magazine of the London Cycling Campaign June - July 2011
2012 ELECTIONS Have your say on the new website forum
TESTED: Road Bikes Four new models for fast commuting or weekend sportives (p42)
20's Plenty We look at the socio-economic benefits of lower speed limits
LCC's big summer ride Join us for picnics and theatre at Greenwich Fayre 01_cover.FINAL.indd 1
BEST BRANDS BEST PRODUCTS BEST SERVICE
AND MUCH MORE CHECK ONLINE FOR DETAILS
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FREE DELIVERY TO UK, IRELAND, GERMANY AND FRANCE MINIMUM SPEND FOR ALL OTHER COUNTRIES
2 Newhams Row London SE1 3UZ 020 7234 9310 www.lcc.org.uk
Editorial contacts Editor: John Kitchiner; email@example.com Design: Anita Razak Communications: Mike Cavenett; firstname.lastname@example.org LCC contributors: Ashok Sinha, Tom Bogdanowicz, Charlie Lloyd, Matt Mallinder, Gerhard Weiss, Rik Andrew
Advertising contact Marcela Ahmeti, 020 7657 1831; email@example.com
Contribute to the mag Email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss feature ideas
www.lcc.org.uk For the latest news, campaigns and events info, visit the LCC website. Also sign up for our fortnightly e-newsletter
Editorial, copyright & printing policy LCC is not aligned with any political party. 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 Wyndehams on paper made from 80 percent recycled waste and 20 percent sustainablymanaged forest. London Cycling Campaign is a charitable limited company, reg no 1766411; charity no 1115789.
Contents news, letters & opinion News Local stories, city-wide campaigns and launch of LCC's new website Letters Your bi-monthly comments, queries, rants and raves Ashok Sinha Invites members to join the online debate about 2012 campaigns Zoe Williams Considers the recent law change on dangerous driving
4 10 13 15
features 2012 campaigns Looking forward to next year's Mayoral and Assembly elections 20mph Anna Semlyen explains the socio-economic benefits of lower speed limits Last word on LIPs What's your borough's policy on HGV safety awareness? Route Assessment How to grade a route in terms of cycle-friendliness Best Rides in London Exploring the districts of Camden and Soho London interest How the campaign to save Herne Hill velodrome is progressing Have Your Say LCC members discuss the pros and cons of shopping by bike Tech Beginners' guide to electric bikes — and what to look out for if buying one
16 20 24 38 30 32 36 38
reviews Bikes Four sporty road bikes ridden and rated by our test team Product Summer cycling clobber and useful accessories reviewed Books Vintage postcards, guidebooks and tomes on professional racing
42 45 48
members Group news What's happening in your local area, plus two-month rides listing Interview New series of mini interviews with colourful London cyclists
WHAT LCC DOES… ■ Campaigns for change ■ Supports our members ■ Promotes London cycling
COVER: Steve Rutherford LOCATION: Brockwell Park
LCC’S STRATEGIC AIMS ■ Promote cycling to the people ■ Redesign our streets for cycles ■ Promote cycling to our politicians ■ Make cycling diverse and inclusive (www.lcc.org.uk/strategy)
MEMBER BENEFITS ■ Up to 15% off in bike shops ■ Free third-party insurance cover ■ Exclusive deals on bike insurance ■ Free bimonthly magazine ■ Free legal helpline
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 3
News Visit www.lcc.org.uk for campaign updates and latest news reports
Next step for lorry safety campaign
Join the 2012 campaign debate on new website
More than 10,000 cyclists have signed up to support LCC’s call for effective cycle awareness training for all council lorry drivers. Even before the petition was completed in May several London councils had begun to improve the training available. Most of the Biking Boroughs in outer London included funds for driver training in their bids for extra money made available by TfL in March. The petition's aim is to get every borough delivering the ‘on-bike’ training for drivers that was first introduced by Lambeth in 2009. We are also urging every council to become part of the TfL FORS transport operators quality scheme. Recent fatalities of cyclists in crashes with refuse lorries in Hammersmith and Edinburgh have dramatically shown the need for continuing these campaigns. LCC will need the support of members in every borough to use the petition to change the way driver training is delivered for your council’s HGV drivers.
As described in the last issue of London Cyclist magazine, the LCC Board of Trustees has come to the view that changing our name from London Cycling Campaign to London Cyclists would be in our best interests. This change would be part of a package of measures to increase our membership, give greater impact to our campaigning and achieve better financial security. We announced that all members would be invited to feedback on this rename during April. However, because the response was slow to gain momentum, we’ve decided to extend the consultation period, with full details on our new website (still at www.lcc. org.uk). We’re tremendously excited and proud to announce that our new website has gone live. As described above, we’ll be using the website to poll members on the name change, as well as asking all members what issues are most important to you for our 2012 mayoral campaign (see p16).
Indeed, the results from the online feedback will determine what campaign we run in the lead-up to the mayoral elections next year, when we’ll
push for bold and ambitious pro-cycling policies from the leading candidates. So go to the new website and have your say today!
No justice for cyclist killed in Woolwich Woolwich Coroner's Court heard recently that 31-year-old Adrianna Skryzypiec, who was killed by a lorry in May 2009, had been dragged for 140 metres, but that no witnesses saw what happened. The lorry driver who killed her did not stop. The fatal crash took place at the junction of Woolwich Road and the motorway-style A102 link road from the Blackwall Tunnel, which is on the proposed
route of Cycle Superhighway 4, due to be launched in 2014 According to the coroner's verdict (reported on road.cc), the driver of the lorry which was believed to have killed her, John Lashbrook of Sittingbourne, said he was unaware of Adrianna’s death until six weeks after the incident. Lashbrook had initially been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but the case was dismissed before trial.
DANGER ZONE: Blackwall Tunnel approach, earmarked for Cycle Superhighway
A CPS spokesperson said: "CPS London decided it was in the public interest to prosecute, but before the trial the defence team argued that Mr Lashbrook could
not have seen the cyclist and was not aware of the accident until he was arrested. The trial judge accepted the submissions and ruled in their favour."
+++ To receive a weekly e-newsletter on London cycling issues, sign up at www.lcc.org.uk +++ 4 London Cyclist June-July 2011
TfL dropped bike-friendly Blackfriars plan Documents requested by LCC show that Transport for London was working on a more cyclefriendly double T-junction plan for Blackfriars as long ago as 2007. The designs were originally supported by the City of London and echoed similar proposals from LCC and other campaigners. TfL says the plan was dropped because of ‘capacity’ and space issues. In its response to the recent consultation on Blackfriars junction, LCC has called for the cycle-friendly design to be reinstated as a basis for improvements. TfL has acknowledged that the current TfL/Network Rail junction design is based on out-of-date 2007 statistics for the number of cyclists riding over the bridge. Since 2007 cycle flows across Blackfriars have increased sharply (they doubled from 2006 to 2010), while car use has dropped. The 2007 proposal for the
Cycle parking standards amendment
Blackfriars junction would have eliminated the ‘skewed gyratory’ as well as the teardrop island in its centre. And a straight-through route along New Bridge Street would have had one T-junction at the Embankment and another at Queen Victoria Street. The gyratory would also have been removed and the need for cyclists to cross lanes of traffic when approaching the bridge would have been eliminated, plus all cycle lanes would have been retained, with a public space created outside Unilever House. LCC submitted detailed proposals to improve safety for cyclists to the TfL consultation, which closed on 15 April 2011.
We previously wrote that the Mayor had refused to amend the London Plan as regards cycle parking standards in new developments. We have now been told that while the Mayor will not amend the Plan in the present mayoral term he has told TfL to draft a revised version of the outof-date standards. This is due in September. It may come too late for some boroughs which are drafting their new standards right now. We are therefore asking each borough to adopt standards above those in the present London Plan. Only Hillingdon currently has the high standards that can meet the needs of local workers and residents who cycle.
Extra £5 million to combat air pollution would be eligible. The money will be backed by a new Clean Air strategy for London, which is also a condition of the EU's temporary exemption from air-quality standards. The new strategy must be in place by 11 June to satisfy EU officials. Since coming to office in 2008, the Mayor has introduced several measures with a detrimental effect on air quality, including: scrapping the western extension of congestion charge zone; reducing twice-yearly inspections of black cabs to a single annual
test, though vehicles regularly failed the bi-annual tests; and delaying the introduction of the Very Low Emission Zone for central London, which was due to come into place in 2008, and would have required mid-sized vehicles like work vans to reduce the level of pollutants in their exhaust emissions. London has consistently been found to have some of the worst air pollution of any city in Europe and it's estimated around 4,300 people die of illnesses related to air pollution in the city every year.
Have you seen these bikes?
Ruben de Rijcke
London's air quality is so bad that Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has put £5 million into a 'Clean Air Fund', some of which might be spent on measures encouraging cycling. However, it's expected that most of the money will finance ongoing trials to wash particulate pollution away from the dirtiest streets, and on low-emission buses. The Mayor of London also announced subsidies for businesses to buy new vans and minibuses, replacing the worst polluting vehicles. London has been breaking legally-binding European targets for particulate matter PM10 and nitrous oxides for several years now, and is in danger of incurring fines that could run into hundreds of million pounds. The Department for Transport has said the Clean Air Fund could also pay for Travel Plans for local businesses, traffic-smoothing, no-idling zones, local cycling and walking schemes, and tree planting. However, it's not clear how money would be allocated, or which cycling and walking schemes
Community bike shop Druid Cycles in Bermondsey is appealing for people to be on the lookout for a large number of distinctive bikes stolen from its workshop on 25 March. The thieves stole 15 men's bikes, one tandem and a tricycle with a sound system, as well as all the shop's tools and new parts. You can see the bikes on their website – www. druidcycles.com. Owner Thor Burkard said: "We're relying on tool donations from other bike shops and cyclists so we don't go out of business." Anyone who thinks they recognise one of the bikes should call the police on 999, as well as contacting Druid Cycles on 07551 016380.
+++ LCC local groups organise bike rides throughout the year — see page 55 for a full listing +++ June-July 2011 London Cyclist 5
Sign up for Gift Aid and help boost LC funds
Join LCC for a special summer ride London Cycling Campaign is inviting members, friends and family to join them on Sunday 26 June for a leisurely social ride from central London following the path of the Thames to historic Greenwich. The ride follows a similar route to Colin Wing's Docks and Ducks ride featured in the April-May issue. The free event is suitable for all ages and abilities and will bring together cyclists from all LCC local groups for the mass ride. The ride meets at
London Cycling Campaign is now eligible to claim Gift Aid relief on all membership fees, which could raise funds of to £70,000 a year at no cost to members. This is a vital boost to the organisation when funding for LCC is increasingly under threat. If you are a UK taxpayer, by signing the Gift Aid declaration, the value of your membership fee is increased by 25 percent by the tax man, equivalent to the value in tax that you’ve paid. Members are being asked to tick the Gift Aid box when they renew or online at www. londoncyclists.org.uk.
11am at Jubilee Gardens (next to the London Eye) before meandering via Southwark and Lewisham’s places of interest, and finishing at the Greenwich Fair. Riders will then have the opportunity to picnic together and enjoy the family-friendly event. The Greenwich Fair draws inspiration from the fairs described by Charles Dickens in Boz, where travelling menageries, dancing booths and other traditional types of
Victorian entertainment drew in huge crowds. The Greenwich Fair at the Monument Gardens , Old Royal Naval College offers a wide range of free events for all ages, with life-size Punch and Judy puppets, an outdoor aquarium and a Catalan circus. There is live entertainment along a tropical paradise theme with street theatre performcances and live music. For more details of the ride visit www.lcc.org.uk.
Make your mark on maps
Obesity crisis costing £1 billion per year A new report commissioned by the London Assembly's Health & Public Services Committee, shows that London has the worst childhood obesity in the UK. The report, ‘Tipping the Scales’, also reveals that poor health caused by obesity in adults costs the capital nearly £1 billion each year. The cross-party report criticises the Mayor for not taking strong enough action to tackle the obesity crisis, despite the issue being named his 'number one health priority'.
LCC's Mike Cavenett said: "Cycling and walking are a proven way to reduce obesity, but sadly it's now rare to see families riding their bikes together on London's roads. "Road danger, both real and perceived, is a major deterrent to adults and children cycling regularly and the Mayor could address this by putting highquality cycle tracks on the busiest roads, reducing speed limits and blocking rat-runs in residential areas."
The 14 London cycling guides, first published in 2001 by Transport for London in partnership with LCC, were the successors to LCC’s own London cycle route maps. More than three million maps have been distributed, making them one of the world’s most popular cycling publications. TfL is currently considering a number of amendments to what are now known as the Local Cycling Guides, and plan to carry out a small-scale audit of routes this summer. LCC members have already submitted dozens of corrections and suggestions for improvements. There was a unanimous call for the central London map to include arrows showing one-way streets, as in all the editions until the last one. TfL says it will be taking this into account. Another likely improvement will be the inclusion of all the Cycle Hire docking stations. It has also been suggested that the maps feature icons where cycle
shops are located. The first edition of the maps had bike shop addresses on the reverse side but this was dropped when the maps became double-sided. It is expected that the new edition of the maps will be released in Autumn 2011.
+++ Find a comprehensive archive of London Cyclist news and features at www.lcc.org.uk +++ 6 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Agewell cycling courses expanded for 2011 LCC celebrates its second year of funding from the Bicycle Association and local councils with another raft of cycling courses for the over-50s. The Agewell on Wheels courses are aimed at giving people aged 50-plus the confidence to get around London by bike. The courses were set up as a result of a pilot project in Hammersmith & Fulham in 2008. Cycling instructor Gwen Cook who led the pilot project said: “The courses enabled a number of older people to gain the confidence to get back on their bikes. These people are still seen cycling around in London and have not only gained confidence but improved their physical fitness too.” In 2011 the courses will take place in four locations across London, targeting people from
10 boroughs. These are: Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Camden, Islington, Brent, Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, Ealing and Hounslow. London Cycling Campaign is delighted to be running the courses again, with the Bicycle Association’s generous funding — they kick off in June and run through until the end of August. There will be three sets of courses throughout the summer in each location and LCC will supply bikes for everyone taking part. LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said: “Cycling is an excellent choice for over-50s looking for fun and convenient ways to stay healthy and active. The Agewell courses are a friendly and supportive way to get started.” In the future, LCC would also
like to expand the courses into more boroughs. “We would like to attract a broader audience of people to use bicycles regularly in London. It is important to offer advice and intensive tuition to
these less supported groups,” said Lucy Cooper, LCC’s marketing manager. ■ Call LCC on 020 7234 9310 and ask about Agewell On Wheels cycle training.
Competition winner gets VIP bike servicing
BETTER BY DESIGN: artist's impression of how Studio Meda's bikeshed will look
Camberwell architects win Bankside bikeshed prize Studio Meda — a team of architects based in Camberwell — has won the competition run by Better Bankside to design a new bikeshed for Southwark and the South Bank. LCC's Ashok Sinha, who helped judge the competition, said: "The elegant-yet-economical
design not only provides sheltered cycle parking, but does so with an aesthetic that would hold its own outside any of Bankside’s statement buildings." There are plans to install the winning bikeshed design in various locations in the borough around the South Bank area.
As LCC’s Double Our Voice campaign moves into its summer phase, the winner of a year’s VIP bike servicing from Cycle Surgery has been drawn — Rosemary McKeown (right) from south-east London. This competition was for all members who had recruited other members during the initial phase of the campaign. LC asked the lucky winner a few quick questions: When did you start cycling in London? I started cycling in London in 2009 with LCC’s Cycle Fridays, before then I just used to cycle locally to shops/tennis club. I commuted in three times with the Greenwich group and got hooked. I'm a lot fitter as a consequence of going up Croombs Hill five times a week and I still enjoy my commute, in fact I can't stand train journeys any more. Who, and why, did you sign up as a new member to London Cycling Campaign? I encouraged my partner to join because she started using the
bike hire scheme from Victoria to get to work in South Kensington. I think the insurance is a really valuable benefit and I also enjoy the magazine, the riding tips are very useful, plus Zoe Williams makes some funny and astute observations. What's your favourite thing about your commute? Coming up over Blackheath and through Greenwich Park in the morning — rain, shine or mist it's delightful. Then back over London Bridge in the evening, it makes me love London. What's your worst thing about your commute? The roundabout at Rotherhithe tunnel is daunting, you can feel invisible and vulnerable on a bike.
+++ Dunwich Dynamo takes place on 16-17 July — details at www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk +++ June-July 2011 London Cyclist 7
Police raid eBay seller and arrest bike thieves A cycling blogger who reported eight bikes stolen to the police, and highlighted the theft on her website, has had all the bikes recovered and an arrest has been made. Charlotte Barnes (right), who writes the velopoly.com blog, appealed to readers to look out for the bikes on websites commonly used to sell stolen bikes, in particular Gumtree and eBay. And when a friend spotted one of them on eBay, Charlotte called the Met's Cycle Task Force and they sprang into action. Charlotte said: "Within not much more than a day, they’d been in touch with eBay and got hold of the seller’s details, paid him a visit and discovered a
house full of bikes, many of which were ours. “What’s happened is nothing short of a miracle and we’re absolutely delighted to have our bikes back. Of course, there are an awful lot of people who have helped make it happen. From the thousands of people who’ve read this blog, tweeted links or written about it on forums, to all the fabulous police and civilian staff who have worked on this case. I can’t thank all of them enough.” You can read the full story at velopoly.com. ■ Register your bike for free at www.immobilise.com. And if your bike is stolen make sure you report it to the police.
Newham youngsters protest about lack of cycle facilities
TAKING TO THE STREETS: young people from Watersmeet Woodcraft Folk club
A group of Newham youngsters protested outside the Olympic Park on Saturday 19 March to bring attention to the poor cycling facilities in their borough. Earlier in the week, staff and young people from the Watersmeet Woodcraft Folk club had expected to address Newham Council, but the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, refused them permission. With no adequate cycling routes the young people had to navigate their way through very
Argus-style marathon set for London by 2013 A 'London Marathon on Wheels' could be organised in the capital by 2013, according to the Evening Standard. The paper says it has seen proposals for four possible routes and that the potential £3 million cost would be covered by entry fees and sponsorship. Based on the popular Cape Town Argus in South Africa, the ride would include 30,000 amateurs as well as well-known professional cyclists. The event is similar to one proposed by LCC Board member and Argus participant David Love in 2004, which was for a
marathon-type cycle ride on closed streets across London. That proposal was considered by Transport for London under then-Mayor Ken Livingstone, but was transformed into the less costly London Freewheel event, now the Skyride, which last year attracted 80,000 participants. The proposed cycle marathon could initially use the 2012 Olympic road race route before switching to one that includes more streets in London itself. The race would be organised by the UCI, the international cycling federation, as a London leg of its World Tour.
congested traffic. Jasmine Forbes, who joined the protest, said: "We wanted to ask the Mayor why the Cycle Superhighway wasn't allowed into Newham." Suzannah Walker, chair of Newham Watersmeet Woodcraft Folk club added: “The borough now has a multi-million pound velodrome, but no safe way of cycling there.” ■ If you want to protest about the lack of support for cyclists in Newham, contact the Mayor at email@example.com.
+++ Get a full listing of local maintenance classes at http://tinyurl.com/LCCmaintenance +++ 8 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Letters Comment, opinion, rants and raves — send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org
CHELSEA BRIDGE: local cyclists consider th e junction with Grosvenor Road a potential 'deathtrap' from lorry dangers
LCC NAME CHANGE Interesting reading Ashok Sinha’s column in the April/May issue. I have personally thought for some time that LCC would benefit from a name change that sounded more accessible to your average cyclist. I believe that the single word ‘Campaign’ in ‘London Cycling Campaign’ possibly puts off a fair few people who imagine, wrongly, that LCC is purely a campaigning or political group. Yes it’s a very important aspect of LCC’s work — and so it should remain — but a ‘rebranding’ to something friendlier can only be a good thing in my eyes. London Cyclists sounds much more inclusive, or even London Cycling (just dropping the one word). Either way I think it’s a big step forward. James M, Kingston
fear of lorries invites the rejoinder that each vehicle can carry food of produce for residents of Greater London, while a rear pocket on a jersey can merely contain a Mars bar. John Keane, email
LCC NAME CHANGE 3 I fully endorse the prospective name change and ‘freshen up’ as suggested by LCC’s chief executive in the last issue. My only concern is that the entire membership gets a say. I’m sure the overwhelming majority of members would welcome anything that brought new faces in and helped boost the coffers financially, but a vote or debate — without being too protracted as to miss the popular summer cycling season — is surely the best course in a democratic organisation? Carol Peters, Brixton
LCC NAME CHANGE 2 Thank you for the April/May 2011 issue of London Cyclist. For me, changing the name to London Cyclists compares with the impression on page 33 that London Bike Hub needs a skip as well as a spanner. Elsewhere in that issue, concentrating on the
LCC replies: As you’ll read on page 4, the consultation period regarding the name change to London Cyclists has been extended to allow more members to join the debate. For all the latest info, visit www. lcc.org.uk.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS Recent roadworks at the northern junction of Chelsea Bridge and Grosvenor Road highlights the ongoing problems with poor cycle provision and entrenched indifference by local authorities (in this case by the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea) to the needs of making safe existing LCN+ routes across busy routes and junctions. The problem exists because people who make decisions about cycle provision do not necessarily cycle and therefore do not understand the conditions or circumstances that cyclists have to put up with. Even when monolithic authorities like TfL engage with cyclists, it's often through an agent and formalised communication using formulaic feedback forms and surveys which do little to get a real understanding of what it's like commuting in the rush hour in busy places. This junction at the northern end of the bridge is currently a potential deathtrap due to taxis and cement mixers doing right turns off the northbound
carriageway of Chelsea Bridge into Grosvenor Road, or vice versa with trucks speeding up to push through the lights turning left from Grosvenor Road into the southbound carriageway of the bridge. What is really needed here is a Cycle Route Inspection Plan and Cycle Route Inspection Meeting (CRIM) with 'officers' actually on bikes doing turns at the junction during rush hour and observing with a video camera. Only then will they really understand what is needed, not a seated comittee of motorists debating behind closed doors in an air-conditioned office at a town hall. I suppose nothing will be done with any serious consideration until another cyclist is killed or maimed, Blackfriars Bridge being a typical example. Only then will a serious consideration for changes and investment be made at busy junctions in London. Martin Ireland, Battersea
CRAZY SOCKS COVER-UP Greg Hall may wear crazy socks, but in the photo on page 11 of the current issue (Letters, April/ May 2011) he is wearing a camouflage jacket. This is a jacket designed for you NOT to be seen in. Huh? I wear bright colours, sometimes saturated yellow or orange, so that if someone claims not to have seen me, I respond by looking at my jacket and asking "which bit of me didn't you see?". Greg, love the bike, not sure about the socks — but a camouflage jacket? Andy Bebington, Croydon
WOMEN’S GEAR So six shorts reviewed in the last issue — great. But only one pair identified for women — not so great. What about the remainder, perhaps unisex? Women's sizes available? No info given. Thanks brothers — we hear where you're coming from. Terry, email
10 London Cyclist June-July 2011
LCC replies: Actually two of the six shown were women'sonly versions (Endura and Sugoi), while three of the remaining four are also available in women's options (though not spelt out clearly in the text). We have also featured plenty of other kit that's for women rather than men — eg the excellent Helly Hansen and AnaNichoola kit in the last two issues, among others. We strive to review a range of gear in the mag, ensuring no gender bias; in fact we've featured more women's kit in the last two years than in the previous 20!
CAR PARKING PROBLEM My local council, Hillingdon, gave a positive response after I emailed them about a car parking problem adjacent to the John Ralph cycle crossing, sending supporting photographs too. The solution of a 'no parking' area is still open to objections in the planning stage, but I think it is the best I could hope for and shows that by highlighting problems to your council you can help improve the local cycling infrastructure. Don’t suffer in silence; make your concerns known. Ron Ryband, Hillingdon
HUB GEARED BIKES In the review of the Genesis Day 01 Alfine (London Cyclist, Feb/ Mar 2011), is the statement “unclipping the gear cable to remove the wheel is a bit of a faff – especially with frozen hands – but with practice it’s straightforward” an indirect
SITE FOR SUCCESS: in Hillingdon
reference to the misguided (in my opinion) practice of normally removing the wheel to repair a puncture. The chances of having to replace a tyre with frozen hands (when out and about in winter are extremely small). For a puncture — a more likely scenario — if removing a wheel is a “bit of a faff”, don’t remove it. Lever of the tyre (on the non-chain side) with the wheel in situ, and pull out and patch the tube. To save valuable time, you can start clearing up during the three or so minutes you need to leave the rubber solution to dry. Colin Newman, Barking
HUB GEARED BIKES 2 In describing the Genesis Day 01 Alfine (London Cyclist, Feb/Mar 2011), your reviewer repeats the common mistake of presuming that wheel removal is obligatory for puncture repairs, whereas a previously published letter [also from Colin, above — Ed] negated this misconception. Moreover, why didn’t the reviewer question a bike fitted with hub gear, but no chain
enclosure? It’s a missed opportunity to assess the Hebe Chainglider — a clip-on device that requires no fixtures or attachment points to install. Then again, why does London Cyclist devote space to featuring this kind of bike at all? Contrary to the article’s claims, they are anything but ideal for commuting or touring: no mudguards, luggage rack, lights, chain enclosure, coat/skirt guard etc. And images like that of the scruff pictured on page 42 opposite do nothing to promote city cycling to the general public. The fact that the Barclay’s Cycle Hire bikes have proved so popular with casual riders would seem to endorse my point. In 1995, I successfully took a motion to the LCC Annual General Meeting to the effect that LCC should press for a wider choice of bikes to be offered to the UK buying public, to include more fully-equipped ‘userfriendly’ models. In the ensuing 16 years what’s happened? If they are mentioned at all, it is only the old-fashioned examples, which represent a mere fraction of what is available, and no-one from LCC has ever approached me to discuss possible strategies to advance the principle. Apart from any other considerations, those few enlightened dealers who have taken a punt by stocking modern comprehensively-equipped bikes need to be given all the support and encouragement we can muster. David S Garfield, email
LCC replies: As we mentioned before, yes it is possible in some circumstances to fix a puncture by not removing the rear wheel on hub-geared bikes – but it’s often impossible to apply sufficient leverage to refit a tight (usually new) tyre without removing it from the frame. And we’d say the growth of these ‘urban crossers’ in bike company ranges (expanding for 2012) is testament to their popularity too. The fact that most manufacturers don’t include what you refer to as ‘commuting’ extras is so they can keep prices as low as possible and allow people to decide what accessories they actually need; while the bikes themselves come with bosses that make fitting things like mudguards and racks a possibility if required.
CYCLIST FATALITIES After the cyclist fatalities of recent months, I am prompted to write. While I fully support the campaign for better training for lorry drivers it strikes me that cyclists ought to be able to learn from these incidents. Could not the accident reports be made available so that, after time, familiar bad behaviour from drivers can be identified and communicated. It's all very well saying "watch out for lorries at junctions" but we cyclists need to see details of the collision to learn from it. Is it possible for accident investigators to pass this information on anonymously? Tom Wallace, Brixton
Read more online If you can't wait for the next issue of London Cyclist magazine, you can find a large archive of this subversive cartoon strip (based in a Wisconsin cycle repair shop) by visiting www.yehudamoon.com
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 11
Sometimes a pannier- sometimes a backpack always 100% waterproof
on your rack Waterproof Roll closure Fits A4 ﬁles and a 15.4” laptop Padded back carrying system Quick-Lock2 hooks Helmet ﬁxing
on your back
Carry as a backpack
Then stow the
...and clip to a bike rack
carrying system in the zipped pocket
Ortlieb products are distributed in the UK and Ireland by Lyon Equipment - www.lyon.co.uk p12.indd 12
BEST RIDES IN LONDON
Ashok Sinha LCC's chief executive looks forward to the 2012 Mayoral and Assembly elections, asking all members to join in the debate via the new website
any years ago, as a fresh postdoctoral researcher, I pitched up at a university meteorology department to start some work on climate change. Every Friday the old hands in the department would run something they termed the ‘weather game’. Basically the idea was to eschew computer models and forecast the weekend’s weather by using only the tools that the founders of meteorology had at their disposal (weather station reports, on-site observations, looking up at the sky and experience). The winner was the person with the highest accuracy over a whole term. There was an unwritten rule that nobody would routinely take the lazy option of ‘persistence’ — ie that the weather tomorrow will basically be the same as today. Why? Because even in a country with such famously capricious weather as ours, the safest guess for tomorrow’s conditions is ‘no change’. But of course a typical day’s weather does alter substantially, not least through the cycle of the seasons and the Earth’s climatic variations. So even if it sometimes seems like ‘persistence’ is the norm, taking a less myopic view tells us that the opposite is true. Higher ambition needed from politicians For me at least there is a little bit of a parallel between playing the weather game and assessing the climate for cycling in London. When viewed over the immediate horizon the outlook so often looks like ‘persistence’, with seemingly no end in sight for the cramped road space, combative road culture, poor routes etc that are the daily experience of so many of us. Yet (as touched on in previous columns) much has happened over a number of years to suggest that London’s political leadership has gained greater appreciation of the potential cycling offers to enhance our city in so many ways. Nonetheless a fundamental question remains: do the competing party leaders have the requisite political courage to back the increased scale of action necessary to put us on a longer term pathway to genuinely ‘cyclising’ London? More of the same (however good) is not enough. The political priority for cycling must now be taken to much higher levels of ambition, with commensurate levels of delivery. That’s why, as signalled in my last column, we aim to run one of the biggest campaigns we have ever attempted during the lead up to the Mayoral and Assembly Elections in just under a year’s time. You’ll see from the article on page 16 of this edition that we are asking every one of our 11,000 members to vote on the theme for this campaign, from a shortlist of ideas posted on our new online forum. I very much hope that you will cast a vote, and indeed engage in the wider online debates about what needs to be done
across a variety of issues relevant to cyclists, and how we as an organisation can better press for change. Join the online forum debates Which leads on to something else touched on in previous columns: the above poll is part of a general process of revitalisation that is well underway; from our image through to our policies, from membership growth to fundraising, we are striving to improve. This includes the very important question of how we communicate, not just amongst ourselves but with the wider public. The issue of segregation provides a good, if hotly-debated example.
“Help us become an even better advocate for the things you want and need. Log on and have your say” Quite correctly our policy is that segregated cycle tracks are the right solution in select circumstances. But because so much of our work focuses on individual junctions, cycle training for kids, funding levels etc, we rarely mention the S-word in practice. This gives the impression that we are antithetical to segregation. This is of course false, and it’s perfectly possible to be clearer in expressing ourselves without abjuring our belief that a complex mix of solutions is needed London-wide. So, for example, let’s state right now that places like Stratford High Street, the Victoria Embankment, Lambeth Palace Road and several other ‘urban motorways’ are (at least in part) prime candidates for segregated facilities, as part of a wider package of measures. Saying so doesn’t shift us into narrow ideological territory, but instead actually underscores the breadth and coherency of our policy. It also helps us articulate that London can and must move beyond ‘persistence’ and adopt the full toolkit of measures that London’s diverse cyclists — and indeed all its citizens — deserve. Whatever we do at the centre however, amidst all the changes to our work that are underway, we mustn’t forget that the most important voice in this organisation is yours. You can help us become an even better advocate for the things you want and need. You can determine the impact we have on the Mayoral election and the influence we have on London’s authorities. So do log on, vote and have your say.
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 13
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BEST RIDES IN LONDON
Zoe Williams How a free hi-vis vest got our regular columnist assessing the AA's involvement in cycling and the latest rule change on dangerous driving
hile my beloved, C, was away on business, I got a parcel from the AA, containing one enormous fluorescent bib and one helmet with one of those built-in lights that flashes red on the back of your head. I cannot tell you how excited I was. Only a couple of days before, a guy in a van had nearly killed me, turning left right on top of my az (as they say in 80s disco), and — although I can’t say he responded well to my torrent of recrimination — I don’t think he did it on purpose. I could not, whichever way I sliced it, divine a murderous subtext. So I could only assume that he didn’t see me, and I’d already decided to dress a bit less like Miss Marple and a bit more like a man doing roadworks, even before the coincidental arrival of my free jerkin. Imagine my delight. Plus, I didn’t even know those inbuilt-light helmets existed, I assumed whenever I saw someone’s head flashing that they’d pinned a regular light to their head with some Kirby grips or a Victorian hair comb. The first thing that happened was that C came home, found the huge vest in the bedroom and immediately accused me of having an affair with an AA man, though I cannot to this day tell you whether he thought I was having an affair already with someone who just happened to work for the fourth emergency service; or that I’d called the AA, with the specific purpose of commencing an affair. The second thing that happened was that the light stopped working. I think they are a bit tinny and cheap, and if you want my advice on the subject of rear-end lighting, I would just stick a red light on your bike in the time-honoured way The third thing that happened, unrelated to my AA gift, was that new measures were suggested by the government, whereby dangerous drivers would be issued on-the-spot fines, and cyclists were supposed to be pleased. I struggled with this: any policy-making that involves policemen going up and getting cash out of people always strikes me as a bit juvenile. It sounds like a good idea for about two minutes, but then you realise how much it would cost to administer.
Fines for dangerous driving? You will recall, of course, that the police already have this right over cyclists — there’s a £30 pricetag on cycling on the pavement, jumping a red light, going the wrong way down a one-way street, plus a hefty £1,000 on being drunk or high, but apparently they rarely enforce it. I was threatened with a fine for talking on my phone once, but they let me off. I discovered later that there’s no real law against that — I mean, there’s a “dangerous road use” umbrella, but it’s never been put to a test case whether a competent cyclist really
needs to use both hands and concentrate on the road. So I probably didn’t need to do all that shameful grovelling... This is why we’re meant to be pleased that the fines might soon apply to motorists: there’s an expectation of sour grapes between the two and four-wheeled communities, which is sort of absurd, because so many of us do both. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you had to write in your passport which you were, I’d put 'cyclist' before 'motorist' every time and not just because I’ve been doing it longer and am much less bad at it. It’s part of my identity. Driving is just part of my shame-ridden reality, like karaoke.
"Who put the AA in charge of road safety? It's like putting a lunatic in charge of an asylum" But anyway back to this conflict, which is supposed to motivate and enliven us, like men versus women or Man United v Man City. I thought I was too big for that kind of petty-mindedness and then it suddenly struck me: who does the AA think it is, sending safety equipment out to cyclists? How would they like it if LCC whimsically decided to send a home-breathalyser to motorists, with a jaunty press release saying “97 percent of cyclists agree that the roads would be safer if motorists weren’t drunk”? Who put an automobile association in charge of road safety? It is so outrageously patronising and also slightly nonsensical, like putting a lunatic in charge of an asylum. Maybe some new fines are exactly what they need. Maybe it’s the fact that we get fined and they don’t that has made them so holier-than-thou in the first place. In fact, I have an even better idea: forget the police, we could just authorise cyclists to issue an on-the-spot fine to any motorist who nearly kills them. Even if we kept the money, it would still work out cheaper than getting a cop to do it. Huh. All that rage, from a free, colourful waistcoat. And I’m still wearing it! Zoe Williams is a freelance journalist and columnist who contributes regularly to publications including The Guardian and New Statesman.
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 15
London elections Ashok Sinha looks ahead to next year’s Mayoral and Assembly elections and their potential impact on cycling in the capital
Photo: Gill Bland
cyclised city is a civilised city." So said Mayor Boris Johnson in a now-familiar phrase heralding his grandly-entitled ‘Cycling Revolution’. His predecessor Ken Livingstone had previously set the tone (and done a lot of the spadework), if less flamboyantly: "We want nothing short of transformation in London," he said when announcing the highways concept that Mayor Johnson brought to fruition. So far, so rhetorically good. We often focus on the past, analysing the delivery of each mayor’s proclamations. This time let’s instead have a mini Socratic Dialogue about the future, seeing as the mayoralty is once again up for grabs in a just under a year’s time. First question: is London a cyclised City? With only 2 percent of journeys made by bike (compared to a target of 50 percent in Copenhagen and a rate of 27 percent in the Netherlands as a whole) and with cycling promotion woefully absent in so much of our city planning and development, the answer must inevitably and indisputably be ‘no’. Okay, so has London been put on a one-way street towards becoming a cyclised city? If the determinant of this is whether our leaders and public bodies have declared a durable, long-term commitment to continental-level cycling uptake — with a concomitant, credible plan of action and resource allocation to match — then the answer is again ‘no’. Now a trickier question: if London is not on a trajectory towards being a cyclised city, then how to remedy the situation? This is where the devil lies.
Yet there is an answer that I’m sure the vast majority of us agree with, which is ‘everything’. It’s not as glib as it sounds. Everything means (hold your breath) more money for cycle promotion, more road space for cyclists, lower volumes of motor traffic, slower motorised traffic speeds, more cycle training, safer lorries, more cycle awareness training for drivers, better wayfinding, more segregated tracks, more mandatory lanes, no one-way streets for cyclists, ending rat-runs, providing ample and secure cycle parking, integrating cycling targets into planning gain, zero-tolerance cycle theft policing, opening up greenways, car-free routes, places and/or times, integrating cycling into public health, air pollution abatement and climate change mitigation strategies, stricter liability for insurance claims purposes. You get the picture. Motivate mayoral candidates But, how do we get ‘everything’? With great difficulty, of course. However the quintessential prerequisite for enabling everything to become possible is political will. We can have it all over time (or most of it, as other countries have) if our elected leaders consistently will it to be so. Aha, therein is the nub of the issue I hear you say: how do we catalyse the necessary political will from those who would be Mayor? There is of course, again, no one answer. In an ideal world a charismatic leader of unimpeachable credentials would make the case for a cyclised city that was so clear, unarguable and compelling that the popular mandate for him or her to take the
16 London Cyclist June-July 2011
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 17
SHORTLIST OF OPTIONS By the time you read this the final shortlist of options will have been drawn up and posted on our website, each having coalesced from discussions involving active members, particularly drawn from LCC’s borough groups. To give you a taster — and hopefully to encourage you to log on to the vote as soon as you can — here’s a quick tour of the front runners at the time of writing. Getting 100,000 children cycling to school regularly Children are our future, as someone once said. When given half a chance most of them love to get on their bikes — and we know it does them good too, by promoting healthy lifestyles, increasing confidence and independence and reducing the risks of obesity. To achieve this target the new mayor will necessarily have to promote a wide range of measures that will in turn help embed a wider cycling culture in London’s urban centres.
WHY CAN'T ALL CYCLE PATHS BE LIKE THIS? The popular route through Hyde Park sees thousands of cyclists each day
controversial decisions necessary would follow. But that doesn’t look too likely, especially in this time of economic hardship. In which case what sort of mandate must we inspire to galvanise the mayoral candidates? Another hard one, and it depends what we mean by mandate. A majority of Londoners ardently supporting pro-cycling measures will be difficult to build. But it may be possible to generate a groundswell of popular support drawn from across a wide-ranging cross-section of London’s population for the mayoral candidates to feel that taking London to the next level of ambition for cycling will have robust support and bring them plaudits. Good in theory. But how do we harvest that popular, diverse and positive support for boldness from our next Mayor? Well, LCC believes it will be by running a popular, positive single-issue campaign that elicits energetic support from a large and diverse number of Londoners. If we can target a single totemic issue that, while not a panacea, is big enough to help pave that pathway towards a
cyclised city then we may have traction. Moreover if we can create a simple proposition to which the Mayor can only say yes or no, and which must be achieved within a single mayoralty, then we’ll have something of real substance to which we can hold the winner of the mayoral election to account. This is the point where I stop asking the questions and ask you to provide the answers. We want you, LCC’s members, to decide what that transformative, single issue should be. All you have to do is go to our new website and vote for your favourite from a list of three options. But we don’t just want this to be simple poll. We also encourage all of you to engage in the debates on the particular merits (or challenges) of each of these options on our new online forum — or indeed any other possibilities that members post there by way of alternatives. The more of you that vote and offer your views and comments the better. That way we can make a final decision based on both the popular vote among members and the issues that have been thrown up during the debate.
Give cyclists space Did you know that in some areas of London around 50% of journeys under two miles are made by car? Whilst access to a car is a valued asset for many of us, this is exactly the sort of distance that is well-suited to cycling. Think school run, shopping, attending worship, gym visits, getting a takeway… What if we could encourage half of those short journeys to be made by bike? The argument here is that for that to happen we would need to make sure cyclists have much more share of the road on an ongoing basis — but isn’t that just the sort of thing we are after? Smart Zones We often talk of cycling, walking and public transport (even staying put) being 'smarter travel'. Another take on this idea is being smarter about how we organise our local neighbourhoods. What if they were enriched through prioritising walking, cycling, play and social interaction, with car access on the periphery? And if such zoning were integrated into the planning process it could become the norm for London’s development. What better way to set the direction than a large, flagship Smart Zone in every borough?
18 London Cyclist June-July 2011
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City limits Long considered the Holy Grail of transport campaigning, Anna Semlyen from 20â€™s Plenty for Us explains why lower speed limits can benefit society 20 London Cyclist June-July 2011
30mph doesn’t work Over half of British road deaths and serious injuries occur on 30mph roads (Environmental Transport Association report, 1997). Britain has the highest percentage of pedestrian road fatalities in Europe at 22.5 percent and one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school. Parents cite traffic speed as the main reason why kids are not allowed to walk or cycle. It's not surprising a recent report from the London Assembly laments the still-growing obesity problem, which costs the city around £1 billion each year. Authorities committed to 20mph Over 5 million people live in places like Islington, Warrington, Oxford, Bristol and Lancashire which have already installed town-wide 20mph limits for residential roads or are doing so.
Motorists benefit Far from being anti-motorist, 20mph limits make drivers better off, healthier and greener. In fact, according to studies by the National Centre for Social Research (2005), 72 percent of drivers believe 20’s plenty on residential streets. At 20mph there are fewer injured car users as there is longer to react to hazards. In Portsmouth there were 23 percent fewer driver casualties and 31 percent fewer injured passengers after two years of wide area 20mph limits. Elderly drivers had 50 percent fewer injuries and 40 percent fewer injured passengers. Fuel use, CO2 and costs fall. In Germany, 30km/h (18.6 mph) zones led to drivers using 12 percent less fuel. Congestion is reduced and parking is easier. At 20mph more cars occupy the road space due to shorter gaps between each relative to 30mph, smoothing ‘traffic flow’ — a favourite theme of the current London Mayor. Junctions are more efficient as drivers merge into shorter gaps. Cleaner air quality particularly benefits those breathing in-car air, which is three times more polluted than the pavement. Standing traffic reduces as traffic smooths. Less fuel is burnt in transit and fewer overall trips are made by car. Car costs drop as insurance premiums fall; vehicles maintain value from less brake and tyre wear and fewer potholes. There are fewer road rage incidents. At 20mph independent child travel is safer, freeing up parents for more productive activities. Fewer work days are lost and there are widow, disability benefit and care savings. Unsurprisingly, the NHS firmly supports 20mph. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) specifically recommends 20mph near locations that children frequent — eg near schools and playgrounds. At 20mph health inequalities reduce as fewer poor children die (Prof Danny Dorling, 2010). And it needs to be noted that primary age children cannot accurately gauge traffic speeds beyond 20 mph. The NHS in the north-west has even predicted that 140 children could be prevented from being killed
Photos: Mark Churly
otor traffic’s impact depends on its speed and volume. Speed is key. Tackling excessive speed is crucial to reclaiming shared public space. Without lower speeds how likely is traffic reduction? How moral is it to ask people to walk, cycle or use a bus without improving safety? Fortunately 20mph speed limits help everyone share roads fairly and improve quality of life for all. In a collision at 20mph, 97 percent of cyclists and pedestrians survive. 20mph has also been proven to be seven times safer than 30mph. Additional 20mph benefits include reducing traffic and pollution. 20’s Plenty for Us, LCC and many others want default 20mph limits where people live. Our own research has shown that limits cost £1,100 per kilometre to implement and are seven times more cost effective per mile per hour reduced than zones (with traffic calming). ‘Total 20’ is social engineering rather than highway engineering. It relies on community engagement and driver agreement to signed limits with 'light touch' police enforcement. Some roads will have higher speeds where merited; zones and limits can be mixed.
SUCCESS STORY — PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth first took advantage of changes in transport guidance in 2006 to bring in a 20mph limit on 1,200 residential streets, without traffic calming. Casualties fell by 22 percent in the first two years. What’s more there has been a 7mph drop in average speeds on roads where previously the average was above 24mph.
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 21
CAMPAIGN THE MESSAGE IS SIMPLE: 20mph limits not only save lives, but offer significant social benefits
or seriously injured per year in its region if 20mph became widespread. Fewer road victims frees up facilities for other health needs. Less risk encourages active travel which cuts obesity and heart disease. With casualties down people suffer less stress from their liability for crashes and enjoy quieter neighbourhoods, improving mental health and sociability. Studies have shown that lowering residential speeds to 20mph only increases urban trips by around 40 seconds. What does it cost? Well Portsmouth spent £475,000 — or £333 per street. Oxford spent £300,000. It’s the equivalent of a couple of signal-controlled junctions. And payback is quick. Warrington found a first year rate of return on its pilots of 800 percent. DfT guidance includes roundel signs 60cm wide on posts at entrances and 30cm repeater signs. Most authorities use far fewer signs than in the guidance to cut costs and clutter. Many signs are due to re-entering 30mph roads. Presenting 20mph to key decision-makers ‘Total 20’ is winnable when presented well. Influential people are executive members for Transport (councillors in borough councils), directors of public health and the police. Inclusion of all road users and establishing it as a universal aspiration will gain
democratic change. We don’t think it can be 'won' just by cycle or pedestrian campaigners. If you are serious about achieving Total 20 then join with cycling, walking, disability, child, elderly and resident’s organisations as a 20’s Plenty group to create a collective community commitment. Use tangible evidence — eg petitions — to empower councillors. Most councillors do not understand the differences between 20mph zones (with humps) and signed limits. Campaigners must inform decision-makers of the benefits, costs and methodology of Total 20 as social engineering. 20’s Plenty for Us has a huge array of quality research, advice, factsheets, facebook, blog and video clips to help. For instance, we will mail-merge press releases to local media/decision-makers if you provide their emails. 70 UK places have local 20’s Plenty campaigns and London urgently needs more. Search online for www. 20splentyforus.org.uk to see if a local group exists near you, or why not start your own. We’re free to join. Ask for a starter campaigner pack and sign up to our newsgroup. You'll also get a free local website and firstname.lastname@example.org email forwarding; stickers, posters, leaflets and Powerpoint presentations are available. Make use of our information and staff to win 20mph where you live. Our aim is simple — to maximise the number of UK Total 20 implementations.
MORE INFO Contact Anna Semlyen on 07572 120439 or via Anna.email@example.com. Or for more info on local groups inyour area, go to www.20splentyforus.org.uk, or join the Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/ 20splentyonfacebook
22 London Cyclist June-July 2011
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The last word on Gerhard Weiss assesses the impact of the LIPs across London's boroughs, particularly regarding HGV issues — how does yours shape up?
ocal Authorities in London have finalised their Local Implementation Plans (LIPs) setting out how transport money will be spent over the next three years. On the one hand cycling in London has never been so prominent in the public arena, in the media or even at City Hall. On the other, a new funding regime has done away with ringfencing cycling money in favour of a more ‘holistic’ approach, leaving local authorities to decide how much to spend on cycling. Has your borough seen this as an opportunity for cycling or not? Here's our take on what’s in store for your area. What are the Mayoral targets? ■ 400% increase in cycling by 2026 ■ 5% cycling mode share across London by 2026 ■ Contribute to 66,000 new cycle parking spaces by 2012 ■ Reduce transport contribution to carbon emissions ■ Support Cycle Superhighways ■ Support Cycle Hire Scheme How is your borough doing? The ultimate test for your local LIP is, of course, the feedback from your local LCC group who will have analysed and responded to the plan. Here the general view is that most are nice in words but weak on action.
The phrase ‘improve conditions for cyclists wherever feasible’ is far too common. Hackney Cyclists is the only local group that has fully endorsed its council’s LIP asking for just a few minor corrections. LCC has criticised the 5 percent mode share for cycling to be rather unambitious. Some of the 33 local authorities have already passed it or have potential to do so without extra efforts. Plus 13 outer London ‘Biking Boroughs’ have committed to pioneer cycling. Surely they cannot shy away from the modest targets set by the Mayor. Or can they? We have a detailed analysis of LIP criteria on the website (www.lcc.org.uk). A particular worry is cycle parking: TfL has acknowledged that the London Plan (on which standards are based) is outdated, resulting in underprovision at new developments. What’s more, implementation of even these poor standards relies on rigorous planning control, rarely enforced and easily ignored by developers. There is real concern that growth in cycling may be held back and we're urging TfL and councils to go beyond London Plan standards.
What LIPs reveal for HGV safety Our map shows how the boroughs are doing on HGV safety. London Cyclists is demanding cycling awareness training for all council lorry drivers and subcontractors. Ideally this would be delivered with on-road cycle training. At the very least a local authority should be registered with FORS (Freight Operator Recognition Scheme), a quality mark that ensures use of well-equipped and maintained vehicles and a good system of driver’s professional development. Our simple traffic light system
therefore allocates green to those boroughs that already provide cycling awareness training following London Cyclists lobbying. Amber are those who are FORS registered; they ‘could do better’. Boroughs in red have neither. It should be noted that some do face special circumstances. For example Barking & Dagenham has to deal with large amounts of HGV traffic from operators based in the borough. So a focus just on the councils own HGV traffic would only reach a fraction of the lorry traffic in this borough. Barking &
Dagenham does work with those operators on cycle safety, but we believe FORS registration should be the least the borough could do as well. You will notice there are several Biking Boroughs which have no plans for either becoming FORS members or providing cyling awareness training. For these there is really no excuse. They have made a commitment to improve cycling and they are receiving extra funding from which the budget for cycle awareness training would only be a fraction.
24 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Borough (Biking Borough)
BARKING & DAGENHAM (BB) BARNET BEXLEY (BB) BRENT (BB) BROMLEY (BB) CAMDEN CITY CROYDON (BB) EALING (BB) ENFIELD GREENWICH HACKNEY HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM HARINGEY HARROW HAVERING (BB) HILLINGDON HOUNSLOW (BB) ISLINGTON KENSINGTON & CHELSEA KINGSTON LAMBETH LEWISHAM MERTON (BB) NEWHAM REDBRIDGE (BB) RICHMOND SOUTHWARK SUTTON (BB)
Provides cycle awareness training for HGV drivers
FORS registered, but could do better
Not FORS registered, no cycle awareness training
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 25
How to assess our Campaigning for better cycle routes needs solid research, but it's easier than you
veryone in Greater London can understand that some streets feel safer to cyclists than others. Indeed, some routes are so appealing that they actually ‘create’ cyclists by the dozen: traffic-free routes such as Regent’s Canal and the cycle path through Hyde Park are two examples. On the other hand, some roads are so unappealing that they deter the vast majority from cycling; people either choose a different route or use another mode of transport entirely. Multi-lane trunk roads such as Cromwell Road or Streatham High Road spring to mind. In between
these extremes, there are routes that are variously less or more attractive to cyclists, and many of us — especially more experienced cyclists — are able to make sophisticated judgements about route quality. It’s nice to imagine that a typical project plan would work like this: (i) planners measure how cyclefriendly the route is now; (ii) they decide how best to spend the budget; (iii) then they measure how cyclefriendly the route is when they’ve finished, and publish the results. Unfortunately, city planning isn’t always as organised or as transparent as this, which is why cycle
campaigners benefit from having their own efficient and low-cost method of assessing routes, with which they can enter a meaningful dialogue with council and Transport for London officers. As part of the Cycle Superhighways project, London Cyclists has been submitting detailed critiques of those routes, pointing out which roads and junctions are suitable for attracting new cyclists, and which plainly aren’t unless changes are implemented. Showing how it's done LCC member Rik Andrew, has developed, and already road-tested,
26 London Cyclist June-July 2011
QUALITY-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR CYCLE ROUTES TYPE OF ROUTE
Park, towpath, greenway VRS
Wide path; good sight lines; good surface; good access, including evenings; well signposted
Good attractive path, but poor access; daylight only
Width adequate & surface okay; blind corners; poor access
Narrow; overgrown; poor ambience; poor surface; not legal
Through-traffic excluded; safe junctions & crossings; wellsigned; well lit
Traffic calmed, but not excluded, or lightly used; 20mph; safe junctions & crossings; well-lit
Indirect; narrow; over-parked; poor ambience; unsafe junctions; no main road crossings
One-way street; used as rat-run; signed only (untreated)
Physically segregated track; protected lane; few breaks in continuity and safe junctions
Wide mandatory lane; available 24hr; good continuity across (treated) junctions; no parking or loading
Advisory lane; fragmented; obstructed; narrow/part-time/ no junction treatments
No facilities; signed only (untreated); serious hazards
Distributor roads A CYCLIST'S WORST NIGHTMARE: buses, cabs, lorries and limos, combined with parked cars and narrow streets. Unsurprisingly not a single bike in sight...
streets think, as Mike Cavenett & Rik Andrew explain a route-assessment system that was used to send comments on routes to TfL. It’s a shame Transport for London doesn’t always accept our advice, but it did come to the conclusion, in agreement with an LCC assessment, that the A40 was a poor choice of route for a Cycle Superhighway. Rik argues that the system is particularly suitable for planners when they’re choosing an upgrade path from two or more alternative (perhaps parallel) routes. It provides a quick and low-cost method of assessment, which they might not otherwise have.
As you can see, using a workable assessment framework lets you do all kinds of things; not least work out whether you’re getting value for money, and whether you’re actually creating routes likely to encourage more cycling. So how exactly does one go about rating a route for its cyclefriendliness in order to lobby for improvements, or to argue with a council about investing money in it? Unsurprsingly there are a number of different ways, according to circumstances, but the route assessment method is so simple that pretty much any cyclist with a pen
and a notepad can use it to assess the route of their choice, and here’s how: First, break down the route into its constituent parts, which are sections of route between junctions, and the junctions themselves. Second, ride or walk the route, scoring each section of the route and each junction according to the criteria set out below. At the end of the process, the information can be recorded either as a spreadsheet, with a name for each section alongside its score, or the information can be transferred on to a map, and represented visually, with different colours indicated the quality of route.
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 27
ASSESSMENT IN ACTION For the inner section of Cycle Superhighway 11, and on its extension to Grosvenor Square, Rik Andrew used the route assessment method (see below). For alternative routes or sections of route, some of which can then be proposed on the basis that they would provide a better overall solution. All assessments are accompanied by qualitative notes, highlighting the importance of dealing with major barriers to cycling such as Swiss Cottage gyratory. The second table (right) shows the percentages of the route that are at each level of quality — ie, what proportion of the length of the route is very good (1), good (2), poor (3) or very poor (4) – before and after intervention. As you can see, the percentage that’s very good or good would increase from 2% to 68%.
However, the percentage of the route that’s still poor or very poor is 33%, which is why other routes were suggested that could provide less of a barrier to creating new cyclists on the Superhighway. DISTANCE (KM)
% OF ROUTE AT THAT RATING
% OF ROUTE AT THAT RATING
Very Good (1)
Very Poor (4)
QUALITY OF ROUTE (RATING)
CURRENT DESCRIPTION OF SECTION
CURRENT SECTION RATING
NAME OF ROUTE SECTION
SECTION DISTANCE (KM)
Key east-west route but one-way; logical start point for this Superhighway
North Audley Street
Rat-run for taxis etc; one-way
Junction: Oxford St
Change to two-way operation (all sides of square) and calm Make 2-way with closure/filter; divert A41 traffic via Park Lane Make two-way for cyclists Make two-way for all traffic; or install segregated two-way cycle track
POTENTIAL RATING B2 B1 C2 B2 / C2
Junction: Wigmore Street Portman Square
One-way; left-hook risk
Make two-way for cyclists
Baker Street (Sth)
Make 2-way: all sides of square Make 2-way for all traffic; or install segregated two-way cycle track Make two-way for all traffic and sign as A41 (not Baker St)
Make two-way for cyclists
Baker Street (N)
One-way; severe bus congestion blocks cyclists
Make two-way for bus/bike only; other traffic to use Gloucester Pl
Junction: Baker Street /Park Rd
Useful bus lane but not obvious
Blue lane would clarify route
Wide fast road; no cycle facilities
No right turn southbound; important link to Harewood, etc
Add toucan with jug-handle
Fast roundabout with awkward tight approach; railings hazard
Redesign vital: signalise and make two-way; remove railings
Single wide lane; no cycle facilities
Important east-west link to Harrow Rd
Finchley Road (S) or Wellington Road (N)
Two narrow traffic lanes, no cycle facilities
Junction: Marlboro/ Queens
Pinch point caused by traffic island
Finchley Road (S)
Two narrow traffic lanes, but not high traffic-flows; no cycle facilities
Junction: Boundary Road
TfL proposal unclear; must work both north and southbound
Two-way operation best option, otherwise very difficult to make safe
Frequent HGVs; requires radical redesign and less parking
Total distance (km)
(Gloucester Place) Junction: Marylebone Road
Junction: Rossmore Road Junction: Prince Albert / St Johns Wood Road Wellington Road Junction: Circus Road
St Johns Wood Park
Swiss Cottage gyratory
Finchley Road (N)
Calmed by filter but inaccessible to A41 cyclists Fast multi-lane traffic; buses changing lanes; railings; very poor for walkers & cyclists Narrow lanes; railings; bus lane used for off-peak parking
2m cycle lanes throughout
Add mandatory cycle lanes Upgrade all ASL lead-in lanes to queue length 2m cycle lanes both north and southbound; no need for two traffic lanes Upgrade to single phase toucan crossing 2m cycle lanes both north and southbound; no need for two traffic lanes
B2 / C2
C2 B2 C2 B2 C2 B1
28 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Tom Bogdanowicz takes us on a tour of two of London’s most colourful districts, including buildings designed by architect John Nash York Way
King’s Cross International
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2010 following a trial period; in the winter it offers a great view of Nash’s Cumberland Terrace. The park includes the American ambassador’s residence and the London Central Mosque. The garden in the centre of the inner circle has a café and bike stands.
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parks; some cycle lanes on busier roads. NEARBY STATIONS Camden Road, Euston, Kings Cross and Victoria.
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The grand terraces around the park are the work of John Nash, the town planner, developer and architect who shaped the London of the 18th century. The park, formerly the king’s hunting ground and still the property of the Crown Estate was to be filled with villas but Nash ran out of funds, and only three of the eight that were built survive. Camden Cycling Campaign and LC have lobbied for cycling to be permitted in the park. The Broad Walk was opened up to cycling in
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FACTFILE START Euston station LENGTH 16km (10 miles) TIME 2.5 hours TERRAIN flat and easy; mostly quiet streets and paths through
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t’s hard to imagine more colourful and energetic parts of London than Camden and Soho. Camden’s centre throbs with a young clubbing and drinking crowd while nearby streets house some of the wealthiest of London’s residents, and Soho has a history as a red-light district despite bordering the most expensive streets on the Monopoly board. Sights on the route are dominated by the architecture of John Nash, planner and architect. This unusual ride takes you through the heart of both districts along little-trafficked roads and through London’s best known parks, but it’s essential to follow the route precisely or you may get caught up in complex one-way systems. Any bike is fine for this flat route. The ride is extracted from Tom Bogdanowicz’s London Cycling Guide by permission of New Holland Publishers. It costs £10.99 from most bookstores.
Sh af te
BEST RIDES IN LONDON
Camden and Soho
Set by the Regent’s Canal, the Lock market was once a relatively small weekend art and crafts market and popular alternative music venue. It expanded rapidly in the 90’s to encompass much of Camden High Street and is now a must-see destination for any tourist under 30. The range of new and old goods on offer is enormous and the food offerings include the unique nitrogen-
frozen ice cream at Chin-Chin Laboratorists. Cycle parking is limited; the little-known stands outside number 3 Jamestown Road can be useful.
30 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Designed in grand neoclassical style by Sir Robert Smirke, the BM houses an unrivalled collection of antiquities. Within the museum is the largest covered square in Europe, the Queen Elizabeth II Court, designed by the Norman Foster practice (architects of the Gherkin). Within the square
Foster retained the museum library’s original circular reading room, once frequented by Karl Marx. The museum’s library has been moved from what is now the QEII Court to a new building in Euston. Conveniently, the museum has strange but plentiful bike racks outside. The QEII court has a pleasant café.
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recent addition is cycle access in front of Kensington Palace. In 2007 the park formed part of the London stage of the Tour de France to which local LC groups led thousands of cyclists of all ages and abilities. At the destination was probably the largest cycle parking facility ever erected in London (for 12,000 bikes).
London. On Midsummer’s Night, cyclists gather there at 4am to see the sunrise (watch website for details). Down below, in Primrose Hill village, there is a selection of pubs and eateries where you might run into the Millibands who live in the area.
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POINTS OF INTEREST
Loads of cafés and pubs on or near the route, like Bar Italia (see right). Worth trying are the cakes at Berteaux, 28 Greek Street.
Like Regent’s Park, Hyde Park was once a royal hunting ground, acquired originally by Henry VIII, and it remains one of the Royal Parks. London Cyclists lobbied in past years for the cycle crossings into the park and more recently for the cycle access to two key paths in Kensington Gardens. The most
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Primrose Hill Park
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CAMDEN 2 LOCK MARKET
3 PRIMROSE HILL Prince Albert
Despite the efforts of local playwright Alan Bennett, cycling in Primrose Hill Park is still not permitted. But this route takes you up a secret path from which it’s a short walk to the top. The view is perhaps the best in
■ The American Embassy in Grosvenor Square was designed by the Finnish Architect Eero Saarinen; it’s in the process of being moved to Battersea. Further along Brook Street, number 67 bears a plaque marking the residence of the Bee Gees in the 80’s. ■ Sotheby’s auction house, in-between the elegant shops in New Bond Street, at number 31, often has interesting collections of paintings and antiques on display. ■ Slightly off route, the Royal Academy is a convenient stop with cycle parking and an outdoor café in the summer. The exhibitions are ticket only. ■ Bar Italia features regularly in bike rides (like the Southwark Cyclists’ Midsummer Madness ride), and has a high reputation for its coffee; the original Patisserie Valerie is in Old Compton Street. Also inventor Logie Baird used to live there.
was created in 1828 John Nash originally planned a Royal route down Portland Place and Regent Street to Buckingham Palace, where he erected the Marble Arch in front of the original front façade of the palace (now hidden by a dull, but iconic, front extension by Sir Aston Webb). In 1855 the Marble Arch was
moved to its present location, allegedly because the royal carriage wouldn’t fit through it. It was used as a police station until 1950.
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 31
Save the velodrome The future of Herne Hillâ€™s historic velodrome has been under threat for years. Laura Laker looks at the recent campaign to safeguard its future
32 London Cyclist Junel-July 2011
Stephen Fry, Tessa Jowell and Bradley Wiggins have since put their names to the campaign. Rich history as proving ground Herne Hill Velodrome has played a vital role in UK track cycling and has long been a popular destination for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Providing training facilities for youth groups and anyone from novices to professionals, for generations the site has been a proving ground for future cycling stars, including Wiggins, Tony Doyle and Corrine Hall, who recently won the women’s national points series. In years past, Easter weekend events would see 10,000 people descend on the track, when the gates had to be locked to prevent a crush. Tommy Godwin, winner of two bronze medals in the 1948 Olympics, described it as: "A nursery for the youngsters." Now, run and managed voluntarily by VCL (Velo Club Londres) with British Cycling, Herne Hill velodrome offers activities from youth training with Herne Hill Youth
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN To continue its success, the Save the Herne Hill Velodrome campaign needs members to sign up to the campaign at www.savethevelodrome.com. It also needs volunteers with campaign expertise, capital funding and community support to help create a sustainable income. Also, trustees are needed. Donate time or money at www.savethevelodrome.com/ support.html
Photos: Hopkins Architects, Mike Cavenett
eeling paintwork, a boarded-up grandstand and a surface resembling more a disused airfield than a world class cycling track, Herne Hill velodrome has seen better days. Built in 1891, the velodrome is one of the world’s oldest and is the last remaining venue used in the 1948 Olympic Games. Open to the elements and accessed via a dirt track between two South London semi-detached houses, the 450m track’s condition is a testament to its age and the recent uncertainty of its tenure. With a proud history, nevertheless it has become more a relic of the past than a venue for future generations of cyclists. Club Secretary Steve Cook said: "It's very much treasured by the people that ride here. The surface is just about gone, like very coarse sandpaper, so when people have crashes, they get nasty grazes. By and large what you see today is what was here in 1948.” Despite its current condition the track is well used, but it faced closure due to it's poor state of repair. After a hard-fought campaign to save the site, however, the track was given a new 15-year lease last month and £300,000 from British Cycling for resurfacing. The fact it was on a rolling or one-year lease made investment in the site impossible until landlords, the Dulwich Estate, granted an extension on the land the track stands on. In October 2010 the Save the Herne Hill Velodrome campaign was started, initially to fund resurfacing works. Londoners showed just how important this historic site is to them when 700 people turned up to the campaign’s first public meeting.
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Cycling Club (www.hhycc.com), training for novices to advanced cyclists. Well used by local schools, local children and elite cyclists, the velodrome is run entirely by volunteers. A major milestone in the campaign was the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust gaining charitable status, opening up further opportunities for funding. In order to thrive, however, it needs to make itself a sustainable operation. Andy Cawdell, chair of the LCC Board, and active in the campaign said: “Development of the site is still at the chicken and egg stage, the egg being the money and the chicken being the lease. You can’t get one without the other.” Long-term future needs securing Now the lease has been agreed, the aim is to have the track resurfaced in June, with fencing and a field track which will accommodate children from disabled groups. The rest of the site is on a rolling lease until a business plan and the vision for the whole site have been decided. Hillary Peachy from VCL said: “Herne Hill velodrome has to be sustainable and accommodate so many more different user groups. That will mean more schools and children, health groups, disabled groups and outreach programmes. We have just applied for the Southwark Olympic Legacy for floodlights among other things, to increase access to the facilities at night.” With the Stratford velodrome in place for the 2012 Olympics, what London needs of this smaller track is an important question. It is likely Herne Hill will act as a training venue to feed into Stratford’s new Olympic set-up. The focus in Herne Hill’s design is about community and training, to complement rather than compete with the facilities in East London. Hopkins Architects have drawn up plans for the site which include a new tented pavilion to replace the existing grandstand and pavilion structures, which are not currently fit for habitation. In its design, a raised cafe area provides views of the velodrome itself, with changing facilities, a gym and offices underneath. With a 6,000-seater arena in Stratford, it is likely there will be no traditional seated pavilion at Herne Hill; instead a ‘centre’ will replace the existing structure, where people can meet, with standing spectator areas around the track itself. This
‘community’ venue could provide a centre for schools, families and disabled cycling charities and an additional track in the centre of the velodrome will provide cycling space for disabled groups and children. New storage for track bikes is needed to replace the metal shipping containers to the rear of the pavilion that are currently used. A gym and training centre could also provide budding athletes the facilities they need off the track, while new mountain bike and cyclocross circuits will replace the deteriorating off-road routes. Greater access for the community The designs generated enough interest in the project to enable funds to be secured. Now, according to Hillary Peachy, the job will be put out to tender and a business plan drawn up. She said: “Now we have got the first stage accomplished, we are going towards stage two, which is funding. We are looking to create other cycling facilities which will give us access to more people.” “We are putting together a team looking at events we can put on at the velodrome in the lead up to the Olympics, with schools in Southwark. The Brazilian team will be training in Crystal Palace which is very close by and it would be great to have them on board.” Track cycling was Great Britain’s most successful event in Beijing 2008, winning eight of Team GB’s 19 gold medals, and 14 medals in total so there is a real case for increasing facilities for this sport to make London a centre of excellence. The estimated cost of the works is £5 million. So far £50,000 has been raised from individual donations, with a £300,000 investment from
British Cycling for track resurfacing. The latest public meeting was held to drum up corporate support in City Hall. Hillary Peachy says the campaign now needs ten thousand people to sign up in order to secure adequate interest and sponsorship. Further options for the future include becoming a base for on-road cycle training or 'bikeability' courses, including help with safe routes to schools, disability cycling, health and rehabilitation, educational programmes and other community and social enterprise initiatives. “This is very much the start of a new beginning,” Hillary Peachy said. “We have made a huge amount of progress in the last six months since we started the campaign. But this is where the hard work starts.”
VISIT HERNE HILL FACILITIES ■ Open mountain bike course – bring your own bike, ride any time ■ Youth training run by Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club (http://www.hhycc.com/) ■ Novice/Intermediate/Advanced training ■ Women-specific training COURSES ■ Free track cycling taster sessions: by qualified coaches using track cycles EVENTS ■ Demonstration track races by local cycling clubs ■ Cycle jumble sale ■ Bike polo demonstration matches ■ Velodrome talks ■ Have a go Rollapaluza roller-racing ■ Open Season — open track meetings every first Saturday of the month from April to September
34 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Have Your Say This month we ask LCC members what they consider are the biggest problems or advantages to using your bike for shopping?
Mike Cavenett Lambeth Shopping by bike makes my journey to Brixton market take half the time as walking or on the bus. The only downside is navigating the one-way streets: either the racetrack that is Morval Road or the stupid gyratory in central Brixton. Electric Avenue and the covered market are my favourite destination because I can wheel my bike around and buy stuff without having to lock it up. This makes the trip quicker and there are no theft worries. On some occasions, I take a gold-rated D-lock with me if I know I'm going inside Wing Tai's awesome asian supermarket or stopping for cake at Rosie's. I don't have panniers, but always take my trusty rucksack with me. If that gets full, I'm pretty adept at riding with a bag or two of shopping in one hand — I wobble a bit, but stick to back streets and I'm home in five minutes. There's been some fuss in Brixton recently from market traders lamenting the loss of car parking spaces. I realise business people need to park their vans, but we shouldn't be encouraging locals to drive to the market. Let the motorists pay the ridiculous prices in Tesco's.
Parmy Boual Waltham Forest Shopping by bike is relatively easy in Walthamstow. It's the easiest way to get to the market and local supermarkets. There are a few bike racks dotted around the place, but not always in the safest or most convenient locations. It can be a bit troublesome if you need to visit several different shops as this can mean locking and re-locking your bike and taking your shopping with you each time. Market stalls on a quiet day or the local farmers market are better, as I can just go to the stall wheeling my bike and drop the shopping in the panniers as I go. If, like me, you always end up buying extra, then carrying the goods home can be tricky. Standard panniers tend to be narrower at the bottom and therefore restrict the amount you can put in. However, you can always put a couple of bags on the handlebars. I have a downhill journey home, which keeps the wobbling at bay. I haven’t got a solution for a really big shop or for carrying large items with my bike. Also when I go with my children, even short trips become very complicated because you always have to keep an eye on them, not only when riding on our streets, but their bikes too.
Rachel Bower Hackney I'm in favour of shopping areas in central London being made more pedestrian friendly: the naked streets approach, which often involves removal of kerb railings. Unfortunately, when the railings are taken out, there's rarely any alternative provision for parking bikes. If you find a signpost or meter post of narrow enough dimension for a D-lock, you risk the bicycle being knocked to the ground, or obstructing someone getting out of a parked vehicle. Where there are railings, especially in Westminster, there may be a criminalising notice about clamping or removal. I feel tempted to go out armed with stickers: “Why, what harm has it done you?” I question the rationale for these placards. In my opinion, bikes enhance our public spaces more than cars. Parking permitting, cycling is an ideal way of visiting the shops. You can interrupt your journey spontaneously, carry more than when on foot, patronise local stores. It is less of a production than driving, whether your own or a hired car (for really large volume items it is easier to organise delivery in any case). Congestion, roadworks or engineering works are never an issue. So please, councils and businesses, encourage my custom.
Jim Bush Croydon I can’t be bothered to use my car for shopping. My local shops are just over a couple of miles away and I buy fewer things more frequently which also reduces the amount of food that goes off. With my bike, impulse buying is also easier. I can easily stop when I spot something or just decide to walk for a bit. Having got a folding bike for commuting by train, I have found that it is also useful for food shopping. It gets around the lack of cycle parking and the risk of a non-folding bike being stolen. I fold the bike up and put it in the supermarket trolley. I usually take the Brompton pannier bag and a daypack (small rucksack) to carry the shopping home in. Easy! I also find Surrey Street market very convenient for shopping by bike. I can just wheel it around the stalls. For non food stuff I tend to use my ‘normal’ bike as I’m not allowed to take a bike into Whitgift shopping centre and it would be tempting fate locking a valuable folding bike outside.
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Chris Lovitt Tower Hamlets For me a cargo bike is the answer. Doing the weekly shop with it has its advantages and disadvantages, but the pluses definitely outweigh the negatives. You don’t have to worry too much about what you are going to buy, the cargo bike not only handles two trolley loads of the weekly shop (it's always a pleasure to snootily refuse the checkout assistants offer of a petrol voucher with a “I’m cycling my shopping home” line), but also most DIY purchases (a hot water tank has been strapped to front as well as two 30ft or 10m ladders). Of course, children and the odd dog or two can also be transported in style. The negatives are that you tend to be, initially at least, seduced by the two for one offers — when before you carefully chose your items to ensure each would fit into panniers and was really wanted. My final negative is that after a while you keep looking for the next challenge — the latest being London to Berlin in 7seven days with Tigger the spaniel, as part of charity ride for Cry and Maternity Worldwide (www.justgiving. com/tigger-spaniel1).
Ruth Mayorcas Hounslow I can only see the advantages of shopping by bike having carried out at least 90 percent of my shopping in this way for the last 35 years in London. All you need is a sturdy bike, a pair of panniers, a good backpack and a front carrier — I swear by my removable Rixen Kaul Shopper. In Chiswick, shopkeepers complain that because of lack of parking they lose custom, far from it — I am able to pop into any shop I like and it encourages me to use local shops as well as the supermarkets. If I am cooking and have forgotten a certain ingredient I can pop to the shops in a trice to get it. Shopping by bike brings you more into the community — using the High Street as it should be used rather than as a conveyor belt for cars. And let me tell you, it is also possible to carry up to 12 bottles of wine by bike — trust me, I have! The only problem is lack of adequate cycle parking but we are blessed in Hounslow to have enlightened Highways people who have in recent years placed hundreds of bike racks all over the borough. But we could still do with more, particularly in residential streets.
Are friends electric? With electric bikes gaining in popularity, author Richard Peace explains the background and what to look for if buying one
n very basic terms, electric bikes allow you to add power from a small electric motor to your pedalling effort; they are not mini-electric motorcycles as they still require some pedal input. Effectivley, they make pedalling easier — especially up hills, into headwinds and with heavy loads. Subject to a speed limit of 15mph — though you can use pedal power alone above this limit — and a motor rating of 250 watts, they are treated exactly the same by UK law as non-electric bikes. There’s no need for any red tape whatsoever. How long have electric bikes been around? You might think of electric bikes as being a phenomenon of the last few years, but the 19th century saw an electric machine produced by Humber (a tandem pacer used in the Bol d'Or 24-hour paced track race in 1899 in Paris). The 1920s and '30s saw a number of designs designed for public use, one example being the EMI/ Philips system. Petrol power overshadowed the idea of electric bikes in the post-war years but the oil crises of the 1970s saw an increasing number of designs come and go (including the wellknown C5). The 80s and 90s also saw steady technological progress, meaning a reduction in weight of electric bikes and extending battery range. Such has been their increasing popularity on the continent over the last decade they now account for a significant proportion of bike sales — around one in four bikes sold in the Netherlands is electric. Aren’t they expensive? Models start at a few hundred pounds, but £1,000 seems to be the starting benchmark for good quality bikes from well-known firms. They are eligible for the Cycle2Work tax subsidy in the same way that non-electric bikes are. What designs are there? There are two main designs, based on how motor power is applied: ■ Pedelecs — here the power is
MOTOR This is a rear wheel hub motor but other options include front wheel hub, or around the pedal axles. The motor also needs control electronics which may appear as a small separate box on the bike or, as here, may be hidden away, usually inside the motor casing.
activated by your pedalling motion, so as you pedal you feel the motor power magically pushing you forward. They tend to be the most efficient systems and give good smooth assistance over a wider speed range as they are working in every gear. ■ E-bikes — these usually use a throttle, but the very least you will have to do is spin the pedals round (though not necessarily put any effort in) to activate the power. Bikes can also be classed according to whether they have a ‘crank motor’ (usually located near the bottom bracket axle and driving
through the chain) or a ‘hub motor’, located in the wheel hub (front or rear). Crank motors are usually more reliable but more expensive and may not be as good at speedy hill climbing as some hub motors. Where’s the technology at and will it continue to improve? As electric bike technology has progressed their sales have continued to grow. Here’s a summary of electric bike technology to date: What batteries are used and what mileage do they achieve? Most electric bikes use lithium
38 London Cyclist June-July 2011
THROTTLE CONTROL AND/OR POWER SETTINGS Throttles (most often twist-grip) appear only on some electric bikes, usually E-bikes. Pedelecs normally just require you to step on the pedals, though they will usually have a button on the handlebars to allow you to set the different power settings (typically 50%, 100% and 150% of pedal effort).
BATTERY This can be frame mounted on the downtube (as shown here) or behind the seat-tube on specially-made frames. A third common option is to mount the battery on the pannier rack.
batteries of one description or another which have a life expectancy of around two years before capacity drops below about 80 percent of the original — though the latest tests suggest their longevity is improving beyond this. A few companies still offer nickel-metal hydride batteries (which last longer but have a shorter range) and even the very heavy and very short ranged (but markedly cheaper) lead-acid batteries. Current average range for an electric bike is around 20-25 miles but large capacity batteries mean the more efficient designs can reach
40 miles (dependent on rider weight, terrain, wind and other contingencies). Beware of exaggerated mileage claims on very many electric bikes. Also make sure you check out the price of replacement batteries which are often the most expensive long-term cost (£300 and upwards) — try and get a battery guarantee of two years minimum. How light are the bikes and how light might they become? Bikes of 20-25kg are commonplace and the lightest models are sub-15kg (for example, UK-made Cytronex).
The UK-designed GoCycle comes in at under 17kg. The trend to lighter motors and higher power density batteries should continue to see weight creep down but a technological leap — such as combining supercapacitors with lithium batteries — would be needed to see a marked reduction in weight across the board.
MORE INFO Buy a copy of Electric Bicycles: The Complete Guide (£12.95). Go to www.electricbicyclesbook. com, or order on 01305 259998.
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 39
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING ELECTRIC ■ How hilly is the terrain? If it's very hilly a crank-drive could be a good option (it drives through all gears, even the lowest), or if you go for a hub motor make sure it is geared for steep hills or a high torque model. ■ How much range do you need? The higher and more consistent speeds of electric bikes mean up to a 15-mile commute is now within the range of the unfit. Just about all current batteries will easily do this and a top-up at work should mean a full battery for the return journey. For touring you might want to look at models with the largest batteries out there — a capacity of 500 watt-hours (Wh) is towards the bigger end of the range. The Derby battery fitted to some current Kalkhoff models looks to be a good bet for longer day rides and touring. ■ Go for the longest guarantee period you can – especially on the batteries. With replacement lithium batteries well into the hundreds of pounds, a two-year battery guarantee is the minimum you should look for. There are several extended waranties out there — for example, from Koga and 50 Cycles (Kalkhoff) but the longest currently is a ten-year warranty from the Electric Transport Shop which ties you into a twice-yearly service to keep the warranty valid. They have a London branch as well as ones at Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol. ■ As you might expect, price tends to correlate to price, though £1,000 seems to be the the starting point for decent quality bikes from European and Japanese firms. Whilst there are some decent machines amongst the cheaper end of the market (which tends to be dominated by Chinese makes, rebranded for the UK), you're also more likely to find some of the less reliable bikes. ■ Larger names – Giant, Kalkhoff, Raleigh and Trek are more likely to hold spares for their electric bikes on a long-term basis, though a number of other makes/retailers such as Electric Transport Shop, Powabyke and Wisper are well-established UK companies specialising in electric bikes. ■ Folding electric bikes are just starting to become feasible although the majority are heavy and inconvenient to fold. However, there are some decent options — relatively heavy models from Dahon and E-motion, but a kit conversion of the Brompton from the Electric Wheel Company is probably currently the best bet. ■ For off-road use or regular heavy load carrying, Heinzmann are one of the toughest add-on motor kits around. Electric Mountain Bikes (www.electricmountainbikes.com) are one of the best companies offering services in this specialised area of kit fitting.
40 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Escape the city Category: Superb long distance on-road rides Location: London to.....Hastings, Paris, Southend, Gibraltar,Windsor, Southampton Date: August â€“ September 2011 For more information call 0808 100 2109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bhf.org.uk/events
ÂŠBritish Heart Foundation 2011, registered charity in England and Wales (225971) and in Scotland (SC039426)
Road bikes Generally the lightest and nippiest of rides, a good road bike will serve as commuter workhorse during the week and sportive warrior at the weekend
BOARDMAN Team £999.99
DAWES Sportif £650
Like other Boardman road bikes we’ve tested, the 2011 Team defies logic: the sum of the parts adds up to considerably more than the retail price, while the technology and finishing is usually only found on bikes twice as expensive. Not that we’re complaining. Many friends mistook the smooth welds and detailing on the lightweight aluminium frame for carbon; indeed the fork is carbon. But what’s amazing — and noticeable on back-to-back comparisons — are the top-drawer ‘hidden’ features: the tapered head-tube and steerer for added strength, and the BB30 bottom bracket for increased stiffness. Having ridden the bike on several Alpine passes, you definitely notice how solid your pedalling action feels, particularly when stomping on the gas (boxy chainstays aid
Out of the box, the Dawes is an eye-catcher; its aluminium frame has a fetchingly curved top-tube and it’s decked out in suitably sporty red and black attire. The frame’s complemented by a carbonbladed fork (which means it has a slightly heavier aluminium steerer) and a 24-speed transmission from the lower end of Shimano’s extensive range. The wheels are bogstandard Dawes items, shod with Vittoria 23c rubber. Most of the finishing kit is in-house too, apart from the brakes which also come from the Shimano stable. On the road, the Dawes is a very respectable performer. Its biggest disadvantage, however, is its weight — particularly towards the back end. Carrying a few extra pounds means you have to
this further); descending is far more stable and reassuring. Shimano 105 shifters and mechs are paired with FSA compact chainset; all worked flawlessly. The Tektro brakes were only left wanting on the longest descents and Mavic's Aksium wheelset ran fine, but the Vittoria Zaffiro tyres lacked grip in the wet. Impressive own-brand finishing kit too. At just 18.5lbs this bike is rapid, only your legs will hold you back. Again our main issue regards sizing – our small sample, with 54cm top-tube, would be classed as medium in many companies’ line-ups, so shorter riders may need to swap stem/seatpost. JK PROS Incredible value and ride CONS Sizing issues
work harder, particularly on climbs, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still enjoy the overall ride. Gear shifting is efficient, while the brakes provide bags of stopping power. In a straight line, the Sportif is comfortable and it corners reasonably well at speed. However, the first few times you crank hard out of the saddle the bike feels slightly off-balance, but you quickly learn how to manage that. This is a fairly decent all-rounder from Dawes and those spunky looks will surely tempt a few buyers to part with their cash. MC PROS More workhorse than racer; sporty looks CONS It’s packing a few extra pounds
PINNACLE Dolomite 1.0 £550
Beauty might well be in the eye of the beholder but with striking silver livery and sporty poise the Flite 500 drew appreciate glances from fellow commuters. And it’s not just a superficial lipstick job, for the Flite has pedigree and quality beyond its price tag. KHS realises that it has to work hard to lure you away from better-known brands and it has. It’s specced with components that you would normally associate with a bike well over the £1k mark, including Shimano 105 gears and Mavic CXP 22 rims. The bike also rides like a more expensive machine. The aluminium frame has shaped tubes designed to stiffen the ride and the carbon forks and rear chainstays do indeed add comfort by ironing out road jarring. The high bar position means that you’re not unduly
Pinnacle is Evans Cycles’ own brand and the 1.0 is the cheapest in the three-bike Dolomite range, sharing the same double-butted aluminium frame with its £1k, top-of-the-range sibling. The Shimano compact chainset is finished in brushed aluminium, complementing the bike’s subdued cream styling. The gear range might not quite be the same as with a triple, which is fine in town but you'll need to be strong if you plan any Alpine jaunts. The forks are carbon, though with a steel steerer, while the wheels use Alex rims on Joy hubs with Kenda rubber. Those 26c tyres offer more comfort and potholefriendliness than skinnier items, but with that comes extra rolling resistance on longer rides. The brakes are non-branded items and probably the least
stretched as with some wannabe race rigs and coupled with wide-range 11-28t cassette and compact chainset, it’s at home on sportive, commuting or leisure rides. It was light and lively on the hills, responsive when you pointed it into a corner and prompt when jumping on the pedals. The Kenda Kontender tyres were trustingly grippy; our sample came with 23c, but it now comes with wider 26c tyres for added comfort). Plus the reassuringly sharp Tektro brakes were plenty powerful enough around town. MM PROS High value spec, lively ride, versatile CONS Brand relatively unknown in UK
powerful on test; you'll need to keep them properly maintained to get the best out of them. There are bosses for fitting full-length mudguards, which is useful for year-round riding. On the road, the Dolomite's surprisingly spritely for a budget racer. At just 10kg, it combines lightness with decent agility and stability. Cornering feels safe, and when you hammer the pedals the bike reciprocates in a predictable manner. You shouldn’t expect the world at this kind of price, but the 1.0 is certainly a very capable town-meets-country machine. MC PROS Elegant styling; weight CONS Keep brakes well tuned
TESTERS: John Kitchiner, Mike Cavenett, Matt Mallinder PHOTO: Steve Rutherford
KHS Flite 500 £849
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 43
JOIN THE BIG ISSUE FOUNDATION TEAM ON IT’S BIGGEST EVER...
LONDON TO PARIS BIKE RIDE 21st – 24th July 2011
c 3 days cycling 230 miles c Celebratory ﬁnish at the Eiffel Tower c Watch the ﬁnal stage of The Tour De France c All abilities welcome
ise and ra p u n g to si minimum a rship sponso
‘Thank you for an amazing experience’ Rosa, London to Paris Cyclist 2010
For more information about this or any of The Big Issue Foundation Events please contact:
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E: email@example.com / T: 0845 217 9023 11/05/2011 17:42
Product Summer riding kit for all types of cyclist www.todayscyclist.co.uk
LAKE MX85 SHOES £79.99
MUXU Ride Cap £15 www.muxu.cc
Lake has been producing shoes for pretty much every cycling discipline for the last 30 years and the MX85 is one of its most popular models. It’s primarily designed for mountain biking, but many people happily use it for recreational riding, touring or commuting. The upper’s a mix of leather panels and mesh, which certainly aids breathability on balmy Spring days like we’ve enjoyed recently. The rugged rubber outsole gives excellent grip whenever you need to walk or carry your bike, especially over cobbles or rock slabs, and it also ensures you don’t go flying on the polished wood floor of your local café either. There’s a ‘two-hole’ attachment for SPD cleats. Closure is by way of three Velcro straps and these can be easily adjusted while you’re riding along. If they get caked in mud we found the strap closures less secure, so you need to keep them clean. Overall fit is quite generous and our mid-to-narrow footed tester found them plenty roomy enough to wear with a waterproof or thicker winter sock. However, should
This cap is a stylish and practical item that won't break the bank. It adds useful warmth on cool evenings and also protects you from the summer sun; that central grey stripe is made from vented material, allowing your head to breathe. Muxu’s clobber has Iberian origins, being designed in Barcelona and manufactured in Portugal. Pleasingly, the branding here is almost invisible (‘Muxu’ embroidered on one side). Our tester and his Muxu cap are now pretty much inseparable. MC PROS suits variety of conditions CONS online purchase only
the standard width not be sufficient for you, Lake produces a wider (EE) version; there’s a women’s option as well. The fibreglass-injected nylon midsole is much stiffer than your average recreational cycling shoe, which means that your pedalling efforts are more efficient; the bottom of your foot doesn’t get too sore after long days in the saddle either, which is very welcome on off-road marathons. Available in black or black/silver; sizes 39-48 men's (regular and wide), and 36-43 women’s. Jon C PROS Subtle, well featured CONS Not waterproof, so pair with Sealskins in winter
HELLY HANSEN Pace Singlet £26
BBB Pacer £24.95
RITCHEY Pro max bar £72 Biomax
FABRIC HORSE halfbelt $89
The Pace series is a collection of technical t-shirts and jerseys made using HH Cool, Helly Hansen’s most advanced fabric for high intensity workouts. It can be worn on its own or as a base layer beneath a jersey or midlayer; the seamless construction means it’s very comfy to wear in any combination. Most of our female testers love the back design, perfect for sweat-free summer riding and tanning; what’s odd though hough is that the bust area is unsupported, pported, meaning you can’t wear it without a bra, which ruins thatt ‘aesthetic’. Jane K PROS Fast wicking, quick to dry CONS Still need a bra
The Pacer is squarely aimed at casual riders, but doesn’t skimp on technical features: the Grilamid frame is equipped with polycarbonate lenses which offer 100 percent UV protection. Plus there’s an anti-slip nose piece; work up a sweat and these glasses stay put. We found they were best suited to mid-to-wider faces and offered fairly full, but not quite wraparound, eye protection. You get a case thrown in to keep them safe when off the bike. Available in black or white colourways. Racers or sportive riders might want to try the Impulse PH model (£84.99) with photochromic lenses. JK PROS Great value Won’tt suit all head shapes CONS Won
Getting your set-up cruciall ‘just so’ on a road bike is cruci due tto the prolonged periods you spend in limited positions. If you've experimented with stems of different length and rise, and seatposts of varying layback, in a quest to find that riding nirvana, then this bar is worth a look too as it's designed to you achieve a more natural position on the bike. Made from lightweight aluminium, the tops are swept six degrees back towards you, shortening the reach a tad; the drop is also much shallower than on regular bars (130mm) and there’s an ‘ergo bump’ for added comfort when using said drops. All seemingly small things but ones that add up to a more relaxed day in the saddle, especially useful for touring. Nice range of widths too: 36/38/40/42/44cm. JK PROS Adds noticeable comfort CONS Online ‘bargains’ go quickly
If Batman rode a bike, he’d be ditching his ‘Batpouch’ for one of these — guaranteed to bring out the superhero inside you. Available in too many colour combos to list (as well as tailor-made options), it’s as far away from the 80s bumbag as you could get. The larger pocket can easily hold a book, camera, wallet, even a lightweight windproof, the phone pocket will swallow your iPhone and more, plus there’s a keys/coins/cards pocket right at the front, and a D-lock holster at the back. It’s made from waterproofed Cordura and recycled car seatbelts. Now go fight some crime… e… JK PROS OS Forget et over-stuff ed ffed pockets kets CONS NS Some e colour options on ns are a bit ‘disco’ o’
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 45
Product More new summer kit for all types of cyclist SCHWALBE Durano Plus £32.99
SUGOI El Toro jersey £52
www.schwalbe.com We’ve ridden scores of Schwalbe tyres over the years and been variously impressed with their durability, grip and general construction. The Durano Plus is new w for 2011 and takes another key aspect of tyre design n – puncture resistance – to a new level. Like its indestructible stablemate, the Marathon Plus (a favourite with tourers), the Durano Plus has a belt of protective Smartguard rubber beneath the central tread (the blue bit in the image). Just squeezing it between your fingers you can feel how w tough it is and it’s this belt that acts as a first line off defence against penetration by sharps and road debris. There’s also another layer of wraparound protection adding slash resistance to the sidewalls. The dual compound rubber proved surprisingly grippy in fair weather conditions, unexpected in a tyre with such a bulletproof core. It has a maximum inflation of 145psi, but we ran it a little way below that, especially to maximise traction on unpredictable Spring rides.
www.sugoi.com Obviously all that extra rubber adds to the tyre’s heft but it’s no sinner at 380g in our 700x25c test sample. The Durano Plus even seems fairly sprightly on the road, rolling resistance bettering many of the commuting/touring treads we've tested recently. We’ve run them for a few hundred miles now without ith ut a single puncture and we’ve heard of riders being equally flat-free after 5,000 miles. Biggest negative was that it was a difficult tyre to fit — a real two levers and brute force affair. Regular Duranos are still available in a multitude of colours, plus the Durano Skid for fixie riders. Jon C PROS Flat-proofing on steroids CONS Hard to fit
CRAGHOPPER Endurance Lite £7 £78 www.craghoppers.com
ABUS U-Mini £50-80
This 450g waterproof comes with a lifetime guarantee and in black, grey and blue options; it’s a sensibly styled garment for wearing on or off the bike. Considering the price, it’s a little short on features though — there are no pit-zips or taped seams, and the double-layer AquaDry fabric isn’t super breathable. However, it proved itself very waterproof and compacts well into the supplied stuff-sack, even if the creases hang around a fair while after you’ve dug it out. The drawstring hood, elasticated cuffs and hem all help keep rain at bay too. It’s a useful jacket that’s compact enough to carry around all day and smart enough to wear down the pub. Sizes S-XXL. MC PROS Waterproofing, packability CONS Expect more for the money
There are two models of the Abus U-Mini available: a Sold Secure silver-rated version retailing at £50 and a gold-rated one at £80. Both feature a 16mm toughened steel shackle, with all the locks’ metal contact points covered by a rubber skin to avoid damage to your precious ride. Both locks are small enough to fit on a belt courier-style, or in a small bag. The gold-rated lock weighs 1.25kg, while the silver is just 900g. The tiny 140x200mm dimensions mean you’re likely to be locking only frame to stand, but if you’re comfortable with that (maybe using Pinhead skewers on wheels), the U-Minis combine convenience with high security. MC PROS Very safe lock CONS Shackle size restricts locking options
DEFEET Levitator D-logo socks £13.99 www.defeet.com These purposeddesigned cycling socks are made from a mix of synthetic materials, of which crucially two percent is Spandex, giving them a pleasing fit. Despite being made of plastic, the spun fibres still create a woolly feel, with extra padding where it's needed that's tailored to each foot. We tried the socks out on the 70-mile Isle of Wight randonnée and found them nearly inconspicuous. The only time we felt their presence was first thing in the morning, before temperatures had risen above 7 or 8-degrees Centigrade. During the day, they couldn't have been more comfortable. An excellent pair of socks, which are ideal for warmer rides. MC PROS Spot-on for summer CONS Not a winter warmer
Sugoi may be a Canadian company, with Far East manufacturing, but it isn’t averse to tipping its hat to Spanish sporting culture. This bold print, short-sleeved jersey comes with a 40cm front zip (which isn’t quite the smoothest) and three rear pockets. Cuffs and hems are elasticated and the fit is snug, with our tester preferring to go up a size. Overall, this is a well constructed and smart-looking summer top. Available in S-XL; women's options too. MC PROS Decent features, venting CONS Snug fit
ANANICHOOLA Kestral £35 www.ananichoola.co.uk Anna Glowinski, the brains behind women's cycle fashion outfit AnaNichoola, is a competitive racer across several cycling disciplines, but one who's not afraid to say she wants to keep her hands in good nick. For the summer, she's designed two types of fingerless gloves and we tested the slightly chunkier Kestral. Out of the box, the gloves look great in white leather with baby blue details, and they stood up to longer rides and regular commutes without looking frayed or tired. The hoops on the cut-off fingers were something of a mystery at first, but we quickly worked out they're a neat idea ea for removing them quickly. A useful addition to the female rider's warm-weather wardrobe. Lucy C PROS Stylish yet et practical CONS Avoid dirt!!
46 London Cyclist June-July 2011
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Books Postcards, paperbacks and insights into professional cycling Bicycles — Vintage People on Photo Postcards £15 Tom Phillips Before carbon fibre there was steel, before Lycra there was Tweed and before Facebook and Twitter there were ‘private’ photo postcards shot in a local studio or park and posted for a halfpenny (post was delivered up to six
times per day). It was a coincidence that I was reading Bicycles — Vintage People on Photo Postcards by Tom Phillips as I prepared to participate in the now iconic annual Tweed Run in central London.
The century-old Dursley Pedersen was polished up, shirt ironed crisp and I and 400 other Edwardian sartorialists, and a few hipsters in mufti, looked exactly like the 400 or so superbly posed bike riders in this beautiful and charming book. The notable difference between the torrent of Facebook and blog photos from the Tweed Run and the boxes of postcards that are reproduced meticulously in the book is colour. Yet it is easy to imagine that the young women on bicycles decked out in flowers on the postcards were as colourful and joyous as those in floral frocks on the April ride. And the moustaches and sideburns of the 1911 sepia shots were surely as ginger, blonde and grey as those
in the 2011 facial hair contest. Many of the bicycles on the Tweed Run and those in the book are truly the same, such has been the enthusiasm of enthusiasts for restoring the roadsters and butchers’ bikes of the 1910s and 1920s. It is even possible that one of the Rudges, Rovers or Raleighs photographed in the book was photographed again on the ride of 2011. Perhaps next year Mr Philips can compile an equally entertaining collection of the 2010s era of tweed, tweeting and vintage bicycles? TB
48 London Cyclist Xmas 2010
How I won the yellow jumper £12.99 Ned Boulting
One Man and Kent and East His Bike £11.99 Sussex Cycle Mike Carter Tours £12.99
Ned’s been ‘doorstopping’ breathless Tour de France riders, in defeat or victory, for ITV viewers for the last eight summers. Cycling writers have a tendency to elevate the exploits of cycling greats into epic prose, almost to the point of mythology. Boulting however invites us to take a step back to see the absurdities of the race from an insiders’ viewpoint. His journey from self confessed ‘football hack winging it in a sport beyond his ken’ to his initiation into the Tour’s nuances and eccentric characters delivers an amusing, warm and easy read. The book chronicles Ned’s own Tour de France seeing him grow from bemused outsider to one that admits to now ‘respect, mock, adore and crave the race’ in equal measure. MM
A blokey yet amusing tale of one man's pedal around mainland Britain. What starts off as an impromptu ride away from the disillusionment of working life in London, develops into a discovery of previously unnoticed everyday things. His observational commentary on people and places is accompanied by local facts and stories. He also reflects on his own changes, the morphing of his lone, time-driven, urban personality into a more relaxed style as he goes, wryly commenting near the trip’s end that he will have to relearn things should he want to fit back in. Definitely worth a read, especially if you can no longer separate mundane and Monday in your life. BS
Nick Cotton You’d think the proliferation of online mapping websites, smartphones and GPS devices would sound the death knell for books like this. Far from it; every month several new or updated route guides arrive. This excellent guide features 15 on-road and five off-road routes. The former are each around 30 miles long, while the more rugged trails are about half that distance. Sensibly, many rides can be cut in half with short-cuts, or extended by linking two or more adjacent routes. Gradient charts and ratings make organising a half-day jaunt easy, but following the paper directions is pretty tedious — even though the OS maps are flawless. Overall you won’t be short of ride ideas, many of which are just a short train hop from London. MC
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John Foot is a respected academic with an intimate knowledge of Italian history and mores. His history of Italian football, ‘Calcio’, published in 2006, is a classic of its genre, and in this tome he sets out to enlighten us as to the entire history of Italian cycling. The book covers a century of cycling and social upheaval, from the peasants who first took to their bikes in the early 20th century, through the golden age of Coppi and Bartoli, via the drug-fuelled excesses of Pantani, to today’s slick professionalism. It’s fascinating to be reminded of how the great rivalries permeated every Italian household; even the Pope spoke of cycling from his balcony. If you’re a fan of the pro sport, you should read this book. MC
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Xmas 2010 London Cyclist 49
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Find out more at www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups
BEST RIDES IN LONDON
Local Group News BARNET www.barnetlcc.org Who said AGMs are boring? Ours back in March was actually quite exciting as we had a real contest for the post of borough coordinator. John Silvertown, the contender, made a very spirited pitch for the post with some interesting new ideas. In the event the status quo was upheld at a vote, keeping Jeremy Parker in the role. Nonetheless John’s wake-up call has produced a result. At our June meeting we will have a forum on ‘the way forward’, looking at how our members want the group to evolve. So please do come along and have your say. ➤ The Dollis Valley Greenwalk is a footpath and cycleway from Barnet to Hendon running alongside the Dollis Brook — it had become a little rundown, but now Barnet Council has received a grant of £700,000 to renovate it, although only £250,000 is specifically for cycling improvements. There are plans for idyllic wildflower meadows and ponds, plus kids' playareas. ➤ Also quite idyllic were our rides in March and April using byways and bridleways to explore the countryside of south Hertfordshire. MEETINGS: last Thursday of the month, 8pm at Trinity Church Hall, Nether Strreet, N12. Check website to confirm dates in the July holiday period. CONTACT: Jeremy Parker, 020 8440 9080.
BEXLEY www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups We are going to repeat our family rides this summer, starting from June onwards. One of these will be a trip to explore the Lea Valley and the Olympic site. We are also hoping to continue the monthly Kent rides — these are about 30 miles at a medium pace. If you are interested and want to find out more, contact Frances Renton (details below).
AWAY DAY: Barnet members headed to the south Hertfordshire countryside in April in search of early signs of summer
➤ Various cyclists have found it an increasing concern that residential streets are being used as rat runs. If you are experiencing similar problems, let us know via our yahoo group: bexley-lcc@ yahoogroups.com. MEETINGS: check website for details or email Frances. CONTACT: Frances Renton, 01322 441979; f.renton@gold. ac.uk; twitter.com/BexleyCyclists
what to do about Swiss Cottage gyratory. Superhighway 10 is likely to be on the Harrow Road, from Sudbury to Paddington, and mostly in Brent, but it will not be started until after the 2012 election, when we could be in a whole new ballgame. Brent has earmarked funding to make significant changes to Harlesden town centre; we hope such changes will be integrated with CS10 to, in particular, undo the cycle-unfriendly gyratory there. ➤ Plans by Brent for ‘Olympic 2012 interventions’ on High BRENT Road Wembley, Wembley Hill www.brentcyclists.org.uk Road, Empire Way and Bridge Road do seem to be trying make It looks like Cycle Superhighway the environment 11, previously y planned to environmen slightly better for follow the A5,, will pedestrians and now avoid Brent ent pedes EVENTS cyclists, but by taking the cycl do not go A41 through CREW NEEDEDnts of eve very far, Westminster v We’re building up our list nts season. considering and c volunteers for 2011’s eve at us out If you would like to help the Camden. t half sign-ups, selling events, taking petition million This is at m our ing licis pub memberships and pounds least a much p campaigns, please email planned to wider road, p experience email@example.com. No manner be spent on though it needed, just a friendly them. throws up a them Removal and a love of cycling! of the Wembley whole new set et of W Hill Road/Empire Way problems, particularly rticularly y Road/E
gyratory is to be welcomed, but we would like to see further changes to the area, particularly a connection for cycling between North End Road and Bridge Road. ➤ We have had a couple of successful social rides: one with Harrow Cyclists to Hampstead in February, and one in April to Elstree and Stanmore. You can read an account of the latter on our website. Our next ride will be to the Greenacre Cycle Rally in Finchley on 12 June, when we'll meet up with Barnet Cyclists. MEETINGS: Tuesday 7 June, 7pm at The Crown, Cricklewood Broadway, NW2; Wednesday 6 July, 7pm at Samaritans Centre, 1 Leopold Road, NW10. CONTACT: Ian Saville, 07949 164793; coordinator@ brentcyclists.org.uk
CAMDEN www.camdencyclists.org.uk We have held our first two Veloteer inspection rides. The first one in the Kings Cross and Somerstown area ranged from the one-way streets behind the Town Hall, via St Pancras' still
June-July 2011 London Cyclist 51
BEST RIDES IN GROUPS LONDON
dreadful cycle parking to our excellent Agar-Camley link (see report at http://tinyurl.com/ veloteer1). The second ride in the Camden Town area included the Broadwalk, the canal towpath and approaches to Regents Park (see report at http://tinyurl.com/ veloteer2). ➤ We have been concerned by the lack of consideration by City and Camden coucils in the plans for Holborn Circus. Although the proposed narrower and simplified junction should be an improvement, they initially failed to consider cycling southbound in Hatton Garden. They now offer a patched-on solution whose details will be revealed in May. ➤ We plan a busy Bike Week programme whose highlights will be the Cyclists’ Breakfast on Wednesday 22 June in Ossulston Street and the Camden Peripherique ride on Sunday 26, starting from the Town Hall at 10am. More events and details on our website. MEETINGS: 20 June and 18 July at Primrose Hill Community Association, 29 Hopkinsons Place (off Fitzroy Road), NW1. CONTACTS: Stefano Casalotti, 020 7435 0196; stefano@ lamsam-casalotti.org.uk. Or Jean Dollimore, 7485 5896; jean@ dollimore.net. Also twitter.com/ camdencyclists
EALING www.ealingcycling.org.uk Join us for Bike Week and a summer of cycling. We start with a stall and Dr Bike at West Ealing Farmers’ Market and Waitrose West Ealing on 4 and 11 June respectively. We start Bike Week proper on Saturday 18 with a Dr Bike and information stall at Ealing Green, followed by social rides on 19, 22 and 26. We have a programme of family rides over the school holidays and intend to extend this to incorporate the AgeWell on Wheels project for the over 50s. ➤ The summer is also packed with other cycling-related events: information stalls and Dr Bikes at local schools, Brentford Festival and the London Skyride in September. Check out our website for up-to-date details. ➤ The Ealing Bike Hub continues its monthly maintenance classes
CAMDEN'S VELOTEERS: took a series of local inspection rides during the Spring
and drop-in service throughout the summer. We have secondhand bikes for repair and purchase. To find out more see www.ealingbikehub.co.uk. The classes fill up quickly so we recommend advance booking. ➤ On the campaigning front, we have been actively involved in the feasibility study for a ‘bike hub’ at Ealing Broadway. We have responded to the council’s Local Implementation Plan and continued to provide feedback on roadwork proposals. ➤ We havealso been successful in bids for bikerelated projects and have obtained grants from Help a London Child as well as Heathrow Groundworks. MEETINGS: first Wednesday of the month (see website). Social ride on first Sundays, depart 10am from Ealing Town Hall. CONTACT: David Lomas, 07908 540781. Or David Eales, 07880 797437.
ENFIELD www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups We hope to sign up plenty of new members during Bike Week, particularly at the Enfield Festival of Cycling, which will take place on 19 June in Enfield Town Park. It will be interesting to discover whether the 'rebrand' increases LC's appeal out here in outer London. If you are able to help out on our stall at this event, then do get in touch. ➤ Registration is now open for Enfield's Big Bike Ride, a
round-the-borough ride in aid of Nightingale Community Hospice Trust on Sunday 26 June. For further details (and to sign up for the ride) call 020 8366 9674. ➤ Social rides — see www. edmontoncyclingclub.fsnet.co.uk MEETINGS: Thursday 2 June, 8pm at The Wheatsheaf pub, 185 Baker Street, EN1. Thursday 7 July, 8pm at Winchmore Hill Cricket Club (back bar), Fords Grove, N21. CONTACT: Richard Reeve 07957 591387; firstname.lastname@example.org.
HACKNEY www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk Hackney's second Local Implementation Plan reflects many of our existing priorities and we congratulate the council, officers and members on it. Many of the schemes address high priority locations on which we have done work with the council in the past. We will also strongly support the council in discussions with TfL on returning the Stoke Newington gyratory to two-way operation and in the upcoming, related work on the Cycle Superhighway. By the time you read this we will have submitted our LIP consultation response. ➤ We recently attended a meeting to discuss cycling in and around the Olympic Park, convened by Hackney council and attended by the Olympic Delivery Authority, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, and officers and LCC groups from the surrounding boroughs. One of
the positive outcomes of a similar meeting in 2009 was a general 20mph speed limit in the Olympic Park. Two years on, the scope for change was much smaller, with most of the streets and other links already defined by planning decisions. We welcome the new east-west walking and cycling links, but larger streets are a matter of concern, with Waterden Road being rebuilt to poor specifications for cycling, and no clarity on Ruckholt Road. ➤ In April an evening of music was held at Café Oto to celebrate Daniel Cox, the young man who was fatally injured by a lorry in Dalston in February. The Grubby Mitts and Johnny Parry performed, with the artists and venue donating the event's proceeds to the LC's No More Lethal Lorries campaign. The police investigation into the collision is ongoing, following the arrest of the driver on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and officers are quoted as having received a good response to witness appeals. ➤ Our annual London Fields cyclists' breakfast is on the morning of Wednesday 22 June and we very much look forward to welcoming members and supporters there. MEETINGS: first Wednesday of the month, 7.30pm at Marcon Court Estate Community Hall (near corner of Amhurst Road and Marcon Place), E8. CONTACT: Trevor Parsons, 020 7729 2273; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM www.hfcyclists.org.uk There had been a clampdown on all cycling beside the river between Furnivall Gardens and Hammersmith Bridge. Advice was given for a totally unsuitable diversion. This was an operation organised by the Parks Constabulary and the MET Safer Neighbourhood Team. We, and LBHF transport people, have made representations to those who run the council. At the moment the situation is back to cycling being tolerated with pedestrian priority. ➤ Hammersmith Bridge is falling
52 London Cyclist June-July 2011
down. Or at least the road surface is a terrible mess. We are hoping that the council may make the bridge 20mph to prolong the life of the bridge. The argument that it terrifies some cyclists does not carry much weight. ➤ Cycle Superhighway 9 passes from Hounslow to Hyde Park corner. The route TfL is considering (or have decided on) to avoid the Hammersmith gyratory is to turn left at the Town Hall/A4 pavement, cross to the Apollo, with new surface level crossings of Fulham Palace Road, to the Novotel and via Shortlands. Safe but not very direct. Again hopefully they will consider other options in addition to making things more palatable for cyclists who would rather take a more direct route. ➤ Check our website for info on our campaigns, meetings and list of summer rides. MEETINGS: see website. CONTACT: John Griffiths, 020 7371 1290; john@ truefeelings.com
HARINGEY www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups After a long absence from the pages of London Cyclist, we're pleased to report our latest partnerships with the local council, the Biking Borough initiative, for which we are proposing a ‘Top 10’ of permeability improvements and the report of the Haringey Sustainable Transport Commission, soon to be published. ➤ Haringey Council has consulted us on many cycle schemes including the new Greenways 3 and 4. The council is organising a series of Dr Bike workshops too (www.haringey. gov.uk/training) ➤ As part of Bike Week, Haringey Cyclists is organising a family ride (meet at Finsbury Park cafe in the park) at 10am on Sunday 19 June for a tour of Haringey parks. Also there will be an evening ride on Monday 20 June at 7pm (meet 6.45pm at the secure bicycle park, opposite Finsbury Park station) — we will cycle up the Parkland Walk and have a meal and drink (optional) at Highgate Tennis Club. Please contact Adam for more
information about both rides: email@example.com. ➤ We are always looking for people happy to lead the occasional local ride around the borough. We would also appreciate some technical help with our website. Any volunteers please? Our annual meeting takes place at 7.30pm on Monday 11 July at The Salisbury pub. METINGS: every second Monday of the month, 7.30pm at the Salisbury pub (corner of Green Lanes and St. Ann's Road), N15. CONTACT: Robert, robert.hcc@ virgin.net. Also at groups.yahoo. com (Haringey Cyclist).
Station Road, the council has no excuse for not extending permeability to the whole of central Harrow. ➤ Up for debate at our next meeting is whether it is worthwhile in both time and money to take a stall at one of Harrow's summer shows. There is a four-page risk assessment from the council for these occasions – sadly it does not take into account any danger we have on certain roads in getting to the location! MEETINGS: second Wednesdays of each month, see website. CONTACT: Tony Levene, 07828 580 931
It's a busy season for Harrow The council is set to install a Cyclists with both rides and two-way dedicated cycle lane in lobbying Harrow council. With Bunhill Row so that cyclists the brighter weather, our rides going to and from the City can have had good turnouts: we avoid the busy Old Street organised another Chiltern ride roundabout, the scene of a from Amersham station — the number of accidents. Currently hilliest so far but nothing too many cyclists prefer to ride off-road — in brilliant early spring down one-way Bunhill Row in sunshine with a great pub lunch the wrong direction rather than stop. We also went to use City Road. Cllr Webbe said: Hampstead, but largely in drizzle “I’m hoping that money can be and with a disappointing and made available for this overpriced lunch at a Greek important project which will restaurant. And over the Royal ultimately save lives. Anyone Wedding weekend, some who has cycled around Old ‘ex-patriotic’ members decided Street roundabout knows how to leave the country and go to dangerous it is.” If you live in or northern France. cycle through the area, visit our website to send her an email. ➤ Now we are aiming for at least two rides a month until the end ➤ As this goes to press we are Bike Week of September. Our preparing for B website will carry with plans arry plan for our details but we usual breakfast, e do b ARE YOU need more a stall sta at the GETTING YOURS? Farmers volunteers Fa Make sure you receive the LCC either to Market in M e-newsletter. Full of the latest new lead rides or Chapel C s, campaigns and events, it's at least to Market and an essential read. If you're not getti ng conjure up a variety of it you're missing out. To make sure ideas of rides r it's delivered direct to your inbox, contact the Membership Team on where they — please see 020 7234 9310 or sign would like to our ou website up at www.lcc.org.uk go. Rides are at for details. d best medium➤ In association a paced and we have with the British Red no problem with Cross London Refugee ith letting the train take the strain for Services, Room2Heal, a small getting out of London. local charity providing ➤ Our next regular meeting with therapeutic support to refugees the council will bring up, again, and asylum seekers who have suffered human rights the issue of a bike lane opposite violations, has started a bike Harrow bus station. Now that recycling scheme. If you have a two-way running for bikes and bike that could be used, they will buses is back (after 40 years) in
collect it from you (at your convenience) and guarantee it will be repaired and ridden by someone for whom it will be invaluable. Contact refbikes@ Room2Heal.org.uk MEETINGS: second Wednesday of the month (8 June, 13 July), 7.30pm at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1. CONTACT: Alison Dines, 020 7226 7012; firstname.lastname@example.org.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA www.kc-cyclists.org.uk In May we had a repeat of the very successful cycle forum with council officers, councillors, guest speakers and, of course, local cyclists. ➤ Bike Week is 18-26 June, so look out for event details on the website. ➤ We continue to have alternate monthly meetings with the Westminster LCC group so also check its website for updates. MEETING: Monday 4 July at the Devonshire Arms, 37 Marloes Road, W8. CONACT: Philip Loy, 07960 026450; email@example.com
KINGSTON www.kingstoncycling.org.uk The council seems to have picked up on a number of our recommended changes to the Local Implementation Plan (LIP), and particularly heartening is that there is recognition that there continues to be a problem of cycling being perceived as dangerous and that something needs to be done about it. Official statistics show that there were 11 percent (eight) fewer cyclist casualties in 2010 compared to 2009, including two fewer serious injuries. The annual figure of 61 casualties in 2010 is less than half the total in 1990. It’s no reason to be complacent, but the ‘fear factor’ needs to be overcome if more people are to cycle. ➤ The Guildhall has submitted a bid for Biking Borough funding to TfL, and Kingston was one of only two boroughs (out of 12) to seek funding for improved cycle lanes and tracks — rather than just for promotion, training and
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not forgotten in the borough. We’ve asked for feedback on what was delivered last year as well as what is intended in the next year – currently the response is well overdue. ➤ Finally we had a meeting with our GLA assembly member (Len Duvall) and three TfL officers about a junction that's become dangerous, only since TfL carried out ‘modifications’. Over a year later it looks like something will, at last, be done about this. MEETINGS: third Wednesday of the month at the Dog & Bell in Deptford – details on website. CONTACT: Roger Stocker, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHEQUE OUT: Alison Dines from ICAG receives £280 from Waitrose, Chapel Market
parking. We pushed for a key new facility on Queen Elizabeth Road (on the one-way system by the Tiffin Boys’ School). ➤ The borough seems to put a great deal of faith in improved cycle route signing being important for promoting cycling. There seems to be a fair number of existing signs that are facing the wrong way or are covered with foliage. If you see problems with direction signs please report them to the council. ➤ June and July last year saw a big spike in bike thefts with 75 and 65 respectively. We will keep on at the council and police to publicise better locking practice and improve surveillance. ➤ Our rides programme for the second half of 2011 is now on our website and published in a new leaflet. MEETINGS: 14 June and 12 July, 8.30pm at the Waggon & Horses pub Surbiton Hill Road. CONTACT: Jon Fray, 020 8549 1172.
at our stall, do let us know. Or just come and say hello. ➤ Architecture Rides continue with a Norman Shaw ride due on Sat 25 and a Viking Coastal Trail/ Kent coast ride on 16 and/or 17 July (same weekend as Lambeth Country Show (check website). ➤ On the campaigning front, Cycle Superhighways have been keeping us busy, and we were recently involved in a considerate cycling initiative on the South Bank in a joint campaign with the council. ➤ All are welcome to our meetings, rides and other events. Don't forget we have an email group for updates/queries. MEETINGS: third Tuesday of the month (21 June and 19 July), 7.30pm at The Priory Arms, 83 Lansdowne Way, SW8. CONTACT: Philip Loy, 020 8677 8624; lambeth_cyclists@hotmail. com
LAMBETH www.lambethcyclists.org.uk The summer season is here and it all kicks off with Bike Week, 18-26 June. As we go to press our rides and events were being finalised, so check our website for details. The week ends with the grand finale of 'Bike the Borough' on Sunday 26 June. ➤ We'll be at the Lambeth Country Show on 16-17 July. If you're able to spend a pleasant hour or so on either day with us
We've just learnt that Lewisham has not renewed the contract of its cycling officer, Carole Crankshaw — a real shame as she made a big difference in the borough, not just implementing schemes but advising the planning department (and obtaining planning gain monies), liaising with TfL (almost a full-time job), involving herself in other council departments and taking forwards the cycling message. We will now need to work harder to ensure cycling is
By the time you read this, the Strictly Cycling project will be up and running. Come and have a go at grass track racing in Kneller Gardens on the 2, 9 and 23 June, and at Orleans Park School on 16 June. All events take place in the evenings from 6.30pm onwards. ➤ A big Bike Festival will be taking place on 19 June in Old Deer Park, so get your bike checked at Dr Bike, chat to stall holders (RCC will be there) and have a go at grass track and lots of other cycling-related activities. ➤ TfL has asked the council to revise its LIP over a couple of MERTON issues that are related to cycling. www.mertoncyclists.org.uk We were not allowed to know what those issues were. London Borough of Merton is We were given some feedback responding to the end of the over responses to the LIP the Cycle Superhighway at council received: all cyclists who Colliers Wood by making it a responded gave the most focal hub for cycling access, comprehensive reports. and has promised MCC ➤ The last Cycling Liaison Group involvement on a monthly basis meeting was cut short because from concept briefing onwards. This could amount to a the chair had to go to another significant change of stance, meeting. If you feel that you and was welcomed by MCC would like to get involved, get in representatives Hugh Morgan, touch via the email below, come Jim Wagner and Charles along and add your voice. Barraball. ➤ TfL has put forward some ➤ Having removed three of the plans for the roundabout on the treacherous chicanes in Martin A316 that it recognises as dangerous but does little to Way and now acknowledging remove the danger. In that they were a "mistake", the partnership with the Hounslow council plans to do something group, we have put forward an about the remaining two. audit of the roundabout, The Cabinet Member for suggesting single lane entry and Transportation stated they were not usable sable for building out the corners reduce speeds, bicycles. to reduc ➤ The Cycling ng along with toucan Y RT PA D IR TH crossings on Officer said cro INSURANCE every arm. he had sentt e you er mb me Remember, as an LCC TfL was someone T third by d ere cov ally atic om are aut l vita s Thi to look at ssupposed to er. cov ce ran party cycle insu claims up attend the the a cover protects you against equivalent out ing Tak 0. last CLG narrow l ,00 000 to £5, ld cost you meeting but barriers at m cover as an individual cou son for up to £55. It’s a great rea did not and Coppice di our campaign — why ting por sup promised to Close and has not tell your friends! attend the next remains atten unconvinced ed they meeting in July. More stop cycling. g. Time to details are on our website. ➤ Smarter Travel Richmond has reel out the camera and now gone, all officers have had demonstrate the skills acquired at LC's video workshops, under their contracts terminated Gerhard Weiss's tutelage. — there is no money for any MEETINGS: see website. projects to promote alternatives CONTACT: Charles Barraball, to the motor vehicle. The safety email@example.com. education team are also reducing
54 London Cyclist June-July 2011
SOUTHWARK www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk Our Heights of Heygate Afterworker back in April felt like just in time as demolition of the walkways in the sky started — so good sometimes to have a good hard look at a small area that's off most people's maps. ➤ A surprising number of people tutted because there wasn't any news from us here in the last magazine — and that wasn't because of Alex's brilliant three-page piece about us nearer the front. I simply forgot, despite being chased, sorry. ➤ Midsummer Madness meets at 2am Cutty Sark Gardens or 2.30am Southwark Needle on 21 June's longest day of the year ride to Primrose Hill sunrise. We'll revert to proper cafe breakfasts this year — and as ever the emails will ask “Is that 2am on 20 June and isn't AM a typo?” No. ➤ Nicely scary amount of interest in 16 July's Dunwich Dynamo, the nineteenth outing. Will 2,000 do the ride this year? Get a couple of 60-milers in first and read the FAQs. The robocounter says 40,000 did in
their primary school training as a result of the cuts. However, the council has found money to pay for a British Cycling partnership which should encourage more people to ride through their local Skyrides. British Cycling is looking for people to become trained (and paid) ride leaders — if you would like to give this a try, get in touch using the details below. ➤ The Turning Hub has given seven women from the Ethnic Minority Advocacy Group the opportunity to learn to ride their bikes and they took to learning with enthusiasm matched only by the sunshine. We’ll also be running more after-school clubs throughout June and July at schools in Twickenham and Whitton and hope to continue our partnership with the homeless charity, SPEAR. MEETINGS: second Monday of the month, 8pm at The Ship Inn, Richmond. CONTACT: Jonathan Rowland, 07976 294626; info@ richmondlcc.co.uk. Also twitter. com/RichmondCycling
RIDES & EVENTS For the latest details on cycle rides: www.lcc.org.uk/rides
SUMMER IN THE CITY: join a ride organised by your local LCC group, like the Enfield group's Easter egg hunt (pictured)
Saturday 4 June ➤ Maintenance workshop: 10am, Greenford. Contact: David Eales (07880 7974370; firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 4 June ➤ Viking Trail: 8.45am,Bromley South station. Contact: Steve Watkin (07748 655201; email@example.com Tuesday 7 June ➤ Hackney Bike Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park, E9. Contact: Adam Thompson (07940 121 513); firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 11 June ➤ Borough Boundaries & Beyond: 10am, East Croydon station. Contact: Neil (07740 698168); moz1210@googlemail. com Saturday 11 June ➤ Nightrider 2011: 11pm, Crystal Palace. Contact: Macmillan Fundraising Team (020 8563 9699); greaterlondon@ macmillan.org.uk Saturday 11 June ➤ Open Garden Squares Weekend ride: 10am, cafe at north end of Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens. Contact: Rupert Gardner (020 7629 0159); rupertgardner@ aol.com Sunday 12 June ➤ Feeder ride to Greenacres Cycle Rally: 9.45am, East Finchley station. Contact: John Silvertown (07794 058886); email@example.com Saturday 11 June ➤ Open Garden Squares Weekend ride 2: 10am, Covent Garden piazza, outside St Paul's church. Contact: Colin Wing (020 7828 1500); info@westminster cyclists.org.uk Tuesday 14 June ➤ Hackney Bike Workshop: 7pm, All Saints Church Hall, 22-24 Northwold Road, N16. Contact: Adam Thompson (07940 121 513); firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 18 June ➤ New Newham ride: 10.30am, Stratford station. Contact: Bernard
McDonnell (07947 236965); adavil@ ntlworld.com Sunday 19 June ➤ Little Green Ride: 9.45am, Finsbury Park station. Contact: Stephen Taylor (07977 235735); sltaylor001@yahoo. co.uk Tuesday 21 June ➤ Hackney Bike Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park, E9. Contact: Adam Thompson (07940 121 513); email@example.com Tuesday 21 June ➤ Midsummer Madness: 2am/2.30am, Cutty Sark Gardens/Southwark Needle. Contact: Barry Mason (07905 889005). Sunday 26 June ➤ Camden Peripherique: 10am, Camden Town Hall. Contact: Jean Dollimore (020 7485 5896); firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 26 June ➤ Chiltern Challenge 100: 7am, Henley on Thames. Contact: Mark Trott (01795 423449); email@example.com
Saturday 9 July ➤ New Newham ride: 10.30am, Stratford station. Contact: Bernard McDonnell (07947 236965); adavil@ ntlworld.com Sunday 10 July ➤ Orpington to Whistable: 9am, Orpington station. Contact: Steve Watkin (07748 655201; stevewatkin506@hotmail. com Sunday 10 July ➤ Surrey 100: 7am, Newort University. Contact: Mark Trott (01795 423449); firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday 12 July ➤ Hackney Bike Workshop: 7pm, All Saints Church Hall, 22-24 Northwold Road, N16. Contact: Adam Thompson (07940 121 513); email@example.com Sunday 17 July ➤ London to Southend ride: 7am, Victoria Park. Contact: Alan Strawbridge (08454 601342); bookings@bike-events. com
Monday 27 June ➤ LCC retention evening: 6pm, LCC offices — see website for details. Wednesday 29 June ➤ Ride to the Tour: 7am, The Stoop, Halequins RFC. Contact: Leo Matlock (020 7812 0635); firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 3 July ➤ London to Oxford: 7.30am, Walpole Park, Ealing. Contact: Alan Strawbridge (08454 601342); bookings@ bike-events.com Sunday 3 July ➤ Pedal for the J's: 8-11am, Walpole Park, Ealing. Contact: Fundraising Team (01245 351514); events@thejs hospice.org.uk Monday 4 July ➤ Cycle Malawi: 4-14 July, Malawi. Contact: Anniek (07717 525782); email@example.com
Tuesday 5 July ➤ Hackney Bike Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park, E9. Contact: Adam Thompson (07940 121 513); firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 19 July ➤ Hackney Bike Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park, E9. Contact: Adam Thompson (07940 121 513); email@example.com Sunday 24 July ➤ London to Cambridge ride: 7.30am, Lea Valley Leisure Centre. Contact: Alan Strawbridge (08454 601342); bookings@ bike-events.com Tuesday 26 July ➤ LCC retention evening: 6pm, LCC offices — see website for details. Saturday 30 July ➤ New Newham ride: 10.30am, Stratford station. Contact: Bernard McDonnell (07947 236965); adavil@ ntlworld.com
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2010. Do swim at the end but don't forget your swimmies if you wear them. Late coach back bookers pay £1 more this year, trainers will pay £3 more. And please don't litter lout. MEETINGS: see website. CONTACT: Barry Mason, 07905 889 005.
SUTTON www.cyclismsutton.org.uk Here’s a list of Cyclism 2011 evening rides (all meet at 7pm): Thursday 2 June, Honeywood by the Ponds, Carshalton; Tuesday 7 June, Belmont Station, Brighton Road, B2230; Wednesday 15 June, Fairlands Park A24 (opp. Lloyd Road ), North Cheam; Thursday 23 June, Sutton Common Station, B279 (Bike Week annual wildlife ride led by ecologist Dave Warburton; Tuesday 28 June, Garth Road, junction with Stonecot Hill, A24; Tuesday 5 July, Mellows Park Cafe, Stafford Road, B271, Wallington; Thursday 14 July, Sutton Green (between Sutton BIKE WEEK: this year's it's being held from 18-26 June. Find out what your local group is planning via its website High Street/Angel Hill) B2230; Wednesday 20 July, Whitehall, with all sorts of help, ranging significant reallocation of road Wandsworth Assembly member 1 Malden Rd, Cheam, A2043; from admin help with email space from motor vehicles to Richard Tracey to discuss this. It Monday 25 July, Carshalton responses, to someone keen to cycles. We were disappointed, felt as if some of our points were Beeches Station, Gordon Road, get stuck into questions of however, that it did not continue getting through, so we’re hoping beside B278; Tuesday 2 Aug, highway engineering. A stalwart through Parliament Square, as we may have pushed things a Mellows Park Cafe, Stafford Rd, group already does many of originally planned. little in the right direction. B271, Wallington. these things, but we don’t want ➤ Don't miss our rides on Open MEETINGS: second Tuesdays of ➤ For Bike Week we’re running them getting grumpy, so if Garden Squares Weekend, the month, 7pm at Friends Dr Bikes from 10am to you’re half-way Meeting House, 59 Wandsworth 11-12 June. halfminded to get High Street (opposite Town Hall) MEETINGS: see website. Annual noon on Saturdays days BIKE THEFT involved, don’t and afterwards at Brewers Inn. meeting on Thursday 9 June, 7pm 18 and 25 by invo hold CONTACT: Simon Merrett, 0208 near the bandstand, Serpentine Sutton Town hol back! INSURANCE ➤ Meanwhile 789 6639. Road, Hyde Park. Square, SM1. With 80,000 bikes stolen each year we CONTACT: Colin Wing, 020 7828 MEETINGS: w continue in London, make sure your bike is insured! Your LCC membership 1500; info@westminstercyclists. second to t press for gives you access to great value org.uk. Tuesday of regular r WESTMINSTER bike theft insurance. With neweach month, meetings m www.westminstercyclists.org.uk for-old cover, £150 ‘get you home’ 8.30pm at with w the OTHER LOCAL cover and discounts if you remain the Robin council to You can wait a long time for a co GROUP CONTACTS claim free or are 40+. Visit www. Hood pub, ensure the new cycle facility in en urbancyclinginsurance.co.uk Robin Hood Lane needs Westminster and then two come ne need of cyclists BARKING & DAGENHAM for a quote today. www.stibasa.org.uk (junction with West are considered in along together. After many con CITY CYCLISTS Street), Sutton. new road sschemes years of campaigning and n. www.citycyclists.org.uk CONTACT: Chris Parry, 020 — we are working closely with negotiation, there is now an REDBRIDGE 8647 3584, cyclism@blueyonder. Living Streets in pursuing this. eastbound cycle route from www.redbridgelcc.org.uk co.uk ➤ We remain in touch with TfL Hanover Square in Mayfair to TOWER HAMLETS over Cycle Superhighway 8 and Great Marlborough Street in www.towerhamletswheelers.org.uk WALTHAM FOREST Soho, via a new crossing of over proposals for Queen’s Circus www.wfcycling.org.uk Regent Street. Progress further (near Battersea Park) and the WANDSWORTH east is delayed by work on proposed new lane markings on www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk COPY DEADLINE CrossRail. Chelsea Bridge. In particular ➤ Westminster's first Cycle recently, we’ve been agitating At the moment we are focussing Aug/Sept 2011 issue: over the new proposals for hard on finding people to help Superhighway has also been Friday 24 June Blackfriars Bridge — and along with our campaigns — there's so implemented along the river Send your copy and photos to: with Merton Cycling Campaign much coming through that we between Chelsea and Lambeth firstname.lastname@example.org we met with TfL officers and cannot keep up. We could do Bridges. This scheme involved a
56 London Cyclist June-July 2011
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Guided cycle tours in Scotland and the North led by storyteller, Andy Hunter. Myths, legends, humour and history. 2011 Tours: The Borders, Fife & Kinross, Galloway, Perthshire, Hadrian’s Wall For more information, contact Storybikes: +44 (0)7762 000 039 / email@example.com www.storybikes.co.uk
Rob Ryan Kicking off a new interview series, we talk bikes with papercut artist Rob Ryan www.steve rutherford.co.uk
I was a late bike rider, not learning to ride until I was about nine. It was the 70s and there were a lot of Choppers around with kickstands. I remember leaning against my friends’ bikes pretending that I was very comfortable but I wouldn’t ride them because I didn’t know how to. The turning point was when a friend insisted I borrow his bike to go to the shop to buy some ice-lollies. I remember running off shouting “Nah, don’t worry, nearly there now”, but secretly thinking “I have to learn to ride because my cover’s nearly blown.”
58 London Cyclist June-July 2011
Later I found a little kiddies’ bike that had been dumped around the corner from where we lived. It was a summer evening and I rode up and down for hours on this little thing until I learnt to ride. After that I still wasn’t a regular bike rider until I moved to London and began cycling to work and college. I was also a cycle courier for a couple of years and so I cycled for 11 hours a day in all weathers. Waterproof clothing is so good these days but back then it was a case of flying jacket, Condor shorts and a pair of my wife’s tights. I was soggy all day some days. These days I commute daily to
my studio by bike and go for rides in Richmond Park from time to time. For commuting I use a bottomof-the-range Trek road bike that I bought about five years ago and have since spent a fortune on upgrading. It’s covered in stickers so it looks like it’s not worth nicking. I also have a nice carbon road bike but don’t ride it in London as I would be worried about leaving it chained up. My wife and I have taken a flat in Rye in Sussex and so I’m planning to go out on my nice bike at the weekend in the summer. ■ www.misterrob.co.uk
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