike shops. See page 40 for more books from Pocket Mountains.
Town Hall. A few hills and lovely views and descents. Via Harrow and Pinner; back through country lanes to Uxbridge and return via the canal. Contact: David Eales (07990 531 472, email@example.com)
Tuesday, May 8 ◆ Evening ride to Brickendon/ Bayford 7pm outside Enfield Civic Centre. Through country lanes to the Farmers Boy pub in Brickendon Green. About 15 miles there (inc steep hills). Train back from Bayford to Enfield Chase. Bring lights! Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday, May 13 ◆ Little Green Ride see April 1 ◆ Bread Pudding Ride see April 15
◆ Ducks & Drakes Ride 10am
Volunteers needed for Thames cycle ride The Stroke Association needs volunteer marshalls to help with its annual Thames Bridge Bike Ride on May 13. The event is a 32-mile sponsored ride along the Thames, and is expected to attract more than 2,400 cyclists. The times marshalls are required vary, with shifts from 7.50am. Organisers are also in need of pit stop crews, and teams to monitor to start and finish lines. Anyone interested in
from Wembley Triangle to Wetland Centre (£7.25 entry) in Barnes. Wembley 10am (26km/17 miles), 10.45am Roundwood Park (18km/12 miles). Contact: Paul Hayward (07762 279 149, email@example.com)
Thursday, May 24 ◆ Pedal to Paris Five-day charity ride starts. Contact: S Walker (020 7426 3854, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, May 25 ◆ ICAG Ride to Critical Mass see April 27
Sunday, May 27 ◆ Bread Pudding Ride see April 15
helping out should contact Katie Nicholls on 020 7566 0321 or email@example.com.
◆ Little Green Ride see April 1 Wednesday, May 30 ◆ Midweek Ride see April 25
PLANNING AHEAD June 16-24 ◆ Bike Week: A celebration of cycling. Contacts: 0845 612 0661, HQ@bikeweek.org.uk or see www.bikeweek.org.uk Sunday, June 17 ◆ BHF London to Brighton bike ride. See www.bhf.org.uk ◆ Green Fest, Hammersmith. See www.greenfest.org.uk Sunday, June 24 ◆ Wandle Valley Festival. Cycle rides are planned. Call 0870 714 0750 or see www.wandlevalleyfestival.org.uk Sunday, July 1 ◆ British Cyclosportive. Amateurs ride the London to Kent stretch of the Tour route. See www.everydaycycling.com July 6-8 ◆ Tour de France. Includes spectator rides (details at www.lcc.org.uk). Official site: www.tourdefrancelondon.com
July 15 ◆ London Bikeathon: Three routes covering distances of 13, 26 or 52 miles for charity. See www.londonbikeathon.co.uk July 28-29 ◆ Dunwich Dynamo: Famous 120-mile overnight ride. See www.londonschoolofcycling. co.uk or call 020 7249 3779 September 15-23 ◆ Isle of Wight Cycling Festival. See www.sunseaandcycling.com September 16-22 ◆ European Mobility Week. For European Mobility Week Award 2007 finalists, see www.mobilityweek-europe.org September 23 ◆ London Freewheel: Mass participation ride. See page 16 October 11-14 ◆ The Cycle Show. UK’s biggest bike expo at Earl’s Court. See www.cycleshow.co.uk
Tickets for the September 3-9 Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Fort William go on sale April 16. Details available from www.fortwilliamworldchamps.co.uk To coincide, VisitScotland is set to launch its new Mountain Biking Guide to Scotland. More details at www.visitscotland.com/adventure
BritainonView, Stroke Association, Transport for London, Steve Lindridge/Ideal Images
Saturday, April 21 ◆ EasyRide (taxes Incl)
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 37
Books ’n’ things Fine lines
extracts from Slow Man by JM Coetzee
The Forger, Cioma Schönhaus (Granta, £9.99)
The day before his discharge he has a surprise visitor: the boy who hit him, Wayne somethingor-other, Bright or Blight. Wayne is calling to see how he is getting on, though not, it emerges, to admit to any fault. “Thought I’d see how you are getting on, Mr Rayment,” says Wayne. “I’m really sorry for what happened. Real bad luck.” Not an artist in words, young Wayne; yet his every utterance is carefully evasive, as though he has been told the room is bugged. And indeed, as he later learns, Wayne’s father was in the corridor throughout the visit, eavesdropping. No doubt he had coached Wayne beforehand: “Be respectful to the old bugger, say you’re sorry, but at all costs don’t admit you did anything wrong.” What son and father say to each other in private concerning the riding of pushbikes on busy streets he can imagine all too well. But the law is the law: even stupid old buggers on pushbikes have the right not to be ridden down, and Wayne and his father know that. They must be trembling at the thought of a suit, from him or his insurance company. That must be why Wayne picks his words so judiciously. Real bad luck. There is a range of replies he can think of, starting with ‘Nothing to do with luck, Wayne, just real bad driving’. But what use is there in scoring points off a boy who does not have it in his power to fix what he has smashed? He closes his eyes, wishing Wayne to go away. An accident: something that befalls one, something unintended, unexpected. By that definition he, Paul Rayment, certainly had an accident. What of Wayne Blight? Did Wayne have an accident too? How did it feel the instant the missile he was piloting in a haze of loud music dug into the sweet softness of human flesh? A surprise, no doubt, unexpected, unintended; yet not unpleasurable in its way. Could what occurred at the ill-starred crossroads truly be said to have befallen Wayne? If there was any befalling done, it was, in his view, Wayne who befell him. He opens his eyes. Wayne is still by the bedside, sweat pearling on his upper lip. Wayne is waiting for a signal, and he wants Wayne out of his life. “Good of you to come, lad,” he says, “but I have a headache and I need to sleep. So goodbye.” Slow Man, JM Coetzee (Vintage, £7.99)
Think you’re hard done by in this city? Annoyed by cars and bike thieves? Well Cioma Schönhaus’ memoir is quite a reality check, with German Jew Schönhaus taking us back to 1940s Berlin. After witnessing the indescribable trauma of seeing his family deported to certain death, Schönhaus begins a remarkable yet often weirdly humorous fight for survival. This exhilarating tale recounts his work as a forger for
fellow Jews living every minute of every day facing death. It makes for an amazing read. This book is rare – a true story told with little emotion. And guess what? He plots his escape to the Swiss border by bike. Andrew Barnett
Cycle Essex (Essex County Council, £5.50) Anyone who has ventured beyond the media stereotype will confirm that Essex is home to areas of fantastic natural beauty and peaceful, winding lanes. This pack contains a series of seven guides covering routes from Colchester and Dedham in the north right through to Chipping Ongar and Ingatestone. Each guide comprises a clearly printed route map, coupled with shorter alternatives – invaluable when planning rides with children. The reverse lists attractions and useful information relevant to the areas, including directions by road and rail. The year guide carries excellent photography and an events calendar allowing rides to coincide with other entertainment. There is also a chapter discussing the intellectual heritage of and artistic presence in the county. Billy Bragg and LC’s Backpedallling columnist Ken Worpole are both contributors. Copies of Cycle Essex are available from the county’s visitor information centres, via www.realessex.co.uk or by calling 0845 600 7373. Michael Stenning
Guides out now Bike Scotland Book One: 40 Great Routes From Central Scotland (Pocket Mountains, £5.99) Big name, small book. This pocket-sized guide, a companion piece for the book below, is a colourful, easy-to-follow book outlining routes of varying length and difficulty. The routes are suitable for any bike (the few more suited to mountain bikes are marked as such), and all rides start within an hour’s train ride of the main cities. A fantastic way to see the best of Scotland. Bike Scotland Trails Guide: 40 Of The Best Mountain Bike Routes In Scotland (Pocket Mountains, £6.99) A fantastic little guide for beginners (there are tips, a glossary, and advice on trail gradings), but regular mountainbikers keen to ride north of the border will also find something here. See Diary from page 36 for more on bike routes in Scotland. Camping France 2007 (Michelin, £10.99) Useful for any tourers looking to see France on two wheels. Released in time for this year’s Tour, it includes 3,000 campsites throughout the country. France (Lonely Planet, £15.99) Short on cycle-specific information, but handy for regional history and accommodation options in cities and larger towns.
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Book ’n’ things
Evening Cyclists, Richmond Bridge, by Kurt Jackson
The Thames Project, Kurt Jackson (Lemon Street Gallery, £30) Published to coincide with his exhibition at the South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell (until May 7), Kurt Jackson’s extraordinary The Thames Project charts moments in the lives of people Jackson encountered along the river’s banks. While the exhibition and book are not cycle-specific, it does include Evening Cyclists, pictured here. Jackson says: “This painting shows a moment of apparent shared happiness – a mother and child cycling together along the riverside one early evening.” Jackson himself is a cyclist, and mostly rides in the countryside where he does most of his painting. For more on Kurt Jackson and his work, see www.kurtjackson.co.uk If You Fall ... , Karen Darke (O Books, £9.99) Karen Darke relives her hand-cycling and climbing adventures across the world – a tale that serves to remind us that the human spirit is a truly wonderful thing. Darke – paralysed in a rock-climbing accident – is just as active after her accident as before it, taking us with her as she cycles along some very inspirational roads. Keep an eye on LC’s Fine lines column in June/July for an extract from the book.
On screen Cycle film show, Phoenix Cinema, Sunday, April 8, 2.15pm Battle Of The Bikes, the story of Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman and their fight for the world pursuit championship and hour record, is just one film screening as part of this special day of films. Paris-Roubaix: Le Centenaire, the official film of the race’s 100 years, and The Greatest Show On Earth, about Eddy Merckx’s victory in the 1974 Giro d’Italia, also screen on a day worthy of support. Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Rd, East Finchley, N2 9PJ (020 8442 0442, www.phoenixcinema.co.uk). Battle Of The Bikes is also available for £22.99 from Bromley Video (01932 879 940, www.bromleyvideo.com) Contested Streets: Breaking New York City Gridlock (Transport Alternatives, US$19.95 plus postage) It’s always interesting to see yourself as others see you, and this documentary, co-produced by sustainable transport group Transportation Alternatives (www.transalt.org), turns the spotlight on London’s efforts to beat traffic congestion. And while London’s progress appears to stack up well – even against Copenhagen! – one can’t help feeling the film’s clear anti-car agenda aims to convince viewers that just about anywhere is better than New York City. Regardless, the message is clear: unless New York starts working towards cutting its reliance on cars, the city’s economic development will suffer. And, as in London, cycling has a huge role to play in those efforts. Available on DVD from www.transalt.org.
I once tape-recorded the memoirs of an elderly shoemaker in Hackney, a skilled craftsman, who learnt the trade at his father’s knee – literally. He started making shoes at home by the age of 10. This kindly man had rarely travelled in his life, but said that one of his favourite pastimes was to take an atlas or map to bed and imagine what the landscapes and towns looked like from the contours, rivers and symbols on the map. A map is as good as a novel or a great painting. The recent, and rather wonderful exhibition, London: A Life in Maps at the British Library, demonstrated that the very earliest maps of London were indeed paintings, full of spouting fish in the Thames, neatly drawn woodlands and forest clearings along Bankside, and grisly severed heads stuck on pikes at the gateway to London Bridge. They mixed the pictorial and the diagrammatic in equal proportions, and were mostly done by Dutch illustrators who earned a living in both narrative painting and the new ‘science’ of cartography. The exhibition contained several ‘Bicycle Road Maps’ for Middlesex (including London), with suggestions for nearly 300 short spins to be done by enthusiasts for this wonderful new machine. There’s probably no such thing as a merely functional map. The early Christian maps put Jerusalem at the centre of the world; the Ordnance Survey maps I mostly use these days put Maldon in Essex at the centre of the known universe, as I continue to explore the back roads of the coastlands and river interiors. Maps reflect not only places but attachments too. When I’m out cycling at weekends, I look at the OS map at least three or four times an hour to visualise ahead the turnings, lanes, hamlets, churches and rivers shortly to be encountered. Back at home I can recreate almost every journey I’ve ever made by following the route by map – and the memories come flooding back, particularly through the association of place names: Mistley Heath, Horsleycross Street, Hare Green, Goose Green, Weeley, Great Holland, Kirby-le-Soken, Horsey Island. Maps relate to paintings and poems in their free association of contour lines, pictograms and place names in the way that road signs relate to the dead language of officialdom and the motor trade. A map is a guide to a better world, a world of uncertainty, discovery, serendipity and happenstance. A beautiful corrugated chapel here, a tea shop with a duck pond there, a long avenue of limes leading all the way to the sea. No doubt there is someone somewhere already working on a satellite navigation system designed for bikes. If I knew who they were I’d go straight to where they were working and drive an icicle deep into their cold, cold heart. Ken Worpole’s many books on landscape and architecture are detailed at www.worpole.net
All reviews and previews by Lynette Eyb, unless otherwise stated
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2007 41
From Muswell Hill to the Ritz Most Londoners commute to work as the sun rises, but not William Weinstein. Here, he shares the chaos of Kentish Town Road and the serenity of Regent’s Park en route to his night shift at the Ritz
Entering Regent’s Park, I have a long sweep of clear cycling past the zoo – you can see the giraffes from the road. Just past the tennis club is Winfield House, home to the American ambassador to Britain. The armed policemen at the gate nod politely if I wave to them, but they never take their hands off their weapons to return my hand gesture. Almost opposite Winfield House is the Regent’s Park Mosque with its colossal chandelier visible through the windows. The dome is looking a bit grubby these days and needs the attention of a gilder. I turn out of the park at Clarence Terrace and hack my way down Baker Street, past the Sherlock Holmes Museum. As a law-abiding cyclist, I wait at the pedestrian lights here, though they do seem to be timed to let earthworms wriggle safely across the road. Halfway down Baker Street are the welcome red Cs painted on the road, though I haven’t noticed much difference in the levels of congestion since their introduction. On Orchard Street, between Wigmore and Oxford Street, the traffic congeals completely and shoppers wend their way around the stationary cars, oblivious to the possibility of a cyclist appearing. I get through eventually and have a fast run around Grosvenor Square, then a tricky left and a right into Berkeley Square with its
Pictured: William Weinstein leaves Muswell Hill for the Ritz on Piccadilly
THE JOURNEY Distance: Eight miles Time: 30 minutes High points: Watching the first hint of the summer sun rise over Regent’s Park Low points: The innumerable potholes and bendy buses
beautiful old plane trees thriving despite high levels of pollution. A last sprint up Berkeley Street, watching out for double-parked cars outside Nobu and the Palm Beach, and I arrive at work. Journey time: approximately 30 minutes. And the return leg ... Although my commute into work could not be described as relaxing, the return journey, in the early hours of the morning, is as peaceful as one could want, especially compared to the joys of riding the night bus. In summer the sun is already coming up and the air is clean and fresh. The policemen at Winfield House seem more relaxed and wish me good morning as I pass. If I’m feeling macho, I take a steeper route through Hampstead; if I’m suicidal, the only way home is up Highgate West Hill. I am lucky in that my employer provides both secure parking and showers at work. If I could just persuade them to sign up to the government’s Bike2Work scheme, I could buy a new bike as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR William Weinstein was born in London but spent much of his adult life abroad, returning to London in 2000. He lives in Muswell Hill and works at the Ritz Casino, Piccadilly, as a casino inspector (a table supervisor). He has been commuting in London for six years.
BritainOnView, William Weinstein
I ride an old rusty Dawes Lightning with oil-camouflaged Shimano 105 components. I tend to favour proper cycling clothes, not so much because they look good, but because I’d look silly cycling in the tuxedo I wear as a table supervisor on the night shift at the Ritz Casino on Piccadilly. My journey begins by heading down Muswell Hill Road with its abominable potholes and up to Highgate station. Archway Road can be scary with buses and articulated lorries racing for the green lights. It’s best to claim the centre of a lane and keep the speed high. Further down there is a bus lane, although BMW drivers apparently have a special dispensation to use it. Junction Road runs through Archway and Tufnell Park to Kentish Town. Again, buses and potholes are a problem, as are distracted pedestrians making their way through traffic with their mobiles clamped to their heads. Once through the chaos of Kentish Town Road, it’s a quick sprint through the back streets of Camden Town. Well-meaning Camden Council have made great efforts to accommodate cyclists, but don’t seem to have ever actually met one. My favourite example of this misplaced enthusiasm is a cycle lane 10-feet long that ends (labelled “END” so you know it) on a speed bump.
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Cycling the Salient The battlefields of Flanders are a poignant reminder of the true cost of war. Using Ypres as his base, Chris Elliott cycled the now peaceful region that was once the Western Front
onsense,” I said confidently when my long-time quiz night partner, The Old Git, as he refers to himself, talked about “if” he ever cycled the battlefields of the Ypres Salient again. “It’s not if, but when.” And go we did, in July last year, to the Grand Old Duke of York’s hill, we drank beer, ate chocolate (and frites with mayo), saw things that looked like stone Daleks, Hellfire Corner, monuments to military cyclists, and the grave of Peter Pan. Not bad for a cycle touring virgin, or for my first experience of
Chrislofoto, Chris Elliott
the Western Front. The Ypres Salient, a bulge in the Western Front around the town itself, was formed after Allied forces had prevented the Germans reaching the Channel and ‘turning the corner’ into France. After both sides dug in, it was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in World War I. So heavy was the fighting that when the shelling stopped, a man on horseback in Ypres could see from one side to the other, so little of the town remained standing.
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Battle of Passchendaele commemorations in 2007 To mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, there will be commemorative events across West Flanders from June to November. Often called the ‘Third Battle of Ypres’, the offensive helped shape the outcome of the war in 1918. The prologue to the battle was spawned by the explosion of 19 deep mines under the ridge near Messines-Wytschaete on June 7, 1917. What followed was an offensive that should have lasted no longer than three weeks, but went on for three months and marked the initial withdrawal of the
German defence lines. In just 100 days, more than 500,000 soldiers were either killed, wounded or declared missing. The Battle of ‘Passion-dale’, as it was often called, was one of the bloodiest massacres of the Great War. On July 12, an official remembrance ceremony will take place at Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest Commonwealth burial ground in Europe, and the final resting place of almost 12,000 soldiers. Later that day, the 80th anniversary of the inauguration of the Menin Gate in Ypres will be marked.
Nowadays, the town centre has been reconstructed, and Ypres (or Ieper in Flemish) is an ideal base for day trips to the battlefields. A semicircle of low hills marking the position of the front line surrounds Ypres like the rim of a saucer, and a lot can be seen by bike while covering 18-30 miles in a series of loops out and back. Our route to Ypres was largely dictated by the fact that only one ferry, from Dover to Calais, currently takes foot passengers with bikes. We took a combination of trains and tube to Dover, then cycled from Calais to Saint-Omer along the N43 (about 35 miles) before staying overnight in the local Ibis hotel. From here, we went along the D933/948, through Mont Cassel and Poperinge to Ypres. Again only about 35 miles, but Mont Cassel, linked to the brief invasion of Flanders by Frederick, Duke of York in 1793, goes from nothing to 176 metres high, and temperatures that day topped 37°C. On the way back, we skirted it via the N916/N42 At Ypres, we stayed at the Old Tom Hotel, on the Grote Markt (Central Square), a hotel run by Filip, a double for ex-England footballer Alan Shearer. Modest accommodation, but good food, and we could store the bikes in a lockable underground garage across the square. Within 50 yards was the Troubadourtje bar,
A remembrance programme has been planned by of Zonnebeke, Heuvelland, Messines and Ypres to coincide with the anniversary proceedings. A special exhibition will open in Messines for three months from June, before moving to Wytschaete until November 19. Another six exhibitions will be set up from July 13 around Zonnebeke and linked along the Westhoek cycle network. For more information, see www. passchendaele.be and www.greatwar. be, or contact Tourism Flanders & Brussels (see page 47). Lynette Eyb
Saint - Omer N42
Both pages: Wartime photographs of the Ypres area, plus the construction of the Menin Gate Left page inset: Chris Elliott and his cycling mate Richard East enjoy a beer at Troubadourtje bar in Ypres Above: Their journey to Belgium
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Tracing a brutal war Few overt signs of the savage fighting remain, although Hill 60 and Sanctuary Wood have preserved trenches, shell holes and their own museums, but the area is rich in monuments. A good guide like the classic Major And Mrs Holt’s Battlefield Guide, which comes with a specialist map, will bring them to life. In Ypres itself, the In Flanders Fields Museum is unmissable, as is the deeply moving Last Post, played at 8pm each evening at the nearby Menin Gate. The
gate commemorates 54,896 soldiers without known graves, including, on Panels 54 and 56, members of the Cyclists’ Battalion London Regiment and the Army Cyclist Corps. Just outside the town, a roundabout marks the site of the legendary Hellfire Corner. On the approach road from Ypres is something resembling a stone Dalek, one of a chain of demarcation stones once stretching from Switzerland to the Channel and set up by the Belgian Cycling League to mark the furthest point of the German advance. Around the salient are 160 cemeteries, each grave with its own story. At Voormezeele Enclosure No 3 Cemetery is the final resting place of 21-year-old George Llewellyn Davies, stepson of JM Barrie, and inspiration for Peter Pan, who also never grew old.
TRIP ADVICE FROM CHRIS Planning We booked everything online, usually by email, and managed luggage on two rear panniers apiece. We used main roads from Calais, but there are often segregated cycle lanes on the narrowest stretches, and HGVs gave us plenty of room as they passed us. For a Londoner, Belgium is cycling heaven – there are even cycle lanes on roundabouts – but you have to think hard when turning left to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the road. Aim to spend 7-10 days to see everything, and budget around £450-£500 per person. Useful books Major And Mrs Holt’s Battlefield Guide To Ypres Salient (Pen & Sword Books) Good Beer Guide To Belgium by Tim Webb (CAMRA Books)
Above: The Tyne Cot cemetery Bottom left: ‘The Brooding Soldier’ Canadian memorial Below: A chain of demarcation stones was set up by the Belgian Cycling League to mark the furthest point of the German advance
Further information and contacts Ferry timetables and bookings: www.directferries.co.uk Old Tom, Ypres (Grote Markt 8; +32 (0) 5720 1541; www.oldtom.be) Ibis Hotel, Saint-Omer (2-4 rue Henri Dupuis; +33 3219 31111; www.ibishotel.com) Tourist information Tourism Flanders & Brussels (1a Cavendish Square, W1G 0LD; 020 7307 7738; www.visitflanders.co.uk). Ask Tourism Flanders for a copy of a cycle map outlining the 45km ‘Peace route’, which takes in much of the area outlined in this article. The Shell Hole museum, Ypres (D’Hondtstraat 54; +32 (0) 57 208 758; www.shellhole.com) In Flanders Fields museum, Ypres (Grote Markt 34; +32 (0) 57 239 220; www.inflandersfields.be)
Brian Harris, Chris Elliott
where Big Eric serves the excellent local Hommelbier. Along the Lille Road and just off the square is Ter Posterij, which has a great range of beers, and a fantastic beef casseroled with prunes in Trappist beer.
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Cape Town’s on the move London isn’t the only city making inroads into developing a cycling culture. Andrew Wheeldon from LCC’s Cape Town counterpart explains what’s happening in his city
Above and right: Cape Town kids and their bikes Top right: Kids play outside the home of home of Nomawethu Maqungo. The house was burned down after the picture was taken. BEN is raising funds to rebuild it. LCC readers visiting Cape Town can help by purchasing a bicycle township tour, or by donating the equivalent amount (£25). Contact BEN via the website below to help
Making a difference As a result of these programmes, a bicycling city is emerging in Cape Town. The success of the Cape Argus Pick ’n’ Pay Cycle Tour, established in 1978 (and now the largest timed bike race in the world) has helped build the foundations of a cycling culture. This now needs to be extended to everyday commuting. Small, often tiny, footsteps are being made in this direction. During the past five years, Cape Town and the Western Cape Government have taken small strides towards a bicycling city by supporting BEN in the distribution of commuter-style bicycles. These complement the established racing and recreational market that already exists in South Africa. More bicycles are now being used on Cape Town roads for a greater variety of reasons and purposes. Kids are cycling to school; adults are using bicycles as they begin to realise the efficiency, health and cost benefits. These needs are also being met by the Independent Bicycle Dealers (IBD) projects that BEN has established in rural and township areas.
GET INVOLVED For more on Cape Town’s Bicycling Empowerment Network, see www.benbikes. org.za BEN works with charity Re~Cycle to ship bikes to Africa. To donate a bike, take it to their Vauxhall collection point (call 020 7793 1110 for details or see www. re-cycle-east.org)
Planning for the future The City of Cape Town and the Province of the Western Cape have invited BEN to be a partner and contributor to the strategic planning of roads and transport. Many events are being planned – bike to work days, car-free days and school events. We’re also partnering with competitive bike races where bicycles are distributed along the route (such as the Cape Epic and the Tour d’Afrique) – all of which helps to raise the status of cycling. It is hoped this can one day extend to other parts of Africa. With a growing population and a struggle to access education and employment, the bicycle may just prove to be the answer to communities in need of lowcost, efficient and environmentally sound transport. Cape Town is beginning to demonstrate that, with successful partnerships, this can be achieved.
Cape Town, and indeed South Africa, has first and third world communities living alongside one another. During apartheid, access to opportunities was removed from the majority of the population. While this process is slowly reversing under democracy, much racial division and separation still exists. Many people spend hours each day treading long dusty paths to places of work or to school, or out simply searching for work. Others have to pay hard-earned wages for costly and at times inefficient and unsafe public transport. It is in the spirit of this environment that the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) was established in Cape Town in February 2002. The main mission of BEN is poverty alleviation through the promotion of the use of the bicycle so as to enhance low-cost non-motorised transport and to improve health through linking exercise and mobility. Together with local and international partners, BEN facilitates the transportation of bicycles from Europe, the Americas and Asia to southern Africa, the distribution of these bicycles to strategically selected groups, the establishment of bicycle workshop projects, and the planning and introduction of a range of bicycle user paths and integrated networks. Bicycles are for mobility and job creation, for sharing and unifying of communities. In the past five years BEN has explored and implemented the establishment of bicycle projects in seven rural and urban townships; delivered nearly 2,000 new and 3,000 used bicycles to schools, to places of work and to farm workers by working with community-based organisations. BEN has also trained the young and the old in bike maintenance, road safety and brought about a growing understanding of the value of bikes as a form of mobility. Seven repair businesses have been set up and the newly employed project managers provide support for the community and, of course, for their bikes.
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My bike & I Robert Elms
The BBC London radio presenter chats about cycling through Regent’s Park, the Tour de France and his conversion to road bikes Tell us about your route to work. At the moment it’s three and a half miles, Tufnell Park to Marylebone – rotten traffic in Kentish Town, nice spin through Regent’s Park, downhill all the way and uphill home. About 15 minutes there; 18 back. Where else do you enjoy riding in London? I do the Regent’s Park outer circle velodrome, and the hills of Highgate and Hampstead. How long have you been riding in London? Always. As a kid I cycled, as a student at the LSE, and throughout my adult life. It was a bit hard when I was a punk though – bondage trousers and bicycles don’t go well together. What sort of bike do you ride? I have three bikes, but my love is a handsome, hand-built Roberts road bike in Italian blue with full Campagnolo groupset. Are you a good cyclist? I’m a fairly decent city cyclist and a sadly inept road rider, but I do try. What’s your idea of the perfect cycling holiday? I have a house in Andalucia at the top of a perpendicular hill. I keep a bike there, and get out before the sun gets too extreme. (I ride) all the way downhill to the sea, then all the way up again. With a couple of mates and a couple of beers after, that’s pretty perfect. You often talk about cycling on your show — what response do you usually get from the public when they hear you’re a cyclist? The response is getting better, but there are still some militant motorists who hate us. I’m a motorist too, so I know how frustrated they get cooped up in those horrible machines. This morning you told (colleague) Vanessa Feltz that you were spat at on your way to work. Can you give us a rundown of what happened? I was on my daily commute, in Camden Town, coming towards a junction where I needed to turn right. I pulled into the middle of the road, a car behind beeped aggressively, so I indicated that I was turning. They revved really hard, forcing me over; the passenger wound down his window and gobbed at me. I can’t deny I got angry and then later sad that I have to live in a city with people like that. I resisted the temptation to kick their car when I got to the next lights as I would probably have ended up with more bodily fluids than just spit on me, and the blood would have been mine. We have an opinion piece in this edition by Lynn Sloman, who says cyclists are defined by their mode of transport in a way drivers would never be... I am not anti car – I don’t believe they (cars) are bad, and that kind of militant stuff makes us sound like nutters. How are you supposed to get to and from the supermarket with three kids and shopping on a bike? Or from Edgware to Croydon? Cars have their place – we just have to learn to share the road better. Most
“Cycling was a bit hard when I was a punk – bondage trousers and bicycles don’t go well together” cyclists are also drivers, but most drivers don’t know what it’s like on two wheels. Maybe that should be part of their education. Do you get annoyed when you have hostile listeners calling in to complain about cyclists? Not many do, but I understand – it’s tough out there. Do you find yourself often trying to convert others to two wheels? I’m more of a militant road biker. I was a late convert to dropped bars and thin wheels, but now I don’t understand why anybody would ride anything else. All other bikes are heavy and clumsy. If you could do one thing on two wheels, what would it be and why? Last year I rode a stage of the Tour and that was wonderful. I’d love to do the cobbles of Flanders, but that seems unlikely as I’m just not good enough. As a road biker, what impact do you think the Tour de France is going to have on London? I don’t think we understand the grandeur of the Tour – perhaps we will begin to grasp why it’s such a monumentally big deal to most Europeans. It will be a fantastic event, and a chance for us road racing nuts to bask in a little reflected glory.
ROBERT ELMS You can hear Robert Elms on BBC London 94.9FM each week day between midday and 3pm. The show features guests from across the worlds of arts, media, politics and entertainment.
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