£2/free to members
Bikes in fashion Hitting the catwalks
A celebration of cycling Bike Week 2008 PLUS Riding in Tuscany Negotiating roundabouts
RIDES & EVENTS
Issue 111 18
This issue has not been without its problems, and not just because our five-month-old decided to try eating two of the children's books we reviewed (page 43), leaving them soggy and dog-eared, but also because it's been a real struggle fitting everything in. It seems it gets harder each issue to find enough pages for everything we need to say about cycling in London. Any issue that includes Bike Week is always busy, of course, but this year seems to have more rides and events than ever, and loads of new additions to the calendar (the bike and kite day at Blackheath and Wandsworth Cyclists' Victorian Cycling Parade are just two that stand out – see page 14 for more). Summer is a great time to get people interested in cycling – the weather is great and there are lots of happy people out on the roads. And it helps that cycling has had such a high profile this last 12 months. It's too early to tell how much that will change with the election of a new mayor. We wait to see if Boris Johnson – himself a cyclist – will build upon the progress we made under Ken Livingstone. Read what LCC director Koy Thomson has to say about this on page 4, and read his letter to Boris on page 5. Also this issue, we farewell our products review editor, Erin Gill, and writer, Mel Allwood, after a long and happy association with LC. We wish them all the best, and hope they will make the odd guest appearance in LC if and when time permits. Lynette Eyb
Features 14 Bike Week 2008
Reports from your part of town
Cycling makes a mark on the catwalk
21 The dinosaurs of the road Getting rid of gyratories
28 Mel and Erin say goodbye Plus shades for urban cyclists 30 Keep your bike secure Plus ethical hi-viz wear
23 Think positively
WIN! hi-viz vests
Keep your spirits up on the campaign trail
Technical 24 Gyratories and roundabouts Negotiate them with confidence
26 How to... position yourself on the road
38 Diary Rides and events for all cyclists 42 Books ’n’ things plus Josie Dew Reviews plus our Fine Lines extract
45 My Way From Ealing to Victoria
46 Outward Bound
4 News plus director's column
Eurostar, London elections, LCC AGM
8 Your letters plus Zoe Williams 13 Opinion Architecture and cycling
Make the most of your membership
34 Local group news
Join in the celebrations
18 It's in fashion
31 Members’ pages
Maintenance courses across the capital
Seeing Tuscany by bike On the road in Japan
50 My Bike & I Friends of the Earth's Tony Juniper Cover: Justine Walker
Editor Lynette Eyb Product reviews Erin Gill, Mel Allwood Design Anita Razak Marketing & proofing Rosie Downes Advertising Mongoose Media, Matt Styrka (020 7306 0300 ext 112, firstname.lastname@example.org) ■ London Cyclist welcomes voluntary contributions, including photographs. All work is accepted in good faith. Content may be edited and reproduced online – see www.lcc.org.uk/londoncyclist You can contact the editorial team via 2 Newhams Row, London, SE1 3UZ (020 7234 9310, email@example.com) All views expressed in London Cyclist are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the editor, nor do they necessarily reflect LCC policy. Editorial content is independent of advertising. All material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the written permission of the editor. London Cyclist is printed by Wyndeham Grange on paper made from 100% de-inked post consumer waste. London Cycling Campaign is a charitable limited company, reg no 1766411; charity no 1115789 See page 31 for more on London Cycling Campaign
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 3
News AN LCC CAMPAIGN
‘Trials lack substance’
LCC stands firm on motorbikes in bus lanes
I was in City Hall the first working day after the election: public servants looking dazed and uncertain. Cycling faces uncertainty too. But I use the term carefully and in the open-ended sense. When it comes to Boris and cycling, there is a lot we don’t know. Boris’s team wanted him elected. The game was largely what’s bad about Ken rather than what’s good for London. That’s politics. Result. We did as much as we could to lever positive cycling assurances from all mayoral candidates and assembly members. Thanks to all who took this up locally. It was as fine a piece of election lobbying as carried out by any group. Despite our best efforts and apart from a snatched conversation at a hustings, LCC did not manage to meet with Boris himself, but what did slip through allows plenty to work with. Boris aspired to higher cycling targets than Ken, more hire bikes than Ken, more cycle parking than Ken, a better public realm than Ken. But he wants motorbikes to mix with cycles in bus lanes, he wants to scrap the £25 congestion charge (which was where the new cycling money was to come from), and is cool about 20mph speed limits. In the cold light of day and under the relentless cross-examination of London’s budget guardians, traffic and safety experts, and the arguments of interest groups, his views may change. The LCC family is part of this process. For cycling, there is no organisation better placed to mobilise public and business action, and to work locally in the boroughs, on pan-London issues with the London Councils, strategic issues with Transport for London and the London Development Agency, and political issues with the GLA and central government. A word of caution: do not assume that we are in for a scrap nor assume that Boris won’t equal or surpass Ken’s cycling vision. Neither assume the opposite. Once conversation is closed down, it is clam-like in its stubbornness to reopen. Hence our ‘open letter’ to Boris (page 5). Boris, we believe that we can persuade you. With leadership and a sustained programme, we can flip the high awareness of the benefits of cycling to Londoners and London into lasting behaviour change.
4 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Trials to permit motorcycles to use bus lanes on three major roads continue to be controversial. Powered two-wheelers are currently permitted to use the bus lanes on three roads in London: the A13 East India Dock Road between Leamouth Road and Butcher Row East; the A23 between Streatham Common and Camberwell New Road; and the A41 Finchley Road between Marlborough Place and Platt’s Lane. LCC opposes the introduction of motorbikes in bus lanes, and argues that the trials, which started in 2002, are on such a small scale compared to the vast scope of London’s road network that no statistically valid data could result. LCC saw these trials, as well as localised ones on some borough roads, as a way of allowing motorcycles into bus lanes via a ‘back door’. After two years, the temporary traffic orders were made permanent. “Since we reported on leaked Transport
for London (TfL) data in the last LC, TfL has published a full report supporting our view,” says Charlie Lloyd of LCC’s campaigns team. “One letter to LC asked about the statistics – they show that casualties on the route the writer uses went up dramatically and fell on other routes.” “All the studies and comment to date have concentrated on the casualty rates in bus lanes. It is likely that more motorcycles in the whole system will increase casualties on all streets. “Many cyclists are also motorcyclists and vice-versa, but that in itself is no argument for increasing the number of motorcycles on London streets. “The bus lane trials have failed to produce evidence of a dramatic safety benefit. Only motorcyclists would benefit from access to bus lanes as this would make their trips faster. On the evidence we can find, everyone else is likely to suffer.”
You can help shape the future of LCC The 2008 LCC Annual General Meeting will be held at City Hall on Wednesday, November 19. Members are invited to put forward motions for the meeting to consider – this is your chance to have an impact on the future direction of LCC. Any motions relating to LCC policy must have been considered by the Campaigns Committee, as laid down in the AGM Standing Orders (copy available from the office or by download from www. lcc.org.uk). All motions must be proposed, seconded and with the Company Secretary
at 2 Newham’s Row, London, SE1 3UZ by midnight on August 10, 2008. Five Board positions will also be decided on the night. Nomination forms will be available from the website, via email (agm@ lcc.org.uk) or from the office (020 7234 9310) from May 20, 2008. Completed nominations (nominee, proposer and seconder – all LCC members) need to be with the Company Secretary (address above) by midnight August 10, 2008. To register to attend the AGM, email firstname.lastname@example.org
ODA unblocks Eastway route The key Eastway cycle route across Hackney Marshes has been unblocked after LCC contacted the Olympic authorities. Users of the popular Eastway cycle route (partially off-road) on the border of Hackney, Newham and Waltham Forest in April
found a metal fence blocking access. Cars were routed in one direction within a very narrow space, leaving no room for cycling in either direction. LCC raised the issue with the Olympic Development Agency (ODA) and highlighted the ODA’s
commitment to consult with LCC on any cycle route closures in the Olympic area. Anyone who finds a cycle route blocked in the Olympic zone is asked to report it to LCC via email at office@lcc. org.uk or by calling the office (details page 31).
For more news, go to www.lcc.org.uk
News Send items for the news pages to email@example.com or write to the address on page 3
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
Cyclist Boris is new mayor
Bike Removal Bill
Johnson challenged to make good on promises LCC hopes new London mayor Boris Johnson’s commitment to cycling will be reflected in his policies. LCC director Koy Thomson has written to Mr Johnson requesting a meeting to discuss policy. The letter can be read in full at www.lcc.org. uk. Here is an edited extract.
Groups share project funding Some £90,484 has been allocated to community groups and projects in London in the first funding round of the year from the Community Cycling Fund for London (CCfL). Grant winners include Age Well on Wheels, a project to encourage older people to return to cycling; Bikeworks, a fortnightly bike club which will use the funding to facilitate disability cycle training; and Cycle for Life at Albion Kids Show, a mobile play project which will work on outreach cycle maintenance and a cycling promotion project. The full list of successful bid applications can be seen on www. lcc.org.uk/community. Applications for the second round of funding are currently being assessed and successful bids will be notified soon. CCfL money is provided by Transport for London and the Active Travel Consortium (funded by the Big Lottery Fund), and administered and managed by LCC.
system more efficient and flexible. Cycling is also healthy, which means fitter, happier, more productive Londoners. Your leadership and your proposed engagement with the boroughs could lead to a new era for cycling policy, travel management and cycling growth. LCC is already working with London Councils to promote and facilitate cycling.
Smart local advertising initiative Urban development company First Base has joined two LCC groups to promote cycling in Elephant and Castle. First Base has provided space on the hoardings of the development site of the former London Park Hotel for Southwark Cyclists and Lambeth Cyclists to advertise their activities. “Encouraging and promoting a healthy lifestyle is an important part of our commitment to creating sustainable communities in London,” says Richard Powell, director of First Base. “We are always looking for ways to work with local organisations such as these, which we believe add real value to the area.” Barry Mason, co-ordinator of Southwark Cyclists, says: “Hundreds of people cycle past here every day. It’s great that First Base went for the idea and paid for the design and the posters. Using the hoardings is a clever way of publicising Southwark Cyclists’ calendar of events.” Lambeth cyclist Rebecca Lack, who campaigned for the posters, says using hoardings along well-used bike routes is an idea other local groups might be able to replicate.
HGV safety mirrors LCC’s campaign to have safety mirrors fitted to all lorries is progressing. In a parliamentary answer to Islington MP Emily Thornberry, the road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick said the EU directive to install mirrors on lorries built after 2000 would be enforced from March 31, 2009. LCC was due to meet Department for Transport officials to discuss the timetable for the introduction of mirrors on 157,000 lorries and to ask why the 100,000 older lorries on our roads were not included in the plans.
Lunch workshops LCC can set up a ‘lunch and learn’ maintenance workshop for your workplace to give employees’ bikes a health check and teach basic maintenance skills. For more information on the workshops, call 020 7234 9310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Course for deaf people Cycle Training UK is running a Cycling Instructor Training Course for deaf people from June 2. It costs £130 per person, which includes a £300 bursary from Cycling England. Postcourse assessments cost £105 per session. Details: Maresha Ahmed on 020 7232 4382 or email@example.com
Justine Belcher, who designed the posters, sticks them to the hoardings
For more news, go to www.lcc.org.uk
There is no other city the size of London that has so determinedly developed cycling as a major transport mode. The boom in bike use is helping to establish London as a progressive, modern and vibrant metropolis. We hope you will seize the opportunity to make London an exemplary sustainable and liveable city for all Londoners. Koy Thomson, Director, London Cycling Campaign
Southwark Cyclists will use a £5,000 grant from Transport for London to set up a Southwark refugee and asylum seeker cycle training programme in conjunction with Cycle Training UK.
Photos: Rebecca Lack
Dear Mr Johnson, London’s future depends on a continued increase in cycling. We won’t have enough space on the underground, buses or roads to cope with the growth in population unless at least 5% of journeys are made by bike by 2025 – a target you say you want to exceed. We know one in five Londoners would like to cycle and that boosting cycle use is by far the cheapest way of making London’s transport
New London mayor, Boris Johnson
As LC went to press, LCC representatives, including barrister Ralph Smyth, were due to meet London Councils and Transport for London officials to discuss new bike removal legislation and other aspects of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Bill. LCC objects to new laws that would allow council officials to remove bikes chained to railings without warning. The new laws would also allow unlimited fines for cycling on specific pavements.
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 5
AN LCC CAMPAIGN
Eurostar welcomes bikes
Train operator opens its carriage doors to cyclists
Getting down and dirty in the community London has witnessed an 82% increase in cycling between 2000 and 2006 and this figure has been rising ever since, yet we still hear about perfectly good bikes going to rust in back gardens and on balconies all over the city. Despite LCC local groups running many successful workshops (details page 27), LCC identified a need for a community-based course for people working with new cyclists and large pools of bikes. The LCC community team, in partnership with Sidcup Cycles and the Lambeth Accord, have run a series of extreme maintenance courses designed for participants to gain the confidence and skills to go back to their community and impart their knowledge. Over five days, the course teaches attendees how to strip a bike down and rebuild it using a range of parts from disc brakes to front suspension forks. “We learned the importance of oil and grease,” said Gwen Cook from Age Well on Wheels. “We learned to adjust and repair all sorts of brakes to make them work efficiently, and to put wheels in the vice and adjust
Participants on the extreme maintenance course
the cone to perfection. I also conquered my fear of adjusting derailleur gears, and at last understand the roles of the limit screws and the cable adjuster.” So far 10 members of staff from a range of community groups have been on the course. As word has spread, there has been an everincreasing demand from other community leaders hungry to gain these skills. LCC is developing further courses – if you would like to find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more news go to www.lcc.org.uk
LCC signs up to active travel lobby group LCC has become a signatory of one of the UK’s most powerful public health lobby groups. Take Action on Active Travel Policy, a group of organisations working on public health and environmental issues, provides the Government with expert views on active travel and health. The group is calling on all UK governments and local authorities to promote public health by setting ambitious targets for a growth in walking and cycling. It wants 10% of transport budgets committed to walking and cycling, and is urging the development and promotion of safe, attractive walking and cycling conditions for all. Other campaign targets include making 20mph or lower speed limits the norm for residential streets and tackling bad driving through improved driver training and awareness campaigns. It also wants to health-check every transport and land use decision, focusing on the potential impact on levels of walking and cycling and other aspects of health. For more information on Take Action on Active Travel Policy, visit www.adph.org.uk
New lock at Chelsea The Children’s Society broke new ground at this year’s Chelsea flower Show with a garden designed by Mark Gregory that incorporated a bike locking system. The system is integrated into the house façade, allowing owners to lock their bikes onto the front wall of their house, storing them vertically to maximise the use of space.
Train info evening Train operator First Great Western recently held a bike evening at Paddington station. With assistance from LCC, the company interviewed cyclists about their journey and supplied drinks. Westminster’s Dr Bikes checked over and adjusted bicycles.
Cycle mapping The London Cycle Guides have gone mobile. A special edition of A-Z’s digital London Mini Street Atlas now includes Transport for London’s cycle route information. Used with a GPS receiver, the map moves to keep the cyclist at the centre of the screen. Speed, direction and bike shops are shown. The map has been developed by CycleCity Guides.
LCC staff changes Rosie Tharp has joined LCC as community cycling team administrator and Lucy Davis returns from maternity leave part-time as PA to the chief executive. Rosie Downes has become the communications and press officer, and Julie Tublin is now volunteer co-ordinator. Corporate membership and marketing officer Shadia Hameed has left LCC. Sarah Slater has become the community cycling team co-ordinator. Marzia Artelesa is now membership officer.
Photos: Lionel Shapiro, Sarah Slater
Eurostar has opened its train operators such as the doors to bikes following a wellBenelux Thalys and the orchestrated campaign by LCC and German Inter-City Express, CTC activists. on which you cannot take Cyclists are now able to reserve bikes unless they are packed. a place for their bike on the same Reservations for bikes train they are travelling on. The cost £20 and riders can move follows a demonstration drop their bicycles off at St outside St Pancras station Pancras despatch office one last November by members of London’s cycle campaigners attracted hour before their journey. City Cyclists, Camden Cycling The Bikes on Board scheme considerable media attention at St Pancras Campaign and other LCC groups. operates on Paris and Brussels “At last we’ll be able to ride to St Pancras and ride trains. Eurostar has also updated its website with a away from Gare du Nord – it’s a victory for common section on bicycles which starts: “We’d love you to sense and a victory for the environment,” said Jean take your bike!” Dollimore, of Camden Cycling Campaign. Camden Cycling Campaign also lobbied for secure Previously, cyclists needed to dismantle and pack cycle parking at St Pancras. Fifty Sheffield stands their bikes into bags in order to get their wheels onto have now been provided in the station car park, but their train and thus avoid delays of up to 24 hours LCC would like to see more parking closer to the before their wheels arrived at their destination. station to enable people to use the dozens of shops The move puts Eurostar ahead of other European on the concourse.
Cycling England has received a record number of bids for funding to become the country’s first Cycling City and one of 10 new Cycling Towns. Some 73 towns and cities have submitted proposals – almost half of all the highway authorities in England. The first winners will be announced mid-June.
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 7
Letters Have your say A police officer responds I am a serving PC in the > Metropolitan Police, and an LCC member. In the Apr/May edition of London Cyclist, two members expressed their displeasure at the police over perceived wrongdoings. Regarding the traffic motorcyclist stopping in the ASL, if the rider did indeed give a non-verbal response, then the rider should be brought to book. The second incident in Waltham Forest struck a chord with me. I am a bike patrol officer, and it is normal for us to patrol in pairs. We do tend sometimes to ride two abreast, as this increases our visibility on the road. The Highway Code also states that cyclists should ride no more than two abreast, and this is taught to officers on their training course. I suspect that this is what the officers were explaining to the motorist when they stopped him. As police officers, we are expected to be like Caesar’s wife ie beyond reproach. However, I am also a realist and understand that sometimes we fall below the high standards we set ourselves. Charlie Irvine, HT Training Unit Isle of Dogs Police Station Putting science into cycling I was surprised by the nonscientific approach by the outreach officer at the Institute of Physics to the Bike Surgery question about whether cycle speeds affect the amount of rain meeting a cyclist (LC, Feb/Mar). The element of rain met in any direction that one is not moving in (in cycling usually the top and sides) is purely a function of time (cycle twice as fast, spend half the time, get half as wet). If rain was to
fall straight down, the element of rain met in the direction that one is moving in (one’s front) is purely a function of distance (cycle twice as fast, meet twice as much rain per time unit, but spend half the time, so get as wet). If the rain was (partly) moving in opposite direction to the cyclist (blowing in one’s face), there’s the same element depending on distance, and an element depending on time (the amount from the top and sides and blowing in one’s face if one wasn’t moving), so that one would still be drier the faster one cycles (but meeting the drops at higher speed might make them more penetrating, or at least give the impression). Only if the rain was moving in the same direction as the cyclist (blowing on one’s back), can one reduce or theoretically eliminate the distance element by cycling at the same forward speed as the rain. As a cyclist (unless in a fast storm from the back), this would usually mean to slow down and increase the time element. Together with other variables such as the cyclist’s surface areas, the ideal speed can be calculated using mathematical equations of the type with which O-level or A-level students have to battle. However, unless the rain at least partially moves in the direction of travel, it will always be best to be as fast as possible – at least unless one introduces into the equation another element of rain (and dirt) splashed up at higher speed for those without mudguards. Bernd Ammerschubert, Southwark Seeing both sides A regular user of a Falcon Hybrid, I read with interest the article by
Kids work on canal relations By the Grand Union Canal, along a stretch of towpath only recently opened (officially) to cyclists, some children have drawn some charming signs urging cyclists to show consideration to pedestrians, and fixed these to the railings. There is evidently a perceived problem with cyclists riding too fast, but this response is friendly and good humoured. Unfortunately, as the railings face sideways on to the towpath, most cyclists are not likely to see the signs, least of all those who should take notice. Would you like to publish something about this initiative? Glyn Jones, by email
Michael Stenning on the art of street cycling (LC, April/May). He is like me with his approach to cycling and I entirely agree it is better to ride on the defensive. The only addition for me these days is that I also listen for trouble both in front when coming up to minor cross roads, and always behind. If I am not happy with the situation when I want to turn across traffic to go right after having looked, I will pull over to the left and await my chance to get out. Yes try and keep clear of parked cars and not ride in the kerb (or on the pavement!) I am 71 now and since the age of 11 have had a bike. During the 1950s and up until 1968, the bike was my main form of transport, but during that time I passed my motorcycle and car driving tests and have since used push bike, motorbike and car at various times. I have views from all three machines, but as I learnt my roadcraft on a cycle before sitting behind the steering wheel or taking control of a motorbike, I’m watchful for those on two wheels when in the car and always aware of motorised machines when on a push bike. Tom Pettengell, Dagenham The wonderful world of grammar Do please change the ugly and ungrammatical heading “My bike & I” to “My bike & me”. Antony Evans, by email I was interested in the cycling promises of the London mayoral election candidates, but especially in Ken’s pledge for “6000 bikes available every 300 metres” – now that certainly is a lot of bikes! Adrian Platt, by email
Ed: We’d be keen to hear from the kids involved in this initiative. Please email email@example.com
Dodgy Weather how can I cycle if it rains all the time? how can I cycle it’s supposed to be summertime? every day it rains or hails or snows the wind blows the trees down with a thud what is it about cyclists that brings out the wrath of God? © Velochick 2008
8 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the address on page 3. Letters may be edited for legal or space reasons (please keep them short and concise)
And this from Merton... Richard Evans from Cycling Campaign has sent in this pic.
Cleaning your chain Rather than spend £30 on the Park Tool chain cleaning system (LC, Dec/Jan), you may prefer to spend £9.95 (+£3.50 p&p on orders less than £20) on Revolution Tune Up Chain Cleaner from Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative (www. edinburghbicycle.com). Matthew Marks, by email Explanation required I note with alarm that very little progress has been made to the busy southbound carriageway of the London Cycle Network Route 5, particularly as it enters Clapham Common from Cedars Road. Before work commenced last year, cyclists could enter the park by the dropped kerb crossing the east-west and north-south footpaths, opposite Cedars Road. The new kerbstones, however, are higher than previous ones and no longer allow cyclists to do this. What makes this alteration dangerous is that this new sharp edge is unlit and there are no markings on any footpath, pavement or road indicating where the new arrangement of the cycle route is, which is confusing for joggers and cyclists crossing paths. This is one of the busiest cycle routes into London from south London. I have witnessed several incidents where cyclists tumble over the kerbstone, damaging their
rims. I use this junction almost every day, but have never seen any workmen present on the site. After three emails reporting this hazard to Transport for London, I have yet to receive any explanation as to why this simple ‘junction improvement’ is taking so long to alter and why local cyclist groups have not been consulted. Martin Ireland, Wandsworth A difference of opinion Not everyone shares Richard Laidlaw’s enthusiasm for cycling across Clapham Common (LC, April/May). Since the provision of a cycle path across the Common, cyclists have spread onto all the footpaths and even the grass. Many cyclists travel at high speed, disregarding the safety of children, people with disabilities and dogs. A request to slow down is often met by abuse. Incidents of conflict are not rare. The day after I read this article I saw a cyclist, not on the cycle path, pitch into the back of a jogger. I am far from anti-cycling: in my youth I would cycle from Clapham to Brighton and back. I was still cycling across London when I retired at 60. However I believe that every effort should be made to avoid carving up precious innercity green space by fast moving traffic of any kind. Anna Jefferson Smith, Clapham
Photos: Peter Dench
surfaced with green tarmac to lure unsuspecting cyclists on into certain danger. Keith Shorten, by email
I was always very judgmental about parents with child seats on their bikes. I probably wrote in this column already, that there was no point going to all that trouble of pushing them out (the children) if you were just going to jeopardise them horribly with a needless transport decision. Well, of course, now I have a tot, and I think he deserves to go on the back of my bike, and anyone who dares put him in jeopardy, that is their problem and they’d better watch it. But even though I think that, I would never have put that theory to the test in real life if someone hadn’t given me a kid seat. It is brightly coloured, as sturdy as a horse; it weighs as much as the child himself, maybe more. A friend called up and offered it to me because her youngling had grown out of it, and we fixed a date for her to bring it over, and in the intervening few weeks, I figured, I would get used to the idea. What actually happened was that my friend’s husband went to pick his bike up from a service, walked it out of the shop and the next thing he knew, he was in hospital. He looked like he’d been beaten around the head by a psycho with a length of piping. A witness said they’d seen him get hit by a bus. Another witness said they’d seen him slide on a manhole cover. Someone else referred him to the CCTV camera which must have caught the crash: maddeningly, it was manned by the Defence Department. They gave him the tape, but it was encoded in some computer weirdness, which only members of the Defence Department had access to. They were as delightedly self-satisfied and intractable as that fella off the bank advert, except they weren’t even making a profit out of it, they were just enjoying being difficult. So now he’s back to square one, except that, added to the mystery of his crash is now the suspicion that it was probably someone else’s fault, only he’ll never know whose. Oh, and plus he’s had to grow a beard to cover up all the stitches in his chin. And he has teeth like a belligerent tramp, only because he lives in England, he doesn’t have a dentist. So the short version is, this person is not a good advert for cycling; he is not a good advert for cycling in London, nor for getting dental work done in London, and most of all, the signs all augur ill for taking his child seat. How safe is this mode of transport, really? Safe enough for my tiny prince? Naturally, this is all profoundly illogical. My friend isn’t that badly hurt, for starters. He didn’t have his son with him, even. Maybe if he’d had a child seat, with or without a child, whatever outside agent that did him wrong would have thought twice. And I shouldn’t have to see a man with facial injury to know that roads should be treated with caution. None of that makes any difference. I look at the seat. Then I immediately think of the missing teeth. Perhaps I’ll wait til he’s old enough for a tandem, but not yet old enough to find me an intensely embarrassing tandem-partner. That’s a window of what, two weeks?
Going potty The attached photograph was taken on Saturday, February 2 in Boston Road, Hanwell, just south of the mini roundabout at the Cambridge Road junction heading north. As can be seen from the photograph, this large and dangerous hole in the cycle lane is more than adequate for wrecking cycle wheels and causing injury. The road has been in this condition for some time, but the feature now has the added benefit of the cycle lane having been freshly
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 9
Letters Have your say A question of colour In April/May edition, Simon Parker proposes a new map of London cycle routes. He wants to use a system of colour coding. I am sure it is a good idea to re-think this sort of map from time to time, but the proposed system of colour coding will seriously discriminate against anyone who is colour blind. Roughly 8%, ie one in 12, of the male population has some form of colour vision defect, most frequently red/green; for women, the proportion is about 0.5% of all females. My adult son, who has colour blindness, found the map as printed very difficult to read. I would suggest that to use the proposed system would render the map useless for one-twelfth of the population, and therefore limit sales, as well as being contrary to the spirit, and quite possibly the letter, of the Disability Discrimination Act. The LCC ought to have a policy towards colour blindness (does it?) as the mere process of asking questions about it will force people to think sensibly about the subject. I therefore suggest that the map as suggested should be scrapped, and that the LCC initiate a policy that all proposed publications and designs should be suitable for people with colour blindness. Mark Davie, SW18 Ed: Simon Parker says he has conceived a numbering strategy to accompany his colour-coded design. “The difficulty will be in showing this numbering strategy on the map without cluttering it up,” he says. LCC does not currently have a policy on colourblindness and this is something it will look into as part of the organisation’s wider disability strategy. In the meantime, LCC will liaise with its all ability group, and encourage ‘mappers’ to be attentive to people with colour blindness.
Redressing the balance When I read about traffic offences and cycling in a newspaper, or even London Cyclist, it always seems to be the same story: evil cyclists going through red lights. So just for a change, here are two shots of cars going through a red light while a cyclist is forced to stop. These incidents were at the crossing where Spencer Park Road meets the A3 in Battersea and where criminal offences by motorists are routine. I’ve been writing to Transport for London, the police and my MP about it for years. I even wrote to the Wandsworth branch of the LCC. All of which has achieved nothing. Even if it had, thousands of other criminal offences committed by motorists on London’s streets every day would still be happening. Even basic laws such as not crossing the centre line of a road when a bicycle is coming are broken without punishment or even comment. Things are not getting better. Global warming, obesity, air pollution and congestion have not loosened the hold of the motoring lobby over the police and our other public institutions. LCC can’t solve that problem, but it can cover traffic offences in a more balanced
Additional barriers to cycling I wonder if you would be able to report on my accident because I believe there is a security issue. I was cycling along some roadworks on Upper Ground, SE1 opposite Coin and Dutchy streets, around 7.15am. I was near the end of the road work, when a plastic barrier was picked up by a gust of wind and landed in front of me on the road. I could not avoid it, fell badly and trapped my leg between the bike and the barrier, resulting in a serious knee injury. I was ‘fortunate’ there were no cars behind me. I did not take the names of the two kind gentlemen who helped me at the time. A big 4x4-style silver car also saw some of what happened, but mercifully stopped in
s a e d i f o t r o h S ? for a preseofnotur gift
way. London Cyclist sometimes reads more like the Daily Mail than the magazine of a pro-cycling group. The fact is it’s almost entirely motorists who kill and, disproportionately, cyclists who die. Ed Fawssett, Wandsworth
time. I dragged myself off the road, and the men picked up the bike and the barrier. I managed to reach the hospital on my bike (those Bromptons are sturdy). I would like to use this letter to warn people working with and using these barriers, and those cycling along them. These barriers are normally locked into each other, but this one was not. Have these barriers caused similar accidents on a windy day? Dr Carine Wood, Barbican
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Grand designs Each year in March I cycle to France with a bunch of architects, property developers and others involved in development in London. We go to the MIPIM international real estate congress in Cannes – it’s attended by everyone who is anybody in the property business. We do it by bike to raise money for charities, but also to promote sustainability in transport and buildings. A few years ago, developers were generally pretty sceptical about going green, but now they are having to take the subject seriously, partly because of new legislation and building regulations but also because they know that occupiers moving into their buildings are more demanding about the performance of their buildings – their energy efficiency and their carbon footprint. Today, even the largest new office buildings don’t have to provide facilities for cars – except for those required for disabled access – but they have to provide cycle spaces. If you are building a new office block, you have to put in one cycle space for every 125m2 of floor area. The statistics assume that around 10% of employees travel to work by bike. To prove their green credentials, developers can get a BREEAM rating (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). BREEAM assesses the performance of buildings in terms of overall management policy, energy use, pollution, materials and, of course, transport. BREEAM encourages developers to provide suitable facilities in order to encourage more staff to cycle to the building rather than use cars, and thereby reduce carbon emissions. The building can win credits for a range of facilities: one credit is awarded where there is adequate provision of sheltered and secure cycling facilities, and showers are provided at a rate of at least one for every 10 cycles stored. A second credit is awarded where changing facilities, lockers and drying space are provided. Buildings are judged as a pass, good, very good or excellent, depending on the number of credits they receive. All Government new build
projects are expected to achieve ‘excellent’ BREEAM ratings and all refurbishment projects ‘very good’ ratings. Private developers also realise that they need to get a good rating if they are to lease their office space successfully. Of course the percentage of cyclists who work in spanking new city offices is pretty small, leaving the vast majority working in older buildings that often do not have facilities for cyclists. But there’s no excuse for employers not providing shower spaces – it’s worth getting in an architect to have a look at the layout of existing lavatories and seeing how they can be replanned to provide changing facilities. Finding spaces to park your bike in new developments is not as easy as it should be. More London, for instance, the new development which houses City Hall, is seriously under supplied; recently LCC was forced to protest against the lack of provision for cyclists at St Pancras International station. In contrast, the King’s Cross proposal next
Cycling and the development of the cityscape need go hand-in-hand
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Peter Murray is director of the London Festival of Architecture (www.lfa2008.org) from June 20 to July 20. During the festival, there will be 14 Architecture Rides, organised by Southwark Cyclists – see the festival website for details. Peter is also the founder of the Cycle to Cannes charity challenge (www.cycle2cannes.org). HAVE YOUR SAY ON CYCLING AND TOWN PLANNING Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the address on page 3.
door includes provision for a public storage/interchange facility for 800 bicycles – but that’s a few years away. Perhaps the most impressive piece of design which caters for the parking of bicycles as well as safer riding conditions is Kensington High Street. The groundbreaking scheme provides plenty of cycle parking along the central section of the road. Kensington and Chelsea council, which carried out the improvements, also plan to turn Exhibition Road into a shared space where cars, cyclists and pedestrians intermingle. As a part of the London Festival of Architecture, on June 21 we will close off the road in a dummy run of the project. Shared space turns conventional attitudes to safety on their heads – where instead of separating out the various users by barriers and lights, their interrelationship is governed by respect and self-awareness. It works in Holland and Sweden, but will it work in Britain with our aggressive relationship between the various road users? It needs more than design; it needs a change of attitude. Which brings me back to cycling to Cannes. As riders who have cycled in France will be aware, the whole experience changes when you get off the ferry/Eurostar. The quality of roads, the attitude of motorists and the public generally are just so much more cycle-friendly. The French just have a more positive attitude to two wheels than Brits do. We still need an attitudinal change to the whole idea of cycling as a method of transportation. The Mayoral candidates made much of their commitment to cycling but delivery still falls behind the aspirations. That’s one of reasons our ride to Cannes is important – all the major players in the delivery of development in the capital are at the MIPIM congress and each of our 130-odd riders is an ambassador for the provision of better facilities for cycling. They can help change attitudes among developers, planners and architects where it really has an impact – on the drawing board.
Architects and property developers are increasingly having to factor cyclists into their plans, which, argues Peter Murray, can only be a good thing for all of us
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celebrate CYCLING It’s been a national celebration of cycling since 1923 and it’s coming to a park, school or street near you from June 14 to 22. Lynette Eyb has this overview of Bike Week events across London
or many of us, every week is a bike week, but the official annual celebration of pedal power is as good excuse as any to convert more people to the joys of human-powered two wheels. Bike Week is the UK’s largest mass participation cycling event and it is this year challenging families to get on their bikes by using the theme ‘Free the Family’. This focus sees dozens of family rides being held across the capital, along with free Dr Bike safety and maintenance clinics, stalls, fairs and festivals to encourage people of all ages to cycle. “For thousands of Londoners and their families, Bike Week is an opportunity to enjoy the delights of cycling, get free advice and participate in free rides and events,” says LCC’s director Koy Thomson. “The public has a choice of hundreds of events organised by LCC local groups and other organisations – everything from rides to Dr Bikes, picnics and parties. “For LCC, Bike Week is a celebration of cycling and an opportunity to show people how easy and enjoyable cycling in London can be.” LCC’s local groups will be at the forefront of organising events to spread the word about cycling. Campaigns manager Tom Bogdanowicz says Bike Week has always been a major focus for LCC’s network of groups. “Our grassroots campaigners devote many hours of their time to lay on hundreds of events that the public can enjoy,” he says, “and this activity has grown steadily with the ever-increasing demand for advice, guided cycle rides and repair workshops. Londoners have come to expect such a celebration, just as they enjoy Trooping the Colour or the Thames Festival.” Bike Week is a chance to put cycling in the spotlight and alert the wider public to the many benefits of riding a bike.
Photos: Justine Walker
Here’s what’s happening near you BROMLEY CYCLING CAMPAIGN has a Bromley Ride to Eat on June 21 – a seven-mile ride to a BBQ in West Norwood. There’s also a Bromley Parks & Ride on June 22, taking in 12 miles of parks from Bromley to Crystal Palace. The group will also participate in Love Parks Week, which coincides with Bike Week. More details: See www.bromleycyclists.org or email email@example.com CAMDEN CYCLING CAMPAIGN has loads of events planned for Bike Week, including a bikebus to Hampstead Heath on June 15. Bike Week coordinator Stefano Casalotti says, “We are experimenting this year with this new event. The bikebus consists of guided rides from Camden Square to Hampstead Heath, with three designated stops on the way. The event is designed to attract local families with young children that want to cycle to the heath in a fun and safe way on a Sunday afternoon. The bus will depart at 2pm and 3pm, returning at 4pm and 5pm, and will be guided by CCC volunteers.” There will also be a cyclists’ breakfast at Ossulton Street (British Library) on June 18 and the Camden Peripherique on June 22. Leaving Judd Street, this unique ride takes in every ward in Camden and is likely to attract an even bigger crowd than its inaugural ‘rain-blessed’ event last year. Camden Cycling Campaign welcomes additional ideas – please contact Stefano Casalotti (firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7435 0196). All Camden events are listed at www.camdencyclists.org.uk ENFIELD’s Bike Week will kick off on June 15 with a 16-seater charity bike ride for the Nightingale Community Hospice Trust (www.nightingalehospice. org.uk). If you are interested in a place on the bike, call Mary Rose on 020 8366 9674. Enfield LCC group will provide a bicycle entourage for the monster machine. Other Enfield LCC group activities include an Easy Evening Ride on June 17 and a Great Ice Cream Ride on June 19. June 22 sees the annual Enfield Festival of >>
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Dr Bike clinics are taking place all over London during Bike Week
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Feature Cycling (www.enfield.gov. uk/cycling) at Picketts Lock Athletics Centre. Enfield LCC will have a stall at the festival – if you can help out, please email Richard on r.reeve@blueyonder. co.uk or phone 0870 321 3717. For more details on Bike Week in Enfield, visit www. edmontoncyclingclub.fsnet. co.uk EALING CYCLING CAMPAIGN is set for a busy Bike Week, starting with a June 14 Dr Bike and stall at Ealing Green and a Dr Bike at Hanwell Clock To w e r. J u n e 1 5 s e e s a ride to GREENFEST West London (see Hammersmith & Fulham entry) from Ealing Town Hall. There will be Dr Bikes at Haven Green on June 17 and 18, a Sunset Ride on June 18 and another Dr Bike, this time at Greenford Town Centre, on June 19. June 21 sees a Dr Bike and Cycle Experience Roadshow and stall at Acton Market, while there will be a Family Ride on June 22. For more details, see www.ealingcycling.org.uk HACKNEY CYCLISTS and Hackney Council are holding a ‘pitstops’ on the A10 at St Peter’s Way on June 17. To make sure you’re geared up for summer, mechanics will be on hand to check bikes where the A10 and LCN+ route 8 meet. There will be a cyclists’ breakfast on June 18 at London Fields from 7am to 9am (details: Trevor Parsons on 020 7729 2273 or email@example.com). June 19 sees a Pitstop in the Park on London Fields, 4pm- 7pm – get your bike checked, and top up on accessories at cheap prices. Also on June 19, from 6pm-8pm, will be Commuter Cooldown on the corner of Green Lanes and Collins Road – refresh yourself on your way home with music, cocktails and pleasant company (details: Trevor Parsons, as above). Join the fun on June 21 of Bike the Bounds, an annual ride around the boundaries of the borough (details: Oliver Schick on firstname.lastname@example.org) Details: See www.hackney-cyclists. org.uk or contact Trevor Parson (details as above).
BLACKHEATH BIKE AND KITE FESTIVAL The inaugural Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival sounds like lots of fun for the family. It will take place 11am-4pm on June 14-15 and form part of London’s Bike Week activities. There will be a Dr Bike to ensure you leave Blackheath with your bike in top condition, and kite traders on hand to ensure everyone can buy and then fly their own kite. For more details on the event, visit www. lewisham.gov.uk and follow the links to the festival.
HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM CYCLISTS’ main effort is going into putting on the GREENFEST West London (www.greenfest.org.uk) in Furnivall Gardens beside the river on June 15. “The idea is to have a fabulous party, and let people leave thinking that cycling is the way forward,” says coordinator John Griffiths. “There will be over 50 environmental groups present, great music and other entertainment. On the cycling front, there will be bike try outs from Cycle Magic, bike maintenance sessions, a free draw for a bike, and plenty of cyclists from the LCC to give advice. Come and make this the best free party of the year.” There will also be a ride to the Roebuck in Richmond on June 18. More details: See www.hfcyclists.org.uk, or call John Griffiths on 020 7371 1290 or email john@ truefeelings.com
Enfield Bike Week fun in 2007
ISLINGTON CYCLISTS has a range of activities planned, including a Dr Bike clinic at the N1 Centre on June 14, a Biodiversity Bike Ride from the Islington Ecology Centre to Highbury Fields, also on June 14 (details: 020 7354 5162) and a June 15 Little Green Ride into the Hertfordshire countryside (details: Stephen Taylor on 07977 235 735 or sltaylor001@ yahoo.co.uk). There will be a cyclists’ breakfast and Dr Bike at the City Road/Colebrook Row junction on June 17 and a Cycling Fair on June 19 at Spa Fields, Northampton Road (details: 07825 098 459). June 20 sees the return of last year’s successful Cyclists’ Cool Down after work at the Madras Place junction with Holloway Road – meet fellow commuters for fruit cocktails and snacks. On June 21, there will be ProActive Live: Sports and Cycling Festival – a festival of sports including bicycle try-outs and cycling stunt shows – at Emirates Stadium. It will coincide with a self-guided ride around Islington (details Kathryn King on 020 7527 2062). More details: Contact Alison Dines on 020 7226 7012 email@example.com LAMBETH CYCLISTS will hold a cyclists’ breakfast from 8am-9am at 338 Brixton Road on June 17 – stop for free coffee and croissants and to visit the Dr Bike. Lambeth Family Fun Day in Brockwell Park on June 15
FIVE REASONS TO GET ON YOUR BIKE 1. Cyclists live on average at least two years longer than non-cyclists and their fitness levels are equivalent to being 10 years younger. 2. Cycling is the ultimate family activity; it’s healthy, fun and encourages children to be independent. 3. Twenty minutes of gentle cycling burns up to 100 calories. 4. Studies show that car drivers are exposed to five times as much polluted air as cyclists, making cycling good for the environment, as well as good for your health. 5. Cycling is often much quicker than public transport or taking the car – and you won’t spend a penny on fares, road tax, parking, MOT or fuel.
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INSTRUCTOR COURSES: Cycle Training UK will hold a free afternoon taster session on June 18 for anyone thinking about becoming a cycling instructor. For details, contact Maresha Ahmed on 020 7232 4382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Left: GREENFEST West London
will see lots of cycling-related activities for the whole family, while Lambeth Cyclists’ BBQ on June 19 and a parks ride on June 21 will be great chances to meet the group. More details: See www.lambethcyclists.org.uk
REDBRIDGE CYCLING CAMPAIGN is supporting a diverse range of events. June 14 sees participation in the Aldersbrook Environment Day at St Gabriel’s Church – swap books, bikes, and household items, and learn more about environmentally friendly living (details: Gill James on 020 8989 4898 or gilljames@ btinernet.com). June 15 will be Redbridge Bikeathon and Fun Day for kids aged under 12 at Melbourne Field, Valentines Park, Ilford. Redbridge LCC runs the children’s cycle circuit, stall and Dr Bike. Register at www.bikeathonkidz.co.uk. On June 22, there will be a Solstice Ride from Wanstead Station (details: Nick Ketley on 020 8518 8190 or email@example.com) and an Aldersbrook Family Ride from Perry Lodge, Arran Drive, E12 (details: Alan James on 020 8989 4898 or firstname.lastname@example.org) More details: See www.redbridgelcc.org.uk or call Gill James on 020 8989 4898.
Right: The Ketley family try to master a unicycle at the Redbridge LCC Bike Week 2007 picnic ride
WANDSWORTH CYCLING CAMPAIGN (WCC) has a wonderful Parade of Victorian Cycling lined up on June 14 to celebrate 150 years of Battersea Park. To get involved, call Bryony on 07989 974 406. This will be followed by a river ride to GREENFEST West London (see Hammersmith & Fulham entry) on June 15. Meet at Earlsfield station at noon (details: Bryony, as above). Other outings include a June 18 feeder ride to The Roebuck on Richmond Hill to watch the sunset (details: Mike on 07711 845 081), the traditional Night Ride in Richmond Park on June 20 (details: Martin on 07946 354 852) and a June 22 ride into the Kent countryside (details: Martin, as above). The group will also be running promotional ‘cycle corners’ in Tooting (June 20), Balham (June 21) and Putney (June 22). More details: www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk or email@example.com
HOW TO GET INVOLVED LCC events: Anyone with an interest in helping with Bike Week events should contact their local LCC group (see page 34) as soon as possible. There is always much to be done and every little helps. Community groups: Parents and community group members are encouraged to organise events at their schools or community centres – if you need help or advice, contact the local LCC group or phone the national Bike Week coordinators on 0845 612 0661. Show your support: Even if you don’t have time to help organise an event, do make an effort to attend one or two events, perhaps taking friends and relatives along to introduce them to the joys of cycling. To find out what is taking place in your area, visit www.bikeweek.org.uk and enter your postcode. If you’d like to take part but don’t have a bike, you can search for your nearest bike rental outlet. Local LCC groups list their activities on their websites, while the ‘what’s on’ link at www.lcc.org.uk also lists dozens of activities happening near you.
Photo: Gill James
MERTON CYCLING CAMPAIGN (MCC) is holding events aimed at people who have made the decision to try cycling but lack knowledge and confidence, or who would appreciate the friendship of other cyclists. June 14 sees an MCC cycling information display at West Wimbledon Eco Festival from 2pm-6pm (details: Peter Gay on 020 8879 0805). On June 15 MCC cyclists join the ever-popular Bread Pudding Ride with Kingston Cyclists (details from Peter Gay, as above), as well as an MCC display at Wimbledon Piazza. On June 18, a Richmond Park sunset ride will meet up for a drink with other local LCC groups; it will start from Wimbledon station forecourt at 7.30pm, led by Neil Guthrie (07866 874 338). On June 20, there will be a cyclists’ BBQ at 88 Aylward Road, Merton Park from 7.30pm (details: Jenny Roden on 020 8542 1246), while June 21 sees a Pedal 4 Health event at Wimbledon Village Fair (details: Fred Ellis on 020 8393 7724) and June 22 will be another Bread Pudding Ride (details: Godwin Calafato on 020 8543 3442). More details: See www.mertoncyclists.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8946 0912. For Merton council’s plans, see www.merton.gov.uk/ bikeweek.htm
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e g a r e h t All
Fashion supremos are finally realising that the world of cycling offers a window to a new and potentially lucrative market, says Tom Bogdanowicz omething curious is afoot. Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman rides in Marc Jacobs and keeps her Jimmy Choos – the must-have shoes – in her panniers; fashion designer Paul Smith has developed a nice line in cycling jerseys; and supermodel Elle MacPherson wears white on her bike. Anyone who thinks all cyclists wear black Lycra either doesn’t get out often enough or has very dark windows on their Range Rover. Call cycling the new black or, like the FT, call it the new golf, but bikes are fashionable and that means that fashion is interested in cycling. The catwalks had their first taste last year with Pret a Rouleur, a cycle clothing fashion show in trendy Shoreditch. Half a dozen young designers put their wares on display, complete with glam models and the obligatory fixies. The message for the public was simple – you don’t have to do Lycra, or even Gortex, to pedal. For clothes manufacturers, there was another message:
Below: Cyclist Paul Smith (see LC’s My Bike & I interview in the June/July ’07 issue) was among the first mainstream designers to release a range of cycle wear
more bikes in London equals more customers equals more clothes sales. This year the mainstream fashion industry woke up to what’s been happening on the capital’s streets. London Fashion Week took over the whole of the Columbia Road street market to stage Wheels and Heels, a bicycle clothing catwalk display backed by Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils. Amid the beats of techno and Sinatra, a dozen designers presented clothes that ranged from the practical to the exotic with one common theme: the cycle. And this time they weren’t just riding fixies but folding Bromptons, retro roadsters and unicycles (it seems road bikes and mountain bikes are off the fashionista’s menu). The evening offered something for everyone. Guy Hills showed off his colourful tweed suits, which are breathable and water resistant thanks to a Teflon coated and reflective tweed yarn. Integrated, multiple use clothes, he says, are the secret, with a little tag that turns into a bicycle clip at the bottom of each leg.
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Feature The Hackney and Tower Hamlets Glam Ride last year attracted cyclists in saris, feather boas, and dinner jackets
American Karta Healey is another designer mixing fashionable with practical – he adds reflective pin striping around the edges of suits: “If you can make a driver aware that someone on a bicycle is human, you get a little bit of empathy and safety comes from that empathy,” he says. The crowd in fashion-conscious Hackney lapped it all up, particularly the glam white and black cycling cape worn by Anna, the gravity defying unicyclist. Rapha, the north London company whose caps, jackets and jerseys adorn cycle couriers, was there in force. Rapha is one of the few clothes makers that’s taken to marketing cycle clothing the way Gucci or Armani sell their whistle and flutes (suits). They sponsor photo
Above: Guy Hills’ tweeds are fashionable and practical
The reality is that you can ride a bicycle in almost anything (or indeed nothing) exhibitions, magazines and events. They also use exotic materials, selling African sheep hair gloves and new-wave retro-style merino cycle jerseys. Spanish rival Etxe Ondo, which dressed champions like Miguel Indurain and Pedro Delgado, offers cycle jerseys that show cleavage, and bib tights modelled by a hunk with a six pack. And right at the heart of the fashion industry there is Paul Smith, cyclist, millionaire and designer of the sadly sold-out long-sleeved cycle jersey in cotton and hemp. Smith thinks Lycra can be
overdone. “When they’re doing time trials and track racing, they look like they’re dressed in a condom,” he says. “For someone who’s interested in how things look, it doesn’t look good.” At the other end of the fashion market, things are changing as well: you can now walk into Lidl, the pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap, German supermarket, and buy pink cycling shoes with grey suede accents, or technical gloves in well-designed red and black – even the Rapha diehards might be tempted to take a look. The reality is that you can ride a bicycle in almost anything (or indeed nothing) – as demonstrated at last year’s Hackney and Tower Hamlets Glamour Ride, which featured saris, feather boas, and dinner jackets. LCC staffer Rosie Downes commutes on her Pinarello wearing a skirt: “I wear cycle shorts underneath and it’s much more comfortable than jeans,” she says. But for the longer journey, or for wet weather, purpose designed cycle fashion could be just the job. But while some in the fashion industry are at last catching up with what cyclists desire, it may take a while for Marks and Spencer and Topshop to recognise that there are a million Londoners who want to ride their bike wearing underwear without awkward seams or Paul Smith-style jumpers with pockets at the back. To get the wheel rolling, LCC will be sending a copy of this article to the household names in clothing – maybe next season they’ll quick release a surprise or two.
Photos: Tom Bogdanowicz, Guy Hills
Above: Action from the catwalk at the Wheels and Heels fashion show on Columbia Road. The event was backed by Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils to coincide with London Fashion Week
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One-way systems are the dinosours of road design. Philip Moore reports on moves to turn return them to return them up to two-way traffic
One-way systems are the dinosaurs of road design. Philip Moore reports on moves to return them to two-way traffic any of London’s one-way systems could be returned to two-way working following the completion of Transport for London (TfL) feasibility studies. Twelve major systems are under the spotlight, with each being assessed to determine the costs and benefits of restoring two way working. The removal of the Aldgate East gyratory – a key campaign issue for City Cyclists – is, says TfL, imminent, with work set to start mid-May. TfL has also green-lighted the removal of the one-way systems at the Kender Street Triangle, Tottenham Hale and Brixton Central Square. Further studies are being carried out at Catford, Purley Cross, Wandsworth, Archway, Highbury Corner, Stoke Newington and the Euston Road/Tottenham Court Road underpass.
Outdated design The transformation of the Shoreditch gyratory into a two-way system in 2002 was seen as sign of things to come with the removal of one-way systems, yet change has been slow. Gyratories are the dinosaurs of the road. A result of 1960s urban design, they were introduced to improve the speed and flow of motor traffic. Congestion, pollution and adverse effects on communities are, however, the grim inheritance bequeathed to us by such motor-centric planning. “Every Londoner knows of a gyratory in the capital that is a blight on the local neighbourhood, that is grim to cross on foot, and that is scary to go round on a bike,” says Jenny Jones, Green party member of the London Assembly. “These systems are built to prioritise motor vehicles. Removing them would give a huge boost to the safety and enjoyment of walking and cycling in London, and reconnect communities. “One-way systems are the transport equivalent of 1960s tower blocks: unforgiving, unwelcoming, and often unsafe. We must ensure that 2008 is the beginning of the end for London’s gyratories.” LCC and its local groups have long campaigned for one-way systems (gyratories and one-way streets) to be scrapped. Gyratories increase motor traffic capacity and increase pollution, resulting in
community severance as surrounding areas become less attractive places for pedestrians and businesses. One-way streets are also difficult for cyclists, creating what Oliver Schick, of Hackney Cyclists, refers to as “speed cannons”. “Drivers think they have to pay less attention,” he says. “As it is a one-way street, there is no interaction between different parts of the road and so drivers don’t have to look back.” The proliferation of one-way systems is perhaps best illustrated in Waltham Forest. Gerhard Weiss, co-ordinator of LCC’s group there, says that since December 2004 there have been 64 new one-way streets in the borough, none of which exempts cyclists. The Waltham Forest council website says: “Where oneway streets are introduced, the possibility of providing a contraflow for cyclists will be examined and where the roads are wide enough, contraflows cycle lanes will be provided.” Yet contraflows don’t appear to be popular with the councillors and, according to Gerhard, his group’s ongoing tussle with the council illustrates how cyclists are not being properly considered by engineers when it comes to planning. Time for change It appears that the rubric of the road elevates the motor vehicle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Wedded to this is the concept of ‘permeability’ – maximising route choice, minimising diversion. Urban forms permit (or restrict) the movement of people and vehicles. Permeability allows for the ease of movement. This is particularly pertinent for cyclists as they are often restricted by one-way systems. Leading this call for change is the Hackney Permeability Project, backed by Hackney Cyclists. It proposes restoring streets to two-way operations for all traffic. This would maximise the options cyclists have in the urban network, and result in fewer dangers.
GET INVOLVED LCC’s Cycle Planning and Engineering working group is at the forefront of campaigning for changes to London’s one-way systems. To get involved in this group in a voluntary capacity, email email@example.com or call the office (details page 31). For details of how Hackney Cyclists campaigned for the removal of the Shoreditch one-way system, see www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk/shoreditch.htm Details of the local campaign to “scrap Stoke Newington gyratory” are at http://scrapstokiegyratory.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk ROAD SAFETY ADVICE: See page 24 for advice on how to safely negotiate one-way systems and roundabouts.
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 21
Volunteering to help out on an LCC stand is one way of getting involved at a grassroots level
Keep your chin up Is campaigning getting you down? Sick of reading reports and writing letters but making few inroads? Transport campaigner Anna Semlyen has this advice on how to stay positive
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Anna Semlyen is the author of Britain’s best-selling car traffic reduction guide, Cutting Your Car Use (www.cuttingyourcaruse.co.uk), a short book of hints and tips on driving less. The 3rd British edition in colour, fully updated and revised has been published by Green Books (www.greenbooks.co.uk, 01803 863 260), £3.95. or at least take public transport. Tell yourself, “I am so happy and grateful that I can move by my own power”. Be prepared with all the right information and equipment (eg for rain, etc), so that the green options are the easiest, cheapest and most convenient. They will always be the healthiest and most interesting. Stay still more by getting goods and services by phone, internet, email, text, delivery or en route. The main trick is to live locally. If distances are relatively close, then travelling by your own power won’t take long and will be invigorating. How to engage people In his report Painting The Town Green, Stephen Hounsham concludes that to engage people in green actions, it’s best if there is an immediate, tangible, personal, pragmatic benefit to the individual. Can you think of a cycling project that would bring personal satisfaction? Hand out cycling information in your town centre, organise a public cycle ride or write a green transport guide for your community or employers. Good luck and stay positive.
HOW TO BECOME AN LCC CAMPAIGNER LCC LOCAL GROUPS: If you want to campaign to improve conditions for cyclists in your area, contact your local LCC group. Its members will have useful contacts and invaluable experience in campaigning at a local level. Many organise rides and social events. See page 34 for contact details. LCC WORKING GROUPS: LCC runs a number of working groups including Cycle Parking, Cycle Carriage, Cycle Planning and Engineering, and Parks and Canals. If you’re interested in making changes in these areas of cycling, please email firstname.lastname@example.org LCC’S CYCLING INFORMATION: LCC has a wealth of cycling information which can help influence policy makers. Visit www.lcc.org.uk/info to download booklets. Visit www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns for information on the benefits of cycling and where to find cycling statistics.
Photo: Lynette Eyb
am writing for the transport activists out there. It’s true that cars and driving are on the rise – in Britain there are over 33 million metal boxes – but stay positive. More than 55% of drivers, according to the results of surveys by Professor Steve Stradling of Napier University, believe there is too much motorised traffic, so you are not alone in wanting traffic reduction. LCC campaigners and members of other ecological transport groups such as Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000) are working to make it a reality. Really try to visualise your surroundings and local streets being more pleasant, safe, quiet and smelling sweeter, and try to turn your attention to not moving around so much and to travelling sustainably yourself. When it comes to politics, the best approach is to present arguments for the positive alternatives (better cycle provision, traffic free paths, walking networks, safe routes to schools, slower road speeds, congestion charging/road pricing and car-free developments, etc). Portsmouth’s programme of turning all residential areas into 20mph areas rather than the national urban speed limit of 30mph is being done not with humps or signage, but by thorough community consultation. If your political leaders really are the dark grey shade of asphalt and so intransigent that they can’t be swayed by rational arguments for win-win alternatives, put your efforts into helping a candidate you favour to gain votes. Had you thought of standing for election yourself? Could you rally support? You’ll do best if you are in a group (or many green transport groups) for mutual help, fundraising and to share skills. Marketing a positive message is crucial. The psychology of how minority groups get heard by the mainstream is that they must have a simple message and keep repeating it. Eventually people will understand your point of view. As to the example you set, try to be a role model – you must practise what you preach. I make no apologies for self promoting – read my book, Cutting Your Car Use. It says that successful traffic reduction involves staying still more, reducing distances and travelling more sustainably. The most crucial transport decision of the day is the first, so make sure that when you leave home most days it is on your bike, on foot
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 23
June Positive Campaigning23.indd23 23
One way to safer cycling Roundabouts and gyratories can prove a challenging proposition, with many cyclists altering their preferred route to avoid them. David Dansky has this advice to make negotiating them a less daunting experience
Some cyclists find it difficult tackling multilane roundabouts and gyratories. (In his book Cyclecraft, John Franklin defines a gyratory as an enlarged roundabout with entries and exits flared to facilitate movement.) Drivers appear to move particularly fast, passing the rider too close for comfort. This perception is often exacerbated by riders positioning themselves at the edge of the roundabout or between lanes where drivers joining or leaving the roundabout may cut them up. The 1999 version of the Highway Code suggested that “you may feel safer ... keeping to the left on the roundabout”. This has been removed from the 2007 edition, which states, “If you decide to ride round keeping to the left-hand lane you should: • be aware that drivers may not easily see you; • take extra care when cycling across exits; • watch out for vehicles crossing your path to leave or join the roundabout.” John Franklin’s Cyclecraft claims that “over 70% of cycle crashes on roundabouts happen at the mouth of an entry road”, with his advice being to “always keep away from the outside edge of a roundabout, no matter which exit you are aiming to take”. This is much more helpful than the advice offered above in the Highway Code.
Always check behind you. Glancing back occasionally improves communication with other road users and helps get you noticed
slot into the traffic stream. Stay in the primary position as you move around the roundabout and as you leave it. Being in this position keeps you away from drivers wishing to enter the roundabout. It also helps drivers see you early enough to give way to you. Communication As you pass entry roads, try to make eye contact with any drivers waiting to join the roundabout. Looking at drivers helps to ensure that they have seen you and are giving way to you. As stated in the Cycle Training Instructor’s Manual, “it’s worth noting that getting yourself noticed by drivers wishing to join the roundabout may be slightly harder than when passing a side road because they may be angled away from you. The further you are towards the centre of the roundabout, the better this brings you into their field of vision”.
LCC GUIDANCE CYCLE SENSE Cycle safety: LCC publishes a booklet called Cycle Sense: Skills And Confidence On The Road, which can be downloaded by following the ‘cycle sense’ link in the advice section at www.lcc.org.uk. It is also available in hard copy format from the LCC office (details page 31). Training: If you are nervous cycling in traffic, LCC strongly recommends cycle training. Links to accredited London-based providers can be found on the LCC website in the ‘cycle sense’ section. Skills and conﬁdence
LCC CVR cyclesense.indd
on the road
Think positioning! Approach any roundabout in the primary position (in the middle of the lane), even if turning left. Remember that people already on the roundabout have priority. Join the roundabout when there is space for you to
24 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Technical See www.lcc.org.uk/info for more on city and commuter cycling, as well as information and advice on maintenance
Signalling Before entering the roundabout, look back, then signal the direction you intend to exit. Let drivers about to enter know that you intend to stay on the roundabout by making eye contact and even signalling right. Show drivers your intention to leave the roundabout by checking back then signalling left. Mini-roundabouts These are small roundabouts where the centre is a hump or a painted marking that can (but shouldn’t) be driven over. The Highway Code says that “all vehicles MUST pass round the central markings”. Watch out for other people who cut the corner and drive/ride over the central hump. An additional risk here is that, when wet, the painted centre may be slippery, so avoid it. Ride around the mini-roundabout in the centre of the lane, signalling as outlined above.
Always stay in the primary position – the middle of the lane
MORE INFORMATION The Official Highway Code: The most recent version, released in 2007, can be downloaded from www.direct.gov.uk (type ‘highway code’ into the search box). It is also available in book and CD-rom format from The Stationery Office (www.tsoshop.co.uk, 0870 600 5522). Cyclecraft: John Franklin’s Cyclecraft (£12, The Stationery Office) is considered the definitive guide to cycle safety. It is the principal reference for Bikeability, the national cycle training standard, and is required reading for all accredited instructors. Road positioning: See page 26 of this issue for more information on road positioning. Cycle training “Able to use roundabouts” is one of cycle training’s National Standard level 3 outcomes. If you would like further guidance on using roundabouts and gyratories or if you would like to improve your riding skills, you may be entitled to free or subsidised cycle training offered by many London boroughs. David Dansky is a qualified trainer with Cycle Training UK (020 7231 6005, www.cycletraining.co.uk) HOW TO GET INVOLVED The removal of one-way systems is a key campaigning issue for LCC and its local groups. See page 21 for an update on the campaign and information on how you can help rid London of gyratories and one-way systems
Photos: Cycle Training UK
A further advantage of riding in the middle of the lane ensures that drivers remain behind you and are not tempted to try and overtake you, thus minimising the risk of drivers passing too close to you. It is not at all pleasant to have drivers passing on both sides of you on a multi-lane roundabout or gyratory. Glancing back occasionally will inform you about what is behind as well as get you noticed. Looking back also lets drivers know that you know that they are there. This also removes doubt from drivers who may not be sure what you are planning. Many drivers slow down and hang back when a cyclist looks back at them.
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 25
How to ...
See www.lcc.org.uk/info for more advice on road safety, training and leisure cycling
Position yourself on the road One of the key principles of safe cycling is to ride in a prominent position where you can be clearly seen. Avoid cycling very close to the kerb or to the edge of the road as this reduces your room for manoeuvre and makes you more likely to hit drain covers and potholes; you should ride at least one metre away from the edge of the road. In his book Cyclecraft, which is widely recognised as the definitive guide to safe cycling, John Franklin advises to “increase your margin of safety … by riding where you can obtain the best view, where you can best be seen by others and your movements predicted”. “Good road positioning,” he writes, “is not about keeping you out of the path of other traffic as much as possible. Contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily the best way to maximise safety.” In certain situations it may be safer to use all the space that your side of the road or lane allows (ie take a position in the centre of the lane or in the centre of your side of the road). This may be necessary if there is not enough room for cars to overtake you without forcing you too close to parked cars or to the side of the road. You should also take all of your lane when approaching a junction where it might be unsafe for a vehicle to be next to you or to come alongside you (eg where it might turn across the front of you and ‘cut you up’). If there is a car behind you, a quick look
Above left: Be wary of riding too close to parked cars in case a driver opens a door as you approach Above right: Positioning yourself in the centre of your lane will best ensure you are seen by other road users
at the driver and a hand signal will indicate that you are about to move out into the centre of the road/lane. Once you feel that it is safe for the vehicle to overtake, you can move across and allow them to do so. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Try to keep at least a door’s width from parked cars, as doors may open into your path – this is one of the most common causes of incidents involving cyclists in London. If the road has parked cars on both sides and there is no space for you and an oncoming vehicle to pass, slow down – and stop if necessary. You have equal right of way with other road users, but in all situations your safety should be your primary concern. If you are stuck in traffic and vehicles are blocking your way forward, you should not mount the kerb and ride on the pavement. Instead, wait until you can safely cycle forward, or get off and walk your bike until you can cycle on the road again.
MORE INFORMATION LCC ADVICE: The LCC leaflet, Cycle Sense, covers how to ensure you cycle safely on the road. Download it from www.lcc.org.uk or call the office for a hard copy – see page 31 for contact details. ROAD SENSE: See page 24 for advice on negotiating roundabouts and gyratories, and page 21 for information on the LCC campaign that calls for the removal of London’s unnecessary one-way systems. LCC CVR cyclesense.indd
Skills and conﬁdence
on the road
Photos: Michael Stenning, Adrian Lewis
The LC Bike Surgery I’ve started cycling to work but there is nowhere for me to park my bike. Can you help me convince my boss that it’s worth putting in parking facilities? Pat Anthony, East Dulwich There is a lot of support out there to encourage more people to ride to work. Two obvious schemes spring to mind to help your employer. The government-backed Cycle To Work scheme allows employers to purchase bikes for staff use, the cost of which is deducted from employee’s pay via a salary sacrifice scheme.
Under its Take A Stand scheme, Transport for London (TfL) will provide cycle stands for up to 40 bikes to employers who draw up a travel plan. Applications for the Take a Stand scheme are made through your sub-regional coordinator. For details, call the LCC office on 020 7234 9310. TfL can also help cover the costs of facilities such as showers. The benefits to employers of staff cycling are clear: a healthier, happier workforce; it’s a sign of corporate social responsibility; better time-keeping and
productivity; it saves money on car parking spaces and the company car bill. LCC publishes A Guide For Employers. You can download it from the ‘advice’ section at www.lcc.org.uk or call the office for a hard copy (see page 31 for contact details). HOW TO SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS If you have a question on routes, campaigning, maintenance, safety or any other topic, send your question to email@example.com or write to the address on page 3, and the LC team will answer it for you.
26 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Technical Visit www.lcc.org.uk/info for more on bike maintenance. To list a workshop on this page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know how to maintain your bike? Try a course or workshop Brixton What: Basic bike maintenance course Cost: £60 When: July 10 and 17, 7pm-9pm Contact: Paul Lowe (020 7733 3070) www.cyclinginstructor.com Bromley What: Hands-on session suitable for beginners. Bring your bike. Two courses: Basics (punctures, cleaning and lubricating); Brakes and Gears (tuning, cables, brake pads). A session on disc brakes may be run on demand Cost: £20 – includes a maintenance pack worth at least £9. When: Call for details At: Hayes Old Church School Contact: Big Foot Bikes (020 8462 5004, email@example.com) www.bigfootbikes.com Camden What: With the support of Camden borough, Camden Cycling Campaign is running courses covering punctures, brakes, chains, tuning gears, cleaning When: Contact Stefano for details At: Velorution, 18 Great Titchfield St, W1W 8BD Contact: Stefano (020 7435 0196, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Central London What: One-day courses, basic and intermediate; one-to-one or small group sessions; puncture masterclass Cost: £60/one-day course; £30/hour bespoke tuition; £20/puncture masterclass. 5% off for LCC members. Subsidised training available for those living/working in Ealing, Lambeth or the City. When: Phone or check website At: CTUK training room Contact: Call Araxi Djian at Cycle Training UK on 020 7231 6005 or check www.cycletraining.co.uk What: Work on your own bike – no knowledge is assumed. Cost: £72 (£66 for LCC members) When: Saturdays 10.30am-5pm At: Bikefix, 48 Lamb’s Conduit Street Contact: Patrick Field (020 7249 3779, www.londonschoolofcycling.co.uk) Ealing What: Ealing Cycling Campaign runs ad-hoc courses throughout the year. See www.ealingcycling.org.uk or email email@example.com
What: One-day basic and intermediate classes run by Cycle Training UK
in association with Ealing borough. Basic course covers puncture repair, brakes, gears, etc. Intermediate course includes wheel truing and bearings Cost: £5 for people living, working or studying in the Ealing borough When: 9.30am-4.30pm on the following dates: June 7, July 5 and August 9 (all basic maintenance); September 6 (intermediate) At: Scout Hut, 2c The Grove, Corner of the Grove and Ealing Green Contact: CTUK (020 7231 6005) Greenwich What: Year-round maintenance classes. Class covers removing tyres and wheels; intermediate class covers brakes and gears, plus requests. Bring your bike and any parts you want to fit Cost: £5 per two-hour class. See www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk for payment details When: Tuesday or Wednesday, 7.15pm-9pm. Call to confirm At: Armada Centre, Armada Court, 21 McMillan St, SE8 Contact: Julian Dobson (07771 692 344, 020 8463 0801, firstname.lastname@example.org) or see www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk Hackney What: Twice monthly two-hour workshops sponsored by Hackney Cycling Campaign. Work on your bike with advice from experts Cost: No charge – run by volunteers (donations to pay rent appreciated) When: 7pm-9pm on first and third Tuesday of the month (June 3 and 17; July 1 and 15) At: The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Rd, off Well St, E9 7PQ Contact: Hackney Cycling Campaign (www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk), Adam (07940 121 513), Ross (email@example.com) or Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) Islington What: 2.5-hour, self-help workshop Cost: £1 (50p unwaged) When: Fourth Wednesday of month (not August/December); 7pm-9.30pm At: Sunnyside Gardens, at the cnr Sunnyside and Hazellville roads, N19 Contact: Adrian (07810 211 902) What: Classes covering all aspects of bicycle repair and maintenance When: On demand Contact: Jonathan Edwards (07946 261 165, j.edwards530@ btinternet.com)
When: June 5-6; July 17-18 Contact: Sidcup Cycle Centre (020 8300 8113, email@example.com)
Hackney’s workshops are the longest-running in London
Kingston What: Maintenance and repairs to help keep bikes in good working order Cost: One-day Saturday course is £26 When: Saturday, July 12, 10am-4pm At: North Kingston Centre, Richmond Road Contact: Kingston Adult Education (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kingston.gov.uk/adulteducation, 020 8547 6700) or Rob (020 8546 8865, email@example.com). See also www.kingstoncycling.org.uk Lambeth No classes planned, but contact Janet Paske via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07740 457 528 to be notified of future dates
Sutton What: Twice-yearly basic class plus free Dr Bike cycle check Cost: £tbc (family discounts) When: Saturday morning in autumn, enquire from August Contact: Chris Parry (020 8647 3584, email@example.com) or Shirley Quemby (020 8642 3720) Tower Hamlets What: Hands-on workshops. Cost: Free. Donations welcome! When: Last Saturday of the month (except December); 11am-3pm At: The Boxing Club, Limehouse Town Hall, 646 Commercial Rd E14 Contact: Owen Pearson (07903 018 970, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.wheelers.org.uk/workshop
Newham What: Workshop for Newham cyclists Cost: A donation to Cycle Club funds When: Saturdays, 9.30am-12pm during term time At: New City Primary School, New City Rd, Plaistow, E13 9PR Contact: Liz Bowgett (liz.bowgett@ btopenworld.com) Redbridge What: A four-night course covering punctures, brakes, gears, etc Cost: £30 When: Starts Wednesday, July 2 Contact: Terry (07795 981 529, email@example.com) or Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org, 07949 883 747) www.redbridgelcc.org.uk Shepherd’s Bush What: Basic maintenance. A bike surgery is also available Cost: £10 per session, or £40 for five paid for in advance When: June and July At: W12; other west London locations Contact: Gordon@pedalpowerlondon. org, 020 8746 2120 Sidcup What: Roadside maintenance course Cost: £35
Southwark What: Four-evening course includes maintenance and cleaning, punctures, cables, brakes, truing wheels, when to get professional help, and when to replace what. By Southwark Cyclists in On Your Bike’s workshop with their professional mechanics. 10% off purchases Cost: £48 per course. Pay online via Paypal after confirming place When: Tuesdays. 6.30pm-8.30pm. See www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk for dates or email/phone At: On Your Bike, 52-54 Tooley Street, SE1 Contact: Barry (07905 889 005, info@ southwarkcyclists.org.uk)
Waltham Forest What: Maintain or assemble a bike. Bike donations welcome Cost: £3. Tea/coffee provided When: The workshop (when staff available) opens 11am-3pm Saturdays. Open 10am-noon the second Saturday of month for LCC members to work on their bikes. No maintenance the first Saturday of month (recycled bikes for sale 1pm-3pm). Fridays (9am-4pm) and Saturdays (11am-3pm) volunteers invited to recondition bikes At: Council Transport Depot, Low Hall Manor, South Access Road, Walthamstow, E17. Stop at security for directions Contact: Christopher Rigby (email@example.com, 07910 235 149) or call 07948 060 473. Keen to hear from volunteers able to help keep this service running
Photo: Chas Wilshere
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 27
Product reviews Sunglasses Let’s hope the sun shines this summer. If it does, you’ll need sunglasses and Mel Allwood has put two pairs to the test Sunwise Isis, £28.99, includes three interchangeable lenses and hard carrying case (01865 714 620, www.tg-sunglasses.co.uk) It is difficult to know, as I write, whether this summer will be a wash-out like last summer or a season of perpetual sunshine. Probably, it will be something in between and, perhaps, by the time you read this review that round yellow thing in the sky will be appearing frequently and for long enough to prompt a lot of us to prance around in sunglasses. It’s not just sunshine that makes cyclists reach for eyewear. Pollution can make life miserable for contact lens wearers, so they choose specs instead, and I find that during hayfever season a protective layer between my eyes and the rest of the world helps a bit in my ultimately-futile battle against pollen. Plus, a great pair of sunglasses can add a welcome touch of glamour to an
otherwise drab cycling outfit. Sunwise’s Isis frames come with three sets of interchangeable lenses – dark lenses for proper sunny days, a mediumdark set for ‘average’ sunlight, and yellow lenses for low light conditions. Swapping lenses is very easy, requiring just a slight twist of the flexible frame to release them each lens at a time. Rubbery blobs on the arms kept the frames firmly lodged, and I found that the Isis sat very close to my face. This helped to stop light, breezes and dust (or pollen!) from leaking in around the edges. I particularly liked the yellow lowlight lenses. They’re perfect for miserable days because they make everything a little bit sharper. I wasn’t keen on the metallic orange frames, which I think look cheap and
slightly flimsy. In fairness, I haven’t managed to break or snap them yet and the quality of the lenses seems very good. Other Sunwise models – Sunwise is a British brand, incidentally – with less lurid frames are available.
Conclusion Apart from the lurid colour of the frames, the Isis is a good pair of sunglasses. Great value for money and with three sets of lenses you could find yourself wearing these specs all year round.
Specialized El Toro Adaptalite, £79,99, Specialized UK (020 8391 3502, www.specialized.com) The special feature that these Specialized El Toro spectacles come with is lenses that adapt to available light, becoming almost completely clear in low light and darkening when it’s brighter. I wondered whether I would find this annoying but after a few experiments I barely noticed when the lenses were in the midst of lightening or darkening. An extra bonus of these ‘Adaptalite’ lenses is that since they become almost clear when they are out of direct sunlight, I tended to leave them on when I got off my bike and walked into buildings. This significantly reduced the chance of my abandoning them in random places, which is what I usually do with sunglasses!
WIN AN ORTLIEB BIKE BOX
The lenses were large enough to avoid glimpsing irritating bits of frame lurking in the periphery of my field of vision. There are also large vents at the sides so the lenses clear quickly if they steam up. The frames were very comfortable, with enough grip at the ends of the arms to stop them bouncing about, although if you normally wear sporty aerodynamic glasses these will feel heavier. Like the Sunwise Isis, these also come with a substantial protective case that has enough spare room around the edges to stash an extra pair of shades, for a friend, if need be. The El Toros have become my
LC has one Ortlieb Bike Box 2 (normally £67.50) to give away. This waterproof box sits on your rack and is ideal for carrying items that you want to protect from knocks. It’s made of tough but lightweight polycarbonate, which means that whatever is inside your Bike Box won’t be squashed. The interior boasts various adjustable compartments and pockets. The Bike Box comes with a rack adaptor that allows for speedy mounting and removal of the box as well as a removable shoulder strap, carrying handle and a padlock
favourite sunglasses. I’d like to think it’s because of the way the lenses adapt almost instantly to changing light conditions, but I have to confess that what I’m really smitten by is the 1970s wood-effect frames. These are ‘fashion’ sunglasses and, as with everything in fashion, some people will think they’re ugly. Not me, though.
Conclusion Expensive but fantastic. The lenses that adjust to light conditions work a treat. The 70s styling is a matter of personal taste, though.
for the waterproof zipper. For dimensions and more information see www.ortlieb.de. To enter our prize draw, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a postcard to LCC (address listed on p.3), marking your email or postcard “Ortlieb Bike Box prize draw” and including your full name, telephone number and postal address. Deadline for entries is Monday, June 30, 2008. For LC prize draw terms and conditions, please see www.lcc.org.uk.
28 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Goodbye from us Product review writer Mel Allwood and product review editor Erin Gill tell a few tales and give a bit of advice as they say goodbye after six years producing LC’s product review pages We’ve had a great time, but all good things must come to an end and, after six years producing product reviews for London Cyclist, it’s time to move on. Before we go, though, we thought it would be fun to spill a few beans and offer yet more advice. First, a couple of horror stories that we didn’t include in our reviews. The lock that failed: We once tested a lock that proved much less robust than the product literature suggested. Mel lost a bike – her favourite bike. We didn’t test another lock for a long time, and when we did, Erin’s bike had to be the guinea pig. The A Bike: While testing this folding monstrosity, Mel fell into the road and had to have physiotherapy for a month. The cyclist who we turned to to give us a second opinion ended up agreeing with Mel after he, too, fell off and narrowly avoided losing an important part of his anatomy. More generally, testing products for LC has meant that we have frequently looked like freaks and, yes, we have been laughed at, and not just by our nearest and dearest. Strangers have laughed at us in the street. Why? Well, because we’ve been wearing something odd, usually something with flashing lights and lots of fluorescent, or because we’ve been behaving bizarrely thanks to a malfunctioning product. It is surprising how many defective products are sent to magazine reviewers! Or sometimes people laugh in a kind way, simply because we look so happy – some products really are fabulous and when we find one, we smile from ear to ear. Sometimes these are innovative products that solve a problem we’ve been putting up with for years (Mel’s choice: waterproof socks), while other times it’s great to test something by an established brand and discover that what was good is now even better (Brooks’ range of leather saddles and Shimano shoes comes to mind). We’ve said it before, but why not say it again. If you have some spare cash, here are our urban cycling recommendations: ■ a jacket made of a breathable, waterproof fabric ■ a set of Ortlieb waterproof panniers ■ SKS mudguards ■ a base layer or three made from 100% merino wool ■ a gender-specific saddle ■ a small tool set by Park Tools USA ■ oh, and lights. Everyone needs lights!
◆ Give you a new pair of Lycras. No one can bear to tell you, but your favourite Lycras – the ones you wear every day – have become transparent in the bottom area. Cyclists behind you can see your behind. One of the most satisfying things about reviewing products for LC has been watching as real design improvements have swept through certain product categories. The design of jackets for urban British cyclists has improved immensely over the past decade. A good jacket is expensive, but at least these days you know that the jacket you’re buying has been designed with you in mind, and not for a leisure cyclist somewhere in America who never takes his bike out if it’s raining. The design of panniers has also improved a great deal. And lights! LED technology has been a great thing for urban cyclists. We can’t prove it, but we firmly believe that welldesigned products for cyclists are almost always designed by cyclists. There remain a good many men in sheds who design products for cyclists, but who never cycle themselves. We’ve tested some of their products and, by and large, they’ve been awful. To know what a cyclist needs, you have to be a cyclist. And with more and more cyclists on London’s streets, we’re certain that in ten years’ time there will be even more cycling product designers and even better products. Before we sign off, we’d like to thank everyone who suggested we test this or that product, and also thank the legion of guinea pigs who gave us positive and negative feedback. We were heartened by the number of people who rated a product highly simply because it prompted other cyclists to talk to them at traffic lights. See – urban cyclists aren’t anti-social! On the other hand, we’ve also had products that have been politely but firmly returned by testers at the end of the test period. Finally, a big thank you to our models for bringing a touch of glamour to the product pages – and mostly with a straight face. Thanks for putting up with us and get ready to welcome Ian Cleverly in the next issue. Erin & Mel
If we could magically tweak the cyclists we encounter on London’s streets, our preferred ‘adjustments’ would be to: ◆ Pump up your tyres. Yes, we mean you! You’re moving slowly because your tyres are toooo soft. ◆ Put your saddle up an inch. Many new urban cyclists seem to have this problem. No wonder your knees are sore!
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 29
Product reviews Lock up your bike Fed up with bike thieves? Mel Allwood tests a locking system designed to stop light fingers making off with your saddle, wheels and forks Pinhead Components wheel, seat and fork locking system £49.99, 2 Pure (0844 811 2001, www.pinheadcomponents.com) This set of skewers is designed to replace the bolts that secure various expensive components to your bicycle. Instead of riding a bike with quick-release levers and standard bolts, you replace such components with versions that are secured with a special locking cap and matching ‘key’. Each Pinhead set comes with its own key, so you can’t fit or remove anyone else’s skewers with your key. On the plus side, these locking skewers make it fiendishly difficult for the light fingered to make off with essential bits of your bike, such as your wheels or saddle. The smooth, low profile skewer heads make it difficult to force with pliers or similar implements, while sawing the heads off would probably be a tedious enough prospect to deter almost any thief. The kit consists of front and rear wheel skewers and a seat post retainer, plus an interesting addition in the form of a headset cap. This is more useful than it sounds – it’s not intended to stop people stealing your headset (which is the set of bearings that allow your forks to rotate in the frame so that you can point your front wheel in the direction you
WIN A HI-VIZ VEST LC has two highvisibility vests from 1 Less Car to give away (see review right for details). We’ve got a hot pink vest in the 5-7 years size and an orange vest in the 8-11 years size. 1 Less Car sizing is generous and petite adults may find that the 8-11 size fits them well. For garment measurement information, see www.1LessCar.org.uk.
To enter our prize draw, please send an email to londoncyclist@ lcc.org.uk or a postcard to LCC (address listed on p.3), marking your email or postcard “1 Less Car prize draw” and including your full name, telephone number and postal address. Deadline for entries is Monday, June 30, 2008. For LC prize draw terms and conditions, please see www.lcc. org.uk.
want to go). What a headset locking cap does is prevent anyone from removing expensive suspension forks. Of course, your bike may not boast suspension forks, since they’re not necessary for urban cycling. The disadvantages of a Pinhead locking system? You only get one locking key with the set. If you lose it you can order another one, provided you remembered to write down the serial number of the original key. Be prepared to wait several weeks for the new key to arrive and to spend about a tenner buying it. If you’re in the habit of fixing punctures by the side of the road, you also have to make sure you’ve got your locking key with you, otherwise you’ll be walking home. And if you’re getting your bike serviced, you have to remember to leave the key with the bike shop. This set is touted as universal, but there is no such thing as standardisation in the world of bicycles. Front and rear skewers are usually a fairly safe bet, but in our test case (we tested the set on a relatively new Marin), neither the locking headset cap nor the seat post retainer could be made to fit.
Conclusion If you leave your bike outside regularly and are irritated by having to lock your wheels up and remove your saddle, this set of locking skewers could be exactly what you need. But you have to be organised enough to make sure you’ve got the key when you need it.
1LessCar , £19.99 for adult size, £11.99 for children’s sizes, p&p free (www.1lesscar.org.uk) London’s commuters have taken to the yellow reflective vest like glow-in-the-dark ducks to water. Although this forest of fluoro isn’t always pretty at least drivers are being helped to remember they’re not the only vehicles on the road. Any vest or jacket that makes you more visible is a good thing, however, the vests made by 1 Less Car deserve special mention. 1 Less Car vests are made in the UK, so they haven’t already travelled around the world by the time you get them. And they’re made by a London workers co-operative, not a sweatshop. Even the packaging is well thought out: a minimal amount of recycled cardboard protects the product in transit, looks great, and is printed with water-based ink. It can go straight into your recycling bin/bag when you’ve unwrapped the vest. The 1 Less Car logo on the back of each vest is memorable. The majority of car drivers will only ever see your back, as they overtake you or (more likely) you overtake them, so you might as well use it to get the pro-cycling message across. As well as being available in ubiquitous fluoro yellow, you can stand out from the
crowd in fluorescent pink, orange, green or red. There are two kids sizes (ages 5-7 and 8-11, the latter may fit smaller adults) and a generous adult size, which also has a pocket for keys, phone or puncture repair kit. The Velcro grips properly and there’s enough of it, which makes a change from more basic hi-viz vests that often boast only tiny, vaguely furry blobs.
Conclusion This is ethical hi-viz wear at its best. Sweatshop-free manufacturing, a procycling message and a range of crazy colours. What more could you possibly want? If you’re going to buy reflective gear give your money to these people.
30 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
LCC members’ pages You can contact the membership team on 020 7234 9310 or email email@example.com
LCC members’ pages
These pages provide all you need to know about how to get the most out of your LCC membership BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP LCC is a campaigning charity mainly funded by your membership. We work to improve conditions for cyclists and to promote cycling throughout London.
INSURANCE & LEGAL Third party insurance If you cause damage to a person or their property while cycling, they may make a claim against you. As a member of LCC, you are covered for up to £5 million. If such an incident occurs, phone the LCC office for immediate advice and assistance.
Free legal advice Free legal advice is a member benefit. If you need any legal assistance on cycling-related issues, please phone the LCC office and we will put you in touch with a cyclist-friendly solicitor.
Theft insurance LCC Cyclecover theft insurance also comes with free personal accident cover for LCC members. Theft insurance costs about 10% of the value of your bike and is a ‘new for old’ policy. For an instant quote, please call 0870 873 0067 and have your LCC membership number to hand.
INFORMATION & CAMPAIGNING Local groups LCC has a local group in every borough, plus the City of London. These groups campaign on local cycling issues, and also organise events, meetings, workshops and
LCC’S VISION LCC’s vision is to make London a world class cycling city STRATEGIC AIMS ■ To involve people from all communities in cycling ■ To improve the quality of life in London by increasing cycling ■ To bring about the best possible services for people who cycle or want to cycle in London ■ To be leaders in urban cycling
CONTACT LCC 2 Newhams Row London SE1 3UZ t: 020 7234 9310 f: 020 7234 9319 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.lcc.org.uk
to LCC (address left). Ads from businesses are not accepted.
HOW TO HELP LCC GROW Ask a friend to join You can support our work by recruiting members to LCC. The more members we have, the greater our campaigning voice. Simply ask your friend or colleague to visit www.lcc.org.uk/join to join online or to call 020 7234 9310 to join over the phone.
Contact the LCC Board: email@example.com
Buy a friend a gift membership
Registered charity number: 1115789
social rides. See page 34 to find out what your local group is up to.
£2/free to membe rs
Bikes in fash
LCC, in partnership with Transport for London (TfL), has produced free cycle maps covering all of London. These can be ordered via www.lcc.org.uk or by phoning TfL on 020 7222 1234.
Hitting the catwa
Volunteer with us
A celebratio of cycling n
Bike Week 200 8 PLUS Riding in Tuscany Negotiating roundabouts
London Cyclist magazine ■
This magazine is sent to members every two months. It is packed with news, features, cycling tips, products news and the latest on our campaigns. It has been voted the number one member benefit. ■
RIDE S & EVEN TS
JuneCOVER. indd 1
Who needs eBay? Members who have bikes or accessories to sell can advertise in London Cyclist free of charge (see page 35). Send your short, concise ad to firstname.lastname@example.org or
A gift membership is a great way to make a friend or relative part of the movement that’s changing London. While stocks last, there’s a free LCC T-shirt with every gift membership. Call 020 7234 9310 to buy a gift membership today. Much of LCC’s work would not be possible without volunteers. Much of our membership, administration and campaigning work is carried out by volunteers – if you have any spare time and would like to help, please phone Julie on 020 7234 9310 x 215. LC also relies on voluntary contributions. See www. lccc.org.uk/londoncyclist
How to join LCC If you like what you see in LC but you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join the campaign to receive the magazine every two months. Members also receive the other benefits listed on this page. You can join by calling 020 7234 9310 or via www.lcc. org.uk/join
Have you been involved in an incident on your bike? Contact our partners, Levenes Solicitors, for free legal advice:
020 8826 1329 www.cycleinjury.co.uk Kevin O’Sullivan, head of Levenes’ Cycle Injuries Department, regular London cyclist and LCC member says: “We have been successfully providing legal advice for LCC members for eight years and are proud to support their campaigning and provide this free cycling incident helpline for the members’ benefit.” Levenes are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and your case will be dealt with on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 31
LCC member discounts Anyone who joins LCC can cash in on a range of ongoing benefits open only to members. Maintenance Cycle Training UK (CTUK) offers LCC members a 5% discount on bike maintenance training. Call Araxi Djian on 020 7232 4398. Breakdown cover LCC members get 50% off membership of the Environmental Transport Association (ETA), a breakdown service for transport users who care about the environment. For details, phone the ETA on 0800 212 810 or see www.eta.co.uk. You will need to quote your LCC membership number and reference 1061-9001. Bike shops LCC members also get discounts on bikes, accessories and servicing at the following bike shops in the capital. Remember to show your membership card before you make a purchase or book your service. MAIL ORDER / ONLINE 50Cycles Ltd Quote LCC + membership no. 5% bikes and accessories. Exceptions: not on second-hand or ex display; not in conjunction with other offers. ■ ➔ www.50cycles.com Cotswold Outdoor Quote ref 2115 at www.cotswoldoutdoor.com ♣ Loads Better Mail order only. Suppliers of xtracycle and Kronan bikes (0845 8682459) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5 Old Bicycle Trading Co Mail order only. Hub gears new and vintage parts (020 8306 0060) ● ✔ www.oldbiketrader.co.uk Outdoor Indoor Ltd Mail order clothing supplier. ● ✔ www.outdoorindoor.co.uk
CENTRAL Action Bikes Dacre House 19 Dacre St SW1 (020 7799 2233) ✔ ▲ MonFri 8-8 Sat 9.30-5.30 Action Bikes 23-26 Embankment Place Northumberland Avenue WC2 (020 7930 2525) ✔ ▲ Mon-Fri 8-8 Bikefix 48 Lambs Conduit St WC1 (020 7405 1218) ● ➔ Mon-Fri 8.30-7 Sat 10-5 Condor Ltd 51 Grays Inn Rd WC1 (020 7269 6820) ● ✔ Mon-Tues Thurs-Fri 9-6 Weds 9-7.30 Sat 10-5 Cavendish Cycles 136 New Cavendish St W1 (020 7631 5060) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 Cotswold Outdoor 23/26 Piccadilly W1 (020 7437 7399) ♣ (quote L2115 and show card) Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat, 10-6 Sun 11-5 CycleSurgery 3 Procter St Holborn WC1 (020 7269 7070) ▲ ✔ Mon/ Weds/Fri 8.30-6 Tues/Thurs 8.30-7 Sat 10-5 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 51-52 Rathbone Pl W1 (020 7580 4107) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9-6 Sun 11-4 Evans Cycles 69 Grays Inn Rd WC1 (020 7430 1985) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Tues closed 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-5 Evans Cycles 178 High Holborn WC1 (020 7836 5585) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Tues closed 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-4 Fluid Cycles Mobile repairs and servicing in Underground zone 1 and the Docklands (020 7021 0742) ● ✔ (on servicing and repairs) Mon-Fri 8.30-6 Weekends by arrangement Paul’s Custom Cycles 38 Mount Pleasant WC1X (07960 987 887) ▲ 10-4 Mon-Sat 11-4 Sun Velorution 18 Great Titchfield St W1 (020 7637 4004) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-18.45 Sat 10.30-18.30 Also sells secondhand bikes
Many of these shops have email addresses and websites. For details, see www.lcc.org.uk/discounts
EAST Bicycle Magic 4-6 Greatorex St E1 (020 7375 2993) ■ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 Chainlink Cycle Centre 140 Hornchurch Rd Hornchurch RM11 (01708 470 007) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Cotswold Outdoor Ground floor, St Clements House, Leyden St E1 (020 7655 466) ♣ (quote ref L2115 and show card) Mon-Fri 10-7, Sat 10-5 CycleSurgery Brody House Strype St E1 (020 7375 3088) ▲ ✔ Mon/ Weds/Fri 8.30-6 Tues/Thurs 8.30-7 Sat 10-5 Sun 10-4 CycleSurgery 12-13 Bishops Sq, E1 (020 7392 8920) ▲ ✔ (excludes Marin bikes. Full SRP items only. Excludes Selfridges concession.) Mon-Sat 10-6 Sun 12-6 Ditchfields 792/794 High Rd Leyton E10 (020 8539 2821) ▲ ✔ Not on promotional products. Mon-Sat 9.15-5.30 E A Cycles 783 Romford Rd, Manor Park, Newham E12 (020 8478 2540) 5% bikes; ■ ✔ 10% servicing MonSat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Discounts not on promotional or sale items Evans Cycles The Cavern 1 Market St (Off Brushfield St) E1 (020 7426 0391) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-6 Evans Cycles 1 Farringdon St EC4 (020 7248 2349) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 18-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles Cullum St EC3 (020 7283 6750) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing MonFri 8-8 (Closed Mon 11-12) Sat 9.306 Sun 12-5 Evans Cycles Unit B, Reuters Building, 30 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf E14 (0870 164 4037) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 12-6 Fluid Cycles Docklands See ‘Central’ Heales Cycles 477 Hale End Rd
Highams Park E4 (020 8527 1592) ■ ➔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5.30 London Fields Cycles 281 Mare St E8 (020 8525 0077) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-6 Sat 10-6 NORTH Action Bikes 64 Ballards Ln N3 (020 8346 2046) ▲ ✔ Discount also on servicing Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Bike and Run 125 High Rd N2 (020 8815 1845) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9.30-5.30 Bike Mech The Castle Climbing Centre Green Lanes N4 (07762 270 616) 10% discount on servicing only Mon-Fri 9-7, Sat 10-5 Bikes R Us Mobile cycle repairs throughout north London (020 8882 8288 – workshop, 07949 066 889 – van) ● ✔ on servicing and most repairs Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 CycleSurgery 70 Holloway Rd N7 (020 7697 2848) ▲ ✔ Mon 9-6 Tues 9-7 Weds 8.30-6 Thurs 9-7 Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5 Cycle Store (The) 201 Woodhouse Rd Friern Barnet N12 (020 8368 3001) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 (Closed Weds) Sat 9-5 Sun 11-3 Holloway Cycles 290 Holloway Road, N7 (020 7700 6611) ▲ ✔ 10% servicing/labour Mon-Fri 8.30-6.30 Sat 9-6 Sun 11-5 Mosquito Bikes 123 Essex Rd N1 (020 7226 8841/020 7226 8765) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8.30-7 Sat 10-6 Sun (summer only) 11-4 S & S Cycles 29 Chapel Market N1 (020 7278 1631) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 10-6 Sat 10-5.30 Sun 10-2.30 Shorter Rochford 27 Barnet Rd Potters Bar EN6 (01707 662 332) ▲ ✔ on RRP Mon-Fri 9-6 (Closed Weds) Sat 9-5 Shorter Rochford 65-67 Woodhouse Rd N12 (020 8445 9182) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6, Weds 9-7 (Closed Thurs) Top Rider 210 Baker Street, Enfield EN1 (020 83638618) ✔ Closed Wed
HELP GIVE LCOCICE A GREATER V As an LCC member, you are already one of over 10,000 people working to make London a world-class cycling city. Help spread the word by: 1. Passing on your copy of this magazine to a friend or relative 3. Introducing a friend to their local LCC group 2. Buying an LCC gift membership – call 020 7234 9310 For more ideas on how you can help London to get cycling, visit www.lcc.org.uk
32 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
LCC members’ pages Many of these shops have email and websites. For details, see www.lcc.org.uk & Sun Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Two Wheels Good 165 Stoke Newington Church St N16 (020 7249 2200) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 8.30-6 Sun 11-5 Two Wheels Good 143 Crouch Hill N8 (020 8340 4284) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 8.30-6 NORTH-WEST Broadway Bikes 250 West Hendon Bwy NW9 (020 8202 4671) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30, Sun 11-1 Chamberlaines 75-77 Kentish Town Rd NW1 (020 7485 4488) ■ ✔ Includes shop discount Mon-Sat 8.30-6 Cycle King 451-455 Rayners Ln Pinner HA5 (020 8868 6262) ■ ♣ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 9-4.30 Cycle King 173 Hillside Stonebridge NW10 (020 8965 5544) ■ ♣ MonSat 9-6 Sun 10-5 CycleSurgery 44 Chalk Farm Rd NW1 (020 7485 1000) ▲ (except Marins) ✔ Mon/Weds/Fri 9-6 Tues/ Thurs 9-7 Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5 CycleSurgery Hampstead 275 West End Lane NW6 (020 7431 4300) ▲ ✔ Mon/Weds/Fri 9-6 Tues/Thurs 9-7 Sat 10-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 240 Watford Way, NW4 (0870 142 0108) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat 9.30-6, Sun 11-5 Simpson’s Cycles 114-116 Malden Rd NW5 (020 7485 1706) ▲ ✔ (Birdys ■) Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5.30 Sparks 5 Bank Buildings, High St NW10 (020 8838 5858) ● ✔ MonSat 9.30-6 SOUTH Bikes Plus 429 Brighton Rd Croydon CR2 (020 8763 1988) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Cycle King 26-40 Brighton Rd Croydon CR2 (020 8649 9002) ■ ♣ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 9-4.30 Evans Cycles 5 London Rd Croydon CR0 (020 8667 1423) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 9-6 Thurs 9-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 SOUTH-EAST Bigfoot Bikes 50 Hayes St Bromley BR2 (020 8462 5004) ● ➔ Includes servicing; exc labour Tues-Sat 9-5.30 Bike Shop (The) 288-290 Lee High Rd SE13 (020 8852 6680) ▲ ✔ on items over £10 Mon-Fri 9-5.30 Sat 9-5 Blackfen Cycle Centre 23 Wellington Pde Blackfen Rd Sidcup DA15 (020 8303 3761) ▲ ✔ (Incl labour) Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5.30 Sun 10-3 Bromley Bike Company 27 Widmore Rd Bromley BR1 (020 8460 4852) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30
Thurs 9-8 Comptoncycles.co.uk 23-25 Catford Hill Catford SE6 (020 8690 0141) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5 Deens Garage 439 Croydon Rd BR3 (020 8650 0630) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 8.30-5.30 Edwardes 221-225 Camberwell Rd SE5 (020 7703 3676) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 8.30-6 Evans Cycles 111-115 Waterloo Rd SE1 (020 7928 2208) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 10-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 77-81 The Cut SE1 (020 7928 4785) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Weds 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 6 Tooley St SE1 (020 7403 4610) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing. MonFri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Herne Hill Bicycles 83 Norwood Rd SE24 (020 8671 6900) ● ➔ Tues-Fri 9-6 Sat 10-5 (Closed Sun & Mon) London Recumbents Rangers Yard Dulwich Park College SE21 (8299 6636) ● ✔ Variable discount on bike hire. Mon-Sun 10-6 On Your Bike 52-54 Tooley St SE1 (020 7378 6669) ▲ ✔ Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5 Also has bike hire. Discounts don’t apply to sale items or cycle scheme bikes
ReCycling (Only sells catalogue returns, renovated and second-hand bikes) 110 Elephant Rd SE17 (020 7703 7001) ▲ ✖ Robinsons Cycles 172 Jamaica Rd, SE16 (020 7237 4679) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-6; Thur 9.30-2pm Sidcup Cycle Centre 142-146 Station Rd, Sidcup DA15 (020 8300 8113) ✔ Mon-Fri 9-5.30; Thurs 9-7; Sat 9-5 Witcomb Cycles 25 Tanners Hill, Deptford SE8 (020 8692 1734) ■ ✔ Mon closed; Tues, Wed, Fri 9.30-5; Thurs, Sat 9.30-4 Wilsons 32 Peckham Rd SE15 (0207 639 1338) ▲✔ Mon-Fri 10-6; Sat 10-5 Xadventure Bikes 25-29 Perry Hill, Forest Hill SE23 (020 8699 6768) ▲✔ Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 No discount on servicing SOUTH-WEST Action Bikes Fairfield Ave Staines TW18 4AB (01784 440666) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6; Sun 11-3.30 Action Bikes 221 The Broadway SW19 1SD (020 8540 0313) ▲ ✔ Action Bikes 437 Upper Richmond Rd, East Sheen SW14 ✔ (020 8876 5566) Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 11-4 Bicycle Warehouse 214-216 Kingston Rd, Teddington TW11 (020 8977 2925) ▲ ✔ 10% servicing Mon-Sat
9-5.30 Sun 10-4 Brixton Cycles 145 Stockwell Rd SW9 (020 7733 6055) ● ✔ MonWed & Fri-Sat 9-6 Thurs 9-7 Cowley Security Locksmiths (Locks and key cutting) 146 Colne Rd Twickenham TW2 (020 8894 1212) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-5 Cyclopedia 256 Fulham Rd SW10 (020 7351 5776) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10.30-5 Dialabike 30 Strutton Ground SW1 (020 7233 4224) ■ ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-5.30 Evans Cycles 13-15 Jerdan Pl (off Fulham Bwy) SW6 (020 7384 5550) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8am-8pm (Closed Mon 11-12) Sat 9.30am-6pm Sun 11am-5pm Evans Cycles Clapham Unit 2 65-79 Clapham High Street SW4 7TG ▲ ✔ Evans Cycles 320-320b Vauxhall Bridge Rd SW1 (020 7976 6298) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Tues 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 11-5 Evans Cycles 48 Richmond Rd Kingston KT2 (020 8549 2559) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 9-6 Thurs 9-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10-4 Evans Cycles 167-173 Wandsworth High St SW18 (020 8877 1878) ▲ ✔ Incl servicing Mon-Fri 8-8 (Closed Thurs 11-12) Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10-4 London Recumbents Staff Yard Battersea Park SW11 (020 7498 6543) ● ✔ off hire only. Open weekends and school holidays Luciano Cycles 97-99 Battersea Rise SW11 (020 7228 4279) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Sun 10-3.30 Mike’s Bikes 27 Aberconway Rd Morden SM4 (020 8640 1088) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 8-5.30 Sat 9-4 Moore’s Cycles 61 London Rd Twickenham TW1 3SZ (020 8744 0175) Mon, Sat 9-5.30; Tue-Fri 9-6; Sun 10-4 ▲ ✔ Moose Cycles 48 High St Colliers Wood SW19 (020 8544 9166) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-7 Pitfield Cycles 137 Kingston Rd New Malden KT3 (020 8949 4632) ■ ➔ Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Prologue 232 Upper Richmond Road, East Sheen, SW14 (020 8878 6266) ▲ ✔ 15% servicing Mon closed Wed 8am-8pm Tue/Thur-Fri 9am-6pm Sun 12pm-5pm Discount applies to BH brand bikes only BIKES
Psubliminal 17 Balham High St, SW12 (020 8772 0707) 5% discount on servicing. Tues-Fri 9-6.30 Thurs 9-7 Sat 9-5.30 Putney Cycles 337 Putney Bridge Rd, SW15 (020 8785 3147) ✔ MonFri 8-6.30 Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Siecle 789 Wandsworth Rd SW8 (020 7978 2345) ❋ ✖ (applies only to bikes) Mon-Fri 9.30-5.30 Sat 10-4 Smith Brothers 14 Church Rd SW19 (020 8946 2270) ▲ Also has bike hire services Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30 South Bank Cycles 194 Wandsworth Rd SW8 (020 7622 3069) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Stratton Cycles Ltd 101 East Hill SW18 (020 8874 1381) ● ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Triandrun 53 Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon SW19 (020 8971 2065) ■ ✔ 10% labour/servicing. Only on full price items WEST Action Bikes 101 Uxbridge Rd W12 (020 8743 5265) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Action Bikes 176 Chiswick High Rd W4 (020 8994 1485) ● ➔ Mon-Sat 9-6 Sun 10-4 Bikewise 61 Swakeleys Rd Ickenham Middx UB10 (01895 675376) ■ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-5.30 Sun 10-2 Bonthrone Bikes 917-919 Fulham Rd SW6 (020 7731 5005) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 11-7 Thurs 11-8 Sat 10-6 Sun 12-5 Cyclopedia 262 Kensington High St W8 (020 7603 7626) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9.30-6 Sun 10.30-5 Evans Cycles 548-550 Chiswick High Road, W4 (0870 060 5489) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat 9.30-6, Sun 11-5 Mend-a-Bike 19 The Arches 33 Munster Rd Fulham SW6 (020 7371 5867) ● ✔ Mon-Fri 9-7 Sat 9-6 Moore’s Cycles 3-5 St. John’s Road Isleworth TW7 6NA (020 8560 7131) Mon, Sat 9-5.30; Tues-Fri 9-6; Sun 10-4 ▲ ✔ WIZZBIKE.com 113-114 High Street, Brentford, TW8 (020 8326 2819) ▲ ✔ Mon-Sat 9-6; Sun 11-5 Woolsey of Acton 281 Acton Lane W4 (020 8994 6893) ▲ ✔ Mon-Fri 9.30-6.30 Sat 9.30-6 (Closed Weds) • Show your LCC card to claim your discount. • The discounts vary and are not negotiable. ● ➔ means no discount on a bicycle and 5% discount on parts and/or accessories. • Discounts don’t usually apply to special offers or sale items.
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 33
Local groups News BARNET
The enormous regeneration project at Cricklewood/Brent Cross which is due to take at least a decade to build moves a step forward. Formal plans have now been submitted by the developers; about 600 pages of them. So many that while there is cycling provision in there somewhere, we’ve found it very difficult to work out what exactly, and whether it’s adequate. As the area encompasses the start of the M1, the North Circular, Brent Cross Shopping Centre, and with plans for thousands of new houses plus a new railway station, it’s all rather daunting. We’re concerned that cycling provision, which should be a priority, will be relegated to an afterthought. Still, our campaigns committee is working overtime on it. For our Bike Week plans, see the Bike Week website. At our regular indoor meeting on June 26, it’s the 25th birthday party for the group. Do come. Meetings: last Thurs of the month, 8pm at Trinity Church Hall, Nether Street, N12 Contact: Jeremy Parker (020 8440 9080) Website: www.barnetlcc.org BRENT
After LCC obtained the views of the mayoral candidates on its cycling manifesto (LC, April/May), Brent Cyclists submitted it to our candidates for the GLA Brent and Harrow constituency. Only the Green, Left List and Labour candidates replied, which seems to indicate a poor level of interest in cycling from the other parties in Brent. Two of our members put much time in April into collaborating (at very short notice) with inspection meetings of nine proposed ‘greenway’ safe cycling and walking routes from all parts of Brent to Wembley Stadium. The implementation of these forms part of London’s commitment to an eco-friendly Olympic Games in 2012. Unfortunately – big oversight – there is no clearly allocated adequate budget from the Olympic Development Authority or any other body to cover the building of these. Another contradiction is that cycling is actually illegal on the space around the stadium, so these routes could not be connected. We do wonder therefore if we are completely wasting our time. We have a number of interesting activities lined up for Bike Week (see page 14). For our July meeting we will be joined by Matt Winfield of Sustrans, who will talk about their projects in the capital. Meetings: 7pm on June 4 and July 2 at Samaritans Centre, 1 Leopold Road, NW10. Contact: Ben Tansley (07941 050161, email@example.com). Website: www.brentcyclists.org.uk BROMLEY
Bromley is looking forward to its first season as a re-constituted group. The initial theme has been social, with day-long Saturday rides in west Kent, usually by train connections, with a lunch stop. The Tour de Penge, not our initiative but supported by us, saw 70+ riders (including six police cyclists) of all ages to ride the Waterlink Way in April. Initial meetings with Council officials have encouraged us with their
positive intentions for borough cycling. The council’s road safety team (RST) has identified a gap in organised cycle events for the 1400+ adults and children who have completed their cycle training. At our regular meeting on June 11, the RST will be giving a presentation; we are inviting other borough cycling clubs to send reps in the hope that working together we can fill the aforementioned gap, promoted through the 110 borough schools with which the RST is connected. For Bike Week we are hoping to create what becomes a classic ride at an introductory level through borough parks, also a part of Love Parks Week 08. Meetings: 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of month at Bromley College, London Road, Bromley BR1 1PE Contact: Charles Potter (07951 780869, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.bromleycyclists.org CAMDEN
Following the demo at St Pancras International, Eurostar now allows you to book your bike on Eurostar with you to Paris and Brussels (see page 7). The safety audit for roads round the stations has been published. We hope that the recommendations will be implemented without undue delay. CCC has participated in several meetings about the Bloomsbury Vision. It appears that the grandiose plans for ‘naked streets’ are being replaced by more realistic proposals. We are, however, concerned by the lack of political will to curb motor traffic and turn Bloomsbury into a better environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Also we are working to ensure that the cycling facilities installed in Bloomsbury over years of campaigning and negotiating with Camden council are not swept away for cosmetic reasons. The cycle ride season has started with a well-attended ride to the Thames towpath. We look forward to more, and welcome suggestions and help for new rides. We recently had ‘political’ guest speakers at our monthly meetings: Sian Berry in March, Nicky Gavron in April and, in May, Jenny Jones at our AGM. Meetings: June 9 and July 14 at Primrose Hill Community Association, 29 Hopkinsons Place, (off Fitzroy Rd) NW1 8TN Contact: Stefano Casalotti (020 7435 0196, email@example.com) or Jean Dollimore (020 7485 5896, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.camdencyclists.org.uk CITY
Six years ago I took on the role of co-ordinator of the newly restarted City group of the LCC. After changing jobs last month and no longer working in the City, I have decided to move on and stand down. I’ll still be cycling across the City daily, so plan to retain some involvement in responding to highway schemes. Check the City Cyclists website to see details about the next meeting and how to become involved in taking the group forward. In the last 12 months, almost 200 extra cycle stands have been installed, cycle theft has gone down 18%, the Corporation has started implementing useful LCN improvements with many more – including
signing the routes – just around the corner (heard that before?), regularly promoted cycling (including Dr Bike and training) and has cycling embedded in its policies. Most importantly there are two excellent cycling officers taking things forward. However some members of the City Corporation are now demanding that it focus on “dangerous cycling” while there are strong doubts that the LCN+ in the City will be complete by the Olympics let alone the target of 2008. Since the improvements at Blackfriars Bridge, Transport for London has been resting on its laurels or, more accurately, reorganised itself two more times. However major schemes (hopefully improvements) are due to start in the next year on streets under its control including Aldgate, Tower Gateway, Blackfriars Station, A10 and Queen Street Place. How the credit crunch will affect cycling in the City remains to be seen: some companies are severely restricting spending on taxis and as much as a tenth of the City’s workforce may lose their jobs. Of course many of those cycling in the City are simply passing through. Meetings: Please check the website Contact: Ralph Smyth (email@example.com) Website: www.citycyclists.org.uk EALING
There has been a flurry of communication with the Ealing council following an article in The Ealing Gazette in which ECC voiced its concerns about the ability of the council to complete the required works on LCN+ routes in the borough by 2010. We are in the process of arranging a meeting with the leader of the council to discuss our misgivings about this and other issues such as road surfacing, cycle lanes and cycle parking. The council has procured cycle training services from Cycle Training UK for another year: two hours of training at a level appropriate to the rider’s ability are available to Ealing residents for just £5. Cycle into Summer 2008 kicks off in May with the first visit of the season to a school fete to promote the benefits of cycling to children and their parents, and to carry out bike health checks (you’ll be amazed by what we see). A major preoccupation at this time of year is Bike Week (see page 14). Meetings: The first Wednesday of the month (venue details on the website) Social ride: The first Sunday of the month, meet 10am Ealing Town Hall (details on the website) Contact: David Lomas (020 8579 0805, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.ealingcycling.org.uk ENFIELD
Due to a lack of internal resource, Enfield Council has subcontracted out the design of the National Cycle Network Route 12 extension (Hadley Wood to Enfield Island Village). We hope this will not have an adverse effect on the process. Enfield Cycling Campaign has been invited to take part in the CRISP study for this route, which is expected to take place in June, so we will at least be able to inject some local knowledge into the scheme. This link is important, not only as part of the Sustrans network, but also because it forms
34 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Local groups See the ‘local groups’ section at www.lcc.org.uk for more contact information and news from your area
LOCAL GROUP PROFILE
The start of one of Southwark Cyclists’ Bike Week Architecture Rides
SOUTHWARK CYCLISTS About Southwark Cyclists Founded 12 years ago, Southwark Cyclists is run democratically, with the management committee elected each year. Southwark Cyclists represents 780 LCC members; there are 340 subscribers to the email group. Southwark Cyclists is among LCC’s most active, running an incredibly crowded rides calendar, including those for Architecture Week (see page 13) and a Thursday Afterworker. The day LC asked coordinator Barry Mason for a rundown of the group’s activities that week, he sent through a list long enough to fill this whole page. It included: putting up posters on a 60-storey site at Elephant and Castle (see page 5); running training for Southwark Refugee Community Forum; commenting on 17 Southwark planning applications; asking Transport for London for access to Rotherhithe
part of the backbone of the proposed Enfield Leisure Cycle Route Network. We are looking for volunteers to help out on our information stall at the Enfield Festival of Cycling on Sunday, June 22. Please let us know if you can help out. Meetings: 8pm, June 5 at the King William IV pub (upstairs), 192 Hertford Rd, Edmonton, N9 7HH; 8pm, July 3 at the Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, Firs Lane, Winchmore, Hill, N21 3ER. Contact: Richard Reeve (020 8363 2196, email@example.com) To join our email list, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lccenfield.fsnet.co.uk Rides are listed on the Edmonton CC website at www.edmontoncyclingclub.fsnet.co.uk HACKNEY
Hackney Council has voted to adopt a plan of action to make 20mph the standard speed limit on all borough roads, and to pressure Transport for London to consider introducing 20mph limits on those of our streets which are under its control. Many councillors spoke with great personal conviction on the subject during the debate, and we are very grateful that the majority took a courageous decision which promises to make our streets safer and more pleasant. Meanwhile, another life has been lost to Hackney’s construction boom. Anthony Smith was killed on April 21 by an unladen tipper truck turning from Middleton Road (LCN+ route 8) onto the A10 Kingsland Road (our busiest cycle route, used by some 2000 cyclists per day). Anthony was the fourth cyclist to be killed on our streets in the past two years by large vehicles, and in at least three of these cases the killer vehicle was a construction vehicle. In a strange twist of fate, police cycle squads were at work enforcing traffic laws at the junction when the collision occurred. The chief responsibility lies
Road Tunnel for events there; arranging transport back from the July 19-20 Dunwich Dynamo (see page 39); challenging the legality of Southwark Council’s “we’ll remove this bike” notices; and missing a diary entry to send Southwark news to LC editor – but remembering just in time. Key campaign victories Bankside ban: “In 2007, Southwark Council slipped a Bankside cycling ban into a set of 14 byelaws,” says Barry. “We were lucky to spot this stealth byelaw and objected to the Government department that needs to ratify such byelaws. LCC and Sustrans objected too. The Department of Communities and Local Government upheld the objections. The council had not consulted stakeholders. It now says it’ll agree our shared use approach.” Two Good Locks campaign with Safer Southwark: “This got local bike theft down and 30% off gold standard locks at two local bike shops,” says Barry. How to get involved: See www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk, email Barry on email@example.com or call 07905 889 005. “Attendance at our second Wednesday of every month meetings averages 12,” says Barry. “We need more help. The more we are, the more we do. Subscribe to our Southwark Needle newsletter, or join us on a Thursday Afterworker, or come to the Dunwich Dynamo or to Midsummer Madness to see the sun rise on the longest day of the year. We also meet Greenwich Cyclists and Lewisham Cyclists once a month in the lovely Dog & Bell at Deptford.”
with vehicle operators to reduce danger, but we continue to urge all cyclists to exercise extreme caution around large vehicles, especially approaching junctions. Never put yourself to the left of a truck. More than 50 individual secure lockers will be installed on Frampton Park Estate in time for launch during Bike Week in June. This will be the biggest single retrofit of secure residential cycle parking in the borough yet. Congratulations to all concerned, and especially to Alix Stredwick of Hackney Streetscene, who has worked tirelessly to make this happen. We’ve turned out a couple of persuasive OpenOffice.org Impress presentations this year, first for a meeting of London’s borough cycling officers where we talked about Hackney’s cycle permeability work, and then for Hackney Council’s scrutiny commission, which was investigating cycling in green spaces. Officers and councillors seemed convinced by our approaches of maximising route choice on street, and facilitating shared use in green links and spaces. Our AGM will be on July 2. Venue to be confirmed (check website), but food and drink a certainty. An election will be held for the posts of chair (co-ordinator), secretary and treasurer. If you could like to put yourself forward, or would like to volunteer in another capacity (eg newsletter editor, rides co-ordinator, or stall organiser) please get in touch. Meetings: The first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm at Marcon Court Estate, Community Hall, near cnr of Amhurst Road and Marcon Place, E8. Mailing list: Send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: Trevor Parsons (020 7729 2273, info@ hackney-cyclists.org.uk) Website: www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM
We are into summer and we hope to be having
regular rides. Check our website to see what we are doing. Also we are putting on the GREENFEST West London (www.greenfest.org. uk) on Sunday, June 15. Bring a picnic and make this the best free party of the year. If you want to be involved on the day, please get in touch. On a campaigning front, things have been very quiet from Westfield. This massive shopping and leisure centre says it will open in Shepherd’s Bush by the end of October. Westfield thinks cyclists do not belong on the carriageway, and so puts them on tracks that dump them into a pile of pedestrians. Perhaps they will learn that cyclists do actually use the carriageway, and the mass of cyclists will throw their precious traffic modelling out of the window. Meetings: The first Tuesday of the month. Contact: John Griffiths (020 7371 1290, 07789 095 748, email@example.com) Website: www.hfcyclists.org.uk ISLINGTON
Both the Evening Standard and BBC Radio London featured our Road Danger Watch Day on April 1 when we asked cyclists to let us know where they saw irresponsible or dangerous driving around the borough. We had plenty of responses which will be compiled into a report and used as part of our campaign to highlight local areas where poor driving occurs. The council is busy with cycle training for children in their last year of primary school, as well as adults – so much so that it needs more cycle instructors and is willing to pay for initial training and then sessions taught. If you would like to get involved with this, please contact Will Pountney on 020 7527 4082 email or william.pountney@ islington.gov.uk. Do join our egroup to find out more about what’s happening locally – just send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 35
Local groups News set up. And meet us at our various Bike Week events (see page 14), including our breakfast on June 17 – complete with the best cake in town. Meetings: 7.30pm on second Wednesday of the month (June 11, July 9 and August 13) at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1. Contact: Alison Dines (020 7226 7012, email@example.com) Website: www.lcc.org.uk > local groups > Islington KENSINGTON & CHELSEA
Our first ride ride was very successful with 14 people turning up, including some all the way from Greenwich. Come along to our next meetings also; they’re informal and friendly, and only an hour long. Half-price sandwiches after 5pm at the café, which is also worth coming for. Meetings: 7pm, June 2 and 30, and July 28 at Café Deco, 62 Gloucester Road, SW7 Contact: Philip Loy (07960 026 450, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.lcc.org.uk > local groups > Kensington & Chelsea To join our email group, send an email to email@example.com or join via the K&C web page on the LCC site. KINGSTON
A number of our group have again visited the German city of Oldenburg in the interests of developing international relations. This time we were accompanied by some Kingston councillors who certainly should be impressed and, hopefully, inspired. The inspector’s binding report on the Kingston Town Centre plan has been published but doesn’t say anything about maintaining Eden Street as a thoroughfare for bikes. We’re on the case. It also mentions that there are 600 on-street secure cycle parking spaces in the town centre, which sounds a lot, but on a weekend it can be difficult to find a place to lock your bike, let alone a secure one. The good news is that the inspector says the town doesn’t need another 700 car parking spaces as it would contradict efforts to develop in sustainable transport – obvious, really. We have another of our popular one-day maintenance courses on July 12, and a busy rides programme with plans afoot to again ride up to London Freewheel in September. Meetings: 8:30pm on June 10 and July 8 at the Wagon & Horses pub, Surbiton Hill Road. Contact: Rob James (020 8546 8865) Website: www.kingstoncycling.org.uk
Photo: Gill James
This month is Bike Week and Lambeth Cyclists will have several events for everyone to partake in, including rides, breakfasts, barbecues, as well as our popular monthly Architecture Rides (see page 14 and also check our website for updates). On the campaigning side, two issues that we’ve been busy with are the Herne Hill junction and the Brixton one-way system (see page 23). We’ve just had our AGM at which LCC director Koy Thomson spoke of the future of the LCC as well as the role of Transport for London and the Mayoral elections. Lambeth Cyclists is
Above: Redbridge Cycling Campaign’s new Newham Ride meets at Stratford station and, right, Bernard McDonnell leads the ride
an active, open and friendly group, and people who share our aims are always welcome. For details of all our rides and events, please visit our website or join us in person at one of our meetings. Meetings: June 17 and July 15 at the Bread & Roses, 68 Clapham Manor Street, SW4 Meetings: Philip Loy (020 8677 8624, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.lambethcyclists.org.uk MERTON
Unbelievably, new barriers have appeared on the Wandle Trail north of Plough Lane. Again, no consultation, despite all the ballyhoo and subsequent climb down by the council last year on the trail a bit further south in Ravensbury Park. Will they ever learn? We’re told that Sustrans is monitoring the situation and will report back in a couple of months. Tell us what YOU think! The Martin Way “abomination” as coined on our egroup has provoked the highest ever level of outrage from local cyclists I have seen. Unlike the Wandle Trail barriers, MCC was consulted on this scheme, but our advice was completely ignored, and we ended up with a series of pinch-points and cycle bypasses where motor traffic is deflected directly into the path of the cyclist. It really is a horror. As I write this, Transport for London is planning to despatch one of its experts to help sort out the fiasco. MCC has stated that it never again expects to see any scheme implemented which does not conform to the London Cycle Design Standards, a copy of which should be on every highway engineer’s shelf. On the plus side, the Coombe Lane cycle track in Raynes Park looks set to be extended eastwards towards Wyke Road and the rail-side footpath to Wimbledon which is earmarked for upgrading to shared use. As expected, the local nimbys are out in force against the plans, so please show your support for the scheme when you get the opportunity. We look forward to seeing you at some of our Bike Week events – see page 14 and the MCC website. Meetings: 8pm on the first Thursday of the month, email or phone for details. Contact: Richard Evans (020 8946 0912, email@example.com) Website: www.mertoncyclists.org.uk REDBRIDGE
Our May 20 group meeting speaker is the wellknown London cyclist Patrick Field. There will be
no meeting in June as we’ll be too busy with Bike Week events – for details see page 14 and our Hubbub newsletter. Our July 15 meeting speaker is Redbridge cycling officer Jack Redman. All meetings are at Wanstead House at 8pm. Drinks in the bar afterwards. Our next four-week maintenance workshop with Jim Dalton starts on July 2. The new Redbridge Cycling Centre (Hog Hill) – a 1km track and clubhouse – is now open for bookings (try the Lea Valley ‘Tuesday Tens’). The main opening day is on August 24. Meetings: 8pm, the third Tuesday in the month at Wanstead House, 21 The Green E11; near Wanstead Station. Contacts: Gill James (020 8989 4898, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Chris Elliott (020 8989 6285, email@example.com) Website: www.redbridgelcc.org.uk SOUTHWARK
The June/July London Festival of Architecture (see page 13) is a huge event celebrating of the best and quirkiest of our built environment. The good, bad and the best. We’ve helped organise 14 wonderful rides that explore themed bits of the city. We delivered for the 2006 London Architecture Biennale and were dead chuffed to be invited back, the partnership thrives. And those overlap with our training programme with the Southwark Refugee Community Forum and our nine Southwark Healthy Rides which end on the first Saturday in Bike Week. Great timing. And that June 21 is Midsummer Madness – our annual pilgrimage to see the summer solstice sunrise from the top of Primrose Hill. It’s been adopted as a sort of honourary opening event for the LFA and that, plus the fact it’s swung round to the weekend, means loads. Will On Your Bike’s 350-space bike garage under the Tooley Street Arches open for Bike Week? Yes. Watch that space for the party – we’ve helped a lot with this project and our June 11 monthly meeting will be our first in their new meeting room. With our very own noticeboard there too. And then relax into the July 19/20 Dunwich Dynamo. Early bird cheap tickets back are now gone. Still, full price ones are available though our website. The campaign to update workplace bike parking goes on. We’ve seen results but not yet the wholesale revision needed. Come to the new meeting place – just listen or join in and help. Meetings: 7pm the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm at On Your Bike, 52-54 Tooley Street, SE1 2SZ. Ends 8.30pm. Pub after.
36 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
Local groups AUGUST/SEPTEMBER DEADLINE: 6pm, Thursday, July 3 Email news to firstname.lastname@example.org – photos are welcome and will be published if space permits
Contact: Barry Mason (07905 889 005, email@example.com) Website: www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk
OTHER LOCAL GROUP CONTACTS BARKING & DAGENHAM Contact: Colin Newman (07761 577 255, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.stibasa.org.uk
The Wandsworth Cyclists’ pot continues to bubble enthusiastically. We had a great opening discussion at our AGM with Stuart Paton of Putney police, who had plenty to say about the ongoing problem of cycle theft, and how to avoid it – and there was a free and frank (and constructive) exchange of views about pavement cycling, etc. We continue to discuss the best way to spend the money we still hold for cycling projects – and we’ll soon be choosing the best from several exciting ideas. We’d love to receive further suggestions, though – especially from new members, so do get in touch if you’d like to be involved. We had fun working out a set of ‘quick win’ ideas to pass on to Wandsworth councillors we’re in touch with over cycling issues. We know that quite small things – like making one-way streets into two-way streets for cyclists (see page 23) – can make a lot of difference, and hope councillors will find some of these easy and cheap to accept and implement. Our social rides continue as popular as ever: the ride around the allotments of the borough was particularly inspired, and a great way to see the springtime shoots and flowers. Bike Week is fast approaching, and we have all our usual stalls with Wandsworth council, this year in Tooting, Balham and Putney. We also have several rides – including the now-famous annual Night Ride in Richmond Park – and we are celebrating 150 years of Battersea Park with a Victorian Cycling Members’ adverts ◆ FOR SALE: Brompton folding bicycle, L5 model with 12% gear reduction. 9 years old but well maintained and in good condition. Recently fully serviced. £350. Call 020 8690 8778. ◆ FOR SALE: Kone Cinder Cone mountain bike. Suit 5’8” +. Schwalbe Marathon tyres, pannier rack, 21 gears, mudguards. Great for commuting,and touring. £150 ono 020 8374 3453 ◆ FOR SALE: WF Holdsworth touring bike 21.5” frame. Lovely old smooth bike (but too big for me) Armadillo tyres, mudguards. £120ono. 020 8374 3453.
BEXLEY Contact: Frances Renton (01322 441 979, email@example.com) or Dave Reynolds (01322 525 481) CROYDON Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.croydon-lcc.org.uk
Wandsworth Cycling Campaign held a stall outside Bikehut in Putney in April
Parade to kick off Bike Week on June 14. See the WCC and LCC websites, and page 14 of this magazine, for full details of our programme. Meetings: The second Tuesday of each month Contact: Simon Merrett (020 8789 6639, email@example.com) Website: www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk WESTMINSTER
With the increase in cycling in recent years, the segregated path alongside Rotten Row in Hyde Park is now used beyond its ideal capacity at peak times. Royal Parks is therefore providing an alternative cycle route along the South Carriage Drive. It has also started work on modifying the junction with West Carriage Drive to allow cyclists to continue their journeys past the Albert Memorial. Both we and LCC centrally have submitted comments on Transport for London’s proposals for a two-way busway along Piccadilly, which cyclists will not be allowed to use. Cycling is currently difficult along this axis and the scheme does little to make it easier. First Great Western recently held a bicycle evening at Paddington with assistance from LCC, Westminster’s road safety unit and cycle businesses. As well as telling the train operator about their journeys, cyclists were able to have their bikes checked by Dr Bike, pick up cycling information and have a drink. Annual General Meeting: Tuesday, June 3 at 7pm near the bandstand, Serpentine Road, Hyde Park Contact: Colin Wing (020 7828 1500, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.westminstercyclists.org.uk ◆ FOR SALE: Two Specialized Rockhopper Comp mountain bikes – 2001 models with front suspension (19” and 17” frames). Complete with some spares/ accessories for £125 each. 020 8998 0541 ◆ FOR SALE: Old but quality bikes, space needed. Holdsworth 1970s touring 10- speed, 24.5” 531 frame, 27” wheels, £80. Falcon 5-speed, 21” 531 frame, straightish bars, 700c wheels £40. Colnago 22” frame 700c wheels, adapted as commuting bike, £80. 07958 289607 (near Arnos Grove tube) ◆ FOR SALE: FW Evans touring bike, good condition. 24” frame, 18 speed,
GREENWICH Contact: Julian Dobson (07771 692 344) Website: www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk HARINGEY Contact: Adam Coffman (email@example.com) Website: www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups HARROW Website: www.lcc.org.uk > Local groups HAVERING Contact: Bernie Curtis (01708 347 226, CurtisBernieS@aol.com) HILLINGDON Contact: Sarah James (020 8868 2912) or Steve Ayres (01895 230 953) HOUNSLOW Contact: Liz Trayhorn (020 8751 5430, liz. firstname.lastname@example.org) LEWISHAM Contact: Ian or Paul (email@example.com) Website: www.lewishamcyclists.net NEWHAM Contact: Bernie McDonnell (07947 236 965) Website: www.lcc.org.uk > local groups RICHMOND Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07976 294 626 Website: www.rcc.myzen.co.uk TOWER HAMLETS Contact: Owen Pearson (07903 018 970, email@example.com) Website: www.towerhamletwheelers.org.uk WALTHAM FOREST Contact: Robert Vaughan, (020 8520 8858, firstname.lastname@example.org) Website: www.wfcycling.org.uk
700c wheels. £150. Call Wacek on 020 8874 7593 (evenings). ◆ SWAP: Marin Pine mountain bike for Marin San Rafael City hardtail. 020 8527 7915 or 07983 029 543. Bob (E17 area) How to advertise Small, non-business ads are free to LCC members. Email email@example.com or write to the address on page 3, including your short and concise advertisement, full name, address and LCC membership number. The Aug/Sep LC issue deadline is 6pm, Friday, July 4. For larger advertisements, contact Matt Styrka on 020 7306 0300 ext 112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Susie Morrow
Current consultations are Rosehill Rec (West) 3m path from Tennis Courts to A217 at £46K, and Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Ground path from Green Lane, Worcester Park at £44k. Feasibility studies are Glenthorne Rec. Shared path from A217 to Forest Road at £1.5k and Bushey Road path to Crown Road and Sutton Town Centre at £1k. Bedddington Park shared path from London Road entrance to the Grange needs a final tarmac. Monthly meetings: The second Tuesday of each month at 8.30pm at the Robin Hood pub, Robin Hood Lane junction with West Street Contact Chris Parry (0208647 3584, email@example.com)
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Diary Rides & Events Your guide to events and rides athat are open to all cyclists What you need to know about social rides Unless stated, train-assisted rides meet at the relevant ticket office. Lunch is at a pub or take sandwiches if you prefer. Don’t forget: water, lights, a spare inner tube and tools.
Armchair riding To keep up with late changes and extra information, subscribe to the London Riders email list. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisers To publicise your event, enter details onto the LCC database (www.lcc.org.uk/rides). To get events into the August/September issue, upload by noon, Wednesday, July 2, or email email@example.com
Free Dr Bike sessions throughout summer
Discovering the Peak District Cycling is among a host of themed offerings being promoted by the Peak District and Derbyshire tourist lobby. Short breaks on two wheels sit alongside ghost tours, walking weekends and cookery courses as the region seeks to attract more weekend visitors. Maps charting 21- and 30-mile routes of the White Peak villages – which include Hartington, Elton and Parwich – and a 17.5-mile ride passing through the Manifold Valley are available. Bike hire is available at the Peak District National Park Authority Centre at Parsley Hay. For more details or to download or request maps, see www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/cycle or call 01629 816 200.
Free bike health checks are on offer in Lambeth throughout summer as part of a borough council initiative designed to encourage people to take to two wheels. Cyclists can turn up to the Dr Bikes sessions any week until the end of October. The sessions take place between 5pm and 7pm each week on a rotating basis at outside the James Maxwell building at Kings College in Waterloo (June 3, July 1); next to the playground adjacent to Streatham High Street, Streatham Common (June 17, July 15); by the junction of Cedars Road and Clapham Common Northside (June 10, July 8) and opposite Rosendale Road, Brockwell Park (June 22, July 24). The full programme through until October has been posted on the Lambeth Cyclists local groups page at www.lcc. org.uk
LCC’s monthly social nights
On the road in Yorkshire
LCC’s monthly socials happen from 6.30pm on the third Wednesday of each month, upstairs at the Leather Exchange, 25 Leathermarket Street, SE1. The evenings are open to all LCC members and those who want to find out more about the organisation. People who may not previously have considered getting involved can meet staff and active members to chat about LCC and cycling in general. For more information, call the LCC office (contact details page 31).
Explore one of the most beautiful regions of England using the National Cycle Network maps Yorkshire Wolds, York & Hull and Yorkshire Moors & Coast. Both are available from Sustrans (www.sustrans.org.uk, 0845 113 0065).
Blazing a trail from coast to castles Coast And Castles, the official guide to the National Cycle Network Route 1 from Newcastle to Aberdeen, by Andy McCandish, has been released. The cross-border route stretches almost 600km up the North Sea coast, and takes in Northumbria’s cliff-top castles, Edinburgh’s Old Town and the fishing villages and
sweeping beaches of Aberdeenshire. The pocket-sized Coast And Castles includes rail-link information, details of motorised traffic-free paths and sections perfect for families. It’s published by Pocket Mountains (pocketmountains.com, 01506 500 404) in association with Sustrans (details above, left).
RIDES AND EVENTS Sunday, June 1 ◆ Camden Green Fair and Bikefest. Includes guided rides. www.camdengreenfair.org.uk ◆ Ride to Camden Green Fair. 10.30am Kingsbury station. Contact: David Arditti (020 8204 3999, firstname.lastname@example.org) ◆ Haringey Cyclists’ Family Ride. First Sunday of every month. Contact: Adam Coffman (email@example.com) ◆ Richmond Ride. Meet 10.15am. Contact: Sue Higham (07940 338 820 rccrides@ googlemail.com) ◆ Weekly ride with Pollards Hill Cyclists. 9.30am Pollards Hill Library. www.pollardshill cyclists.org.uk, mark@pollard shillcyclists.org.uk ◆ Bike Polo. Sundays 1pm in the football court, cnr Brick Lane and Shacklewell Road. Details: http:// myspace.com/bricklanebikepolo Monday, June 2 ◆ Resonance 104.4FM Bike Show. Every Monday, 6.30pm Tuesday, June 3 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. 7pm from Cheam Station for Downs Views ride. Contact: Chris Parry (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 8647 3584) Thursday, June 5 ◆ Southwark Cyclists’ Afterworker. 6.30pm Southwark Needle. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005) Saturday, June 7 ◆ Southwark Healthy Ride. Meet 10am at Dulwich Park cafe. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005) ◆ Dulwich Paragon Ride. Every Saturday. Meet at Café St Germain on Crystal Palace Parade 9am for a two-hour ride. Contact: www.dulwichparagon.com Sunday, June 8 ◆ Open Garden Squares Weekend Ride. 9.30am Sloane Square. Contact: Colin Wing (020 7828 1500, email@example.com) Wednesday, June 11 ◆ LCC retention evening. Help with member mailouts. Details: 020 7234 9310 ext 215, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, June 12 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. Meet 7pm Mellows Park, Wallington. Contact: Chris Parry (cyclism@ blueyonder.co.uk, 020 8647 3584) ◆ Southwark Cyclists’ Afterworker. 100th Birthday Rotherhithe Road Tunnel. Meet 6.30pm Southwark Needle. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005)
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Saturday, June 14 ◆ Southwark Healthy Ride. Meet 10am Southwark Park cafe. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005) ◆ Victorian Cycling Parade. 2pm, Battersea Park. Contact: Bryony Evens (07989 974 406, email@example.com) June 14-22 ◆ Bike Week. See page 14 Sunday, June 15 ◆ London to Brighton Bike Ride. www.bhf.org.uk ◆ GREENFEST West London. www.greenfest.org.uk ◆ Little Green Ride. 9.45am Finsbury Park station. Contact: Stephen Taylor (07977 235 735) ◆ Scenic Brent Ride. 11am Kingsbury Station. Contact: David Arditti (020 8204 3999, d@ davidarditti.co.uk) Monday, June 16 ◆ Richmond Ride. 10.30am Bushy Park. Contact: Jonathan (07976 294 626) Tuesday, June 17 ◆ Easy Evening Ride. 7pm Enfield Civic Centre. Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, firstname.lastname@example.org) Wednesday, June 18 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. Meet 7pm Carshalton Beeches station. Contact: Chris Parry (cyclism@ blueyonder.co.uk, 020 8647 3584) ◆ Ride to the Roebuck on Richmond Hill. 7pm Furnival Gardens, W6. Contact: John Griffiths (020 7371 1290, john@ truefeelings.com) ◆ Ride to the Roebuck on Richmond Hill. 7pm Clapham Junction station. Contact: Mike 07711 845 081, info@wandsworth cyclists.org.uk) Thursday, June 19 ◆ The Great Ice Cream Ride. 7pm from Enfield Civic Centre. Contact: Richard Reeve (0870 321 3717, email@example.com) Friday, June 20 ◆ Richmond Park Night Ride. 10pm Putney station. Contact: Martin Ireland (07946 354 852, firstname.lastname@example.org) June 20-July 20 ◆ London Biennial Festival of Architecture. See page 13 Saturday, June 21 ◆ Midsummer Madness. Solstice ride to Primrose Hill. 2am Cutty Sark Gardens; other pick-ups. Contact: Barry (07905 889 005) ◆ Richmond Ride. 10:30am Bushy Park for ride to Walton. Contact: Jonathan (07976 294 626, email@example.com) ◆ Bike the Bounds. 12.30pm Hackney Town Hall. Contact: Trevor
Following Hadrian’s Wall
A new guide covering where to stay and what to see while following Hadrian’s Wall has been released. The information covers the entire World Heritage-listed Hadrian’s Wall area, and includes sites of historic significance, plus hotel and B&B accommodation options. A signposted 174-mile cycleway snakes its way through the entire length of the Roman frontier, knitting together shorter cycle routes, quiet country roads and off-road tracks. For more information and a copy of the guide or map, see hadrianswall.org or call 01434 322 002. See also cycle-routes.org/ hadrianscycleway
Circular routes in Lancashire Following the success of the 130-mile long North Lancashire Cycleway which opened in 1982, Lancashire County Council has extended the facility to provide a circular route of similar length around the southern half of the county. The routes meet in the historic town of Whalley in the Ribble Valley. For more information, visit www. lancashire.gov.uk and type ‘cycling’ into the search box, or call 0800 328 1635. There is also a guide book, The Lancashire Cycleway, written by Jon Sparks and published by Cicerone (01539 562 069, www.cicerone.co.uk)
Pictured is the trough of Bowland. Cycle Bowland offers self-guided cycle tours of the Bowland region, with tours including ‘The Pub Pedlar’, with two nights’ accommodation in local inns, and the ‘Gourmet Grand Tour’, which stops at well-known hotels along the route. For details, see www.cyclebowland.com
Ride the famous Dunwich Dynamo The ever-popular Dunwich Dynamo returns on July 19. The free 120mile turn-up-and-go overnight ride to the Suffolk sea is friendly and challenging, and last year attracted 450 riders. It’s an organic ride, with no support vehicles and little official organisation. Cyclists meet at the Pub on the Park, Martello Street, London Fields, Hackney at 8pm for a 9pm start. There is a feeder ride from Greenwich, meeting at 6pm at Cutty Sark Gardens. Route maps are available at www. londonschoolofcycling.co.uk. There is an excellent Q&A guide at www.southwarkcyclists.org.uk
Take to the South Downs for charity Book your spot for the ultimate off-road cycling challenge, the South West Randonnee on September 6. The event, which raises money for the British Heart Foundation, has 60- and 80-mile routes across the challenging terrain of Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. The circular rides encompass singletrack routes, exhausting uphill climbs and darting downhill sections that offer spectacular views of Bridgewater Bay. For full details, call 0800 652 5818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Parsons (020 7729 2273, trevor@ hackney-cyclists.org.uk) ◆ The New Newham Ride. Meet 11am, Olympic clock, Stratford station. Contact: Bernard McDonnell (email@example.com, 07947 236 965) Sunday, June 22 ◆ Enfield Festival of Cycling. www.enfield.gov.uk/cycling ◆ Camden Peripherique. 10.30am Camden Town Hall. Contact: Jean Dollimore (020 7485 5896, firstname.lastname@example.org) ◆ Solstice Ride. 7am Wanstead tube. Contact: Nick Ketley (020 8518 8190, email@example.com) ◆ Three Hills into Kent. 10.30am Clapham Junction station. Contact: Martin Ireland (07946 354852, firstname.lastname@example.org) Tuesday, June 24 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. Meet 7pm Stanley Park Junior School. Contact: Chris Parry (cyclism@ blueyonder.co.uk, 020 8647 3584) Friday, June 27 ◆ Critical Mass. 6pm National Film Theatre on South Bank. See www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk Monday, June 30 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. 7pm Ridge Road Library. Contact: Chris Parry (email@example.com, 020 8647 3584) From July 8 ◆ Instructor training. 4-day course. www.cyclinginstructor.com Thursday, July 10 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. Meet 7pm Mellows Park, Wallington. Contact: Chris Parry (cyclism@ blueyonder.co.uk, 020 8647 3584) Wednesday, July 16 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. Meet 7pm Fairlands Park North Cheam. Contact: Chris Parry (cyclism@ blueyonder.co.uk, 020 8647 3584) Saturday, July 19 ◆ Richmond Ride. 10.45am Strawberry Hill station. Contact: Sue Higham (07940 338 820, firstname.lastname@example.org) July 19-20 ◆ Dunwich Dynamo. See left Monday, July 21 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. Meet 7pm Oaks Park, Woodmanstearne. Contact: Chris Parry (cyclism@ blueyonder.co.uk, 020 8647 3584) Tuesday, July 22 ◆ LCC local group forum. Contact: Charlie Lloyd (020 7234 9310, email@example.com) Friday, July 25 ◆ Critical Mass. See June 25 Monday, July 28 ◆ Cyclism Evening Ride. 7pm Kings Lane Recreation Ground. Contact Chris Parry (020 8647 3584, firstname.lastname@example.org)
For last-minute rides, contact your local group (details page 34) or see www.lcc.org.uk/rides
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 39
40 June/July 2008 LONDON CYCLIST
market place 40 41.indd 40
To advertise on this page, please phone 020 7306 0300 ext.112 or email email@example.com
NO FEE - WIN OR LOSE Your case will be run by an experienced solicitor, Law Society Personal Injury Panel member, cycle injury compensation specialist and committed cyclist For your free consultation call Simon Robeson 020 7583 2105 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org SEBASTIANS 92 Fleet Street London EC4Y 1PB
To advertise on this page, please phone 020 7306 0300 ext.112 or email email@example.com
market place 40 41.indd 41
LONDON CYCLIST June/July 2008 41
Books ’n’ things Fine lines extract from Pedal For Your Life by Christopher Portway Our little road was quite the nicest on which we had ridden in Romania. And not only because it was flat. Most of the traffic was horse-drawn, open carts or covered wagons, while the few cars that passed were mainly those of Polish tourists. Occasionally the serenity was besmirched by an international truck taking a short cut between the main thoroughfares. These would sweep by, driving the carts and us onto the verges. Here and there a wagon had halted; the drivers sprawled on the ground like corpses while the horses grazed contentedly. With the heat of the scorching sun increasing with each kilometre eastwards, we more than ever were inclined to join the reclining figures. On this backwater of a road it was like reversing into another century. Rural life here on the stifling plain was slow, ponderous and traditional. We meandered by fields of villagers scything and raking and tossing hay high on to rough wooden wagons, using pitchforks like those we had seen in Poland, their horses dozily swishing their tails in the shade of a tree. At work the menfolk wore peasant clothes and conical black felt hats perched on their heads; women were enveloped in voluminous skirts and printed pinafores. Their villages sprawled across the dusty road. Children played among the pecking chickens and gaggles of white, waddling geese who stoically ignored them, while women gossiped in tight animated groups, pausing only to stare at us as we glided by. The houses, like those of Transylvania, were old, wooden and decorative, a few with elaborately carved gables and delicately painted with friezes of flowers and intricate patterns. Each cottage had a well, a small vegetable plot and a fenced compound for livestock; just enough to ensure self-sufficiency where produce could be shared or exchanged with neighbours; quite literally the only means of survival. A fortunate few kept a cow and often we would pass a woman or a child walking their beast on a lead like the family dog. In one place gypsy women strutted among the sombre villagers in loud fiery-coloured groups, lithe girls and hagged mothers perpetually pregnant. Again fresh water was abundant though here on the plains the pumps were of a different design. Seldom did we pass one by without shaking our heat-generated thirsts. Extracted from Pedal For Your Life: By Bicycle From The Baltic To The Black Sea by Christopher Portway (£17.50, The Lutterworth Press)
Reviews Dawdling By The Danube, Edward Enfield (£7.99, Summersdale) Older riders, or anyone seeking easy cycling in interesting parts of Europe, may find this delightful book well worth reading. Edward Enfield’s three adventures start with the ‘Romantische Strasse’, an attractive route from northern Würzburg to southern Neuschwanstein in Germany. Next, he visits hospitable and rural Poland. The third tour follows the Danube from Passau in Germany to Vienna in Austria. It is refreshing that Enfield makes no secret of his advanced years: it makes little difference to his desire to travel, or to the use of a bicycle to enjoy that experience. He advocates touring as a way of gaining a real sense of what a place is really like. His travel writing and broadcasting knowledge, plus his fascinating insights, will be useful to anyone planning to cycle the routes he describes. And yes, he is comedian Harry Enfield’s dad. Mark Mitchell Cycling Back To Happiness, Bernie Friend (£8.99, Pen Press) This candid and often hilarious tale of personal discovery takes the form of a challenging North Sea cycle route spanning 6,000km and taking in The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and England. Told in a witty and often laddish, yet articulate style, the author leaves his home, his fiancée and the harrowing death of his mother behind in an attempt to rid himself of a life limiting neurosis/paranoia. I particularly identified with his description of the welcoming rural pastures of The Netherlands and its tolerant attitudes very much at odds with a seemingly hostile Germany. He concentrates on the personal encounters, geography and the warmth of strangers. This book is a riveting account of one person’s journey and a heart-warming reaffirmation that ordinary people are basically good and compassionate the world over. Michael Stenning The Bicycle: The Myth And The Passion, Francesco Baroni (£19.95, White Star Publishers) A 320-page coffee table tome for the cycling enthusiast, The Bicycle is billed as a celebration of the bike through the centuries. Baroni examines the development of the bike from a technical, historical, sporting and cultural perspective, his words often overpowered by the book’s collection of almost 450 photographs and illustrations – including some wonderful early shots of penny farthings and a full-page reproduction of the flying bicycle from ET. Available from bookshops or from Star Books (01404 823062). Lynette Eyb Road Bike Maintenance, Guy Andrews (£16.99, A&C Black) This ring-bound manual is characterised by breathtakingly sharp photography, step-by-step direction and the author’s ability to convey his knowledge of road cycling across its many genres and taking in everything from track bikes to tourers. Andrews writes with an engaging style, keeping each section accessible for novices, yet sufficiently detailed to hold the attention of seasoned riders. A candid chapter offering advice, insight and anecdotes from professional team mechanics adds to the rounded feel, making it as at home on the coffee table as it is the workbench. Ultimately, this is a great read for anyone interested in contemporary road bikes; it bridges the gap between informative entertainment and serious reference tool. Michael Stenning
Gift idea Quotable Love, Milly Brown (£5.99, Summersdale) A token inclusion here for all the romantics out there in need of a schmaltzy gift for the cyclist in their life. Two bikes snuggling up together at the beach feature on the cover, and are reproduced inside alongside the quote: “We love because it’s the only true adventure.” Lynette Eyb
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Book ’n’ things
Cycle sport Sex, Lies And Handlebar Tape, Paul Howard (£17.99, Mainstream) A provocative title and a wonderfully risqué dust jacket, showing a photograph of Jacques Anquetil and his first liaison, belies the serious yet highly engaging subject of this book. Besides devotees of French cycle racing’s best era, arguably the 1960s, the story may interest others curious about what shapes an exceptional character. Legendary sports personalities are remembered for their achievements, but for some, their private lives are also distinctive. Anquetil falls into the latter and the author thoughtfully examines the fascinating personal relationships, including an unexpected ménage à trois. He also puts today’s clinical approach to the sport into perspective. Back then Anquetil simply stuck two fingers up to contemporary views on diet and training. For race-day breakfast he consumed langoustine and champagne – and still won. The book is well researched, unsentimental and includes many facts and figures about results. Its real value, however, is to look behind the apparent arrogance that Anquetil was criticised for, and reveal another side. Mark Mitchell The Cyclist’s Training Diary, Joe Friel (US$15.95, Velopress) Used properly, this is an excellent tool for competitive cyclists wanting to maximise the effectiveness of their training. Joe Friel, an experienced coach and endurance athlete, gives a detailed introduction, highlighting the importance of setting clear goals, empowering the rider to get the most from their training. It also allows the rider to monitor the effect adjustment of bike set up has upon performance. It is geared around cycling’s racing calendar, which might not suit or be relevant to those seeking to train for an epic endurance or charity ride, although entering the odd race might act as a useful performance yard-stick, especially for those seeking to use cycling as part of a wider fitness programme. Distributed in the UK by Cordee (www.cordee.co.uk) Michael Stenning
Children’s books Bear On A Bike, written by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Debbie Harter (£5.99, Barefoot Books) The two books reviewed here are excellent examples of the colour and fun that Barefoot Books has successfully put into children’s books, offering a new generation of readers. You can’t ask for more than Bear “as happy as can be” on his bike in this, the most popular of Barefoot Books’ imaginatively illustrated Bear series. Bear on his bike will be right at home on your child’s book shelf alongside such wonders as Bear In Sunshine and Bear At Home. This delightful series places Bear in everyday situations, bringing fun and good humour into the lives of his friends, and proving once more that the children’s book publishing sector is every bit as lively and as professional as its grown up counterpart. We All Go Travelling, written by Sheena Roberts and illustrated by Siobhan Bell (£6.99, Barefoot Books) Cycle campaigners seeking to encourage transport planners and engineers to recognise cycling as a mainstream form of transport could do worse than to send a copy of We All Go Travelling to each and every one of them. Here, a shiny pink bicycle features nicely alongside trains, planes, automobiles and “two purple shoes” as a means of getting from A to B. A wonderful patchwork of colour and fun, it comes with a fun and strangely addictive singalong CD. Lynette Eyb
Backpedalling Josie Dew So Brick Lane is going to spring to dubious fame for being the first street in the UK to have its lampposts padded in an effort to stop pedestrians crashing into them while texting on their mobile phones. It seems a study into the injuries suffered by people while walking along texting has revealed that one in 10 suffer anything from minor bumps to skull fractures. Good, I say. And let them conk their bonces. Do we really want soft cushy lampposts? Of course we don’t! We want lampposts that hurt! That’s part of their appeal. They are big, hard things that you should look out for while walking (or cycling) along a pavement. And anyone who is too busy with their head in their phone to notice such unforgiving edifices of light should pay the price of a full-frontal collision. If we are going to start padding lampposts, what about trees or corners of buildings or bus shelters or other people standing stock still in the middle of the pavement? Like people at bus stops? Are we going to start padding people? Excuse me, madam, your elbows are jutting out at a hazardous angle – we need to encase you in padding to prevent an inattentive pedestrian from colliding with you and causing them injury. Surely, if anything should be padded, it should be vehicles. Do away with all that hard metal on the outside – especially those spectacularly non-essential Chelsea tractor bull-bars – and make the body of bubble-wrap instead. That way, when a car crashes into a cyclist, we can just bounce off unscathed with nothing more serious than a few satisfying bubble-wrap pops popping in our wake. As for the inside of the vehicle, ditch all that modern day squashy seating and the air-bags that simply add to the sense of invincibility that a motorist feels, and make the interior as rattly and dangerous as possible to bring home the fact that most vehicles are lethal weapons instead of luxurious three-piece suites on wheels. Put a sensor in the steering wheel that monitors the driver. If the driver is a bike-friendly one, the hub of the steering wheel is automatically filled with something soft like blancmange or filler-foam that in the event of a crash explodes from the wheel to help prevent death or serious injury. But if the driver is a reckless nutter, then they can have something spiky that protrudes from the middle of the steering wheel. That way, they may take a little more care on the roads. And if the driver is the ultimate boy-racer driver from hell, then along with the spike, the car will automatically pull over and issue a compulsory bus ticket to the middle of nowhere so they can work off their aggression by walking home – possibly stumbling into a lamppost for good measure. An unpadded one, of course. Josie Dew has written seven books on cycling around the world. For more information on Josie and her books, see www.josiedew.co.uk
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Ealing to Victoria Richard Gray’s commute takes him through some of London’s leafiest boroughs and into the heart of the capital
After leaving the house, I slip into Walpole Park. There’s a woman with a little dog who I meet quite often; she scowls at me and sometimes screams at her dog to save it from my approach. I checked with the council and they said it’s OK to ride through Ealing’s parks, so long as you have “good excuse”, which includes getting to work quicker. I take a few back streets and end up on Ealing Common. My guard is then up because I’m onto the Uxbridge Road with its bendy buses, thundering lorries and white van nutters. The road is often gridlocked in the mornings and I usually take to the middle of the road because it’s safer than undertaking. Into Acton and there’s a cycle lane, but it’s really not worth the tarmac it’s painted on. There are cars parked in the lane, their drivers nipping into the newsagents’ or picking up their laundry. Coming down the hill at some speed, there’s a left turn where twitchy drivers nudge out and often force me into the middle of the road. My hands are always primed on the brakes. Would I swerve and risk being run over or just plough into the side of the car and go flying over the top? I probably wouldn’t have the time to think about it. I recently armed myself with a 115 decibel Airzound horn for just this situation. I’ve used it a few times and I’m sure it’s averted accidents. The Uxbridge Road widens as it approaches Shepherd’s Bush,
so I relax and enjoy the ride – on the way back this stretch of road can be a tunnel of mouth-watering aromas from the various eateries lining the street. After Shepherd’s Bush Green, I reach the hairiest junction of my journey: Holland Park Avenue roundabout. Waiting at the lights, you have three lanes of traffic revving behind you in anticipation of the relative open spaces of the slip road onto the Westway. I jump the red lights when I can see all is clear – it’s a question of getting clear of the traffic snapping at my heels. There’s a steep climb up Holland Park Avenue; at the top is Notting Hill. I often see former Chancellor Norman Lamont hailing a taxi here. A diplomatic view Just past Notting Hill there’s a right turn I discovered six months ago that takes me into what is known as Embassy Row. Security sometimes raises the barrier for me, but I usually bypass it up the pavement (which they’re fine about). The road is lined with mansions, most of them embassies: Japan, Russia, Romania, Germany, Norway. I turn left at the bottom of the hill into Kensington Gardens and past Kensington Palace – a thought for Diana and an eye out for the Kensington cyclist abuser who harangues cyclists who stray off cycle paths: “Get off that bike! You are breaking council by-laws!” He might have a point in Kensington Gardens. The numbers of cyclists has risen this last year. I had my
RICHARD GRAY Richard Gray, 41, has been cycling since he was a schoolboy. He is managing director of CLS Communication, a language services company. He is currently in training for the Big Issue London-Paris charity ride (www.justgiving.com/richardgray) THE JOURNEY Distance: 8.9 miles Time: 40 minutes Low point: Holland Park Avenue roundabout High point: Embassy Row
Photos: Richard Gray
Left: The Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Gardens Above: The sun sets on Loandon
first cycle-on-cycle crash there and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more accidents, most probably with pedestrians, who retain a simmering resentment of cyclists. Then it’s into Hyde Park by crossing a road at a point where the traffic is slowed by a speed bump. There’s a sign, “Cyclists dismount”, but with cycle paths on either side of the road, I’ve never seen a cyclist get off. The speed bump means cars have to slow down and most of them stop to let the cyclists across. Then along the delightfully named Rotten Row. The horseguards from the nearby barracks are there drilling their horses some mornings, while in the evenings they run boot camps for the general public – you have to watch for them as they jump out of the dark on winter evenings. Horses and carriages also seem to practise in this part of the park – for what I’m not sure. I take a right halfway along Rotten Row, but just ahead there’s a junction across Hyde Park Corner where, at peak times, there is a great confluence of cyclists who swarm through Wellington Arch. I’ve joined the two-wheeled throng a couple of times and it gives you quite a buzz, but my usual route takes me across Knightsbridge into Belgravia. More embassies, Spain, Ivory Coast and Ghana. Lots of blue plaques, and Margaret Thatcher lives around here somewhere too, though I’ve never seen her. Recently I discovered a minor variation to the final stretch of my route that was marginally shorter and also meant I didn’t have to go down a one-way street in the wrong direction. So the new twist to the end of my route means I don’t have the stress of breaking the law and I get to work a little quicker. And I look forward to my ride home.
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Amy Adams resting on a hay bale near Pienza
he metal cleats of her cycling shoes rang out against the cobbles as a member of our group wheeled her bike through the narrow streets. Taking her lead at a flight of steps, I got off my own bike and began bumping it down the ancient staircase. The rest of the group weren’t far behind and we entered Siena’s stunning Piazza del Campo en masse, a fleet of padded cycling shorts, shiny helmets and matted hair. Around us locals and less-active tourists lazed in the afternoon sun, some reclining on the warm red bricks of the square’s oval centre, others sipping espresso at ring-side bars. It was one of the most spectacular public spaces I’ve come across and I was torn. Half of me longed to settle back with an espresso and people-watch, while the other half wanted to get back on my bike. I was on a cycling holiday through Tuscany and we were headed for the hills of the Chianti and Siena regions. So while I might have arrived in the latter’s capital city with my legs covered in oily chain tattoos, at least I could justify eating pasta twice a day and washing it down with fine wine. Much more than that, though, I’d seen corners of the country, from isolated farms to dusty churches, I would never have done otherwise.
Cycling through the main gate of Buonconvento
Wine, wheels and ravioli A relative newcomer to cycling, Amy Adams joined an escorted tour through Tuscany to get a taste for touring
Finding the Italian way Our trip had started at San Gimignano, a walled, hilltop town famous for its towers or ‘medieval skyscrapers’ as they’re dubbed. As the church bells rang in the early evening, I climbed up to the Rocca (old fortress) and, taking the path through an olive grove, found stairs leading to the ramparts. From here you could see the terracotta roofs of the town petering out to a crumpled blanket of countryside, dotted with buildings and patched with neat vineyards. The next morning I was part of the view. After fitting the bikes and distributing panniers and gel seats (mine was my new best friend), our guide Guido led us on our first stint – a glorious downhill stretch, past grape-heavy vines and tastefully renovated holiday homes. It didn’t set the tone. After lunch came a gruelling ascent that had me cursing my lack of pre-trip training and letting the ‘push-bike’ live up to its name. Perhaps I should have realised that a cycling tour of hilly Tuscany was never going to be forgiving. Still, there was plenty to urge our weary legs on,
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A vineyard above Montalcino
Following the sun to Siena For most of the trip we were treated to perfect cycling conditions: warm, with a light breeze. But, typically, it started to rain just as a member of our group discovered a broken spoke and puncture. While our guide earned his euros, the rest of us were left to wander around the small town. Through a restaurant kitchen doorway, we watched a woman feed pasta into a machine that churned it out as one thin sheet. Onto this she dealt out neat dollops of filling before laying another sheet over the top and cutting the whole thing into squares. Our lunch stop was spontaneously brought forward, and when we finally emerged, stomachs full of homemade ravioli and hearty Super Tuscan, the sun was shining once again. It stayed with us until Siena, helping us work up an attractive steam for our grand entrance to the campo – like the horses at the city’s biannual race, Palio, no doubt. We left the crowds sunning themselves while we dropped off our bikes; by the time we returned, there was time only for a fleeting glimpse of the city’s marvellous gothic Duomo (cathedral) before it got dark. The next morning, we were up early and off and I left Siena feeling like I’d hardly found the surface, let alone scratched it. Exploring the much disputed land between the rival cities of Florence and Siena, we’d been immersed in lush, green countryside broken up by clumps of trees, neat vineyards and scattered olive groves. Now, leaving Chianti for a part of the Siena region known as Crete, the world around us changed dramatically. Tilled earth stretched away from the roads, the furrows flattening into sweeping waves that glinted silver in the sun. Each way you looked, the setting seemed too good to be true, with a lone farmhouse or elegant line of Cyprus trees that might have been airbrushed in. It was a joy
to pedal through, not least because of the lack of steep hills to climb. The palette stayed the same but the gentle TUSCANY contours changed. We puffed our way up to the GREVE-IN-CHIANTI Abbey of Monte Oliveto SAN GIMIGNANO Maggiore and, after taking RADDA-IN-CHIANTI a breather in front of the SIENA magnificent frescoes, puffed our way to the MONTEPULCIANO hilltop town of Montalcino. MONTALCINO Despite its grand castle, medieval, crest-studded tower and antique streets, Brunello has an unassuming air that makes you feel immediately at home. Down a side street from the Piazza del Popolo we ducked into a small bar above a wine cellar. At a table by a huge wall of windows, we sipped Brunello as the sun slowly dimmed the ochres and sage greens of the valley beyond. We still had a day to go – that would take us to rival Brunello producer Montelpulciano – but I was already convinced. Somewhere between a walled, hilltop town and a vineyard bursting with juicy, red grapes, I’d definitely stopped lusting for a piazza espresso. ●
MORE INFORMATION BOX OUT TAKING A TOUR: Amy spent eight days riding through Tuscany and Chianti with The Chain Gang (www.thechaingang.co.uk, 01392 662 262), which runs escorted cycling tours through France and Italy. ITALY BY BIKE: For more information on seeing Italy by bike, visit the Italian State Tourist Board at 1 Princes Street, London, W1 (020 7408 1254) or see www.italiantouristboard.co.uk and type ‘cycling’ into the search box. For information specific to Tuscany, see www.terresienainbici.it
Photos: Amy Adams/TNT Images
not least the wine. The second day took us through the heart of Chianti, where the wine Chianti Classico is made, to key wine town, Greve-in-Chianti. At Le Cantine, the biggest enoteca in Chianti, an unusually fresh-faced sommelier, Marco, explained the differences between Classico wines and the more experimental Super Tuscans. He introduced us to the ‘King of Tuscan wines’, Brunello di Montalcino, and the delights of a machine that can fill your glass with 18 varieties of wine at the push of a button.
The countryside outside Siena
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Cycling’s sleeping giant The home of Shimano has the potential to become one of the great cycling nations, according to Mark Fossick, a regular visitor to Japan
The joy of cycling in Japan Japanese and ex-pat cyclists rave about cycling and the possibilities that Japan has to offer. “A wheelsman’s paradise,” claimed one Scottish explorer in 1890. You are never far from alpine mountain ranges with flat valleys and never far from a beautiful coastal road. Adrenaline junkies can attempt 10,000ft alpine passes or one of the many organised long-distance races. Road signs are bilingual, bike
Left and below: bikes are a common sight in Japan, though not yet regarded as a main form of transport
hire is widely available and camping is taking off with more than 8,000 official sites. Even if you’re living in the metropolis that is Tokyo, you are only 60 minutes by train from national parks with 5,000ft peaks. Large cities have a decent number of cycle touring clubs and there are lots of cycle websites run by English-speaking ex-pats to help you find routes and cycling partners. Japan has another surprise for the cyclist: hot springs are everywhere and are the perfect way to end a hard day of cycling.
overnight. Imagine getting on a ferry at Greenwich on Friday evening and arriving on the west coast of Scotland early the next morning – that’s how Japan (an island nation like the UK) does things.
And now for the downside... So far it sounds rather good: coastal roads, winding mountain roads, hot springs and no theft. Now let’s consider the downside. Japan is very hot and humid from late May to early October. You won’t want to carry any luggage around at this time. Winter can be extremely cold. So this leaves parts of spring and autumn as the only pleasant times to cycle any significant distance. Certain holiday periods such as Golden Week in spring are incredibly busy and make travelling anywhere difficult unless you booked months in advance. Bikes are not allowed on trains unless they are partially disassembled and carried in a bike bag. Trains in Japan are generally wider and bigger, so your bike won’t get in people’s way. Bikes can be taken on ferries for free. Ferries are very cheap and connect some great places often
The future for cycling Proper cycle-only trails stretching hundreds of miles are being built, with a cycle network that would make Sustrans green with envy currently under construction. There is even a cycle-only bridge connecting two islands. Japan is full of engineering wonders, so building hundreds of miles of cycle routes is small fry. On the other hand, the general attitude is that cycling is something that only women and children do, and car-driving politicians do not seem keen to promote bike travel. Cycling also has to compete with a very efficient public transport system, whereas in the UK the transport system is cited as one of the main reasons that people prefer to cycle. Once attitudes to cycling change and it is taken seriously as a form of transport, Japan will be one of the great cycling nations. It has huge potential.
Left: A billboard imploring Tokyo’s residents to halt their reliance on cars
Photos: Mark Fossick
Ask any LCC member how they imagine Japanese people travel and they will probably talk about ‘bullet trains’ and over-crowded underground trains. However the same people will probably own bikes with components made by the Japanese company Shimano, one of the biggest component manufacturers in the world. So how common is cycling in Japan? Would you actually want to cycle in such a crowded nation? Well yes, the Japanese cycle. Millions of them every day. Rather than riding the most advanced high-spec bikes, most people ride bikes with sensible mudguards and baskets on the front. They all ride on the pavement. And there is hardly any bike theft. Children in large groups cycle slowly to school, businessmen cycle to work in suits and glamorous women cycle to work while holding parasols in one hand. They park their bikes on the backwheel stand and don’t lock them to anything. Even in the most seedy parts of Tokyo, you can almost guarantee your bike will be there the next day. Bike parking takes the form of a painted area on the pavement rather than bike racks, and most shops look like bicycle shops because customers’ bikes are simply left in a row outside. The down side is that roads are still considered the domain of the car and, worse still, legislation has been threatened to restrict the type of roads that can be cycled on. There is unquestioned respect for the car in Japan, especially as a status symbol. Even Japanese buses respect cars and regularly pull over to let them pass.
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My bike & I Tony Juniper
Photo: Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth’s executive director chats about his first bike and cycling’s role in preserving the environment Do you remember your very first time on a bike? I vividly remember the triumph of staying upright for the first time. I was as a young child very nervous about going it alone without stabilisers and the liberation that came with that first time on a bike was wonderful. Can you tell us about your first bike? My first proper bike was a red Triang. I was about eight when I got it. They were small-wheeled things, a bit like Moultons but more basic and for children. Even as a small child I was a naturalist and that bike opened up undreamt of horizons. The Thames and its wildlife was within my range and so were woodlands and swamps. What do you ride these days? I have three bikes – two of my own and one shared one. The shared one is one of our most prized household possessions. It’s a Bakfiets long cargo bike – a Dutch bike with a wooden cargo bay on the front. It carries a vast amount of shopping or several children and our dog. It has top-quality brakes and gears and lights that come on automatically. The looks we get on this machine remind me of when I bought a Brompton in 1991: people stare, take on board the spectacle and then say, ‘what a fantastic idea’. I think these will catch on, especially as oil prices rise. It minimises car use. I still ride a Brompton nearly every day in London and after 16 years (I’m on my third one), it’s as indispensable as ever. It transforms the quality and reliability of my schedule. My third bike is a sit up and beg. I use that one for getting around Cambridge, where I live. What’s the best thing about being a cyclist? The freedom and self-sufficiency. No fuel, no timetables, guaranteed arrival times. It’s surely also the most sustainable transport. I find it impossible to [get to the] gym or swimming pool – the bike keeps me in shape. Do you consider yourself a good cyclist? I’ve been cycling in London and Cambridge for 20 years and before that spent nearly the same time in Oxford. I’ve not had a major crash or injury – touch wood. I use a mirror, reflective strips – when it’s dark I’m lit up like a Christmas tree – and a helmet. I ride very defensively. I’m not bad, but like anyone, probably could get better. Any pet hates when it comes to cycling? The over-revving of diesel-powered vans and trucks behind me really gets me mad. People charging around urban areas between traffic queues in low gear with engines thrashing some clapped out old toxic tin box sums up the futility of driving in town. How can we make the most of cycling in London? The Government needs to take cycling seriously. We’ve had commitments to make cycling more attractive, but what we have seen is inadequate, unambitious and uninspiring. We have more cars than ever and increased carbon dioxide emissions as a result. Segregated cycle lanes strike me as the key. In The Netherlands and Denmark there are also parking facilities at stations. At Cambridge station, cyclists spend 10 minutes trying to find somewhere to park. There is a small area for cycles, compared to acres for cars. Cycling rates are
“What we’ve seen from the Government has been unambitious and uninspiring” far higher in some other countries because cyclists are encouraged to use proper and safe facilities. Any advice for cyclists campaigning for better facilities or those working to promote cycling? Getting people involved is critical. [You need to] show decision makers that people are on your side. Media coverage is vital. If you can sustain broadcast and newspaper interest, you are more likely to get what you want. The key is to have media-savvy people who know how to get things reported. Direct action has its place, but needs to be done thoughtfully and, above all, safely. What role do cyclists have in the challenges facing the environmental movement? The main challenge is to get the culture changes that will underpin shifts in lifestyles. Companies and political parties are ready to move but will only do so if they see public demand. Cycling is one of the most visible things we can do to signal our willingness to change. The more of us who cycle, the quicker the culture will change. When I turn up to meetings on my Brompton, it sends a signal that we are serious at Friends of the Earth. You’re leaving Friends of the Earth – if you could ride off into the sunset, where would you ride to? I’d fancy a touring holiday around northern Norway or Sweden in high summer. Actually, this would be cheating, as there would be no sunset at that time of the year! This is an edited extract of our interview. For the full interview, see www.lcc.org.uk/londoncyclist
ABOUT TONY JUNIPER Tony Juniper has been executive director of Friends of the Earth (www.foe.co.uk) for six years. He will stand down from the role later this year. He joined FOE in 1990 as its tropical forest campaigner, coming from the charity Birdlife International, where he was regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on parrots.
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