£2/free to members
Unicycle hockey The next big bike craze
PLUS Riding in Wales How to look after your gears
Cycling goes to the polls The 2008 mayoral elections ■
RIDES & EVENTS
Issue 110 18
If ever there was a time to convert others to the joys of two wheels, it's springtime. The days are brighter and that wintry chill slowly fades from the air. I started out as a fair-weather cyclist one spring after sitting out winter, convinced it was too cold and too miserable to cycle through. So I cycled through spring instead, and then into summer and autumn. Autumn turned into winter, and the jacket and the gloves came out. I suspect I'm not the only fair-weather cyclist who woke up one day and realised that they'd made it through winter without even trying. It just seemed the natural thing to do; the easiest thing to do. So it's perhaps timely that the mayoral elections fall this spring, when the fair-weather bikes have been dusted off and the wheels pumped up. Each of the leading candidates have professed their support for the humble bicycle and its potential to get London moving. For those of you intending to vote with your wheels – and we hope many of you will – Brendan Paddy has done the legwork for you. He's asked each of the major party candidates to sign up to LCC's cycling manifesto (see page 14). With cycling fashionable – in season, even – now's the time to not only ensure cycling remains on top of the mainstream political agenda, but to also ensure that whoever we elect mayor on May 1 fulfils each and every promise he or she makes to the cyclists of today, and those of tomorrow. Lynette Eyb
Features 14 The race for mayor
28 The perfect pair of shorts Cycle in comfort
Candidates and their cycling policies COVER STORY
18 Unicycle hockey Is this cycling's toughest challenge?
34 Local group news WIN!
30 New products on the market Locks and parking solutions
20 Cycling for everyone
38 Diary Rides and events for all cyclists 42 Books ’n’ things plus Ken Worpole Reviews plus our Fine Lines extract
45 My Way
Supporting disabled people
From Streatham Vale to Westminster
4 News plus director's column
23 Riding with young people
Cash boost for cycling, 20mph limits
Building confidence for the school run
25 Predicting road behaviour
8 Your letters plus Zoe Williams 13 Opinion
26 How to... look after your gears
Reports from your part of town
The new NICE health guidance
46 Outward Bound
Discovering west Wales
49 Dispatches On the road in Kuala Lumpur
50 My Bike & I Peter Murray talks architecture
31 Members’ pages Make the most of your membership
Maintenance courses across the capital
Cover illustration: Gareth Plumb
Editor Lynette Eyb Product reviews Erin Gill, Mel Allwood Design Anita Razak Proof-reading Shadia Hameed Marketing Rosie Downes Advertising Mongoose Media, Matt Styrka (020 7306 0300 ext 112, email@example.com) ■ 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 the editorial team via 2 Newhams Row, London, SE1 3UZ (020 7234 9310, firstname.lastname@example.org) All views expressed in London Cyclist are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the editor, nor do they necessarily reflect LCC policy. Editorial content is independent of advertising. All material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the written permission of the editor. London Cyclist is printed by Wyndeham Grange on paper made from 100% de-inked post consumer waste. London Cycling Campaign is a charitable limited company, reg no 1766411; charity no 1115789 See page 31 for more on London Cycling Campaign
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 3
News Director’s column
Photo: Michael Stenning
Koy Thomson We – the champions of cycling – have heaved open the door. Or so it seems following the responses of the main party candidates for the mayoral elections to LCC’s 10-point manifesto (see page 14). We have successfully shifted cycling from the eccentric fringe to having a central role in defining the look and feel of a modern city. The penny has finally dropped. When you imagine the city or neighbourhood you want to live in, what do you see? Cycling and walking and open spaces filled with people relaxing and interacting, or the car-congested city of today? Mass cycle hire would give London a cosmopolitan at-ease feel – and everyone supports it. But how genuine is the apparent conversion? That is for you, as voters, to judge, but the chances are that you won’t find the answers in the cycling policy. Look more broadly at other policy commitments on transport and planning. Are there signs that the candidates are willing to change the rules of the game, to throw out old thinking? What are they saying about the street as a public space and the need to share it for the benefit of people and neighbourhoods? What are they saying about giving up road space to cycling and other kinds of sustainable transport? What is their view on congestion and emissions charges? Do they seek to reduce the volume and speed of motorised traffic or simply replace big, fast cars with small, fast cars? Are they perhaps playing the vote-catching game with all road users – are they seeking to favour cycling, cars, motorbikes, taxis and freight all at the same time? Are they willing to face down interest groups who are pushing policies inconsistent with promoting the development of cycling? Leadership and vision has to characterise the next phase of the cycling revolution in London. A great leader for London will tell the truth about why the city is not fulfilling its potential. A great leader will point to car-dominated transport and planning and declare it to be the major city dysfunction: a health dysfunction; a climate dysfunction; a public realm dysfunction; a community dysfunction and an economic dysfunction. A great leader will have a vision for the way out.
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AN LCC CAMPAIGN
Support for 20mph speed limit campaign LCC director Koy Thomson has welcomed Mayor Ken Livingstone’s move to adopt 20mph speed limits in all residential areas. The commitment was announced as part of the Mayor’s plans for improving London’s environment and tackling climate change. “Making 20mph the standard speed limit on London’s streets is top of LCC’s 10-point cycling manifesto that we have put to all mayoral candidates,” said Mr Thomson. “A 20mph default limit is essential to reduce road danger and promote cycling in London. Coupled with the return of one-way systems and streets to two-way operation, and small measures to give advantage to cyclists, this could have a significant role in getting people out of cars and onto cycles and reducing London’s carbon footprint. “As well as support to the boroughs to implement their own 20mph speed limits, we would hope that this announcement includes
LCC is pushing for 20mph speed limits in all residential areas to help make cycling safer and commuting by bike more popular all the Mayor’s streets which are residential or have schools.” See page 14 for more on LCC’s cycling manifesto and the 2008 mayoral elections
Heels combine with wheels for fashion show Columbia Road was transformed into a cycle fashionista’s fantasy on Valentine’s Day when a ‘Wheels and Heels’ fashion show took to the catwalk. The show, put on by Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils as part of London Fashion Week, aimed to boost interest in cycling – particularly among young women – by showing that cycling can be an accessible and stylish way of getting around London. Models sauntered and rode down the catwalk wearing anything but Lycra, showing off a range of outfits, including merino wool creations from Alexa Pearson’s Boulder Boutique collection, a suit from Dashing Tweeds and Cyclodelic’s stylish accessories.
Bikes were provided by Condor, Bobbin Bicycles and Velorution. “It’s fantastic to see so many people turn out to support the councils’ efforts to promote cycling,” said Councillor Alan Laing, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods. “We hope the Wheels and Heels event demonstrated our commitment to achieving a greater uptake of cycling by showing how practical and fashionable it can be as well as being a great way to stay fit and get around.” See the Feb/Mar ’08 edition of LC for our special reports on women and cycling. Our June/July issue will feature an article on cycling and fashion
Hounslow scoops transport awards The London Borough of Hounslow won the Improvement in Cycling award at the 2008 London Transport Awards in February for projects that resulted in a 400% increase in cycling to school. Hounslow also won Most Improved Transport Borough in recognition of improvements to bus priorities, school travel,
cycle training and walking. The London Borough of Bromley won Transport Borough of the Year for its green travel and road safety initiatives. In the road safety category, Camden won for casualty reduction statistics. A special award went to Transport for London for its role in the Tour de France’s 2007 visit to the capital. A Project of the Decade
award went to London & Continental Railways for delivering St Pancras station on time and “further enhancing the case for new high-speed rail lines”. The London Transport Awards were presented by broadcaster Jeremy Vine at the London Hilton on February 28. The National Transport Awards will be announced on July 15.
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
Mayor promises £500m in funding Cycling to be treated as a form of public transport under plans Mayor Ken Livingstone moved cycling up the Mayoral election agenda with a £500m plan to develop walking and cycling as mass modes of transport. The package includes a network of 12 cycling superhighways, a 6000-cycle public bike hire scheme and cycle-friendly zones in outer boroughs. Mr Livingstone said the programme would transform cycling and walking in London. “We will spend something like £500 million over the next decade on cycling – the biggest investment in cycling in London’s history, which will mean that thousands more Londoners can cycle in confidence, on routes that take them quickly and safely to where they want to go,” he said. To kickstart these programmes, £62m has been earmarked for walking and cycling in 2008/09, with another £63m committed for 2009/10. LCC chief executive Koy Thomson said the proposals were the result of a decadeslong campaign to make London a world class cycling city. “Congratulations to generations of LCC staff and activists,” he said. “Ideas such as the priority cycling routes (superhighways) have been proposed by LCC since 2000, cycle hire is in our Mayoral manifesto (see page 14) and the local cycling zones were discussed at our strategy meeting in September. “LCC has a strong role to play. We have the knowledge and ideas to make things happen quicker and better, and when mobilised, the capacity to apply political
More people will ride into Central London from the boroughs each day if the Mayor’s £500m package is successfully implemented
pressure and encouragement when needed. Our first step will be to get more details on the plan and engage in deeper discussion.” LCC’s campaigns manager, Tom Bogdanowicz, said the success of the programme would hinge on delivery of the new initiatives alongside current commitments to complete the London Cycle Network Plus. THE MAYOR’S PROPOSALS ◆ Transport for London (TfL) staff will consider – and treat – cycling as a mode of public transport; ◆ Targets for cycling growth: 400% increase in cycling on 2000 levels (currently up 83%); 1.7million cycle journeys per day (currently
480,000); a 5% modal share (currently approximately 2%); ◆ A mass cycle hire scheme will be in place by 2010, with 6000 bikes available from central London hire stations; ◆ Twelve cycling corridors or ‘superhighways’ will link central London to areas like Hackney, Clapham and Kilburn. They will include segregation and make use of bus lanes. The first route will be in place in 2010 and four others for the 2012 Olympics; ◆ Local cycling zones – based on Cycling England’s demonstration towns – will be created in inner and outer London to make cycling easier and to encourage short trips to shops, schools and workplaces. Each zone will have a 5km radius and a 20mph limit. The first will be in place by 2010, with four more by 2012. The programme will include cycle training and special schemes that target schools. ◆ TfL will encourage boroughs to create 20mph speed bump-free zones across entire boroughs; ◆ Existing programmes such as LCN+ and Greenways are to continue. ◆ An online cycle information service will be established for Londoners; ◆ More than 850 additional bike parking spaces have been promised at tube, overground and DLR stations over the next two years. TfL says it will also work with train operating companies to deliver 400 more spaces at suburban stations.
Government to spend £140m to boost bike use across country
For more news, go to www.lcc.org.uk
Apr News4,5,6, 7.indd 5
Car-free Day in Brighton & Hove, one of six Cycling Demonstration Towns increase in the London cycling budget and a parallel investment from the Department of Health and Primary Care Trusts.” See pages 6 and 13 for more on the Government’s strategy for fighting obesity and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s guidance on promoting environments that encourage physical activity
Photos: Dave Flindall.
The Mayor’s proposals for London (above) followed an announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, that the Government would invest £140m over three years to boost cycling nationally. The funding package includes a contribution from the Department for Health in recognition of cycling’s role in helping build recommended levels of activity into people’s daily lives, and will form part of the Government’s strategy to tackle obesity (see page 13). The funding will allow half a million schoolchildren to take cycle training, build 250 safe links to schools and expand the Cycling Demonstration Towns project in England to include a further 10 towns. The programme already runs in Aylesbury, Brighton & Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecambe. The funding will be administered by Cycling England, the body set up by the Government to promote cycling nationally. LCC’s chief executive Koy Thomson welcomed the announcement. “This is a welcome increase in cycle funding,” he said. “The £140m will repay itself many times over in carbon reduction and health benefits. We look forward to a similar sized
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 5
Cycling takes centre stage
Health guidance encourages commuting by bike
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance on promoting and creating environments that encourage and support physical activity. The guidance, which places heavy emphasis on cycling and walking, aims to make it easier for people to lead active and healthy lifestyles. It is the first time national, evidence-based guidance on improving the physical environment to encourage physical activity has been issued. The recommendations are for the NHS and local authorities, as well as planners, transport authorities, building managers, designers and architects. The need to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are given the highest priority when developing or maintaining streets and roads is key to the guidance. It says new workplaces should be linked to walking and cycling networks to encourage more people to cycle or walk to work. Increasing physical activity levels can help to prevent or manage over 20 conditions and diseases. Two-thirds of men and three-quarters of women in England do not achieve the
The NICE recommendations promote cycling as a mode of everyday transport
recommended level of activity each week. “Small changes to our environment such as making it easier to walk, cycle or take the stairs as part of everyday life can be enough to help people to meet the national recommended levels,” said Dr Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE. “Every day, planners, designers and architects make decisions that affect the way people live; what we are recommending is that they should do this in a way that makes it easier for people to be physically active.” See page 50 for our interview with Peter Murray, the director of the London Architecture Festival.
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
Photos: Michael Stenning
LCN+ review is under way, says TfL Transport for London (TfL) is conducting a review of the London Cycle Network+ (LCN+) and laying out a ‘programme to completion’ that is due by the middle of the year. The move follows the release of the Barriers Report, a list of 140 barriers – half of them gyratories and junctions and half of them on TfL roads – that TfL acknowledges will be a challenge to remove by the LCN+ deadline of 2010. LCC has been arguing that until the the gyratories and junctions are tackled, LCN+ will never form a coherent cycling network. TfL has also acknowledged that the 900km LCN+ network is in fact a 990km network because the exact length was not originally measured. TfL says because LCN+ funding only applies to 900km, funding for the remaining 90km will be allocated from the Greenways and other budgets.
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The second round of Community Cycling Fund for London (CCfL) funding opens on April 4; applications close May 16. Groups are eligible for funding of up to £5,000. Examples of previous projects, plus guidance notes and a downloadable application form, are at www. lcc.org.uk/community. For more details, contact Sarah Slater on 020 7234 9310 or email sarah@ lcc.org.uk
Funding for LCC LCC will receive £479,780 in London Councils funding to further boost cyclist numbers in the capital. The money will boost LCC’s policy advice and practical action at borough level. Under the same London Councils scheme to cut 237,000 journeys taken by car, Living Streets received £547,904 for walking initiatives.
Bike Week 2008
Projects win City funding Two community groups have won funding through the City of London’s The City Bridge Trust to provide bike projects. The Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action (CIVA), in partnership with Bikeworks in Tower Hamlets, has received a £45,000 grant to fund a bike recycling and training initiative. Bikeworks will refurbish old and recovered bicycles, which will then be made available for sale to the public at affordable prices. Bikeworks is a community enterprise that delivers cycle training and safety sessions for schools, disabled people, sign language users and people from minority ethnic communities.
Meanwhile, Wheels For Wellbeing, which aims to encourage disabled people and people with mental health problems to use cycling to achieve more independent and healthier lifestyles, has also been awarded £45,000 to provide a range of cycling services to increase social inclusion and participation for the disabled community in and around Lambeth. For more on Bikeworks, see www.bikeworks.org.uk or call 020 8533 8433. For more on Wheels For Wellbeing, see wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk See page 20 for our article by Wheels For Wellbeing’s Janet Paske on cycling with disabilities
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
LCC fights new removal law Mayor Ken Livingstone, Transport for London and London Councils are yet to change proposed legislation that would allow council officers to forcibly remove bikes chained to railings and lamp posts without any notice. LCC will take the case against the legislation – deemed to be for the “good management” of roads – to Parliament unless it is changed.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED If you want to be sure that your bike is where you left it when you are ready to ride home, write to Mayor Ken Livingstone, your local councillors and your London Assembly member – details and a template letter are at www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns
The June/July issue of LC will carry preview coverage of Bike Week (June 14-22) events. We are keen to hear what’s happening in your borough, workplace, school or community group. Please send full details of activities as soon as they are confirmed to londoncyclist@lcc. org.uk or to the postal address on page 3. Please include dates, a brief summary of the event and contact details. High resolution pictures from last year’s celebrations are also welcome (via email only). Submissions close Friday, May 2.
Four years for driver A driver who was texting when she hit and killed a cyclist was in February sentenced to four years in jail. Kiera Coultas, 25, hit Jordan Wickington, 19, after he had cycled through a red light. Coultas was replying to a text when the incident happened. She had been travelling at 45mph in a 30mph zone.
Cycling in Holborn Work started in February to improve the roads between Chancery Lane and Holborn Circus. Thanks to lobbying by City Cyclists and Camden Cyclists, the scheme included upgraded cycle lanes, wider bus lanes and additional cycle parking.
For more news, go to www.lcc.org.uk
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
Cyclists score at Arsenal
Fight for bike parking ends with poster campaign
Charity wants Oxford Street to go car-free
More football fans are getting on their bikes after hearing of the secure bike parking facilities at Arsenal. LCC, in partnership with the advertising firm SportsRevolution, has erected posters in the gents’ lavatories at Emirates Stadium in Islington to encourage fans to ride their bikes to matches. The posters remind fans that by riding a bike, they can beat traffic and tube congestion at fulltime. The stadium has secure, supervised cycle parking next to its shop in Drayton Park Road. SportsRevolution is keen to roll out the cycling posters across the country if clubs and local authorities back the project.
London Living Streets, the charity that works to create better streets and public spaces, has called for Oxford Street to be made permanently free of motorised traffic. The charity has joined the New West End Company, which represents retailers and property owners of Oxford, Bond and Regent streets, to call for Oxford Street to be “given back to the shoppers”. For more, see www.livingstreets.org.uk
New LCC affiliates
The posters follow a successful and long-running campaign by the Islington Cyclists’ Action Group to ensure
Arsenal delivered on its promise of cycle parking following the club’s multi-million pound move from nearby Highbury in 2006.
New monthly social nights a big success
LCC has welcomed two new organisations to its corporate affiliate scheme. Broadcaster BSkyb Ltd and NCVO (the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) have both joined the initiative. For more information on the corporate affiliate scheme, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cycling conference The London Walking and Cycling Conference 2008, an annual event bringing borough officers, campaigners and experts together to focus on active travel issues, will take place on Wednesday, April 9 at City Hall, the Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA. All are welcome. Register online at www.tfl.gov.uk
Canal campaign British Waterways held a series of publicity drives along Regent’s Canal in February and March to further promote the towpath Code of Conduct it launched last year. The aim was to promote the ‘Two Tings’ campaign that encourages courteous behaviour by both cyclists and pedestrians along the canal system.
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
TfL motorcycle data incomplete, says LCC February saw the mainstream press carry details of a leaked study from Transport for London (TfL) suggesting that allowing motorbikes to use bus lanes would lead to a significant safety benefit. The study followed the trial of motorbikes on three London routes. The executive summary of the study confirms that none of the results are statistically significant. “We’ve not yet seen the full study, but it doesn’t examine the increased risks of encouraging many more motorcycles onto London roads,” says Charlie Lloyd, of LCC’s campaigns team. “The report contradicts previous analysis of the same data and now excludes adverse findings from the A13 where 76% of motorcycles moved into
For more news go to www.lcc.org.uk
Apr News4,5,6, 7.indd 7
the bus lane, crowding out 80% of the cyclists who had to find other routes. He said outspoken mayoral candidate Boris Johnson – who is a high-profile cyclist on London’s roads – had been “seduced by the incomplete data”, and was now supporting motorcycle lobby calls to take road space away from cyclists. At the Transport Times Conference hustings which took place on March 4, Mayor Ken Livingstone told LCC that he would not allow motorcycles in bus lanes. The four main candidates who spoke all came out strongly in favour of cycling and promoting a public cycle hire scheme. See page 14 for our coverage of the May 1 London mayoral elections.
Transport award London has won a prize for its transport initiatives. New York’s Institute for Transportation and Development Policy named London and Paris joint winners of its 2008 Sustainable Transport Award. It made special mention of London’s increase in cycle use.
Online theft reporting Bike thefts can be reported to the police online at https://online.met.police.uk
Photo: Tom Bogdanowicz
LCC’s first monthly social night on January 16 was a wonderful success, with members from across London coming together with LCC staff to catch up and chat about all things cycling. See page 39 for information on the next night
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 7
Letters Have your say
Get rid of railings Many cyclist deaths occur when HGVs turn left and there are railings along the pavement so the cyclist has nowhere to go except under the vehicle. The authorities seem to erect pig pen railings without giving any thought to their consequences, other than they will let motorised traffic move faster. The railings crumple easily so they cannot be intended to protect pedestrians, but they do a good job of preventing pedestrians from crossing the road. Perhaps we could campaign to
remove these dangerous pieces of street furniture to make the roads safer for cyclists, friendlier for pedestrians and make motorists pay attention to other road users. John A Hartley, by email
How fortunate you were, Paul, to have learnt this skill as a child – presumably you had your own bike. My family was too poor to dream of owning a bike. I started cycling when in my forties. I finally feel confident that if I get caught with a puncture in the rain, I can repair it – at the grand age of 50. I am grateful for the “basic advice” in LC. It is empowering. Carry on LC! Marie Williams, by email
New kids on the block Having children doesn’t have to mean curbing your cycling pleasure. Mary Montgomery offers Here, a to your family in the saddle practical guide to getting the newest additions I’ve been cycling in London for over 20 years. I now regularly cycle with two boys on the bike, aged 19 months and nearly five years. In 2002 it was evident to my husband and I that we were to become three. Cycling was the most comfortable way for me to travel while pregnant, and my obstetrician said it was fine if I felt well. Anyone who travels on public transport knows that even large, heavily pregnant women aren’t guaranteed a seat, so I cycled. Clearly, I was going to want to cycle with the new baby too, so I did a huge amount of research and this is what I found: 1) There is no real research on cycling with babies. 2) There is lots of advice about not cycling with your baby until they are able to sit up, over nine months, over one year, able to hold head up while wearing a helmet, etc. Little of this is backed 3) Child carrier manufacturers up by research. will not advise carrying children under 9–12 months – and this limits helmet size, too. I thought that the biggest risks were falling off the bike and the baby hitting his head. I bought a Chariot Trailer from Canada, – where I was working – the smallest helmet I could find, and a standard rear–mounted seat. At five months, Oscar could easily hold his head up with the helmet on (as long as he was awake!), so off we went. Having done it with child number one, and now with two, here are my tips for the road. Getting ready to ride Making a decision about which seat/carrier is probably the most diffi cult aspect of getting on the road. Centre of gravity and strength become very important, especially if you’re going to have a rearmounted seat or more than one child on the bike. It can be difficult to balance with the extra weight at that height – especially if they are leaning from side to side. Securing the bike to load and unload the child can be tricky, but the fact that I started cycling with A BICYCLE BUILT FOR FOUR LCC member Mike Fitzgerald writes: When Francesca started school, we used a crossbar seat on my Condor Tourer which is an arrangement I can really recommend – I liked the fact that Francesca was in front of me, safely between my arms. I knew however that this would only be a short ﬁx as I knew my sons Christopher and John would also start school soon. I looked around for a solution. I looked at all sorts of contraptions and dismissed many as unsafe. I looked into tricycles but I decided that I would get stuck in trafﬁc, being too wide for many cycle lanes, and considered a combination of a tagalong combined with a child seat but thought that would be too unstable. When browsing the web I came across the Bike Friday site (www.bikefriday. com) and liked the look of the Family Traveller. It 20 December 2007/January
the baby when he was young meant that at least he didn’t weigh too much and so the bike was pretty easy to control – and we grew together (him heavier, me stronger!) London roads are very bumpy. On the rear-mounted seat, you won’t see how much they bounce around. The cushioning provided on child seats is pitiful, so I used small inflatable travel cushions to cocoon the baby – the neck cushion was handy for head support when he (inevitably) fell asleep. We also cycled very slowly over bumps. We all wear helmets – when small, I used a small cotton hat on the baby’s head so that the helmet fitted. Carrying a child either on a seat or in a trailer makes the bike handle very differently, so try it out first away from main roads. Get the brightest reflective jacket you can, plus lights, so that you get yourself noticed. Assume that someone is going to do something silly on the road – whether pedestrian, cyclist, motorbike or other vehicle driver. I use cycle paths where they are useful and safe, tend to take a wide berth around parked vehicles (those car doors!), generally cycle well away from the gutter and give early and very definite signals. Getting to the front of the traffic queue at junctions means everyone can see you. I don’t go through red lights – my rationale is that if I respect the road rules, drivers will treat me with more respect (and it teaches the kids respect for the rules of the road as well).
Seats (left): Seat options are very varied – depending
looked well-designed and there was something appealing about having us all on the same two wheels. The bike cost £2900. I bought the bike through the Government’s Cycle To Work scheme, which effectively cut the cost of the bike by 50%. We have been using the bike for nearly three years and it exceeded all expectations. It’s stable, easy
and fun to ride, fast (as long as we all pedal!), and rides like a proper bike rather than feeling like some hybrid compromise. Generally other road users are ﬁne – of course there are bad drivers, good drivers in a bad mood and both that are in a hurry. Some people consider the bike unsafe and that I am taking a huge risk with my children, but they need to consider where the risk is coming from. Bikes are not dangerous – it’s the vehicles around them that are, and I just wish drivers would acknowledge that and give bikes more space. Having my children on the bike has made me a much better rider. I don’t know yet whether the children are learning from the experience, but it must help to prepare them when they take to the roads on their own in a few years’ time.
2006 LONDON CYCLIST
How to ...
See www.lcc.org.uk/info for more advice on bike maintenance, training and info on cycling to work
Adjust your brakes You don’t need to take your bike to a mechanic to make small adjustments to your brakes. There are a number of different brake systems, which either stop your bike by squeezing on the wheel rim or by gripping a disc or the hub. Brakes are either operated by cables or hydraulic systems. Your brakes should stop the wheel effectively, without you having to squeeze the lever tightly against the handlebar. The following is a general guide to simple adjustments for the most common types: cantilever, V brakes and side pull brakes. If you have hub, disc or hydraulic brakes, or if you don’t feel confident making these adjustments, then there’s no shame in asking for professional help. HOW TO MAKE SMALL BRAKE ADJUSTMENTS ◆ You can make small adjustments to your brakes with the adjusting screw, which will either be where the cable comes out of your brake lever or at a cable-stop. On side-pull brakes, it may be where the cable meets the brakes. ◆ You will need to loosen the locking nut on the inside
of the adjuster, and screw the adjuster out to take up slack in the cable (below, left). Once you are satisfied with your adjustments, make sure you remember to re-tighten the locking nut. ◆ You can also tighten the cable manually (right). Loosen the cable clamp bolt enough to allow the cable to be pulled through with pliers (or fingers). Pull the cable through a small amount, tighten the bolt, test the brakes and then fully tighten the bolt.
MORE INFORMATION LCC ADVICE: The LCC leaflet, Cycle Maintenance, covers the basics of brakes, gears and punctures (call the office for a copy – contact details page 3). There is more advice at www.lcc.org.uk/info WORKSHOPS: See page 23 to find a maintenance workshop in your area. BIKE SHOPS: See pages 30 - 31 for bike shops that offer LCC members discounts on servicing and/or parts.
The LC Bike Surgery
Great advice for all of us Re Paul Foskett’s letter (LC, Feb/ Mar), I bought my first bike six years ago. In all that time I’ve not had to repair a puncture, and I read the article on how to do so with interest. I’ve never changed my chain or brakes, but would like to learn how to do these “basic” things. Quite frankly, I’m not sure where to start. LC is for all of us, not just the super experienced. Keep it up! Kitty Prisk, by email
Photos: Paula Salischiker,
Let’s hear it for bike trailers I was slightly disappointed by the > write up of bike trailers (LC, Dec/ Jan) which implied that they were no use other than for a jaunt in the park. The advantages they have over other child-carrying kit are: 1) they can be used from birth with an appropriate insert. 2) they carry multiple children. 3) children remain warm and dry in inclement weather. 4) safety: a good trailer has an integral roll cage and will protect your kids even if your bike is hit. 5) they have lots of storage. 6) they are easily transferred between bikes. 6) they have multiple uses (carrying kids, shopping, large goods, etc). 7) they are fun! I have great memories of our seven-year-old cycling with three children in the trailer and others waiting for a turn. I wouldn’t barrel one round Hyde Park Corner and it might be a little tough to filter down Oxford Street, but most people don’t take their kids into such tricky spots. A good trailer folds up fairly flat so storage is no worse than for prams. The main disadvantage is expense, although at around £250 for our first one and £500 for the second, this seems reasonable. So let’s hear it for the bike trailer – I wouldn’t have kids without one. Celi Busby, by email
22 December 2007/January
caught on their left as they turn. Keep well behind lorries, and position yourself so that you can be seen in its side mirrors: never assume that you have been seen. For more advice, call the LCC office for a Cycle Sense leaflet or download it for free from www.lcc.org.uk/info HOW TO SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS If you have a question on routes, campaigning, maintenance, safety or any other topic, send your question to email@example.com or write to the address on page 3, and the LC team will answer it for you.
2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Flashing lights While cycling, I was stopped by the police, who asked me to switch the flashing mode of my lights off. What is the current legislation on use of flashing bike lights and where can I access or buy the printed version? Paddy Lewis, Croydon Ed: According to the most recent amendment (2005) of the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations, flashing lights are permitted as long as the flash rate is 60-240 equal flashes per minute (1-4 per second) and the luminous intensity is at least four candela. Copies of the regulations are available from The Stationery Office, The Publications Centre, PO Box 276, London (0870 600 5522, www.opsi.gov.uk)
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Police operating within London’s Square Mile have cyclists and cycling on their agenda. Erin Gill meets members of City of London Police discuss the relationship to between City cops and urban cyclists arly on in
my conversation with three City of London Police officers I hear something that pleases me. Inspector Dave Aspinall, head of the force’s road policing unit, says firmly: “Everyone is entitled to use the road, including cyclists.” It’s a basic statement but an important one, given the way in which cyclists have often been made to feel like ‘unacceptable’ road users in the decades since the private car took over British streets. It is important that a police officer in Inspector Aspinall’s position accepts the existence of cyclists on the roads he watches over. What’s more, Aspinall is aware that the number of cyclists moving within or travelling through the City is likely to increase further, having already doubled since 2000. The two other officers I’m meeting spend a good deal of their work time on bikes, since both Sergeant Dave Prashner and Constable Rob Bliss are members of cycle patrol teams. They are clearly proud to be cops on bikes.
Casualties & collisions
I arrive at our meeting expecting to discuss ‘bad’ behaviour by cyclists at length, issues such as cyclists riding on pavements. We do talk about these things, but the issue we return to time and again is road safety and cyclist casualties. Yes, the City of London Police receive a lot of complaints about cyclists’ behaviour, but what worries them most is serious injuries and fatalities. Of the 770 collisions that occurred within the City in 2006/07 (published data for April 2006 March 2007) and that resulted in a reportable injury, 28% involved a cyclist. 2006/07 was the fourth consecutive year in which the total number of cyclist 12 December 2007/January
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casualties rose in the City. However, a figure of 28% of casualties can also be viewed in a positive light, as that number represented a reduction in the proportion of casualties involving cyclists. In the previous year cyclist casualties had been 35% of Recent road safety operations the total. conducted by City of London Police have included stopping cyclists who have “committed road traffic offences”. Some of these cyclists have been given fixed penalty notices. Sergeant Prashner tells me that most cyclists who are stopped respond positively: “A lot of them have said ‘thanks, I’ll take what you’ve said on board’. When we give a cyclist a ticket we explain why we’ve done it and we also talk about positive cycle theft reduction initiatives.” things, such as our Not everyone approves wholeheartedly of the way City of London Police target cyclists. Ralph Smyth of City Cyclists notes that only 25% of collisions involving cyclists are the fault of cyclists, and he would like to see police focus on high-risk behaviour by motorists such as drivers cutting up cyclists at junctions. Reducing cyclist casualties may require more from police than simply ticketing cyclists who jump red lights. City of London Police may be assuming that if fewer cyclists break the law, there will automatically be fewer cyclist casualties. Another aspect of City of London Police’s current efforts to reduce cyclist casualties has been meetings with groups of cyclists to discuss road safety. City of London Police recently addressed 80-odd cycling employees of Dresdner Bank and plans are afoot to meet with cyclists at Morgan Stanley Bank. Meanwhile, City Cyclists have proposed changes to the City of London Police website so that it includes a page about safer cycling.
2008 LONDON CYCLIST
10/11/07 23:55:27 23:55 27
Who needs fancy degreaser? I am intrigued that there is special degreaser for chains (LC, Feb/Mar) – white spirit or paraffin do the job just fine, and can be poured into a jar afterwards and be reused. When it gets really naff, strain it through kitchen paper and get a new jar! Citrus degreaser is £7.99, compared to recyclable white spirit at £1 a litre. Andy Pedley, by email Parking at petrol stations There are petrol stations that also have a supermarket. I suspect not one of them has a cycle stand. Who fancies taking on the boys at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Shell, BP and Esso? Keith Macfarlane, by email Wear a feather boa instead As a relatively new member of the cycling fraternity, I am delighted to see that cycling has a plethora of schisms. Cycle on the road v segregated; two rings v don’t give two hoots; motorbikes good v motorbikes bad; ban cars v carry bikes on cars; jump the lights v stop at lights, etc. I think these are all worth debating, but in several articles and letters in LC, the issue of Lycra has arisen. What is the issue? I went on Freewheel where they requested we didn’t wear Lycra – why? Is there something inherently evil with this material?
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I enjoyed Freewheel in September, but cyclists and even old I’m not sure I’m ready hands. You can to tackle London learn the basics, about when there are cars road positioning on the roads. What and roundabouts, and advice do you have for how to tackle a people like me particular route to work. who want to ride more? One of the key principles Name withheld by request of safe cycling is to cycle in a prominent An excellent way to improve position where your you can be clearly seen. confidence is to get some Cycling at least cycle an open car door’s width training. Many local authorities away from the offer kerb or parked cars increases free or subsidised cycle the room training. Call you have for manoeuvre your borough to see if and reduces the you are eligible risk of hitting drain covers or see LCC’s cycle training and potholes. pages at In most situations, the www.lcc.org.uk/advic safest position is in e. the middle of the lane. Training is useful for beginners, Never cycle up the lapsed left side of a long vehicle as you can be
CYCLE MAINTENANCE Brakes, gears,
Apology not good enough Matthew Paris’ apology – “It was meant humorously but so many cyclists have taken it seriously” – appears to me to be saying, “Well, I’m sorry that cyclists don’t have a sense of humour”. Suggesting in the pages of a national newspaper that anyone should be attacked and killed is disgusting. I would suggest that all LCC members refrain from buying The Times or Sunday Times and, indeed, any newspaper that attacks cyclists in this way. Paul Crittenden, EC1
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8 April/May 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the address on page 3. Letters may be edited for legal or space reasons (please keep them short and concise)
Police and cycling Reading the Feb/Mar LC about police officers and the illegality of motorcycles using Advance Stop Lines, I was reminded of a police motorcycle that stopped near me in an ASL. I asked him if it was not illegal for motorcycles to pull into them. His reply did not use words and was followed by his fast acceleration when the lights changed. When the police ignore ASLs, what encouragement is there for cars and buses to leave the space to cyclists? John Roscoe, Wandsworth
The blame game Re the experience of Carolyn Smith who was knocked off her cycle by a car (LC, Feb/Mar). The police were no help and that is no surprise, since few collisions are investigated and cyclists are seen as rogue road users. This reinforces my view that all of us, whether walking, cycling, on public transport or driving, must stop and assist any cyclist who is in trouble. Write details down and take photos. I did this for a cyclist with a broken arm and am certain my presence prevented the driver leaving the scene. The media/public view is that increases in cycle casualties are the result of actions by the cyclist. Cycling Weekly (January 24) reports on a ‘road safety’ video in which two young cyclists are killed. The video implies that the cyclists were at fault. Cycle casualties are caused by aggressive and careless driving. As long as cyclists go through red lights or ride on the pavements, drivers will hide behind the selfserving attitude that collisions are always the cyclist’s fault. Peter Salter, RoadPeace
Further to Stephen Warwick’s letter (LC, Feb/Mar) about police giving him a hard time, I witnessed two police officers cycling abreast in Waltham Forest. They were beeped by a driver wanting to pass by. In contrast to the police in Stephen’s example, the police stopped the driver and gave him a dressing down. It’s hard to resist the impression that the only consistent law being applied in these examples is ‘we’re the police don’t mess with us’. Jeff Riley, Clapham The 20mph campaign It is a mistake to lay too much stress on lower speed limits as a means of improving conditions and getting more people on their bikes (LC, Feb/Mar). Any discussion of speed limits must start with a realistic analysis of the current situation. The general 30mph limit in urban areas is not obeyed by motorists and the police have no interest in enforcing it. Even were it to be enforced, a limit of 20mph would not, by itself, create attractive conditions for cycling on roads because 20mph is well above the speed at which most people cycle. As long as motorists continue to expect to be able to overtake cyclists, intimidating situations for cyclists will be commonplace. I agree that a reduction in
Speed humps a danger Several times while cycling down a narrow, double-parked residential street (eg Grace’s Road, Chadwick Road, Danby Street) which has three speed humps rather than the continuous ‘sleeping policeman’style hump, I’ve had an oncoming vehicle swerving toward me in order to avoid going over the bump. Central humps seem to serve no purpose on narrow streets where the natural driving line for cars is down the middle; the only reason a car is forced to go over the bump is to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass, in which case the car slows down anyway. They should be replaced by the ‘sleeping policeman’-style hump, or, on those routes that require emergency access, speed cameras. Jon Wainwright, SE5
Zoe Williams I have bored you already with my trials of which bike to buy, in this post-racer phase of life, and I solved that one by simply following a woman who looked pretty happy – with her bike, I mean – into the bike shop and saying, “I’ll have one like that”. And it’s suiting me very well, which just goes to show that sometimes the example of a total stranger is exactly what you need. Back on the road, it has finally become clear to me why riding a bike is that one skill people say is impossible to forget. But you can’t forget how to type, either; or boil an egg; or the words to any song you learnt before you were 20; about the only skill you can learn and then forget is knitting. The reason people always give cycling this proper mention is that, while you remember with clarity how to get on the bike and propel it, you forget everything else about being on a road. I’ve forgotten how to jump a traffic light. This is not to say I no longer jump them, but I have ceased to jump the totally obvious, safe-as-houses, on-theway-into-the-supermarket lights that are really asking to be jumped. Instead, I have taken to jumping lights at major intersections, then finding myself in a box junction, nearly killed, having incurred wrath at every point of the compass. I have also forgotten how to behave with other cyclists. You don’t smile at them, as if to say, “Hi ho! We seem to have chosen the same mode of transport. Shall we be friends?” It freaks people out. If everybody behaved like you, people on tube would start smiling at each other, and then where would we be? And while we’re here, you can’t just smile at someone because they’ve got the same make of bike as you, especially not when it’s such a common urban bike that you only chose it because you followed someone into the bike shop. You can’t smile at someone because they’ve got a racer just like your old one, or because you like the turquoise colour of their bike, or because you thought they were your brother-in-law, only it turns out they aren’t. I’ve got to remember to stop smiling at people. No good comes of it. I’ve forgotten a lot about illegality. I have this dim sense that I’m allowed to disobey the rules of the road, but the other day I stopped when I saw a police car because I was going the wrong way down a one-way street. Strike one, I was on a contra-flow bike lane on a one-way street, so I wasn’t even doing anything illegal. Strike two, there is no point stopping when you see a police car. What do you think that does, make you invisible? No, it only makes it easier for them to stop and tell you off. Strike three, when did you turn into such a pussy? Get back on your bike, you big jess! I spent at least the first fortnight too hot, having forgotten the most rudimentary rule: not to wear too much because you’ll warm up once you get going. You know more than you think, seasoned cyclist. Riding the bloody thing is the least of your worries.
Photos: Peter Dench
speeds would help create safe and attractive cycling conditions, but I don’t see a 20mph limit as the panacea that many seem to. We see from the Continent that the principal measures that encourage cycling are the re-allocation of road space and the creation of dedicated, attractive cycle routes. David Arditti, Middlesex
Is it that Lycra is putting people off cycling because it is intimidating? Is it that cycling should not require special clothing? Who really cares what cyclists wear? I think this issue should be dropped – wear what you want as long as it is legal. I am off to get changed into my PVC chaps and feather boa to cycle to work. Liam Simington, by email
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 9
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 email@example.com SEBASTIANS 92 Fleet Street London EC4Y 1PB
Letters Have your say New colour-coded map proposed I am writing to initiate a debate regarding the attached cycle map, which is largely based on the LCN/LCN+. This new design uses colours to indicate the direction of travel and is grid-like in its structure. ◆ East-west routes are marked in red; ◆ North-south routes are marked in blue; ◆ There are two circular routes. The larger one, in yellow, connects the railway stations; the smaller one around the City is in an ‘FT’ pink; ◆ Diagonal routes are in green; ◆ There are two reds and two blues so that routes of the same colour do not criss-cross each other; ◆ Despite the number of routes, the eye is not overwhelmed by a mass of detail; ◆ The different routes have been grouped in layers: (i) the primary layer is formed of the primary colours, and provides the network with its basic shape and identity; (ii) the secondary layer comprises the remaining routes. These are shown in soft, pastel colours so that they do not conflict with the primary layer; and (iii)
Bring back the old days The TfL cycle map covering my ride is a permanent resident of my pannier. So often have I (and the rain) pored over it that to use it I must now piece together oilbegrimed sections that have torn along the folds. Recently, my long-serving map retired to the recycling box and I replaced it with its updated equivalent. It felt a luxury when one day I spread out this clean, crisp sheet by the roadside; but inside I was disappointed to find my favourite feature missing: the red markers indicating bike shops, and shop details had been replaced by www.bikeforall.net, and I do not have internet facilities on my bike. On returning home, I redeemed a tattered document from the green box – does anyone else miss the old-style TfL maps? Joanna Brunker, Clapham Motorbike propaganda I am surprised by the tone of John Argent’s letter in the Dec/Jan issue when he requests you stop publishing letters from motorcyclists that “claim to be cyclists”. Please tell me that we are not about to advocate censorship simply because someone has a different point of view? I don’t
Letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the address on page 3. Letters may be edited for legal or space reasons
the background layer comprises the main road network, stations, and landmarks. I have also conceived a numbering system which uses as its foundation the fact that Hyde Park Corner is at the ‘centre’ of London and that each directional route passes through this point. Every directional route would effectively be designated ‘Route 1’. Thus there would be (east-west) Red 1 and Orange 1; (north-south) Blue 1
claim to be both a cyclist and motorcyclist – I am both a cyclist and motorcyclist. A bus lane is a lane in which buses have priority, not bikes or motorbikes. Bikes are not the primary occupant of the bus lane, so they need to share it with others. In bus lanes, motorbikes provide less of an impediment to the passage of buses than cycles do because they can keep up with the traffic, and have at least the same right as bicycles to use the lane. I am sure we have all seen a bus crawling along in traffic behind a slow cyclist. John states that motorbikes should be banned from bus lanes as they fail his criteria of speed, size/weight and pollution. As buses also fail these tests, does he also advocate that buses should be banned from bus lanes? A more logical solution is to continue to improve the provision of cycle paths so that bikes are not forced to share bus lanes. Where bikes are forced to share a bus lane, some tolerance and respect from all road users is needed. David Anson, SW6 I agree with septuagenarian Fred Rolph (LC, Feb/Mar) – his comments were a breath of fresh air; similarly James Birkin. Why can’t motorcyclists and cyclists
and Cyan 1; and (diagonally) Green 1. What do people think? Can anyone identify areas where this strategy is weak? Perhaps someone can suggest ways in which the design of the map might be improved. Does anyone have any recommendations for other routes which ought to be included? I would be keen to hear your suggestions. Simon Parker, email@example.com
get along? I’m more than happy to share a bus lane with a motorcyclist. It’s worked well on the A13 for more than two years. Does LCC have any statistics of collisions between cyclists and motorcyclists on these shared bus lanes? I would hope that LCC would push TfL to publish the results of this pilot. If it can save the lives of motorcyclists without endangering cyclists, it should be introduced. Other cities have shared bus lanes, but London seems to be denied this facility. Does TfL think we’ll get bus lane biker gangs creating mayhem in the City or does it simply just not care about alternatives to the car? In our household we have nine push bikes, three motorbikes and two cars. Let’s hope we get more views like Fred’s and LCC pushes for the results of these bus lane pilots to be published. Richard Symonds, by email Ed: See page 7 for more on this issue Congratulations to our Feb/Mar prize-winners: Herne Hill induction session: Jennifer Woodward, Danielle Ballantine, Simon Blackburn, Robert Baker, Ken Davis, Rowland Howarth, Ruth Bradshaw, Richard Evans, Kevin Gray, Amy Chindove.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 11
A NICE revolution The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance on physical activity and the environment. It puts cycling centre stage. Philip Insall is adamant that the guidance needs to be adopted Read certain press reports on the Government’s obesity strategy, Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives, and you might think it amounted to nothing more than paying fat people to get thin and making teachers check kids’ lunchboxes for chocolate. But the strategy shows that the Government is tackling obesity in Britain, and measures to encourage walking and cycling are an integral part. The strategy includes promoting and creating environments that encourage and support physical activity, in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The NICE recommendations, if followed by local authorities and others, will transform our car-dominated cities into active travel-friendly places. (and low-carbon) ways of travelling. This guidance addresses a really significant social and economic problem. Active lifestyles can help prevent or manage over 20 conditions and diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and some cancers, improve mental health, and help older people maintain independent lives. However, two in three men and three-quarters of women in England do not achieve the recommended level of activity for health. This is in part because the environment makes it difficult to cycle or walk. I fully support Dr Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, when she says: “Every day, planners, designers and architects make decisions that affect the way people live; what we are recommending is that they should do this in a way that makes it easier for people to be physically active.”
Above: The NICE recommendations place a heavy emphasis on cycling and walking
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Philip Insall, director of active travel at Sustrans, was a member of the guidance development group assembled by NICE to consider the evidence and produce the guidance recommendations. HAVE YOUR SAY Share your thoughts on how to promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging cycling and walking – email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the address on page 3.
The guidance includes: ◆ ensuring local facilities and services are accessible on foot and by bike, and assessing what impact proposed works are likely to have on physical activity levels; ◆ ensuring pedestrians and cyclists are given the highest priority when developing or maintaining roads; ◆ re-allocating road space for physically active modes of transport (eg by widening pavements and introducing cycle lanes); ◆ restricting motor vehicle access; ◆ road-user charging schemes; ◆ traffic-calming schemes; ◆ safe routes to schools; ◆ comprehensive networks of routes for walking and cycling to workplaces, homes, schools, shops, play and green areas, and social destinations; ◆ ensuring open spaces and public paths can be reached on foot, and by bicycle and public transport; ◆ ensuring different parts of campus sites are linked by walking and cycling routes, and that new workplaces are linked to walking and cycling networks. Using the guidance Organisations such as LCC, Sustrans, Living Streets, the Ramblers’ Association and CTC are working to help make the NICE recommendations a reality for the London Olympics through the Active Travel Advisory Group to London 2012. The group, which includes Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority, can use the guidance to make even stronger arguments for more investment in walking and cycling infrastructure around the Olympic Park and in the wider Thames Gateway sub-region.
Working with NICE NICE deals in evidence. Its role as the UK arbiter of best practice in healthcare and promoting good health comes from its methodical analysis of every question it considers and every shred of evidence. So to be involved in the development of NICE guidance is a daunting process. The expert group brought together by NICE to work on this guidance included people from planning, architecture, economic and physical activity research, and lay members with specialist skills, as well as transport experts. The academics and NICE’s specialist collaborating centre staff at Loughborough subjected all the evidence – and the experts – to a severe grilling. Friendly and polite they may be, but this was tough questioning. The results, however, make the process worthwhile. When NICE, with its background of meticulous evidence review, makes radical recommendations on the promotion of walking and cycling, Sustrans, LCC and others can advance those recommendations with confidence. Now we have solid grounds for insisting that planners, highway engineers and other professionals shift the balance of advantage from private motor transport to healthy
The NICE recommendations A copy of the guidance is available at www.nice.org.uk/PH008. It highlights that environmental factors need to be tackled to make it easier for people to be active in their daily lives. This is why it is aimed at professionals who shape our environment. The recommendations are clear, with walking and cycling centre stage.
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S N O I T I S O P POLL London goes to the polls on May 1 to elect a mayor. Brendan Paddy explains why the battle for City Hall is so important to cyclists, and asks each major party candidate how they will help LCC make the capital a world-class cycling city
he key question facing most voters in the forthcoming London mayoral elections seems to be not ‘who should I support?’ but ‘why should I care?’ The turnout in 2004 was only 37%, but cyclists at least should be arriving in shoals at voting stations on May 1 this year. The mayor may not run everything in London, but he or she does have extraordinary powers over the things that matter to cyclists, including the budget, management of Transport for London (TfL) and creating the strategic plans that govern the city’s transport, planning and environment. Probably the most obvious example of the difference a mayor can make is the creation of the congestion charging zone in 2003. The extensive powers and relatively free hand given to the mayor is why LCC has drawn up a cycling manifesto (see page 15) and put it to the main candidates to gauge their reactions. “A good and effective mayor really can create a more liveable city,” says LCC chief executive Koy Thomson. “We’re voting for the kind of London we want to call home.”
The Greater London Assembly will be elected at the same time as the mayor, but has much more limited powers. It can grill the mayor at its meetings and amend the budget if it can muster a two-thirds majority. The present mayor, Ken Livingstone, relies not only on his own Labour colleagues to ensure he can achieve the two-thirds majority, but also on the support of two Green Assembly members. The mayor and the Assembly are elected by different systems from the ‘first past the post’ votes used in national elections. These systems are arguably fairer than first past the post, but also indisputably more complicated. The mayoral election uses a system called ‘supplementary vote’ in which each voter chooses a first preference but can also opt to select a second preference. If no candidate wins 50% or more of the votes based on voters’ first preferences, then the two most popular candidates go forward into a second stage. Ballots cast for losing candidates are then checked for second preference votes in favour of one of the top candidates. The candidate with the most first and second preference votes wins. Many voters feel the system gives them the freedom to vote with their heart by giving their first preference to a candidate they really like but who they feel might be unlikely to win. They can then use their second preference to support a candidate they like less but who they think has a better chance of winning. The London Assembly vote uses an even more complicated process called the ‘additional member’ system which is a form of proportional representation. Each voter casts two votes – one for a candidate in
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LCC’S CYCLING MANIFESTO Achieving a major cultural shift from driving to cycling is central to the development of London as a sustainable, thriving and liveable city. Cycling must become an everyday way to get around for Londoners, including families and children. Removing the many barriers to cycling will unleash suppressed demand and offer Londoners real choice. This means changing the status quo in favour of cycling. With political will and the support of senior transport planners, a transformation akin to that seen in London’s bus services can be achieved for cycling in a single mayoral term.
their London Assembly constituency and the other for a London-wide party or candidate. One member is elected in each of the 14 constituencies based on the first past the post system. The remaining 11 members are elected using both votes and a complicated formula to ensure that parties and individuals are represented in the assembly in proportion to their total support in the assembly vote. Any person or party receiving the support of more than 5% of voters gets a place in the assembly. Of course you only have your say if you register to vote, which you must do by April 16 (for more details, see www.londonelects.org.uk).
VOTE 1 FOR CYCLING
We asked four leading candidates to tell us what they would do for cyclists and whether they supported the LCC’s manifesto. All claim to support cycling, and elsewhere, each has said they oppose plans for a sixth terminal and a third runway at Heathrow, and support the congestion charge. There are more candidates than we can give space to here, but some of the others include: ◆ Damian Hockney of the One London party was elected as a UKIP representative and then switched to Veritas before forming a new party. Cycling doesn’t feature at all in his transport statement, which promises to scrap the congestion charge. ◆ Lindsey German of Respect is best known for opposing the war in Iraq, but she also calls for major cuts in CO 2 emissions, the curtailing of car use, boosting public transport and creating 20mph speed limits. She has stated her support for cycling and motorcycling. ◆ Gerard Batten of UKIP is a London MEP who would scrap the congestion charge. He expresses doubts about the extent of human influence on global warming. See www.mayorwatch.co.uk for updates and reports on all candidates.
Make 20mph the standard speed limit on London’s streets to reduce road danger and encourage cycling and walking. Make reducing road traffic crime a London-wide policing priority because these crimes lead to the most injuries and deaths. Deliver free on-road cycle training for London’s children, subsidised training for adults of all abilities, and compulsory training for highway engineers and transport planners. Return one-way systems and streets to two-way operation and create advantages for cycling and walking, thus maximising route choice and minimising diversion. Provide means and incentives for boroughs to support this shift. Ensure high-standard cycle parking is available at every workplace, station and shopping area, as well as in all new homes. Ensure the budget for the completion of the London Cycle Network Plus (LCN+) to a high standard in all 33 boroughs with effective removal of all barriers and the creation of strong network links between boroughs. Adopt ambitious targets to encourage walking and cycling to all events and attractions supported by the Mayor, culminating in the first ‘active spectator’ Olympics in 2012. Create a Paris-style mass cycle hire scheme by 2009 and include all Olympic venues by 2012. Start a major campaign of action against cycle theft including a significant theft reduction target for the Metropolitan Police in every borough. Produce a tube-style map showing strategically important and family friendly cycle routes to encourage Londoners to think of cycling as an everyday mode of transport.
Here is LCC’s 10-point plan to transform cycling in London – it is the plan we have asked each mayoral candidate to sign up to (see their commitments to cycling on these pages).
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KEN LIVINGSTONE LABOUR PARTY
“Over the past eight years London has undergone a cycling renaissance, with cycling levels rocketing by over 80%, but this is just the start. I have announced a new £500m, 10-year cycling programme – the most ambitious in London’s history – to transform the profile and priority of cycling on London’s streets. This simply wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. When I became mayor in 2000, the budget for cycling was just over £5m a year. At that level of spending it would have taken us 100 years to achieve what we now aim to do in 10. We have already massively increased investment in cycling, including delivering 40,000 extra on-street cycle parking spaces and 10,000 spaces in schools and colleges; completed over 550km of the London Cycle Network Plus (LCN+); delivered a major cycle training programme; and put on the fantastic London Freewheel event, which brought nearly 40,000 cyclists to the streets of London. And, of course, there was the Tour de France. Our new programme will build on this success, including completing the LCN+. It fits closely with the programme outlined in LCC’s cycling manifesto and will include three major elements. First, a central London bike hire scheme, modelled on the highly successful Paris ‘Velib’, with 6,000 bikes available every 300 metres, and free to use for the first half hour. Not only will this make cycling more accessible to many more Londoners, but it will make cycling a fully funded part of the public transport network for the first time. Second, around 12 new, high quality commuter cycle corridors from inner and outer London, aligned with key known cycle flows, the LCN+ and bus lanes. These will allow a quarter of a million cyclists to commute quickly and safely every day. Third, cycle zones in a roughly 5km radius around urban town centres, with 20mph speed limits on all residential roads, cycle priority streets where cars give way to bikes, more green cycle routes, making up a clearly signed network of cyclefriendly routes linking schools, stations, shops, workplaces and homes. The aim of this programme is nothing short of a cycling transformation in London. It will mean that thousands more Londoners can cycle in confidence on routes that take them quickly and safely to where they want to go. And it will make a major contribution to tackling the most pressing problem of the 21st century – how to prevent catastrophic climate change. Over the last eight years London is unique among major cities in having achieved a shift away from car usage to public transport, cycling and walking. Continuing this is essential, both to carry on making London a better place to live, work and visit, and to cut our carbon emissions. The London Cycling Campaign has played a major role in pushing forward this agenda over the last eight years, and I look forward to continuing working with you as we transform London into a truly cycling city.”
Brian Paddick LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
“In most residential and shopping areas, the speed limit in London should be 20mph. On most ‘trunk routes’ in central London, traffic r a re l y g e t s a b o v e 2 0 m p h b u t variable speed limits depending on the nature of the road, time of day, and number of road users, should be considered (similar to those used on the M25 motorway). Where other traffic is safely isolated from pedestrians and cyclists, higher limits could apply. Insufficient police time and effort is being applied to traffic offences such as speeding and driving without consideration for other road users, resulting in traffic becoming more of a danger. Cyclists are not immune from criticism and cyclists riding on the footway and not stopping at red traffic lights and pedestrian crossings also needs to be addressed. Generally I want the police to concentrate on matters of most concern to local people, and where this is road traffic crime, the police should make this a priority. There should be a cyclist representative on the board of Transport for London to advise on future changes to the streets and the impact of other changes on cyclists. All children should be trained in safe cycling and training for adults should be provided to encourage more to take up cycling. Investment in cycling is as important as investment in buses and tubes, and with the mayor’s new responsibilities for adult education, cycle training should be part of that new responsibility. Road design and prescribed routes should take account of the inconvenience to cyclists who should be provided with alternative ‘cycle only’ short-cuts wherever possible. Secure and weather-proof cycle parking should be provided wherever possible, whether on the street, at work or in new developments. I am committed to ensuring the delivery of London Cycle Network Plus, and reviewing and expanding it if necessary to ensure it provides an integrated network of routes across London. I will do everything that can reasonably be done to encourage walking and cycling to major events, including the Olympics, whilst taking due account of those travelling long distances or who are not able-bodied. I will ensure a pilot scheme of Paris-style mass cycle hire is initiated within my first few years in office and, if successful and popular, I will ensure such facilities are available in and around Olympic venues and more widely across London. I will seek to devise secure street parking for bicycles and work with the police and cycle manufacturers to design more theft-resistant cycles and develop more effective devices to prevent theft of bicycles. This has been done successfully with cars, so there is no reason why it cannot be done for bicycles. I have already promised a 5% year-on-year reduction in British Crime Survey crime, which includes cycle theft. More needs to be done to encourage walking and cycling, such as the publication of walking and cycling timetables, showing safest routes and giving the approximate time to travel between destinations, demonstrating how attractive these alternatives are to private car and public transport.”
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Boris Johnson CONSERVATIVE PARTY
“If I am elected mayor, it is my vision to make London the most cycle-friendly city in the world. As a passionate and committed cyclist who has cheated death on streets throughout the capital, I say it is time we got this city moving. I have always been a passionate advocate for cycling in London. In the past seven years I’ve had seven bikes stolen in London and I appreciate the frustration, expense and inconvenience of suffering from this mindless crime which does more than anything else to frustrate the enjoyment of London cyclists. Pushing cycling up the political agenda is an issue I feel extremely passionate about. I fully support the aims of the LCC to achieve a serious modal and cultural shift in London’s transport network. I am serious about making changes as mayor to move us away from crawling through traffic jams at a snail’s pace and being crammed like sardines on tubes. Cycling produces major benefits in terms of public health, as well as freeing up capacity on other types of public transport. But more than this, cycling can and should be a pleasant, safe and environmentally friendly way to explore the city. As mayor I want to work with the expertise of all the different groups who make up this great city, and I have been extremely impressed with the work of the LCC in pushing for a greater profile for cyclists. I am particularly interested in the LCC’s ideas about creating a joined up tube-style cycle map of London, running along iconic and beautiful routes. As mayor I would look at using all different forms of technology such as electronic mapping systems to allow cyclists to share their favourite routes. The Camden Cycling Campaign has done some really interesting work using the technology of Google Maps, and this is something I feel could bring London’s cyclists together to share their collective knowledge. I think it is crazy that we do not have a bike hire scheme along the lines of the schemes in Paris, Barcelona and Seville. As mayor I will look into implementing such a scheme, but making bikes more available to the public is not the only answer. When I rode around the streets of London during the Freewheel last year, I saw how many Londoners have bikes which sit rusting in sheds and garages across the city. What stops people from getting on their bikes is the fear of injury on London’s streets. Ken Livingstone and Transport for London (TfL) have failed to deal with this real and serious barrier. As mayor I will look into improving access to better cycle training and better road design which takes into account the needs of all road users. Londoners need to feel that when they chain their bike up, it will still be there when they return. I will look into imaginative ways of reducing bike crime, such as cracking down on the sale of second-hand bikes in Brick Lane, and decoy bike schemes. Real change will come from real leadership, and that is why as mayor I will take a strong lead on cycling, working with the boroughs and with a TfL reorganised to better reflect the needs of London’s cyclists. I shall be unveiling my own detailed plans for cycling over the coming weeks of the campaign. If you want more details of my ideas, please go to www.backboris.com and register your support.”
SIAN BERRY GREEN PARTY
“At the 2004 London elections, the balance of power on the Assembly changed, giving the two Green Party members a casting vote each year on the mayor’s budget. Since then, Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones have negotiated a huge range of improvements for cyclists in London. Funding for cycling has more than trebled since 2004; cycle training is available to every primary school that requests it; cycle parking for schools and stations is being funded, and £1.5m a year has been secured for green and off-road cycle routes. Practical help and support for new cyclists is being provided, and the London Freewheel mass cycle ride has been a massive success. Mayor Ken Livingstone has recently announced another series of major changes to make cycling and walking easier in London. A 400% increase in cycling will be promoted through cycling zones, fast commuter routes and a panLondon system of personalised support for new cyclists. All these ideas come out of a review undertaken by Transport for London after budget agreements with the Greens. These are all fantastic achievements, but a real Green mayor would be able to do much more. I enthusiastically support LCC’s manifesto. I have pledged to make 20mph the default speed limit for all London streets, except a small number of major routes, whereas the current mayor has agreed only to work with boroughs to bring this in for residential streets. I would also go much further than current plans and would phase out all one-way gyratory systems by 2025, not just the handful currently under consideration. Greens have already gained agreement for a Paris-style street bike scheme in central London. As Green mayor, I would extend this to the whole city by 2011. Everyone in London should benefit from having a bike available as an option for every suitable journey. The rate of increase in the cycling budget has now slowed, with the current mayor committed to increasing the cycling budget by 20% in 2008/09, then by just 1.6% the following year. As mayor, I would continue to increase the cycling budget, with a further three-fold increase – to at least £100 million – by the 2011/12 budget year. Safety and security for cyclists are also priorities for me. I would create a Road Safety Unit of at least three police officers in every borough. The police would also be funded to make cycle theft a priority and improve prosecution rates for drivers who injure cyclists. A high-profile enforcement campaign would also help to ensure drivers respect advanced stop lanes. I want to make cycling in London an option for many more people, for many more journeys. With a Green mayor, cycling will be recognised properly as a major form of public transport and opened up for everyone to enjoy. Maintaining our influence on the Assembly is also crucial if the progress of recent years is to be secure in the future.”
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Unicycle hockey could be the ultimate challenge for the cyclist who’s tried it all, says Tom Bogdanowicz o you break mountain biking records, ride the Dunwich Dynamo both ways in one night and think Land’s End to John O’Groats is a doddle – but could you score just one goal in a one-on-one against eight-year-old Danny Griffiths? Unicycle hockey is his sport and he’s a master of the game. Danny is a convert to perhaps the most challenging and intensive cycle sport. To score that elusive goal, you have to balance on the unicycle, swing your stick and make precise contact with a target the size of a tennis ball. The secret of Danny’s success is simple: “I’ve been unicycling since I was four,” he says.
Danny and his dad are regulars at the Lunis (London Unicyclists) games under the Westway in west London every Thursday. Played on a pitch the size of a basketball court, the matches are fast moving with riders accelerating their small-wheeled (20”) cycles to some 25km per hour. That requires spinning the cranks at 200 revolutions per minute – about twice the rate of a racing cyclist; when Luni speed demon Jonny Molloy races across the pitch, his feet become a blur. It’s no surprise to learn that the Lunis are the British unicycle hockey champions and have been for several years. Hackney rivals But the Lunis’ dominance of unicycle hockey in the UK could be under challenge. Across London, in the bikestrewn borough of Hackney, the clash of pedal and hockey sticks is heard every Wednesday as a group of teenagers practises under the watchful eye of Martin
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Left page: Danny Griffiths in action Left: Hackney Unicyclists go stick-to-stick Below and right: The London Lunis under the Westway
HOW TO GET INVOLVED West: The London Lunis have a weekly session under the Westway every Thursday 7pm-9pm. Newcomers welcome. Email: email@example.com North and East: Hackney Unicyclists have weekly sessions aimed at teenagers. Newcomers welcome; training provided. Contact Martin Izat (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 8986 8579) Newham: Jonny Molloy of the Lunis has set up a club for 11 to 19-year-olds. Sessions take place every Monday, 7pm-8pm at the Hartley Centre Youth Club in East Ham. Call 020 8472 0058 for details
The game Playing unicycle hockey is similar to ice hockey – you can bounce the ball off the walls of the pitch and you can ride behind the goal, but there are a few quite crucial differences. You can only play the ball or move on the pitch when riding. It’s five players to a team, including a goalie who has to stay on the cycle when blocking your shots. In serious games there is a sin bin, but unicycle hockey is not associated with the punch-ups often seen on the ice. Spills are not uncommon, but riders are used to jumping on and off their cycles. To ensure some basic health and safety, unicycle hockey, as played in London, forbids sticks above waist height and rough play is discouraged. The equipment consists of ice hockey sticks and a dead tennis ball or larger inflated ball.
To the novice, unicycle hockey may seem an impossible challenge – balancing a unicycle is hard enough without having to hold a stick and swing at a small ball – but the experts say that if you can ride no hands on a bike, you can ride a unicycle. That said, don’t expect to get on and ride away – it takes practice, and practice takes time: typically two weeks before being able to ride confidently. Martin, who switched from two wheels to one 14 years ago, has sold his last two wheeler and commutes to work on a big-wheeled (36”) unicycle. “I found I enjoyed riding unicycles much more – it’s better all round exercise and cars show extreme courtesy to unicycles on the road,” he says. That’s echoed by Barry Gates of the Lunis, another unicycle commuter: “Last week a woman saw me and shouted, ‘You’ve made my day’,” recalls Barry. Martin Izat argues that unicycling is the ultimate in wheeled exercise, requiring you to use your legs, your upper body and your balancing skills. And the health benefits may extend to mental as well as physical attributes. Some schools in Japan teach all students to ride a unicycle. According to Martin, studies in Japan have shown that children who have been taught unicycling perform better at their schoolwork than they did before they had their unicycle training. So forget the crossword puzzles, sudokus and crammers: get unicycling.
EQUIPMENT Unicycles can be bought at most good juggling, kite and bike shops, well as on the net (see right). Ice hockey sticks can be bought at good sports stores or on the net. Use old ‘dead’ tennis balls.
USEFUL WEBSITES www.unicycle.com: events, info and unicycle hockey shop www.unicycling.org: general information www.unicycle-hockey.org: site run by Rolf Sander www.unicycle.org.uk: Union of UK unicyclists
Photos: Tom Bogdanowicz
Izat: “In a couple of years’ time when these youngsters get better, we should be able to take on the Lunis and, who knows, maybe the German teams as well,” he says. Martin, together with James Bentley, a mean unicycle juggler, trains young novices and coaches more expert players at a playground near Hackney Town Hall. The participants include army cadets who not only ride their unicycles to the weekly hockey games, but ride them to their Territorial Army meetings as well – in full military uniform. It’s that calibre of player that Martin hopes will challenge the speed and accuracy of the Lunis. Beyond that, there’s international competition and the teams to beat are those from Switzerland and Germany, where unicycle hockey is widely played. The history of unicycle hockey is shrouded in mystery. Photos or written records of matches exist in Germany, New Mexico and Japan. According to player Rolf Sander, the earliest illustration is in a German film from 1925 showing a proto-unicycle hockey sequence. More recently, the sport traces its origins to Japanese unicyclist Takafumi Ogasawara, who introduced it in Germany in the ’80s. Briton John Dash saw the game played in Germany and brought it back to England.
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Cycling y s a e e d ma Anybody can benefit from the freedom of riding a bike. Janet Paske reports on the support available to help the disabled cycle he LCC’s recent Open Space strategic review exercise highlighted the desire of members to get more people from marginalised groups cycling, and this includes disabled people. Underlying this article is a desire for all LCC members, whether disabled or not, to think of themselves as allies of disabled people and to start thinking about how they can encourage disabled people – be it a neighbour who has depression or a friend with a bad back – to cycle.
How many disabled people are there? A c c o r d i n g t o t h e N H S ’s L o n d o n Development Centre, 578 000 people in London have a limiting long-term illness, health problem or are disabled. That’s 19% of Londoners. I’m focusing on disabled people here rather than people with a long-term illness or other health problems, but cycling also has many benefits for all these groups. The benefits of cycling Disabled people and non-disabled people enjoy the same benefits of cycling: the freedom of getting around, of feeling better and fitter, and of knowing the environment is being less-spoiled. And cycling is a
relatively cheap form of transport – another plus for people on low incomes, as many disabled people are. However, there can be additional benefits. Take someone with moderate learning difficulties. Often they have little opportunity to exercise and they are driven from one place to another; they may have no choice over the clothes they wear or what they eat. Imagine being that person on a trike – suddenly they are in charge and can take the trike wherever they want, a really uplifting experience. Take a person who has panic attacks in enclosed spaces. They are unable to use a bus, tube or a car, and face social isolation. They are confined to walking in their local area. On a bike, they can travel much farther. Many disabled people can become depressed due to the difficulties they have with their day to day living. Exercise in itself can help people feel better, and it is often recommended for people with depression. What are the barriers for disabled people? Disabled people face the same barriers to cycling as non-disabled people: they haven’t thought about riding a bike, can’t ride a bike, don’t have a bike, don’t have anywhere to store a bike, don’t have the confidence to ride on the road and don’t know how to get from A to B. Like non-disabled people, disabled people will usually benefit from information and encouragement, and a safe place to have a go. However, they can face other barriers as well which need consideration, but need not prevent them from cycling: ◆ If someone has a learning difficulty, their carer or supporter, if they have one, may think the person won’t or can’t cycle. Prove them wrong;
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LCC ADVICE: LCC has a guide to cycling with disability which is currently being updated. In the meantime, if you have any questions about cycling with disability or are interested in applying for a grant to help disabled people and other special requirements to cycle, please contact the LCC office on 020 7234 9310. cycles, you can also draw on over 10 years’ experience of the Wheels For All network run by Cycling Projects (01925 234 213). It’s worth remembering that those involved in cycling for disabled people are welcome to join the London Disability Cycling Forum (see information box below). Transport for London (www.tfl.gov.uk) funds the development of a disability ‘bolt-on’ to existing cycle training that informs instructors as to how to support disabled people and work with a variety of adapted cycles. Many cycle instructors already have experience of teaching disabled adults or children. The CTC, together with Cycling Projects and Wheels for Wellbeing, is waiting for sign-off from the Department for Transport for a proposal to develop some disability guidance to add to the Bikeability standards. This will be developed by running workshops where we hope you will share your experiences with us.
Left page: Millie and her mum enjoying www.cyclingforall.org ◆ If someone has a mental health issue, they may be taking medication. This may cause them to feel dizzy or to not concentrate – cycling away from the roads and wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of incidents. Most people don’t want to hurt themselves and will know when cycling is not a good idea; ◆ If someone has a visual impairment, riding a tandem enables them to to get fresh air and is a way of exercising; ◆ If someone has a hearing impairment, this should not be a barrier – looking is key to safe cycling, not hearing; ◆ If someone has a physical impairment, they may need a cycle other than a standard two-wheeler such as a trike or handcycle. Support to help disabled people cycle For examples, ideas and inspiration, LCC’s All Ability Guide is a good starting point (see box above right). LCC is always available to give advice. If LCC can’t help you, a member of staff will put you in touch with someone who can. Many groups have been funded by the LCC-administered Community Cycling Fund London (CCfL); the second round of funding opens on April 4 (see page 6). The Active Travel Consortium may also be able to help with funding – ask LCC for details. If you want to set up a project using non-standard
HOW TO GET INVOLVED London Disability Cycling Forum: The London Disability Cycling Forum is a networking and support group for people running cycling projects for disabled people. LCC and Transport for London attend the forum, which meets every three months. National disability groups (eg the RNIB) are being encouraged to become members. The next meeting is May 21 from 6.30 to 8.30 at the LCC offices. Contact the forum’s chair, Janet Paske (details above), for information. Bikeworks: This is a not-for-profit company that works to encourage cycling among disabled people, as well as among other excluded community groups. Bikeworks runs free sessions every other Saturday in Victoria Park, by the canal at Gunmakers Lane. The sessions are open to all. A selection of adapted cycles and helmets are provided. Details: www.bikeworks.org.uk, email@example.com, or by calling Jim on 07968 681 633. Pedal Power: Pedal Power, a cycling club for learning disabled people, started in 2004. It meets regularly at Finsbury Park and Victoria Park. The club is open to all, including the family and carers of members. Details: Jo Roach on 020 8809 7718 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Haringey Mencap: Haringey Mencap supports people with learning disabilities who want to cycle. Details: Marco Messere on email@example.com or 020 8365 0251. Cyclng as a sport: For more information on how disabled people can get involved in cycling as a sport, contact British Cycling’s disability cycling coordinator, Paul West, on 0161 274 2021 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Lionel Shapiro, Janet Paske
Main photo: Cycle training for Roger as part of a project for people with mental illness
Get started today I hope this article has provided some ideas for you and your borough group. Cycling offers lots of benefits and can be very empowering, but we need to make sure people know about it and can get the support they need. The more demand there is, the more we can campaign for resources to help meet those needs in a sustainable way. Janet Paske runs Wheels for Wellbeing, a social inclusion project that encourages and supports disabled people to cycle. She is also the chair of the London Disability Cycling Forum. Janet can be contacted on 020 7346 8482 or via email@example.com With thanks to the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust for support funding Wheels for Wellbeing (see page 6 for news of Wheels for Wellbeing’s latest funding success).
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See www.lcc.org.uk/info for more on city and commuter cycling, as well as information and advice on maintenance
Our February/March issue offered advice on how to start cycling with kids. Here, David Dansky and David Evans discuss techniques for riding on the road with older children CYCLING CLUBS FOR KIDS ■ Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club runs off-road sessions in a car-free environment every Saturday from 11am to 1pm. For more information about the club, contact Bill Wright on 07930 397 245. ■ Young Southwark Cyclists is a club for under-18s based at Burgess Park Bike Track in Southwark. Membership (£5 for one year) gives access to rides and events (including barbecues, parties, races and maintenance evenings). For more information, call 020 7525 1101. CYCLE TRAINING The standard for cycle training is the Bikeability award scheme. Under Bikeability, children and adults are instructed on how to ride to the Government-approved National Standard for cycle training. A list of cycle training contacts in each borough can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk
RIDING TOGETHER In order to ride on road with a parent, a young person will need to have good bike control skills. They should be able to start and stop efficiently, use their gears, look back, and ride one-handed. They should also have practised how to stop quickly in an emergency and to manoeuvre around hazards. It is not necessary for them to understand priority and how junctions work when riding with you, but riding together may be a good opportunity to teach them. Side by side: You may ride side by side with your child, positioning yourself on their right. The Highway Code advises you not to ride more than two abreast and to ride in single file when in traffic on narrow roads. Riding side by side can be pleasant and in some situations may highlight your presence on the road, making you more noticeable. By looking regularly behind you to gauge the traffic conditions, you can often ride twoabreast for quite a way on quiet roads, moving behind your child when you wish to be courteous and let a driver overtake. While passing parked cars, ensure you leave enough space so your child is not riding in the car-door zone.
Above: Cycling training can equip kids with the skills they need to ride on the road (top)
Riding behind your child: Riding behind your child will probably be the more practical option on busier London roads. From this position you can see them and communicate clearly to them, and give them directions and encouragement. Riding behind them but slightly to their right creates a protective bubble for them and ensures overtaking drivers give you both a lot of space. It’s a good idea to encourage your child to check behind regularly to see how near you are to them. This will instill in them the practice of looking back when they ride independently. If you need to move out to overtake a parked car or cycle past a side road, you will need to anticipate this and move right before your child does so that when they move right, they are protected. Your road position will prevent drivers from attempting to overtake when there is insufficient space to do so safely. On arriving at a ‘Give way’ line, it is a good idea to move next to your child so that you can ensure they slow down and stop, since they may not understand who has priority in this situation. Assume a position where both of you can see and be seen clearly and turn together. If you are turning left, pull up next to your child on their right so you can protect them from drivers coming from the right. If you are turning right, pull up on their left. When turning, you can fall naturally back into place behind your child. By using these riding techniques, it is possible to move through quite complex road systems safely and with confidence. David Dansky and David Evans are trainers with Cycle Training UK (020 7231 6005, www.cycletraining.co.uk)
MORE INFORMATION The LCC website has lots of information on cycling with children, including a leaflet, Cycling With Children, which can be downloaded from www.lcc.org.uk/info. It is also available in hard copy format by contacting the LCC office (details page 31).
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LCC CVR cyclingkids.indd
Photos: Adrian Lewis
The benefits of riding with your children are obvious. In fact, the main obstacle to getting young people riding to school is their parents’ reluctance and lack of confidence in their own ability to safely accompany their child. According to the Sustrans Bike It Project Report 2005, 10 times more young people say they would rather walk or cycle to school than currently do this. To get the most out of cycling for both you and your child, it’s worth ensuring that you have excellent bike control and a good understanding of road positioning and communication techniques. It is worth seeking National Standard cycle training for yourself and your children (available subsidised or free in many London boroughs – see information box above right).
CYCLING WITH CHILD RE
Learning to ride
for school and
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The art of street cycling It doesn’t have to be a jungle out there. Michael Stenning has this guide to predicting the behaviour of other road users
“Sorry, I didn’t see you” Motorists notice other cars or larger vehicles. I ride with flashing lights and reflective garments, yet I’ve still been told by drivers that they haven’t seen me. It makes sense to make an effort to be seen. Be alert during rush hours and school closing times when people are concerned with children, shopping or getting home. Never assume that a driver looking in your direction has seen you – however, make eye contact to maximise the chances of this happening. Be aware of signs (like increased exhaust fumes) that a vehicle might pull into your path. Watch drivers for signs of distraction: eating, applying make-up, or chatting on mobile phones all suggest the road might not be their first priority. Drivers should look in their mirror every time they move off, but you should always assume they haven’t. Beware of cars accelerating past you only to turn left across your path. Avoid at all costs being caught on the inside of a left-turning lorry (for LCC’s HGV campaign, see www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns) ). Leave extra room when riding behind any vehicle that makes frequent stops (eg buses), and be wary of goods vehicles carrying scaffold, timber and other building materials that may fall off or hinder visibility. Consider the ‘what ifs’: ‘What if that driver hasn’t seen me?; ‘What if that man steps from the kerb?’
When cycling on the road, position yourself so that you are visible to other road users
Confronting drivers A well-timed yell is a useful release of tension and indicates to bystanders that there is something wrong, which can be useful if an incident occurs and you need witnesses. It can be tempting to strike the car with your hand, but far better to avoid this form of retaliation. Mobile camera phones can help identify the car and licence plate to report to the police. Formal training Every rider can benefit from training. Lessons with accredited organisations teach bicycle control and road positioning, develop communication skills with other road users and teach cyclists to assess and anticipate risk. Another way to improve your alertness and better predict road user behaviour is to get a driver’s licence. This might sound controversial but it does allow you to see the road from a different perspective, and it can make you a better rider.
USEFUL BOOKS AND CONTACTS Cycle Craft by John Franklin – an excellent guide to urban cycling The Piccolo Bicycle Book (1977) – an excellent read for children and teenagers The Highway Code – it should be on everyone’s bookshelf For details of cycle training in your area, see www.lcc.org.uk/info or call the LCC office (details page 31).
Photo: Michael Stenning
Road craft Riding in traffic requires you to ride defensively and with confidence and skill. Positioning on the road is crucial to the way in which other road users respond to you. Ride out of the gutter and in the flow of traffic (ensuring you leave at least one metre between yourself and any parked cars as it’s not always possible to predict when a car door will open), and keep pace with the traffic to remain visible. Be decisive and assertive, and remember to always check over your shoulder to keep abreast of what’s happening behind you. Know your bike, how it handles and keep it in top order.
Know the danger signs Some people suggest vehicle behaviour is determinable by make and model, and this is reflected in insurance premiums – cars are grouped between one and 20, one being the lowest risk and 20 being the highest. However it is equally important to consider driver profile and their condition of the vehicle. For example, a BMW driven by a kindly grandmother is an entirely different proposition when a young buck is behind the wheel. Also look at the condition of the vehicle – lots of dents in the bodywork are warning signs the driver may not be too careful. Mini cabs: Can be unpredictable, especially at night and around pub closing time. Unlike black cabs, there are fewer regulations governing drivers and they can compensate for less skill with greater aggression. 4x4s: These drivers can often have a fortress mentality. Motorcyclists: Motorcyclists have a lot in common with cyclists, but the size and weight of a motorcycle means riders cannot stop as easily as a cyclist. Large vans: Multi-drop work is fraught with difficulties and driving one requires a good deal of skill. Be on high alert in case they stop suddenly in your path. Lorries/HGVs: Always keep your distance – lorries may move to the right before turning left at a junction, and the draft from an articulated lorry can be a hazard for a cyclist. Position yourself well out from the kerb and take the centre of the lane where necessary to allow yourself room for manoeuvre. Other cyclists: It doesn’t follow that because someone rides a bike, they will ride appropriately.
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How to ...
See www.lcc.org.uk/info for more advice on bike maintenance, as well as advice on training and cycling to work
Look after your gears Most gear systems on bikes are derailleur (front derailleur pictured right). Some bikes have hub gears, but these are less common in the UK and need less maintenance than derailleur systems, we will concentrate on derailleurs. These use a combination of different sized front and rear chain rings, with a chain that can be moved between them so that different pedalling force is required to drive the back wheel. Most modern gear systems will be indexed, meaning that you move the gear lever one click and the chain will shift onto the next chain ring. On some older systems, there is no click: you have to learn how far to move the lever (pictured below) to get an accurate gear change.
Left: A front derailleur
Left: Gear barrel adjuster
HOW TO CHECK YOUR GEARS ◆ While pedalling, click through the whole range of gears (you can turn your bike upside down or ask someone to help you with this). If the gears don’t change smoothly, you need to adjust them (see below). ◆ Check that the cogs are not worn down. ◆ Check that your chain is clean and lubricated – if you ride regularly, you should aim to clean and oil it once a week. HOW TO ADJUST YOUR GEARS Over time, your gears may go out of alignment so that you are unable to change gears smoothly, the gears jump or the chain falls off. These problems can occur as your gear cables stretch, the chain, cogs and sprockets wear or if the gear mechanism gets bumped.
◆ If the gears are not changing smoothly, you may only need to make a small adjustment. If you have indexed gears, you will be able to do this by turning the barrel adjuster (above) by the gear levers or at the derailleur. ◆ You can adjust the movement of the derailleur mechanism to prevent the chain going beyond the cogs by two small stop screws on the mechanism (usually marked H and L). They should allow the chain to move up and down the cogs without coming off the top or bottom.
Brakes, gears, punctur es and more
MORE INFORMATION LCC ADVICE: The LCC leaflet, Cycle Maintenance, covers the basics of brakes, gears and punctures (download it from www.lcc.org.uk or call the office for a hard copy – contact details page 31). WORKSHOPS: See page 27 to find a maintenance workshop in your area. BIKE SHOPS: See page 32 for bike shops that offer LCC members discounts on servicing and/or parts. LCC CVR cyclemaintenance.in
Photos: Rosie Downes
The LC Bike Surgery I am coming to London for a onemonth university placement and I’m keen to cycle while I’m there (to save money). Are there any affordable bike hire places in London – or can you suggest another way I can borrow a bike for the time I’m there? Angela Williams, San Francisco We’re pleased to hear that you are keen to travel by bike while you’re in London – you’ll certainly find fewer hills here than in San Francisco. Your first stop should be the LCC website, where there is a useful download
available at www.lcc.org.uk/info which lists bike hire shops in London. You should be able to hire a bike – usually a hybrid or a city bike – from around £8 a day. Alternatively, you could sign up to the Freecycle website (www.freecycle.org) in the borough where you’ll be living or studying. The website is used by people to exchange and recycle unwanted items – you may pick up a free bike to use for the duration of your stay. Or you could email your local LCC borough group (contacts on the LCC
website) to see if a local has a spare bike they may be able to loan you. Links to help you order cycle maps for London are also on the LCC website. Happy cycling! A copy of this response was sent to Angela via email HOW TO SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS If you have a question on routes, campaigning, maintenance, safety or any other topic, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the address on page 3, and the LC team will answer it for you.
26 April/May 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Workshops Want to know how to maintain your bike? Try a course or workshop Brixton What: Basic bike maintenance course Cost: £60 When: May 6 and 13, 7pm-9pm Contact: Paul Lowe (020 7733 3070) www.cyclinginstructor.com Bromley What: Hands-on session suitable for beginners. Bring your own bike. Booking essential. Two courses: The Basics (safety checks, punctures, cleaning and lubricating). Brakes and Gears (tuning gears, brakes, cables, brake pads). A session on disc brakes may be organised if there is demand Cost: £20 – includes a maintenance pack worth at least £9. When: Call for details At: Hayes Old Church School Contact: Big Foot Bikes (020 8462 5004, email@example.com) www.bigfootbikes.com Camden What: With the support of the London Borough of Camden, Camden Cycling Campaign will run three series of workshops in 2008. Workshops will cover puncture repairs, brakes, chains, tuning gears, cleaning When: Contact Stefano for details At: Velorution, 18 Great Titchfield St, W1W 8BD Contact: Stefano Casalotti (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7435 0196) Central London What: One day courses, basic and intermediate; one-to-one or small group sessions; puncture masterclass Cost: £60/one-day course; £30/hour bespoke tuition; £20/puncture masterclass. Discounts: 5% for LCC members. Also, subsidised training available for those living or working in Ealing, Lambeth or the City of London could reduce the cost of the one day course to as little as £5. Phone for latest offers. When: Phone or check website for course dates At: CTUK training room Contact: Call Araxi Djian at Cycle Training UK on 020 7232 4398 or check www.cycletraining.co.uk What: Work on your own bike – no knowledge is assumed. Includes cleaning and lubrication, bike inspection and safety checks, tyres, tubes and punctures, brakes/gears. Cost: £72 (£66 for LCC members) When: Saturdays 10.30am-5pm At: Bikefix, 48 Lamb’s Conduit Street
Contact: Patrick Field (020 7249 3779, www.londonschoolofcycling.co.uk) Ealing What: Ealing Cycling Campaign runs ad-hoc courses and drop-in maintenance classes throughout the year. See www.ealingcycling.org.uk or email email@example.com Greenwich What: Year-round maintenance classes. Basic class covers removing tyres and wheels; intermediate class covers brakes and gears, plus requests. Bring your own bike, along with any parts you want to fit. Cost: £5 per two-hour class. See www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk for payment details. When: Tuesday or Wednesday, 7.15pm-9pm. Call to confirm At: Armada Centre, Armada Court, 21 McMillan St, SE8 Contact: Julian Dobson (07771 692 344, 020 8463 0801, firstname.lastname@example.org) or see www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk Hackney What: Twice monthly two-hour workshops sponsored by Hackney Cycling Campaign. Longest running workshop in London. Bike repair from punctures to major work. Work on your bike with advice from experts Cost: No charge – run by volunteers (donations to pay rent appreciated) When: 7pm-9pm on the first and third Tuesday of the month (April 1 and 15; May 6 and 20; June 3 and 17) At: The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Rd, off Well St, E9 7PQ Contact: Hackney Cycling Campaign (www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk), Adam (07940 121 513), Ross (email@example.com) or Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) Islington What: 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 cnr Sunnyside and Hazellville roads, N19 Contact: Adrian (07810 211 902) What: Classes covering all aspects of bicycle repair and maintenance When: On demand Contact: Jonathan Edwards (07946 261 165, j.edwards530@ btinternet.com)
Visit www.lcc.org.uk/info for more on bike maintenance. To list a workshop on this page, please email email@example.com Lunch and learn workshops LCC can set up a ‘lunch and learn’ maintenance workshop for your workplace to give employees’ bikes a health check and teach basic maintenance skills. For more information on the workshops, as well as details of other support LCC can offer your workplace, call 020 7234 9310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Kingston What: Maintenance and repairs to help keep bikes in good working order Cost: Six sessions are £46 When: 7pm-9pm, Mondays from May 12 At: North Kingston Centre, Richmond Road Contact: Kingston Adult Education (email@example.com, www.kingston.gov.uk/adulteducation, 020 8547 6700) or Rob (020 8546 8865, firstname.lastname@example.org). See also www.kingstoncycling.org.uk
cables, brakes, truing wheels, when to get professional help, and when to replace what. By Southwark Cyclists at On Your Bike using their mechanics. 10% off purchases Cost: £48 per course. Pay online via Paypal after confirming place When: Tuesdays. 6.30pm-8.30pm. See www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk for dates or email/phone At: On Your Bike, 52-54 Tooley Street, SE1 Contact: Barry (07905 889 005, email@example.com) Sutton What: Twice-yearly basic class plus free Dr Bike cycle check Cost: £tbc (family discounts) When: Saturday morning in autumn, enquire from August Contact: Chris Parry (020 8647 3584, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Shirley Quemby (020 8642 3720)
Lambeth What: Classes with Lambeth Cyclists. Everything a cyclist needs to know about bike maintenance Cost: £55 (£5 if on income-related benefits) When: Two sets of five maintenance classes starting April 30 At: Details when you book Contact: Janet Paske (07740 457 528, email@example.com) to book or to request future class dates
Tower Hamlets What: Hands-on workshops. Tools, demos; bring your own spares Cost: Free. Donations welcome! When: Last Saturday of the month (except December); 11am-3pm At: The Boxing Club, Limehouse Town Hall, 646 Commercial Rd E14 Contact: Owen Pearson (07903 018 970, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.wheelers.org.uk/workshop
Newham What: Workshop for Newham cyclists Cost: A donation to Cycle Club funds When: Saturdays, 9.30am-12pm during term time At: New City Primary School, New City Rd, Plaistow, E13 9PR Contact: Liz Bowgett (liz.bowgett@ btopenworld.com) Redbridge What: Covers punctures, brakes, gears, general check (pedals, spokes, bearings, brakes, headset, etc) Cost: £29.50 When: Starts Wednesday, May 7 Contact: Terry (07795 981 529, email@example.com) or Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org, 07949 883 747) www.redbridgelcc.org.uk Sidcup What: Roadside maintenance course Cost: £35 When: Sunday, April 27, 10am-4pm Contact: Sidcup Cycle Centre (020 8300 8113, email@example.com) Southwark What: Four-evening course includes maintenance and cleaning, punctures,
Waltham Forest What: Maintain or assemble a bike. Bike donations welcome Cost: £3. Tea/coffee provided When: The workshop (when staff available) opens 11am-3pm Saturdays. Open 9.30am-12.30pm the second Saturday of month (LCC day). No maintenance the first Saturday of the month (recycled bikes for sale 1pm-3pm). Fridays (9am-4pm) and Saturdays (11am3pm) volunteers welcome to recondition bikes. At: Council Transport Depot, Low Hall Manor, South Access Road, Walthamstow, E17. Stop at security for directions Contact: Christopher Rigby (firstname.lastname@example.org, 07910 235 149) or call 07948 060 473. Keen to hear from volunteers able to help keep this service running
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 27
Product reviews Baggy shorts You don’t have to wear body-hugging lycra shorts during your spring and summer commute. More and more manufacturers are offering baggy shorts with ‘invisible’ padded liners, explains Mel Allwood TOP TIPS FOR
buying baggy shorts ■ Don’t go too baggy – when your shorts get wet in the rain, they get heavier, and if they’re too big they will slide down your bottom ■ Shorts over winter tights is a great combination. Your knees stay warm and you retain access to the pockets that come with the shorts. ■ Make sure the shorts fit on, as well as off, the bike. Try to sit on a bike when you try them on ■ Check out the pockets carefully. Zips and Velcro help contents stay where you put them, especially when you’re pedalling. In my opinion, you need at least one proper zipped pocket (for keys, wallet, etc) and at least one big pocket. Pockets on the front tend to be troublesome because their contents slip around to the side as you pedal. ■ Not everybody likes to wear padded liners. If your commute is fairly short and you have a comfortable saddle you may feel you don’t need extra cushioning ■ But if you do wear the liner, bear in mind that padded liners are designed to be worn as underwear: that means nothing underneath ■ Labels on baggy shorts often warn against washing with a fabric conditioner. This is because cycling shorts (and many other outdoor, outer layers) are coated with chemicals so that rain ‘beads’ on the surface, rather than soaking in. Fabric conditioner destroys such coatings ■ A little extra length – enough to cover your knees – makes a lot of difference in the winter. This is one of the reasons why ¾ length shorts are popular
Altura Synchro ¾ £49.99, Zyro (www.zyro.co.uk) Sizes 8-16, also available in graphite grey These shorts are three-quarter length and are made from a stretchy fabric called “full stretch woven torat quup”.
They’re not as well-endowed with pockets as some of the other shorts tested this issue, and (annoyingly) there aren’t any Velcro tabs to adjust the leg openings. However, they are a women-specific cut with a matching, removable liner. Good baggy shorts generally incorporate one or more panels of stretchy fabric, often across the back. These allow the shorts to accommodate pedaling movements but to retain a more conventional shape and appearance when you’re off the bike. Stretchy fabric is expensive, though, so a pair of baggy cycling shorts tends to boast such fabric in one or more specific panels. It’s unusual to find a complete garment made of stretchy fabric and, unfortunately, I didn’t experience an increase in comfort as a result. The Altura Synchro’s
pockets didn’t really work for me. I could have done with more of them, and at least one big one, for stuffing my gloves into while I faff about locking my bike up. And I found it was essential to zip the pockets up, otherwise their contents tended to work their way to the top as I pedalled and fall out. As well, I would have appreciated Velcro tabs to adjust the width at the bottom of the leg. These are quite wide and kept catching on my bottle cage.
Conclusion Although the stretchy fabric felt nice, I’m not sure it made for a more comfortable ride. I would have liked more and better pockets, and a cut that involved less flapping about around the knees.
Altura Boulder ¾ £49.99, Zyro (www.zyro.co.uk), S-XXL The Altura Boulders are threequarter length men’s shorts and they come right down below the knee. There are a fair number of pockets and
a panel of stretchy fabric across the back. Although not particularly wide, this panel helps improve the fit, especially when you’re leaning forward to reach the handlebars. Although our tester had no complaint about the number of pockets, the fabric used for the upper pockets is mesh, rather than a more substantial lining fabric. The mesh showed no sign of wear or tear during the test, but didn’t inspire confidence for storing smaller or sharp items like keys. However, the inclusion of a zip on the lower pocket was a definite plus point and the zip boasts a big tag that you can get hold of with gloved hands. The removable lining that comes with the Altura Boulders didn’t find favour
with our tester, who doesn’t usually wear padded shorts and didn’t find that the experience of testing these changed his mind. The lining is fairly bulky and, in combination with the fabric of the inner short, didn’t seem to stay in place as firmly as it should have. However, on chilly days, our tester admits that the the lining made him feel warm and snug.
Conclusion The Altura Boulders are well thought out and well cut, but the liner’s not the strongest feature. However, if you buy them mainly for the outer baggy short, then the shortcomings of the inner liner are not important. The extra length is ideal if your knees tend to get cold or if you’re a bit shy.
28 April/May 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Endura Firefly £29.99, Endura (www.endura.co.uk) S-XXL The Endura Firefly shorts are one of a number of excellent “baggies” made by Endura. Having a wide range of baggy shorts to choose from is a real advantage, since no one model will suit the myriad of body shapes out there. Firefly
are men’s shorts but Endura also makes women’s baggies. A key distinguishing feature of the Endura Firefly is that the inner padded liner is not removable, but is sewn into the outer shorts. Whether this is a good or bad thing is very much down to personal preference. I tend to prefer removable liners, so that I can wear a pair of baggy shorts on their own for short journeys or over an ordinary pair of cycling lycras. However, if you prefer to have just one pair of baggy shorts on the go at any given time, then choosing a pair with an integral liner will mean less hassle – you’ll never have to race around your home when you’re already late for work trying to find the liner to match the shorts.
These were the only shorts tested for this issue that offered a splash of colour – the brown certainly made a change from black, black and more black. Pockets are well placed, with the liner pocket particularly substantial and reliable. The Firefly are a good length, reaching just to the knee, with tabs to adjust the diameter of the leg openings.
Conclusion These are great value: well made, very sturdy and affordable. If you prefer shorts with a removable padded liner then the Endura Humvees or Singletracks are both good alternatives. But if you want a simple padded baggy short, these are perfect.
Specialized Trail £39.99, Specialized UK (020 8391 3502, www.specialized.com) Specialized’s Trail shorts come with a removable liner and a great selection of pockets. The fabric dries quickly after washing or after being caught in a downpour. These shorts were the only pair tested for this issue that boasted a padded liner that really appealed to our testers. Specialized takes rider comfort very seriously and puts a lot of research into getting the contact between you and your bike just right. This shows in the Trail’s liner, which still felt great after a long day. For longer commutes, it’s worth considering the extra protection you can gain
from padded liners. However, if you change into civilian clothing on arrival and have minimal storage space or have to lug your bag about during the day, a liner will add a bit of bulk. The baggy part of the shorts is made from a lightweight fabric, but one that seemed quite robust. There’s double stitching all over and extra reinforcing stitching at the pocket corners. On cooler days, the Trail shorts definitely need to be worn over tights. On the bike, the shorts felt very comfortable and moved well.
WIN DYNAMO LIGHTS
LC has a set of Reelight batteryfree lights to give away. These dynamo lights are designed for use as a back-up set to supplement your existing headlamp and back lights. The Reelight (www.reelight.com) dynamo front and back lights are powered by your pedalling, so no batteries are needed. The SL120 set (RRP £37.99) comes with instructions about how to install the lights to your front and rear wheels – the lights are fixed to the centre of each wheel, so there are no wires trailing from wheel
In terms of cut, these were the most generous of the four, and some people might find them too baggy. It’s always important to try shorts on before you buy, and with these you may find yourself choosing a smaller size than usual.
Conclusion Lightweight shorts that still feel robust, with good pockets and an exceptionally comfortable, detachable padded liner. Generous sizing, so be sure to try before you buy.
to handlebars. Reelight is a Danish company, with UK distribution handled by 2Pure (www.2pure.co.uk). To enter our prize draw please send an email to email@example.com or a postcard to LCC (address listed on p.3), marking your email or postcard “Reelight dynamo prize draw” and including your full name, telephone number and postal address. Deadline for entries is 30 April 2008. For LC prize draw terms and conditions, please see www.lcc.org.uk LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 29
Product reviews New solutions With cycling on the up in London, new products come on the market every week. Erin Gill considers two new options for urban cyclists Plantlock, £135, Front Yard Company (www.frontyardcompany.co.uk, 020 7485 7618) The Plantlock is a new cycle parking solution that has a lot of people very excited. Designed in London by cyclists, the Plantlock combines cycle parking with gardening. Essentially, it’s a metal plant pot designed to hold 75kg of compost and, of course, plants. But it also includes one or two boron steel handles to which bicycles can be locked. Flowers are the usual choice when it comes to planting up a Plantlock, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be possible to grow fruit and veg. We decided to put the Plantlock to the test in front of Brill, a CD shop and coffee emporium in Exmouth Market, EC1. Brill’s owner, Jeremy, wasn’t sure about the idea when first approached, but agreed because he’s such a nice bloke. A month later, he’d changed his mind: “I love it. I am genuinely enthusiastic! It looks really nice, and people like it so much that someone takes a photo of it just about every day.” There are a few minor downsides. For a start, sometimes cyclists don’t realise the Plantlock is a cycle stand. Jeremy solved this by parking his own bike on one side, and has found that his is usually joined by another very quickly.
Word has got out and many cyclists who go through Exmouth Market regularly now know what the Plantlock is. Some passers-by have used it as a rubbish bin, but that’s a problem that affects all pavement plant pots and Jeremy hasn’t found it a significant problem. It is possible to bolt the Plantlock to the floor, but in many cases Plantlocks are simply kept in place by the 75kg of compost inside them – so you may not want to leave your bike locked to one overnight. Most bikes can be locked to a Plantlock without difficulty, but it may be tricky with some frames. Finally, the Plantlock may be too pricey for some. If a local authority were to place a bulk order, no doubt a lower price could be negotiated, but for owners of small businesses or for homeowners who want just one the £135 price tag might be too high. All these niggles aside, this is a great product with the power to brighten up London’s streets and increase cycle parking provision simultaneously. We’ve heard about plans to remove bollards in one cyclefriendly street and replace them with Plantlocks – we hope the council in question says yes.
Conclusion A fantastic, innovative product sure to put a smile on the face of cyclists and gardeners alike. Ideal for London’s pavements and gardens.
Photo: Mel Allwood, Julia Parry
Trelock FS 401 Cops lock, £48.50 + VAT, price includes bracket, Squire (01902 308 051, www.squirelocks.co.uk) www.trelock.de I have given up searching for the perfect cycle lock. No lock can save your bike from some of the cycle thieves out there. That said, I still spend a fair amount of money securing my steed and when I saw the Trelock 401 Cops lock its innovative design appealed. Trelock is a German brand and the Trelock range of locks is comprehensive and includes the ubiquitous U (or D) lock, of the sort also made by Abus and Kryptonite. Trelock’s 401 Cops lock is different, and it’s new to the UK. It unfolds – like a folding ruler – and is more flexible than a U lock but more rigid than a thin cable lock. It’s lighter than a typical U lock, which is a plus point for me. Best of all, it comes with a bracket that fixes to your bike frame and, when stored, takes up much less room than
a U lock stored in the same position. For anyone who has struggled to accommodate both a U lock and a water bottle in the interior diamond of your bike frame, the Trelock 401 Cops lock may be a good solution. Removing the 401 Cops lock from its bracket, unlocking it and relocking is easy. The lock unfolds smoothly and the key turns well. Its maximum locking length is 85cm and its dimensions when folded are 19 x 7 x 3.5cm. According to Trelock’s own security ranking system, the 401 Cops is rated a 4, with 6 the maximum security rating. A rating of 4 means it offers “protection against professional thieves” but not “high protection” or “maximum protection”. I wouldn’t feel comfortable using it as my only lock, but as a compact supplementary lock it’s ideal.
Conclusion A compact, relatively lightweight lock that takes up less space, when stored in its bracket, than standard U locks. An ideal supplementary lock, but not robust enough for sole use in areas where the risk of theft is high.
30 April/May 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
LCC members’ pages
LCC members’ pages
You can contact the membership team on 020 7234 9310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
These pages provide all you need to know about how to get the most out of your LCC membership 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 LCC, you are covered for up to £5 million. If such an incident occurs, phone the LCC office for immediate advice and assistance.
Free legal advice Free legal advice is a member benefit. If you need any legal assistance on cycling-related issues, please phone the LCC office and we will put you in touch with a cyclist-friendly solicitor.
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 cycling issues, and also organise events, meetings, workshops and
LCC’S VISION LCC’s vision is to make London a world class cycling city 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 Contact the LCC Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registered charity number: 1115789
social rides. See page 34 to find out what your local group is up to.
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.
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 London Cyclist free of charge (see page 35). Send your short, concise ad to email@example.com or
to LCC (address left). Ads from businesses are not accepted.
HOW TO HELP LCC GROW Ask a friend to join You can support 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 to call 020 7234 9310 to join over the phone.
Tell your boss about us LCC has several schemes to encourage employers to make riding to work easier. For details, see www.lcc.org.uk or call our office and ask for information on our corporate affiliates programme.
Volunteer your time Our small office in central London relies on volunteers for much of its membership, administration and campaigning. If you have some spare time, we could use your help! Phone the office for details. London Cyclist also relies on voluntary contributions from members. See www.lcc.org.uk/londoncyclist
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 every two months. Members also receive the other benefits listed on this page. You can join by calling 020 7234 9310 or via www.lcc.org.uk/join Please turn the page for a full list of members’ discounts
Have you been involved in an incident on your bike? Contact our partners, Levenes Solicitors, for free legal advice:
020 8826 1329 www.cycleinjury.co.uk Kevin O’Sullivan, head of Levenes’ Cycle Injuries Department, regular London cyclist and LCC member says: “We have been successfully providing legal advice for LCC members for eight years and are proud to support their campaigning and provide this free cycling incident helpline for the members’ benefit.” Levenes are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and your case will be dealt with on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 31
LCC member discounts
Many of these shops have email and websites. For details, see www.lcc.org.uk
Anyone who joins LCC can cash in on a range of ongoing benefits open only to members. Maintenance Cycle Training UK (CTUK) offers LCC members a 5% discount on bike maintenance training. Call Araxi Djian on 020 7232 4398. Breakdown cover LCC members get 50% off membership of the Environmental Transport Association (ETA), a breakdown service for transport users who care about the environment. For 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 LCC members also get discounts on bikes, accessories and servicing at the following bike shops in the capital. Remember to show your membership card before you make a purchase or book your service. MAIL ORDER / ONLINE 50Cycles Ltd Quote LCC + membership no. 5% bikes and accessories. Exceptions: not on second-hand or ex display; not in conjunction with other offers. ■ ➔ www.50cycles.com 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) ✔ ▲ MonFri 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 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 8.30-6 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 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 Paul’s Custom Cycles 38 Mount Pleasant WC1X (07960 987 887) ▲ 10-4 Mon-Sat 11-4 Sun Velorution 18 Great Titchfield St W1 (020 7637 4004) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 918.45 Sat 10.30-18.30 Also sells secondhand bikes EAST Bicycle Magic 4-6 Greatorex St E1 (020 7375 2993) ■ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 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 CycleSurgery Brody House Strype St E1 (020 7375 3088) ▲ ✔ Mon/ Weds/Fri 8.30-6 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) ▲ ✔ Not on promotional products. Mon-Sat 9.15-5.30 E A Cycles 783 Romford Rd, Manor Park, Newham E12 (020 8478 2540) 5% bikes; ■ ✔ 10% servicing MonSat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Discounts not on promotional or sale items 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 MonFri 8-8 (Closed Mon 11-12) Sat 9.306 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 Wharf Cycles Unit B6, Lanterns Ct, Millharbour E14 (020 7987 2255) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-7 Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 NORTH Action Bikes 64 Ballards Ln 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 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 Cycle Store (The) 201 Woodhouse Rd Friern Barnet N12 (020 8368 3001) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 (Closed Weds) Sat 9-5 Sun 11-3 Holloway Cycles 290 Holloway Road, N7 (020 7700 6611) ▲ ✔ 10% servicing/labour Mon-Fri 8.30-6.30 Sat 9-6 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 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)
32 April/May 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
LCC members’ pages Many of these shops have email and websites. For details, see www.lcc.org.uk ▲ ✔ 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) Top Rider 210 Baker Street, Enfield EN1 (020 83638618) ✔ Closed Wed & Sun Mon-Sat 9-5.30 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 8202 4671) ■ ✔ MonSat 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 Evans Cycles 240 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 Mon-Fri 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) ● ➔ Includes servicing; exc labour Tues-Sat 9-5.30 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 Deens Garage 439 Croydon Rd BR3 (020 8650 0630) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 8.30-5.30 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 Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Weds 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 6 Tooley St SE1 (020 7403 4610) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing. MonFri 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. Discounts don’t apply to sale items or cycle scheme bikes
ReCycling (Only sells catalogue returns, renovated and second-hand bikes) 110 Elephant Rd SE17 (020 7703 7001) ▲ ✖ Robinsons Cycles 172 Jamaica Rd, SE16 (020 7237 4679) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-6; Thur 9.30-2pm Sidcup Cycle Centre 142-146 Station Rd, Sidcup DA15 (020 8300 8113) ✔ Mon-Fri 9-5.30; Thurs 9-7; Sat 9-5 Witcomb Cycles 25 Tanners Hill, Deptford SE8 (020 8692 1734) ■ ✔ Mon closed; Tues, Wed, Fri 9.30-5; Thurs, Sat 9.30-4 Wilsons 32 Peckham Rd SE15 (0207 639 1338) ▲✔ Mon-Fri 10-6; Sat 10-5 Xadventure Bikes 25-29 Perry Hill, Forest Hill SE23 (020 8699 6768) ▲✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 No discount on servicing SOUTH-WEST Action Bikes Fairfield Ave Staines TW18 4AB (01784 440666) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6; Sun 11-3.30 Action Bikes 221 The Broadway SW19 1SD (020 8540 0313) ▲ ✔ Action Bikes 437 Upper Richmond
Rd, East Sheen SW14 ✔ (020 8876 5566) Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 11-4 Bicycle Warehouse 214-216 Kingston Rd, Teddington TW11 (020 8977 2925) ▲ ✔ 10% servicing Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Sun 10-4 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 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 Clapham Unit 2 65-79 Clapham High Street SW4 7TG ▲ ✔ 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 11-12) 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 9-5.30 Sun 10-3.30 Mike’s Bikes 27 Aberconway Rd Morden SM4 (020 8640 1088) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 8-5.30 Sat 9-4 Moore’s Cycles 61 London Rd Twickenham TW1 3SZ (020 8744 0175) Mon, Sat 9-5.30; Tue-Fri 9-6; Sun 10-4 ▲ ✔ Moose Cycles 48 High St Colliers Wood SW19 (020 8544 9166) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-7 Pitfield Cycles 137 Kingston Rd New Malden KT3 (020 8949 4632) ■ ➔ Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Prologue 232 Upper Richmond Road, East Sheen, SW14 (020 8878 BIKES
6266) ▲ ✔ 15% servicing Mon closed Wed 8am-8pm Tue/Thur-Fri 9am-6pm Sun 12pm-5pm Discount applies to BH brand bikes only Psubliminal 17 Balham High St, SW12 (020 8772 0707) 5% discount on servicing. Tues-Fri 9-6.30 Thurs 9-7 Sat 9-5.30 Putney Cycles 337 Putney Bridge Rd, SW15 (020 8785 3147) ✔ MonFri 8-6.30 Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 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 has 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 Road, Wimbledon SW19 (020 8971 2065) ■ ✔ 10% labour/servicing. Only on full price items 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 Bikes 917-919 Fulham Rd SW6 (020 7731 5005) ● ✔ MonFri 11-7 Thurs 11-8 Sat 10-6 Sun 12-5 Cyclopedia 262 Kensington High St W8 (020 7603 7626) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 88 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10.30-5 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 Moore’s Cycles 3-5 St. John’s Road Isleworth TW7 6NA (020 8560 7131) Mon, Sat 9-5.30; Tues-Fri 9-6; Sun 10-4 ▲ ✔ WIZZBIKE.com 113-114 High Street, Brentford, TW8 (020 8326 2819) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6; Sun 11-5 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 2008 33
Local groups News BARNET
Another Barnet AGM has come and gone. There were no new volunteers to run the committee, so the existing mob have been reinstated. Still with now over 300 members we must be getting something right. To liven things up, the AGM was followed by our annual auction of bits and pieces. This resulted in some members going home with more clutter than they had arrived with, but at least it raised over £100 for the group’s funds. Later this year is the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Barnet branch of LCC. The committee is desperately trying to think of amazing things to do to celebrate this. Meetings: last Thurs of the month, 8pm at Trinity Church Hall, Nether Street, N12 Contact: Jeremy Parker (020 8440 9080) Website: www.barnetlcc.org
were tenuous; and even the last two could be brought up to standard with remedial work. The campaign continues. The new year started with some of us getting involved in Open Street Map with a view to using it as a back drop to our cycle route mapping project. We are pleased to announce that the London Borough of Camden has decided to support our cycle maintenance workshops. There will be three sets of workshops in 2008. Contact Stefano for details. Meetings: April 14 and May 12 at Primrose Hill Community Association, 29 Hopkinsons Place, (off Fitzroy Rd) NW1 8TN Contact: Stefano Casalotti (020 7435 0196, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jean Dollimore (020 7485 5896, email@example.com) Website: www.camdencyclists.org.uk EALING
We are concerned about the safety of the redeveloped Church End roundabout, where cyclists have difficulty getting into the correct lane. Brent Council has been spending LCN+ money on building entry treatments on sideroads on its side of the A5. We do not believe this is effective or correct use of LCN+ funds. The LCN+ route along the A5 was one of those ideas which sounded good – to create a cycle route that was straight and direct, but there was never political will from the four authorities involved (Brent, Barnet, Camden and Transport for London) to do anything to the road that would make a difference to cyclists. The question is, will Ken Livingstone’s new “cycling corridors” achieve any more? The press announcement mooted a route from central London to Kilburn, but LCC is in the dark as to details. Social activities go hand-in-hand with campaigning. In January and February, Brent Cyclists enjoyed rides up the Grand Union Canal to Rickmansworth, and around the high parks of north London. By the time you read this, we should also have participated in the Greener Kilburn event at Kilburn Market on March 29. Meetings: 7pm on Wednesday, April 2, and Wednesday, May 7 (AGM) at the Samaritans Centre, 1 Leopold Road, NW10. Contact: Ben Tansley (07941 050161, firstname.lastname@example.org). Website: www.brentcyclists.org.uk CAMDEN
Following the demo at St Pancras International, Camden Council commissioned a safety audit of the roads around the station. CCC participated in the on-site inspection. Others are chasing Eurostar and the station managers for cycle carriage and better access to the new parking on the station. CCC has participated in a CRISP for an east-west non-LCN local route from West Hampstead via Swiss Cottage and Primrose Hill and Goodsway to the Islington border. The Hampstead Heath Cycling Review was published in December. Although it gave five of our seven proposed links a high score on the design assessment, only two were recommended for consideration as shared use routes; however, the arguments against cycling on the other three
Ealing Cycling Campaign has been reviewing its campaigns. Top of the list is cycle access into and parking at stations. Members have expressed support for 20mph zones and rationalisation of the cycle lane operating hours on Uxbridge Road. We are hopeful that we might be a step closer towards achieving the first of our objectives at Ealing Broadway station following the Ealing and Acton Rail roundtable meeting in February. We have received a £500 donation from the Save Ealing Streets campaign. Do come along to our next meeting to help us spend it wisely. We have a social ride on the first Sunday of the month – meet at 10am at Ealing Town Hall (see the website and page 38). Meetings: The first Wednesday of the month (venue details on the website) Contact: David Lomas (020 8579 0805, email@example.com) Website: www.ealingcycling.org.uk ENFIELD
We look forward to welcoming LCC chief executive Koy Thomson to our April meeting. If you have been thinking of coming along to a meeting but have just never got round to it, why not come down for the chance to chat with somebody who is in a position to influence cycling policy? It was interesting to hear the news about Ken Livingstone’s plans for cycling ‘motorways’. Here in Enfield, we have experienced difficulty just getting our local politicians to agree on how some of the LCN+ routes should be implemented. In February, several of our members participated in the CRIM (inspection meeting) for LCN Link 54 (Green Lanes), but it seems likely that the most we can hope for agreement on is a few Advanced Stop Lines and some cycle logos on the road. On a more positive note, following the success of the first Enfield Festival of Cycling last June, Enfield Council has decided to repeat the event. This year’s festival will be at the end of Bike Week on Sunday, June 22 at Picketts Lock Athletics Centre as part of the Lee Valley Festival, which is described as “an event to showcase the very best of sport and physical activity in north London”. Enfield Cycling Campaign plan to play an active role, so put the date in your diary. Let’s hope for better weather this year!
Meetings: 8pm Thursday, April 3 at Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, Fords Grove, N21 3ER (entrance in Firs Lane); 8pm Thursday, May 1 at the Jolly Butchers pub, 168 Baker Street, Enfield, EN1 Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.lccenfield.fsnet.co.uk Rides are listed on the Edmonton CC website at www.edmontoncyclingclub.fsnet.co.uk HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM
Planning for the Greenfest West London is underway. A celebration of cycling, the environment and the community, it will take place beside the river in Hammersmith on June 15. See www.greenfest.org.uk. Contact us if you want to be involved. The opening of the Westfield WhiteCity London shopping and leisure complex gets closer, opening perhaps in November 2008. We are hoping that the highway plans can be altered to be more cycle-friendly. Shepherd’s Bush Green is on a main route for cyclists into central London, but what is planned cannot be called a cycle route. Westfield appears to be only interested in getting cyclists into its complex and is then repelled by the thought of cyclists actually cycling on its land. By the time this appears, we should know what will be happening. Our AGM will be on Tuesday, May 6 – we hope to see you there or on one of our rides. See our website for the news and rides. Meetings: April 2 and May 6 Contact: John Griffiths (email@example.com, 020 7371 1290, 07789 095 745) Website: www.hfcyclists.org.uk ISLINGTON
We are pleased that cyclist and Channel 4 newscaster, Jon Snow, will be speaking at our AGM on May 14. We anticipate an interesting evening, so come along. We’ve submitted comments on big local developments (Goswell Road/City Road crossing, Highbury Corner, Packington estate) and hope to see improvements for cyclists, although it is early days for the latter schemes. The council has set up an FTP server so we can view their plans electronically, and our quarterly meetings with them and the local Living Streets have been going reasonably well. We’ve joined forces with other local organisations to campaign for a 20mph Islington. It is hoped that if enough people ask for specific streets to become 20mph, the council will realise it is easier to make that the speed limit on all borough-controlled streets. We’ll also be involved again in the canal towpath ‘Two Tings’ campaign, encouraging cyclists to ring twice when passing pedestrians and pedestrians to be aware of the significance of two rings. Meetings: 7.30pm-9.30pm on second Wednesday of the month (April 9 and May 14) at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1. Contact: Alison Dines (020 7226 7012, firstname.lastname@example.org) KENSINGTON & CHELSEA
This month sees the first K&C ride for a while, thanks to Roger Crosskey. Come along to the
34 April/May 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Local groups See the ‘local groups’ section at www.lcc.org.uk for more contact information and news from your area
Goldfinger ride on Sunday, April 13. Meet 10.30 at the café by the Elfin Oak (Broadwalk near Queensway tube). More info on the website, plus keep an eye out for our May ride. Come along to a meeting; they’re informal and friendly. Halfpriced sandwiches after 5pm at the café too. Meetings: 7pm, April 28, June 2 at Café Deco, 62 Gloucester Road, SW7 Contact: Philip Loy (email@example.com, 07960 026 450) Website: www.lcc.org.uk > Kensington & Chelsea To join our email group, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org KINGSTON
Aside from all the hoo-ha in the local press about cycling through pedestrianised Clarence Street, members of the campaign have been busy trying to ensure that cycling will not also be banned in Eden Street when the town centre is redeveloped. A liaison meeting was held with Kingston and Richmond councils and campaigns represented so that cross-boundary issues could be examined. Our campaign to crack down on theft starts with distribution of a guide on how to protect your bike. The Bread Pudding rides have already proved to be even more popular than last year. The programme for the year ahead can be found on our revised website. Meetings: 8.30pm on April 8 and May 13 at the Wagon & Horses Pub Surbiton Hill Road. Contact: Rob James: (020 8546 8865) Website: www.kingstoncycling.org.uk
issue before that, I wrote that Jenny Jones (GLA member and adviser to Ken Livingstone on sustainable transport) has called for the cycling budget to be beefed up to £300m – since then this has happened with half a billion announced to pay for a network of 12 or so cycle superhighways from outer to central London, a free city bike hire scheme and the creation of a series of ‘bike zones’ for shoppers and the school run with cycle priority streets and 20mph speed limits. We will be working hard to ensure that Merton sees some of the benefits of these new initiatives. 20mph as a standard speed limit on our streets remains our top campaigning issue. Enforcement by average speed cameras (so no humps, hurrah!) and Ken has promised the funding: “TfL will work with the boroughs to encourage and support the implementation of borough-wide default 20mph speed limits in all residential areas. It will provide technical and legal guidance and financial support for appropriate measures, including the introduction of time distance safety cameras when approved. 20mph zones in London have more than halved numbers killed and seriously injured. We need London-wide 20 now, and where better to start than Merton? MCC is discussing with council cabinet members. Our AGM will be at 8pm on May 22 in the All Saints Centre, All Saints Road, SW19 1BX – see you there and in the Sultan afterwards. Meetings: 8pm the first Thursday of the month Contact: Richard Evans (020 8946 0912, email@example.com) Website: www.mertoncyclists.org.uk
We’ve had a busy couple of months in Lambeth having fun and being frustrated in our quest to promote cycling. Our Christmas party and local quiz was a great success as has been our continuing series of architecture rides. We also went clubbing at Synergy where we discovered new uses for our flashing lights and reflective bands. Our stall attracted a good deal of interest. On the more frustrating side, we undertook a traffic count to help persuade the council that the Herne Hill/ Brockwell Park redevelopment will not help cyclists, but it appears that our wishes will not be granted either there or at the Brixton gyratory redesign. Join us this spring for our Back On Your Bike Breakfast (Brixton Road, 8am-9am, Wednesday, April 2), the GLA hustings (7pm, Tuesday, April 8), the annual meeting and elections (8pm, Tuesday, April 15), or visit our stall at Streatham Kite Day (11am-4pm, Sunday, April 13). For details of all our rides and events, including our hugely popular architecture rides, please visit our website or join us in person at a meeting for a very sociable and stimulating evening. We hope to see you all soon. Meetings: 8.30pm, Tuesday, April 15 and Tuesday, May 20 at the Bread & Roses, 68 Clapham Manor Street, SW4. Contact: Philip Loy (020 8677 8624) Website: www.lambethcyclists.org.uk MERTON
Thanks to Hugh Morgan for the Lilliputian hedgehogs contribution here last issue. In the
The stimulus of the development of the East London Corridor, Stratford City and the 2012 Olympic Games has started a renaissance of the London Borough of Newham. The New Newham Ride will revisit places unknown to a modern generation and show how Newham is a borough with surprising architectural and scenic interest. The ride will start with a panoramic view over the Olympic site and end with a view over Newham from Beckton Alps before returning back to Stratford station along the Greenway. The leisurely three-hour New Newham Ride, with café stops, will be off-road but suitable for all types of bikes in good condition. There will be a number of drop-off points for cyclists who don’t want to ride the whole route. The New Newham Rides will start at 11am from underneath the Olympic Countdown Clock outside Stratford station on the following dates in 2008: Saturday, April 5; Sunday, April 20; Saturday, May 31; Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, July 13. Contact: Bernard McDonnell (07947 236 965, firstname.lastname@example.org) REDBRIDGE
The speaker at our next group meeting on Tuesday, April 22 is Alison Puddle, project officer for the new cycle centre at Hog Hill. One kilometre of track is now open for use and is said to be very good. Come to the meeting and discuss future possibilities with Alison. The speaker at the following group meeting on
May 20 is Patrick Field, founder of the London School of Cycling and the Dunwich Dynamo and a great speaker. A four-week course of cycle maintenance workshops led by Jim Dalton commences on May 7 at Wanstead House. Book with Terry Hughes. More details on our website and in Hubbub. Fancy a ride? In addition to our advertised rides, you can join monthly Epping Forest rides, starting at the Chingford Hunting Lodge, which are led by Ranger Ian Greer; or the New Newham rides, starting at the Stratford countdown clock, and led by Bernard McDonnell. Both will operate April to September. Meetings: 8pm on April 22 and May 20 at Wanstead House, 21 The Green E11; nr Wanstead Station. Contact: Gill James (020 8989 4898, email@example.com) and Chris Elliott (020 8989 6285, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.redbridgelcc.org.uk RICHMOND
Our rides are becoming more successful under the watchful eye of ride organiser Sue Higham. She puts a lot of work into rides and they are well organised, so turn up to our Rides for Everyone for a gentle jaunt on the third Saturday of the month or join our longer ride on the first Sunday of the month. A meeting with the council about the cycle liaison group provided some useful insight into how the council implements its cycle provision. Some frustration was evident at the meeting – priorities and plans need to be brought to the council. If you want to be involved in campaigns, now is the time to step forward. There is a project to put an off-road cycle lane on Hampton Court Road and we persuaded the council to keep the existing cycle lane. By the time you read this, the first Transport Consultative Group meeting with a cycling representative will have taken place. This is a major achievement and means cycling interests will be represented during all major transport projects in the borough. Meetings: The second Monday of the month Website: www.rcc.myzen.co.uk Blog: http://richmondcc.blogspot.com Contact: email@example.com, 07976 294 626 Website: www.rcc.myzen.co.uk SOUTHWARK
The big shock wasn’t the botched Bankside byelaw attempt, or Bermondsey Bridge being part of the £50m Sustrans Lottery win, or the fact that I had to walk to a work meeting when Facilities changed the code on the bike shed door but forget to tell the users. it was a few of us meeting Transport for London (TfL) in The Ring pub opposite Southwark tube station and TfL asking for our thoughts on how to spend £17m on Blackfriars Road. Excellent meeting about something very big indeed. Local work on workplace cycle parking starts to yield results as Southwark planners begin revision of local standards and the council starts looking for a lot more spaces offsite for its new 160 Tooley Street building. TfL at last sprinkling a lot of racks down its Southwark roads is making a difference. But TfL is heading for problems
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 35
Local groups News when it moves into The Shard at London Bridge. Without major change, that building will be short of several thousand bike spaces. Planning permissions last five years – there’s loads of buildings coming through with outdated parking provision. Ten Rotherhithe Healthy Rides, 10 more with the June/July London Architecture Festival (see page 50), the London Flood Plane ride with the London International Festival of Theatre, maintenance classes with Southwark Caribb football club, Young Southwark Refugee Bike Rides, Thursday Afterworkers – try them. And after a few happy years at Blackfriars Settlement, we move meeting places. From April 2008, on we go to Better Bankside and their offices/meeting space at the back of Bankside 123, corner of Great Guildford Street (LCC HQ was here once) and Zoar Street. From Community Centre to Business Improvement District HQ. Interesting times. Meetings: 7pm, the second Wednesday of the month. Better Bankside, Bankside 3, Great Guildford Street, SE1 0FT Contact: Barry Mason (07905 889 005, firstname.lastname@example.org) SUTTON
Many thanks to helpers at the maintenance class in February. Many cycle stands are to be installed (eg the Civic car park is to have four spaces for covered cycle stands; there will also be stands for the football grounds in Sutton and Carshalton). The Beddington Park route from Elmwood entrance to the Grange has been delayed as a brick base is needed for a bridge. Cycle route bids for next year, 2009/10 and the next five years will be discussed with officers. There is a scheme for dual cycle lanes on the west side of High Street Sutton from Asda to Crown Road and by the triangular island at the junction. Angela Gorman of Groundwork Merton is organising this (www.wandlevalleypark.org. uk). Consultations in progress are: A232 Windsor Castle Junction in Carshalton with banned right turn from Park Lane and improved pedestrian refuge here and banned left turn from Beynon Road; new crossing in Beynon Road by TL as corner extended plus entry treatment for Wilmot Road; A232 Carshalton Road accident prevention measures at Sutton Grove and Ringstead Road; Hackbridge to be developed from a local to district centre with more housing. Meetings: 8.30pm at The Robin Hood pub at junction of Robin Hood Lane and West Street on April 8 and May 13 Members’ adverts ◆ FOR SALE: Adam’s Trail-A-Bike suitable for 4-8-year-olds. Hitches onto a 26” (or more) wheel adult bike. Two sets of connections. £40 ono. 020 8851 3454 evenings. ◆ FOR SALE: Folding bicycle from PBWbikes.com. Has Rholoff 500/14 hub gears (£500), full suspension with 20” wheels, Schwalbe marathon tyres + mudguards. Extras included (bell, oil for
JUNE/JULY DEADLINE: 6pm Friday, May 2 Email news to email@example.com – photos are welcome and will be published if space permits
Contact: Chris Parry (020 8647 3684, firstname.lastname@example.org) WANDSWORTH
We’ve been moving and shaking merrily this last few months having decided to spend the large donation that we received on bikes for a local school, where the kids are now receiving cycle lessons. And we’re really delighted we succeeded in setting up a meeting with Wandsworth Council. It was a chance to discuss putting cycle provisions into school travel plans, a 20mph speed limit on streets, and our ‘vision’ for cycling in Wandsworth. It seems some more committee members might come forward for training in ‘Movers and Shakers Mark II’ – hopefully it will help them see the cyclist’s viewpoint. Another highlight was in having Koy Thomson, director of LCC, along to our January meeting, to talk about campaign ideas. Members went along to the Clapham Junction development presentation to see what was being done for cyclists in the town centre. We’re trying to set up meetings to ensure cyclists don’t get sidelined as they did at St Pancras. There’s plenty more happening. Would you like to join in the fun? Meetings: The second Tuesday of each month Contact: Simon Merrett (020 8789 6639, email@example.com) Website: www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk WESTMINSTER
The Royal Parks is leading the way in improving cycling in Westminster. The cycle lanes through Admiralty Arch are the first of several measures to improve the cycle route between Hyde Park Corner and Trafalgar Square. These will include a toucan crossing of Marlborough Road. We are pleased to hear that cycling will continue to be allowed along the Broad Walk in Regent’s Park. This is one of a package of measures to improve cycling in that park. The project to redesign Parliament Square presents an opportunity to improve cycling conditions by eliminating the gyratory system. In the shorter term, cyclists are to be allowed to turn right from Bridge Street into Parliament Street (Whitehall). We have been calling for this for years. Meeting: Tuesday, April 8 at 7pm at Heart of London Business Alliance, Broadmead House, 21-23 Panton Street, SW1. Please call 07714 691 654 to confirm you are coming. Contact: Colin Wing (020 7828 1500, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.westminstercyclists.org.uk hub gear, spare front-stem). £600 ono. 020 8769 7498. ◆ FOR SALE: Dutch Sparta Somerset bike. Lge men’s frame 61cm, midnight blue, 7sp Shimano hub gears, fully enclosed chaincase. Ideal commuting bike. VGC – genuine reason for sale. £300 (cost £650). Contact John at john. email@example.com or 020 8979 4118 (Hampton) for pics and more details.
OTHER LOCAL GROUP CONTACTS BARKING & DAGENHAM Contact: Colin Newman (07761 577 255, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.stibasa.org.uk BEXLEY Contact: Frances Renton (01322 441 979, email@example.com) or Dave Reynolds (01322 525 481) BROMLEY Contact: Andrew Fergar (07717 693 701) CITY Contact: Ralph Smyth (firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.citycyclists.org.uk CROYDON Contact: email@example.com Website: www.croydon-lcc.org.uk ENFIELD Contact: Richard Reeve (r.reeve@blueyonder. co.uk, 0870 321 3717) Website: www.lccenfield.fsnet.co.uk GREENWICH Contact: Julian Dobson (07771 692 344) Website: www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk) HACKNEY Contact: Trevor Parsons (020 7729 2273, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk HARINGEY Contact: Adam Coffman (email@example.com) Website: www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups HAVERING Contact: Bernie Curtis (01708 347 226, CurtisBernieS@aol.com) HILLINGDON Contact: Sarah James (020 8868 2912) or Steve Ayres (01895 230 953) HOUNSLOW Contact: Liz Trayhorn (020 8751 5430, liz. firstname.lastname@example.org) LEWISHAM Contact: Ian or Paul (email@example.com) Website: www.lewishamcyclists.net TOWER HAMLETS Contact: Owen Pearson (020 7515 9905, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.towerhamletwheelers.org.uk WALTHAM FOREST Contact: Robert Vaughan, (020 8520 8858, email@example.com) Website: www.wfcycling.org.uk
How to advertise Small, non-business ads are free to LCC members. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the address on page 3, including your short and concise advertisement, full name, postal address and LCC membership number. The June/July LC issue deadline is 6pm, Friday, May 2. Businesses or members interested in larger advertisements should contact Matt Styrka on 020 7306 0300 ext 112 or email email@example.com
LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 37
Diary Rides & Events Your guide to events and rides that are open to all cyclists 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 April/May issue, please upload by noon, Thursday, May 1, or email email@example.com
A charity challenge with a difference
The Isle of Wight Will you accept the Square Bicycle Challenge? Send £3 to Jonathan Edwards at 27 Upper Ramsey Walk, London, N1 2RP and receive a booklet to lead you on a merry cycle round 73 of London’s squares. You will be asked to find out something in each square, and to send in your answers.You have all summer to do it, and someone will win a bike at the end of it. Proceeds go to the charity Afasic, which works for speech-impaired children. Jonathan is an LCC member who voluntarily runs bike maintenance classes in Islington (see page 27). He is also involved in the Annual Afasic Ride from Avonmouth to Portsmouth via Bristol, Salisbury and the Isle of Wight (pictured), July 19-23. Details from firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7704 1884.
Hackney gets its own cycling club One of London’s most cycle-crazy boroughs now has its own cycling club. The Cycling Club Hackney (CCH) has been formed to promote cycling and cycle sport in East London. It is open to everybody, regardless of age or geographical location, but has a special emphasis on building a strong youth section, having already developed ties with Hackney Youth Services and the Learning Trust. CCH will hold a Round Chelmsford ride on Sunday, April 6. The ride will be free, sociable and non-competitive and will cover a distance of 88 miles (142km). Meet at 10am outside the Lee Valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Road, E10. There is a map of the route at http://linkpot.net/pageant The club also runs a ride to Essex each Sunday morning, meeting 10am at the Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road. For more information about rides or for general information about CCH, contact Keir Apperley at keirapple@ hotmail.com
In search of Robin Hood The Nottinghamshire market town of Newark on Trent is a great base from which to explore Robin Hood country. With Sherwood Forest located just to the town’s north-west, it’s possible to take advantage of cycle paths scattered around Newark town centre and leading to and through Sherwood. Newark is a little over an hour from London on the east coast rail link, making it a great daytrip or weekend getaway. The map, Cycling In Newark & Sherwood, is available by contacting the cycling and walking officer at Nottinghamshire County Council on 01159 774 585 or Cycling through Sherwood Forest by emailing email@example.com
Call for volunteer cyclists for London event Breast cancer awareness charity Walk The Walk is calling for volunteer cyclists to help out with its annual MoonWalk event on Saturday, May 17. The event sees 15,000 women and men – dressed in bras – set off at midnight to walk a marathon around London.
Cyclists are needed to help us patrol and marshal the route. Shifts start at Hyde Park at 8pm on the Saturday and 6.30am on the Sunday. Those interested in volunteering should phone 01483 741 362 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
RIDES AND EVENTS Wednesday, April 2 ◆ Lambeth Cyclists Back On Your Bike Spring Breakfast. 8am-9am at 338 Brixton Road. Stop for free coffee and croissants Saturday, April 5 ◆ Dulwich Paragon Ride. Every Saturday. Meet at Café St Germain on Crystal Palace Parade 9am for a two-hour ride. Contact: www.dulwichparagon.com ◆ The New Newham Ride. Meet 11am, Olympic clock, Stratford station for leisurely three-hour ride. Contact: Bernard McDonnell (email@example.com, 07947 236 965) ◆ Snaking course. Course for Accredited or Provisional NS cycling instructors. Details: www.cyclinginstructor.com Sunday, April 6 ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. 9.30am from Pollards Hill Library on South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham. www. pollardshillcyclists.org.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ Bike Polo. Sundays 1pm in the football court, cnr Brick Lane and Shacklewell Road. Details: http:// myspace.com/bricklanebikepolo ◆ Round Chelmsford with Cycling Club Hackney. See left Monday, April 7 ◆ Resonance 104.4FM Bike Show. Every Monday, 6.30pm ◆ RoadPeace conference: Improving the response to road death and injury. Details: www.roadpeace.org Tuesday, April 8 ◆ Lambeth and Southwark GLA transport hustings. 7pm Herne Hill Baptist Church, Half Moon Ln, SE24. Meet the candidates. See also page 14 Wednesday, April 9 ◆ LCC retention evening. Help with member mailouts. An evening with like-minded cyclists. Details: 020 7234 9310 ext 215, email@example.com ◆ London Walking & Cycling Conference 2008. Brings borough officers, campaigners and experts together at City Hall. See www.tfl.gov.uk Sunday, April 13 ◆ Streatham Kite Day. 11am-5pm Streatham Common. Lambeth Cyclists will have a stall ◆ Kensington & Chelsea’s Goldfinger Ride. 10.30am at Elfin Oak (by cafe) in Kensington Gardens. Short ride around easy and attractive routes in central London. Led by Roger Crosskey.
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Diary For last-minute rides, contact your local group (details page xx) or go to www.lcc.org.uk/rides
Bicycle group for girls Trixie Chix is a group of women who meet up to learn how to do (mostly) pointless tricks on their bikes. They’re also keen on bike polo and having a drink or two. They are primarily a fixed-gear riding crew, but women on bikes of all makes, shapes and sizes are welcome. The girls say they aim to create an atmosphere of comfort to help women gain both security and self-awareness on their bikes. At the time of going to press, their website (www.trixiechix.com) was still under construction, but they have a MySpace page at www.myspace.com/trixiechix, which carries more information and links.
Marcel Duchamp’s 1913 Bicycle Wheel (as featured in our Oct/Nov ’07 bikes and arts special), is being exhibited at the Tate Modern (020 7887 8888, www.tate.org.uk) until May 26 as part of the gallery’s Duchamp Man Ray, Picabia show.
Bike delivery service for visitors to France An English couple has launched a bike delivery service for cyclists who want to ride in France but who don’t want to take their own bikes with them. Steve and Lucy Hill’s www.bikehiredirect.com is an English-language site that covers the south-west France and Charente-Maritime regions. It allows you to pre-book bikes and accessories, and arranges for them to be delivered to your campsite or hotel. A range of bikes is on offer for adults and children, as well as trailers for toddlers. Maps, cycle routes and general advice are also provided. “Whether you’re 18 months old or 80 years old, cycling is a wonderful way to enjoy all the area has to offer,” says Lucy.
Wessex Cycle Festival on bank holiday weekend The Wessex Cycle Festival returns over the May 24-26 bank holiday weekend with the Tour of Wessex road race passing through Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. Spectators will line the route at key locations such as Cheddar Gorge and Exmoor
National Park to watch the race, as well as a Cyclosportive that is set to attract 3,000 riders. The festival also sees mountain bike trials and a cycle exhibition. For more information, see www. tourofwessex.com and www. cyclefestival.com
The beautiful scenery won’t be the only attraction in Exmoor National Park in May when the Tour of Wessex passes through
Monthly socials a great chance to meet LCC staff LCC’s monthly socials happen from 6.30pm on the third Wednesday of each month, upstairs at the Leather Exchange, 25 Leathermarket Street, SE1. The evenings are open to all LCC members and those who want to find out more about the organisation. People who may not previously have considered getting involved can meet staff and active members to chat about LCC and cycling in general. For more information, call the LCC office (contact details page 31).
Thursday, May 1 ◆ London Mayoral Elections. See page 14 Sunday, May 4 ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 Sunday, May 11 ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 Tuesday, May 13 ◆ LCC retention evening. See April 9 Sunday, May 18 ◆ Etape Caledonia. Britain’s only closed road cycle challenge takes place in Scotland ◆ Bread Pudding Ride. See April 13 ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 Wednesday, May 21 ◆ LCC Social Evening. See April 16 ◆ Midweek Ride. See April 30 May 24-36 ◆ Wessex Cycle Festival. See right Sunday, May 25 ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 Friday, May 30 ◆ Critical Mass. See February 29 ◆ ICAG Feeder Ride to Critical Mass. See April 25 Saturday, May 31 ◆ The New Newham Ride. See April 5 PLANNING AHEAD June 6-8 ◆ Mountain Bike World Cup. Nevis Range, Scotland. www. fortwilliamworldchamps.co.uk Wednesday, June 11 ◆ LCC retention evening. See April 9 June 14-22 ◆ Bike Week. See www.bikeweek.org.uk Sunday, June 15 ◆ London to Brighton Bike Ride. Details at www.bhf.org.uk or call 020 7935 0185 June 20-July 20 ◆ London Biennial Festival of Architecture. See page 50 Sunday, June 22 ◆ Enfield Festival of Cycling. Picketts Lock Athletics Centre. Enfield Cycling Campaign will have details closer to the time: www.lccenfield.fsnet.co.uk July 19-20 ◆ Dunwich Dynamo. Free overnight ride of 120 miles. See www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk Sunday, September 21 ◆ London Freewheel. The capital’s mass participation ride. www.londonfreewheel.com
Details: www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups ◆ Bread Pudding Ride. 10.30am from Kingston Market Place. Easy-paced ride into Surrey with Kingston Cycling Campaign. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875, firstname.lastname@example.org) ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 Tuesday, April 15 ◆ Lambeth Cyclists Annual Meeting and Elections. 8pm Bread & Roses, Clapham Manor Street, SW4. Koy Thomson, LCC director, will be guest speaker Wednesday, April 16 ◆ LCC Social Evening. 6.30pm, the Leather Exchange, 15 Leathermarket Street, SE1. Learn more about the LCC’s work and meet members at monthly social nights. Contact: Oliver Schick (email@example.com) Sunday, April 20 ◆ Thames Towpath Ride. Meet 11am at Interchange Centre, Haverstock Hill for ride to Richmond. 25+ miles. Contact: James Brander (jxchamberlain@ aol.com, 020 7267 3585) ◆ Little Green Ride. Meet 9.45am ticket hall, Finsbury Park mainline station for train to Hertfordshire for an easy paced 30-mile ride. Contact: Stephen Taylor (07977 235 735, firstname.lastname@example.org) ◆ Docklands Ride. 10am, Manor Park station for 20-25-mile ride along the Thames to Greenwich and back. Bring sandwiches. Contact: Alan James (020 8989 4898, email@example.com) ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 ◆ The New Newham Ride. See April 5 Friday, April 25 ◆ Critical Mass. London’s largest monthly cycle ride. Meets from 6pm by the National Film Theatre on South Bank. See www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk ◆ ICAG Feeder Ride to Critical Mass. 6.15pm from Islington Town Hall. Islington Cyclists’ Action Group ride to Critical Mass (above). Contact: Chris Ashby (020 7609 5093) Sunday, April 27 ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. See April 6 ◆ Bread Pudding Ride. See April 13 Wednesday, April 30 ◆ Midweek Ride. 7.30pm Kingston Market Place for easy paced ride with the Kingston Cycling Campaign. Contact: John Dunn (johnedunn@blueyonder. co.uk, 020 8397 1875)
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To advertise on this page, please phone 020 7306 0300 ext.112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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LONDON CYCLIST April/May 2008 41
Books ’n’ things Fine lines extract from Long Cloud Ride by Josie Dew I trundled onward past and through such places as Kowhai (‘tall cattle’), Mount Furneaux, Green Burn, Hawk Hills, Surrey Hills (though no sign of Woking or Guildford), Mount Horrible, Black Stream, Humbug Stream, Stag and Spey Road, Cloudy Range Road, Mount Lyford ski resort (no snow, just deserted slopes of grey scree topping a thicket of forest that looked as if it had slipped down the mountain), Mount Tinline, Lottery River and Stackhouses Road. I was hauling myself over a particularly steep hill when I caught sight of a blur of a cyclist streaking down the road in the opposite direction. It was the electrically long-haired Austrian wizard whom I had briefly met at the cicada-infested campsite in East Cape. I was still inching my way upwards when I spotted him again far below following the thread of road along the bottom of the river valley. He saw me and waved, so I waved back and then I had something happen to me that never had before: I was yodelled to. A proper mountain-echoing Austrian yodel that bounced back and forth from one hillside to another. How touching. And then he stopped. So I stopped. And he shouted, “Are you vell?” So I shouted back. “All well, thank you!” It was like a sort of Shackleton exchange when Ernest finally returned to Elephant Island to rescue his men and had shouted out across the water a greeting along similar lines. Copyright (c) Josie Dew 2007, extracted from Long Cloud Ride, £20, published by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group. Josie Dew is a regular London Cyclist contributor. Her next Backpedalling column will appear on these pages in our June/July edition. For more on Josie Dew and her books, visit www.josiedew.co.uk
Reviews The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings, edited by Jim Joyce ($14.95, Satya House Publications; www.satyahouse.com) This book is a compilation of articles about cycling, cyclists and life, and liberally sprinkled with cartoons. The Bicycle Book provides an interesting perspective on cycling in the USA. However, articles such as spectating at the Amstel Gold Race in The Netherlands, holidaying in Saharan Tunisia and touring in the Pyrénées provide an international contrast. The book has something for everyone – from a general question and answer piece, to an interview with Lance Armstrong’s training coach and mentor, touring by tandem, and a visit to the Woodstock Music Festival site. Some of the articles are thankfully short, but much of the book contains welcome information and insights. Mark Mitchell Cyclo Cross: Training and Technique, Simon Burney (Velopress £13.99) Cyclo cross is widely regarded as a means for racing cyclists to stay fit during winter. Riders compete in demanding off-road races which combine cycling with cross country running. Burney is a former professional who addresses both experienced riders and novices in a witty, conversational style. He starts by introducing cyclo cross machines before turning to technique and tactics. Later he explores mechanical and mental preparation, and reflects on the sport’s international profile. Reading this has seen an improvement in my technique and I recommend it to anyone interested in the sport. Michael Stenning Available at good bookshops and via www.cordee.co.uk
They’ll Never Catch You Now, Ralph Hurne (£9.95 Van der Plas Publications; distributed in the UK by Orca Book Services) Novels about cycle racing seem to be few and far between, one being the excellent The Rider by Tim Krabbé. Back in 1973, Ralph Hurne’s The Yellow Jersey was highly acclaimed. His latest work, They’ll Never Catch You Now, is an amusing and easy read, full of humour, crime and, yes, love. It centres on a wily but likeable English racer and his Tour de France finale. He’s supported by a cast of characters with names like Throbbo, Vito and Corkscrew. A pervading theme is how people adapt from life in the fast lane to whatever comes after. Did I enjoy the story? I’m off to read his first book. Mark Mitchell
Pedal For Your Life, Christopher Portway (£17.50, The Lutterworth Press) This compelling book charts a tour through the former Eastern bloc. For Paul Portway, it is a cycle tour, but for his father, who also narrates the book, it is a journey through his memories. An exWWII prisoner, he revisits the nations he escaped. The book does not just recount a cycle expedition – it’s the tale of a journey that happens to be on bicycles and there is no equipment commentary other than to mention a puncture or binding hub brake. The sights, sounds and encounters take centre stage. The only disappointment – especially given both men claim to be keen photographers – is the absence of images which could have added that extra bit of sparkle. Michael Stenning
Children’s books The Windspinner, Berlie Doherty (£3.99, Corgi) A wonderful adventure to excite young imaginations. Much of the stardust in The Windspinner is sprinkled from the seat of Tam’s two-wheeler after he discovers the Windspinner his great-grandpa left for him. With mystery descending upon his world, he teams up with his wise old great-great aunt, California, to battle the king of the fairies, Oban. An original and captivating tale. Lynette Eyb
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Book ’n’ things
Guidebooks Mountain Bike Guide Dorset, Colin Dennis (£10, Ernest Press) Situated 130 miles from the capital, Dorset has a huge network of bridleways, roads and areas of natural beauty disproportionate to its size. This pocket-sized guide contains 33 trails of varying length and difficulty. Dennis’ 20-plus years’ experience is clear. Approaching the region from north to west, route maps are clear with easy-tofollow directions, and there’s an equal spread of easy, moderate and hard rides. The photography is sharp and evokes the breathtaking scenery. While the mountain bike takes centre stage, some of the easier routes could be tackled on a cyclo crosser or sturdy tourer/hybrid. Overall, a very well written, researched and presented guide for all abilities. Michael Stenning London, Tom Masters, Steve Fallon & Vesna Maric (£12.99, Lonely Planet) LC can count on one handlebar the number of face maskwearing cyclists we pass on our commute. It’s a shame then, that in their new guide, Lonely Planet’s London authors spoil their opening references to the “delightful” cycling on offer along the canals and South Bank by advising readers that face masks should “always” be worn to battle the “pretty grim” traffic and fumes. While we have much yet to achieve, there have been massive improvements to cycle provision, and the congestion charge and low emissions zones are helping us become a cycle-friendly, pollution-free city. LC is usually a fan of Lonely Planet guides, but this one misses the chance to tell readers that cycling is one of the best ways to get to know this wonderful city of ours. The saving grace is that LCC is listed; hopefully misguided souls who call the office or check www.lcc.org.uk won’t have been put off giving cycling in London a try. Lynette Eyb
The Great Road Climbs of the Pyrénées, Graeme Fife (£40, Rapha) “I’ve ridden a lot of mountains,” says Graeme Fife. “This book is a celebration of what took me there in the first place: curiosity. What kept me there: the challenge and the beauty. And what has drawn me back again and again and again: the enduring bewitchment of the high places in all their variety, their changes of mood, their stunning perspectives, the peculiar magic of all that is in and around them.” Not your average guidebook, this deeply personal exploration of the Pyrénées would make a wonderful gift. Lynette Eyb
Exhibitions LC received word of the excellent MoveMe exhibition much too late to include it in our last issue. It featured the work of 23 artists and photographers who celebrate Work by Kate Bentley walking and cycling through their work. The exhibition, organised by Kathryn King, a travel planner at Islington Council, exhibited at the Rainbird Gallery in Clerkenwell Road in February and then at Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park tube stations. We liked it so much that we’re using the fact that a commemorative book of postcards was made available to visitors to the Rainbird Gallery (if you’re lucky they may have some left...) as an excuse to run three of these wonderful works on our pages. Lynette Eyb
Work by Sachiko Clark
Work by Anne Guest
Ken Worpole Whether cycling is only for softies is a hard idea to entertain for very long. Nevertheless motoring correspondents cling to it. The ruthless narrator of Tim Krabbés novel, The Rider, in my opinion the best ever novel about sport, let alone cycling, could eat Jeremy Clarkson for breakfast. While in Britain cycling has often been associated with a degree of decorousness – afternoon tea and buns, and visiting churches – elsewhere in Europe it was often associated with rebellion and political freedom. There’s a lovely Yevtushenko poem about a young man bouncing his bike down the stairs of his miserable block of flats in Moscow for a Sunday ride in the country. Even Albert Finney in the film version of Saturday Night And Sunday Morning turns a mean and moody presence when he gets on his bike. Cycling has its masculine and feminine sides, as well as its individualistic and communal qualities. This cannot be said of driving a car. There’s an exhilarating feeling to be had on a long cross-country ride, cycling alone, particularly as dusk comes on: a sense that one is pitting one’s strength against the physical and natural world. You discover thoughts and feelings you never realised you had. On the other hand, cycling in company provides the pleasures of companionship and sociability. Over the years I have learned so much from my fellow cyclists about birds, wild flowers, grape varieties and rural architecture. While modern car advertising focuses on the lone heroic individual – whether negotiating hairpin bends on high mountain ranges or traversing harsh city streets at night – nobody as far as I know has ever advertised the pleasures and rewards of driving in convoy. The car is the enemy of character and of vernacular knowledge, while the bicycle expands possibilities for self-realisation in many more ways. And though it is true that the private motor car was a vehicle of social mobility and freedom of movement in the 20th century, today it has turned into an instrument of confinement and social dislocation. This diminution of the social self caused by the car now extends downwards to children, many of whom are chauffeured around like packages. (This argument was first used by Ruskin, when he fulminated against the rise of railway travel.) Watching our five-year-old twin grandchildren dispense with their rear wheel stabilisers this summer to pedal ecstatically along a seafront promenade entirely under their own steam, I knew that not only had their bodies learned something about balance and propulsion, but that they had started on another stage of their life’s journey: towards independence and the cultivation of a free spirit. There is danger out there of course, but there is also great happiness. Ken Worpole’s pioneering study of radical popular fiction, Dockers & Detectives, has just been re-published. More details at www.worpole.net
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Streatham Vale to Westminster Two commons and lots of quiet back streets help make Richard Laidlaw’s journey to work each morning a pleasure Left: Richard crosses Rectory Grove, I arrive onto Larkhall the Thames near Rise. Again this caters for cyclists, Lambeth Palace so I feel safe, avoiding main roads
and overtake in a fast, macho way. But I don’t care – I just take a deep breath and let them get on with it. Open spaces on the Common One of my favourite parts of the journey is to cycle across Tooting Common, which now has a cycle path available 15 years after it was first suggested. The alternative would be to ride along Balham High Road, Streatham High Road or Trinity Road. I love Tooting Common – I have done ever since I was a kid. It’s brilliant just to see the seasons change. A stress-buster, it sets me up for the day. After Tooting Common, I get to another danger spot, which is Cavendish Road in Balham. First of all there is the roundabout at the edge of the common. No-one seems to know who goes first! In school term time it’s a nightmare; it’s congested, cars come out of side roads quickly and pedestrians try to commit suicide by stepping out without looking. Put those iPods away! After turning down Ravenswood Road and crossing over Balham High Road and going along quieter back roads, I arrive at Clapham Common. I’ve had an altercation here with a dog walker who abused me, but that has not deterred me from riding over the common. I then go onto The Chase, which is opposite the Common and part of LCN Route 3. I pass the Trinity Hospice on the corner facing the Common. By going down more back streets like Turrett Grove and
Above: Richard sets out on his journey to Westminster
RICHARD LAIDLAW Richard Laidlaw is a civil servant from south London. “I have been cycling since I was 15,” he says. “I used to cycle to Mayfair when I started working at 16 and then continued to cycle to the City from Tooting. As long as I am alert, I manage to do a fair amount of thinking. It is a great stress reliever.” THE JOURNEY Distance: 8 miles each way Time: 45-55 minutes Low point: Horseferry Road, SW1 High point: Tooting Commons
Photos: Richard Laidlaw, BritainOnView
This route from Streatham Vale in south London to Westminster is not very direct – it takes longer than going through Brixton and the Oval and over Westminster Bridge, but it’s perfect for me as it takes in less busy roads, as well as two beautiful commons. I need to leave the house by 7.30am if I want to avoid the worst of the traffic. I’m still amazed at the difference the school holidays make to the level of traffic throughout my journey – it’s like a ghost town. I cross over into Streatham Vale near the zebra crossing, further down the road towards Streatham Common station. When people use the crossing, I can come out onto the main road and ensure people can see me. Most motorists allow me to do this, but there are some who are intent on getting to where they are going and it can get a bit hairy. After Streatham Vale, I go along back roads which lead me up to Eardley Road. I used to go to the school here and little has changed. This is the first difficult part of my journey because there are no cycling facilities. If I were to go over the bridge and turn left into Estreham Road, I could link up with the cycling network route but that would add more time to my journey. Eardley Road is thin and there is little room for manoeuvre. If the local timber merchant is having a delivery, it can cause chaos. At the traffic lights at Mitcham Lane, I have to race across quickly if I am at the front – cars seem to be in competition with me here
at Clapham and Stockwell. I also avoid Vauxhall by crossing over South Lambeth Road and making my way towards the Oval cricket ground via Meadow Road. The lights to get onto the road called Kennington Oval take an age and I find myself contemplating the meaning of life. When the lights change, I have to do a difficult manoeuvre to turn into the other half of Kennington Oval as the turning is situated so that lorries and buses come thundering towards me. The alternative is to cross over at the lights and cycle along the pavement. Mothers with buggies and men attending the cricket are not very keen on this! Once I have done this, I can turn into Vauxhall Street which takes me towards Black Prince Road, where I see the Queen’s Head public house advertises a good value breakfast. I must try that some time! To avoid having to turn right on to a busy main road on the Albert Embankment, I take Lambeth High Street with Lambeth Road at the end. I then go round the roundabout and over Lambeth Bridge and arrive at the roundabout at the other side. I continue on into Horseferry Road – it’s the worst part of my journey and I hate it as it is very busy and congested, but it seems a lot worse than any other part of the journey. The problem again is that it is not cycle-friendly at all. Decanted passengers from buses scurry across the road from all directions. I turn off again and find more back streets which take me on to Great Peter Street and then I turn into St Ann Street and my final destination.
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Head for the hills The county of Ceredigion in west Wales is often bypassed by tourists on their way to Pembrokeshire or Snowdonia. But not by cyclists, who know it offers some of the best cycling in the UK, explains Erin Gill suppose, there are some people who wouldn’t enjoy cycling along the quiet lanes of west Wales. People who refuse to deal with hills – they would be better off cycling in the Netherlands. Or people who have developed a pathological fear of sheep after watching recent lamb slasher B-movie Black Sheep – they might want to steer clear of the county of Ceredigion, since there are a fair few (placid) sheep in the fields. I could go on trying to think of types of cyclists who would find this secret corner of Wales disappointing, but the truth is that many, many more would love it. First, a bit of orientation. Remember Little Britain and Dafydd, the only gay in the village? Well, Dafydd’s home village, Llanddewi Brefi, really does exist. It’s nestled in the foothills of the Cambrian mountains, about an hour north of Carmarthen or an hour inland from the coastal town of Aberystwyth. Just a couple of miles up the road from Llanddewi Brefi is the small town of Tregaron. It’s these two sleepy backwaters that I believe make as perfect a base for on-road cycling as you’re likely to find on this island. You could spend
a whole summer in the area and still have a few more single track lanes left to explore. The landscape in this area is stunning, but less extreme than Snowdonia or the Brecon Beacons. This means that the cycling is challenging but do-able. There are steep ascents and dizzying, free wheeling descents, but there are also many more gentle hills and dips. You need to be reasonably fit to enjoy cycling here, but only to a level usually guaranteed by a typical London commute. Ceredigion is a land of green, green grass, hedgerows and winding rivers. Yes, it does rain but rarely for days and days. The weather in the foothills of the Cambrian mountains is best described as changeable during early spring and autumn, with clouds moving quickly across the sky and sunshine bursting through regularly. In the summer, there can be day after day of blue sky, however the unrelenting rain of last summer makes me hesitate to predict what might be in store for this one. Winter isn’t the best time to visit since heavy rain is common, although snow is unusual.
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To Ffarmers and back. Yes, that’s Ffarmers with two fs. Ffarmers isn’t itself a pretty village, but the journey to and from it is spectacular. Climbing out of Llanddewi Brefi is the toughest bit, but once you’ve managed that you’re close to the top. There’s a wonderfully bleak bit, where you can see why the Cambrian mountains don’t have many roads criss-crossing them, and then before you know it you’re descending into a green, lush valley. Miles of free wheeling and when you arrive in Ffarmers there’s the Drovers Arms, which is open all day. Instead of taking the same route back, choose the unclassified road on the opposite side of the river, leading to Llanfair. You’ll enjoy a whole new set of spectacular views on the way home. This is a great afternoon ride. Leave after lunch and easily arrive back in time for supper. The ‘mountain’ road and the Devil’s Staircase. Many of the cyclists who pass through Tregaron are there because this is the beginning (or the end, depending on whether you’re heading east or west) of a famous single track road across the Cambrian mountains. If you want to see ‘wild’ Wales, this is the ride for you. Just make sure to take lunch – there is no pub or shop en route. The fit and eager can do Tregaron to Llanwrtyd Wells in a day, and I suppose some are capable of cycling there and back in a day, but I don’t personally know anyone who’s managed it. There is accommodation in Llanwrtyd Wells and there’s also a YHA hostel halfway between the two in a gloriously isolated location, for those who want to take it slowly and savour the experience of the Cambrians. The Devil’s Staircase itself is a series of hairpin switchbacks best experienced heading east – you descend the staircase if you cycle east. I’ve often wondered how many cyclists who attempt to climb the whole ‘staircase’ manage to do so. It would certainly be an achievement worthy boasting about on UK cycling messageboards or down the pub. Because the mountain road is also popular with motorcycle tourers
Pictured: Beech trees, sheep and green grass in quiet west Wales
(generally, very polite types) and other motorists, it is best to avoid it over bank holiday weekends and during the height of the summer holiday season. To Aberaeron and back. Aberaeron is a pretty Georgian town on the Ceredigion coast. It’s the closest thing the county has to an up-market seaside resort. If you’re looking for a demanding day’s ride that includes a pub lunch in the middle this is a good option. There are more than a dozen ways of cycling between the foothills of the Cambrian mountains, where Tregaron and Llanddewi Brefi are, to the coast at Aberaeron. Each one of them will take you through small villages, over rivers, and up inclines with sheep on either side. You’ll need an OS map to piece together your ideal route, and you may also want to consult Sustrans’ literature. Try to keep the amount of time you spend on the A487 and the A482 to a minimum, as these are busy roads. When you get to Aberaeron, try the Hive on the Quay for honey-infused ice-cream or the Harbour Master hotel if you’re after a posh lunch.
HOW TO GET TO TREGARON & LLANDDEWI: Intercity train from Paddington to Swansea, then local train to Carmarthen. Arrange in advance for Pete, Tregaron’s cabbie (01974 298 111) to pick you up at Carmarthen station. Pete’s van can carry several people and their cycles. Alternatively, travel by train to Aberystwyth, via Birmingham. However, be warned: the Birmingham to Aberystwyth service is not very reliable, with services often late or cancelled and trains often very crowded. If you’re driving, it’s the M4 all the way until the “Crosshands” junction, after the Ammanford junction. Drive through Llandeilo, Talley and Lampeter. Expect the drive from London to take a minimum of five hours. ACCOMMODATION: Try the Talbot Hotel in Tregaron (01974 298 208, www.talbothotel-tregaron.com) or the New Inn in Llanddewi Brefi (01974 298 452). CYCLE TOURISM DETAILS: www.cycling.visitwales.com. A guide featuring five short cycle rides (10-23 miles in length) in the Tregaron area can be purchased for £2.99. OS MAP: Landranger map no.146 BEST WEATHER FORECAST: Using the Met Office’s site (www.metoffice.org.uk), choose Wales forecast and then specify Trawscoed five-day forecast.
Photos: Erin Gill
Here are a few top rides to tackle if you’re staying in Llanddewi Brefi or Tregaron:
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Against the odds in Malaysia Commuter cycling in Kuala Lumpur may be rare, but that doesn’t mean cycling is dead, says Rob Schorr, president of Malaysia’s largest cycling club
Road blocks to cycling The government does little to promote cycling as a form of transport. Cyclists need cycle paths that are well shaded by trees, but in recent years a lot of the trees planted 30 years ago have been taken down for road widening
and other futile traffic congestion solutions. Until such time that fuel shortages force people onto efficient public transport, I’m afraid we won’t see the bike making an appearance on the commuting front. But that doesn’t mean cycling is dead here. Where to ride in KL The PedalPhiles Cycling Club (PCC) is a non-profit club run by volunteers to encourage cycling as a leisure activity. PCC is one of many road and mountain biking clubs across the country, nearly all for leisure purposes. The club was formed 12 years ago by a bunch of friends who started gathering for weekend mountain bike rides. It grew in numbers until an ‘official’ club was formed, later branching out to form a Roadie wing. We have about 800 registered members. We organise weekly rides and communicate with our members through our newsletter, Spokes And Nipples. Membership is free and we operate purely to ride together socially, while at the same time promoting and encouraging cycling. Our mountain bikers usually drive out of Kuala Lumpur to the surrounding countryside to ride through jungle, palm oil plantations and rubber tree plantations, which make up the bulk of agriculture in the area. This entails a 40-minute drive to get away from urbanisation.
The mountain bike division always rides in the morning, starting at around 8am and finishing by 1pm to avoid the heat. Our Roadies meet at 7am to ride out of town – you can be away from the pollution of Kuala Lumpur after 30 minutes of riding. The Roadies also have short, mid-week evening rides. PCC also organises Holidays On Bike, and also has two main events during the year. The Interstate is a three-day road ride over the Independence Day long weekend. The last event saw 260 riders cover 375km. The Presidential Ride, meanwhile, is a four-stage off-road event of 60km. Our last Presidential Ride attracted 700 cyclists – a record for a cycling event in Malaysia. As a club, we are always happy to see new faces and especially like introducing guests from abroad to the roads or trails of Malaysia.
Above: The PedalPhile Cycling Club’s annual Presidential Ride
Below: PCC’s annual Interstate road ride
CYCLING IN MALAYSIA Rob Schorr and the PedalPhiles Cycling Club in Kuala Lumpur can be contacted via www.pcc-cycling.freeservers.com
Photos: PedalPhiles Cycling Club
Cycling has for some time been a forgotten form of transport in Malaysia. Turn back the clock 50 years and the bike and trishaw were used to get from A to B and to ferry commuters around town, but as the country progressed and the wealth of the nation increased along with the pace of life, human-powered transport took a back seat to motorised vehicles. As in many countries, the car is now the staple diet of the commuter. In rural Malaysia, cycling is still common. Children grow up in the saddle, ladies go shopping by bike and plantation workers ride to work. In the cities like Kuala Lumpur, children also grow up in the saddle, but their aspirations are mainly towards the motorbike. I only have one friend who commutes by bicycle and, like me, he’s English. Malaysia is still a developing country and many aspire to ‘gaining face’ by driving the newest or largest or fastest car. As a result, Kuala Lumpur is jammed with traffic from 7am10pm, so while commuting by cycle has its advantages, it also has its obstacles. Motorbikes and mopeds are a scourge; many still use smoky, two-stroke engines and their riders have scant regard for traffic rules – even being a pedestrian can be hazardous. Combine egotistical car drivers and unruly motorbike riders, and cyclists need a strong fortitude. Add old diesel school buses to the mix and you can figure the other drawback: pollution. Then there is the heat: we are just north of the equator – it’s hot all year round. There is no distinguishable difference in temperature between summer and winter. It’s 25ºC at 8am and 35 ºC at 5pm.
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My bike & I Peter Murray The London Architecture Festival director chats about the first time he fell off his bike and the impact of cycling on town planning What’s the best thing about being a cyclist? The freedom. You’re not held up by traffic jams or train cancellations; you’re not jammed in cattle trucks with thousands of others and their germs. Do you remember your first time on a bike? I remember the first time I fell off. If stabilisers existed, my parents didn’t know about them; learning to ride entailed my father running along hanging onto my saddle. I can remember the Kevin Keegan-style wobble and the pain of my nose hitting tarmac. Tell us about your bike. For commuting I ride a Dawes Galaxy, which I’ve had for 20 years. I have a Specialized Allez for longer rides. It feels like a Porsche while my Dawes is more of a Volvo. I use a Brompton for meetings and for business trips abroad. I used it in New York – the Hudson River Park and cycleway that goes the length of Manhattan is a wonder of modern town planning and something I wish we had the guts to emulate in London. How long have you been riding in London? For 35 years; seriously for the last 10. It gets you where you want to go in a predictable time. A taxi might get you somewhere quicker some of the time, but for that important meeting, you just know Thames Water will be digging up the road and you’ll be late. Do you have a favourite route in London? Down the east side of Hyde Park, over Hyde Park Corner and down Constitution Hill. The best bit is going straight across the Hyde Park Corner roundabout and through the archway. It’s a terribly simple change to the road system, yet it turns the scariest bit of riding into one of the most delightful. Where else do you enjoy riding? Richmond Park – it’s a great place to train. I organise an annual ride from London to Cannes each March. This year we had 130 riders doing it and Richmond Park is a great place to get people riding in a group. What’s your idea of a perfect day on two wheels? Leave Chiswick as the sun rises, south to Kingston, Dorking, the A29 to Pulborough and then up over Bury Hill, then Dover, Ditchling Beacon and Devil’s Dyke. It’s then a wonderful five-mile downhill run into Arundel, across the flood plain to Littlehampton and Sunday brunch in the East Beach Café. Do you think you are a good cyclist? Yes because I’ve had a lot of experience of group riding which teaches you to be aware of what’s happening in front, next to and behind you. What’s your pet hate when it comes to cycling? Cyclists with earphones in their ears who are totally oblivious of what is going on around them. Do you often try to convert others to two wheels? Always. I passionately believe that cycling and walking are the best ways of getting around the centres of cities – they are sustainable, clean, healthy and social. What challenges face architects and planners when it comes to factoring cyclists into their work? The big difficulty is getting road engineers – who have a very powerful role in local authorities – to accept that
“How difficult would it be to design a route from Cheyne Walk to the City, or from London Bridge to Battersea?” cycling is a really important method of transport and should be given greater priority. For all the lip service and some very real progress on cycle lanes, there are still far too many places where cyclists are totally unprotected. Local authority planners now demand spaces for bikes and showers in new buildings, but the big problem is dealing with existing buildings where employers are unwilling to put in facilities for cyclists. How is the city changing to accommodate cyclists? I don’t think London is changing fast enough. Any cyclist visiting New York should go the Hudson River Park. The cycle route there goes from the tip of Manhattan to Central Park; there are a handful of crossovers, but you can cycle the length of the island in complete safety. How difficult would it be to design a route from Cheyne Walk to the City, or from London Bridge to Battersea? If you could do one thing on two wheels, what would it be? I plan to cycle across the States in 2013 – the route from Seattle to Boston is one of the ultimate cycling challenges. It’s to raise money for charity, so I hope sponsors will be generous. This is an edited version of our Peter Murray interview. The full article is at www.lcc.org.uk/londoncyclist See the June/July issue of LC for Peter’s opinion article on the relationship between cycling and architecture ABOUT PETER MURRAY Peter Murray is director of the London Architecture Festival (June 20-July 20), which will include a programme of architectural bike rides (see www.LFA2008.org). He is also director of New London Architecture and chairman and founder of the Cycle to Cannes charity challenge which raises money for LandAid, Architects for Aid, Sarah Matheson Trust, Tom ap Rhys Price Memorial Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
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Published on Nov 2, 2009