magazine of the London Cycling Campaign February-March 2010
YEAR OF THE BIKE Time for London to have a fully integrated central route network see p.20
LOCAL GROUPS 01_cover.JK.indd 1
BIKE REVIEWS 19/1/10 23:24:05
contents 2 Newhams Row London SE1 3UZ
020 7234 9310 www.lcc.org.uk
What LCC does… ➤ Campaigns for change ➤ Supports our members ➤ Promotes London cycling LCC’s strategic aims ➤ Promote cycling to the people ➤ Redesign our streets for cycles ➤ Promote cycling to our politicians ➤ Make cycling diverse and inclusive For more info, visit www.lcc.org.uk/strategy Member benefits ➤ Up to 15% off in London bike shops ➤ Free third-party insurance cover ➤ Exclusive deals on bike theft insurance ➤ Free bimonthly member magazine ➤ Free legal helpline Editorial contacts Editor: John Kitchiner; email@example.com Products: Matthew Moore; firstname.lastname@example.org Design: Anita Razak; email@example.com Communications: Mike Cavenett; firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising contact Ten Alps: Anthon Linton, 020 7306 0300; email@example.com Contribute to London Cyclist Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss feature ideas and photography www.lcc.org.uk For the latest news, campaigns and events information, visit the LCC website, where you can also sign up for our fortnightly e-newsletter
VOTING POWER: put cycling on the agenda in May's local elections
news, letters & opinion Koy Thomson Writes a few headlines he'd like to read in 2010 5 News Latest stories, plus exclusive chat with the Health Minister 6 Letters Your rants, raves, comments and queries 12 Anna Glowinski On launching her own cycling fashion brand 15 features Local Elections Get candidates to sign the LCC manifesto Lorry Safety Why the police's CVEU needs to be saved BikeGrid The time is right to plan an integrated cycle network Interview Julian Sayarer discusses his round-the-world ride London Interest Peckham BMX club's growing ambitions Best Rides in London Market and garden squares Overseas How a new bike scene's thriving in Budapest Technical Essential tips for riding at night
17 18 20 24 28 30 32 34
reviews Bikes We test a handful of road bikes from £650 to £1,200 Grouptest Five panniers and one ultralight rack tested Products New locking system, plus lights, tyres and clobber Culture Six books reviewed, plus Josie Dew column How To Prepare for a charity ride — and survive it
36 39 41 42 45
members Members’ Page Ways to get involved at LCC Communities Three successful local projects in focus Local Group News Round-up from around the boroughs Events Diary Including rides listing for February and March London Cyclists New Feature: meeting the city's bike family
47 49 50 57 58
Printed on 100% recycled paper LCC is not aligned with any political party. All views expressed in London Cyclist are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the editor, nor do they necessarily reﬂect LCC policy. Editorial content is independent of advertising. All material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the written permission of the editor. London Cyclist is printed by Commercial Colour Press Ltd on paper made from 100% de-inked post consumer waste. London Cycling Campaign is a charitable limited company, reg no 1766411; charity no 1115789.
COVER PHOTO: www.danielbosworth.com February-March 2010
LCC CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Koy Thomson Everywhere you look in London there are new cycling projects mooted. LCC’s chief executive writes a few of the headlines he’d like to read this year THE NEXT 12 months will the biggest for cycling in London, ever. Hire bikes will replace short taxi trips and give thousands the cycling habit. The same shade of blue that graces the Olympic-site fence will be slapped on the first two Cycle Superhighways and we’ll see the first few boroughs declaring themselves as ‘Biking Boroughs’ (see page 10). Of course we want more. The new year is a time to remind ourselves of ‘the possible’ and to use that vision to sustain us. As the ‘Yes Men’ say (www.theyesmen.org): “If a few people at the top can make the bad news happen, why can’t all the people at the bottom make the good news happen?” So here are the good news headlines that we want to see emblazoned across the Evening Standard in 2010:
Traders demand car-free town centres
London Chamber of Commerce says Oxford Street VIP days demonstrate car-free means more shoppers and bigger profits.
Royal Parks give green space freedom to bikes
A spokesperson says: “It’s crazy that currently cycling across some London parks is as difficult as crossing a roundabout. We’re changing the presumption against cycling, to allowing cycling unless there is a really good reason against it. Parks are for all and must integrate into the streets around them.”
Mayor slashes trafﬁc to clean up air pollution
Mayor Johnson’s ambitious plan to reduce traffic volumes in London achieves EU pollution targets and saves London millions in euro-fines. The Mayor says: “Transport for London was sitting on the solution all the time. All I had to do was ask them.”
AA merges with London car clubs
The UK’s biggest car association has merged with the UK’s largest car share club. A spokesperson says: “In major cities it makes no sense to own a car and cars are increasingly a burden on households, cities and the planet. We aim to focus on where cars can free us, not constrain us.”
Supermarkets vie for cycle shopper spending Tescos and Waitrose compete for the cycling pound with state-of-the-art cycle parking and discounts for cyclists. Waitrose chief executive says: “We are already helping shoppers to cut down on car trips through our delivery partnerships. This is an obvious next step.”
Dangerous HGVs banned from London roads
Freight operator says: “Our bigger lorries are designed for motorways and not Victorian streets. It will cost us, but what price a pedestrian or cyclist life?”
Car-free houses snapped up sharpish
Houses in London’s first car-free development sold-out 24 hours after announcement. Developers say: “Thirty percent of Londoners don’t own a car, and in this development streets are child-friendly community spaces. And car clubs are always there if you need them.”
“Let us kick off 2010 with a reminder that another world is possible — we can make good news happen” New alliance calls for city-wide 20mph limit
Motorcyclists join cyclists to call for a 20mph speed limit safety plan. A spokesperson says: “A 20mph law would be the single most effective safety measure to save lives.”
Olympic ofﬁcials choose electric over limos
A LOCOG spokesperson says: “It was clear London would not achieve the requirements for the Olympic Road Network, and when we realised how quick it was to travel round London on a bike, and how good for the image of the Olympic movement, the choice was clear.”
Dutch planners learn from London example
Amsterdam's mayor says: “Early plans for London’s Cycle Superhighways had not led us to believe such commitment to reallocate space to cyclists and such ingenious innovations to give cyclists priority. We have a lot to learn from London.” Fanciful headlines? Not really: all are possible. So let us kick off 2010 with a reminder that another world is possible and that it is the job of all the people at the bottom to make good news happen. Happy New Year from everyone here at LCC. February-March 2010 London Cyclist
News Visit www.lcc.org.uk for campaign updates and latest news reports
Could do better: cycling facilities at landmark skyscraper developments
magazine of the London Cycling Campaign October-November 2009
Richmond's green spaces • Grass track racing • Hounslow Skyride
CYCL IGHWAYS SUPERH n at ns the petitio Sign .uk/campaig www.lcc.org story p8) (news
London Cyclist archives go online WANT ACCESS TO several hundred more pages of London Cyclist for free? Well, LCC has created an easy-to-read online archive containing three years’ worth of magazines, dating back to February-March 2007. The most recent three magazines will only be available in paper format, exclusively to members. Find the magazines at www.lcc.org.uk/archive
LONDON BRIDGE COMMUTERS familiar with ‘The Shard’ development next to the station may be interested to learn how many bike parking spaces it's likely to have on completion. The most reliable figure for the 310m-tall building is a paltry 250 spaces for its (potential) 6,500 occupants — just one for every 26 workers. By comparison, the new 246m Heron Tower in Bishopsgate will have 526 bike spaces for a similar number of occupants (1 for every 12 people). Both, however, are a big improvement on the 180m ‘Gherkin’ (at 30 St Mary Axe) which offered only one space for every 50 workers when it was opened in 2003.
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON says it's not possible to draw conclusions from the collision data in its interim report on the motorbikes in bus lanes trial. On page five the report says: “The data set covers a short time period (four months) which means that it cannot be considered conclusive, therefore no meaningful comparison to previous years' data can be made.” The report also states that it's “not possible to assess whether collisions took place in the bus lane or the main carriageway.” LCC remains concerned at the potential impact of the measure on the future growth of cycling in London. It appears from the TfL Statement of Reasons for the traffic order that it's aim is to allow more motorcycles to make quicker journeys in London. LCC is concerned that the impact of
Interim report on motorbikes in bus lanes “allows no meaningful comparison”
TRIAL PERIOD: not long enough to analyse impact of motorbikes in bus lanes
this extra motor traffic will be on the whole road network, not just on the bus lane sections of the journeys. The environmental consequences are likely to mean more noise, more air pollution, a deterioration of public space, and increased risk for pedestrians and cyclists. TfL has rejected LCC's requests for a wider analysis of the
trial to examine these impacts. Cycling development officer Charlie Lloyd said: “Our worry is that the limited scope of the analysis over 18 months will still fail to produce meaningful data. We think TfL should demonstrate a real benefit to London before extending the use of bus lanes to even more motorcycles.”
Mayor urged to implement much higher targets and standards RESPONDING TO THE Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) and London Plan consultations, LCC called for much higher targets for cycling growth and higher standards for cycle parking provision. Pointing out that the draft MTS would not deliver the required 60 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, LCC also argued for higher targets for the reduction in car use and support for 20mph speed limits. To meet the needs of the one in three Londoners who are considering cycling, LCC told the mayor to double the cycle parking standards for new developments because the minimums set in the London Plan were drawn up before cycling numbers had doubled.
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Win £25k to make your company cycle-centric
STAR TURNS: get your company to enter new competition
Help LCC build stronger links with London businesses LCC IS LOOKING to its members to help build stronger relations with the capital's business community. Marketing manager Lucy Cooper said: “If you think your work colleagues would benefit from more cycling, LCC has a strong package of benefits to offer businesses, and we need your help to build closer relations with companies in London. Many companies want to be involved with a cycle-promotion charity because they're keen to help engage with transport, environmental and public health issues as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes.”
LCC's corporate affiliates programmes is attractive to employers for several reasons: companies can support their employees to cycle to work with discounted LCC membership; they receive first-hand information from LCC on campaigns and new cycling initiatives in London; and LCC provides advice on cycle parking and cycling support for employees. If you're interested in putting forward your company — whether large or small — as a potential partner for LCC, please email lucyc@ c@ lcc.org.uk or call 020 7234 9310.
said: “This is a fantastic chance for two organisations to fasttrack their employee cycling, improving health and mobility, and creating all manner of business benefits.” Made up of leading cycle service providers — including Brompton bicycles, Forster consulting, and Cycle Systems training and maintenance — the Alliance provides a one-stop shop for any organisation’s cycling needs. It can help companies increase workplace cycling by creating travel plans, engaging staff, and by providing bikes, cycle parking, training, rides and maintenance.
FURTHER INFO To ﬁnd out more about the Cycling Star Alliance or to enter the competition, visit www. cyclingstaralliance.co.uk or call Matt on 020 7234 9310. The closing date for competition entries is 12 March 2010, with activities expected to start in spring 2010.
LCC engages in second phase of Cycle Superhighways
USING ITS LOCAL expertise, LCC is currentlyy ggiving detailed input to the second phase of the Cycle Superhighproject, with ways p recommendations recom Number of ﬁnes ha on optimum routing op nd in Demark during ed out and street treatments s 2009 to drivers talking on for four mobiles fo more Source: copenhag enize.com Superhighways. Super The project aims to create 12 cycle-friendly LCC, aims to support port c commuter routes projects for under-reprer-repreroute from the into central sented groups, especially pecially women, women outer boroughs in London, with two due for children, ethnic groups and completion in 2010, four more in people with disabilities. 2012 and the rest by 2015. Applications can be submitted Koy Thomson, LCC's chief until 5 February 2010, with a executive, said: “At the invitation second round from 8-26 March of TfL, we put significant 2010. For details about the effort into providing quality application process, visit www.lcc. assessments of the first two org.uk/community.
£10k grants available for local cycling projects s GRANTS OF UP to £10,000 are now available for enthusiasts to promote cycling in their community. Any individual or organisation can apply for money from the Community Cycling Fund for London, which can be spent on bicycles, training and other necessities to create a cycling group in your neighbourhood. The fund, administred by
THE CYCLING STAR Alliance, a new group of best-of-brand suppliers (including LCC), is launching a competition to give away £25,000 of infrastructure and consultancy to two organisations that best demonstrate a commitment to increasing cycling among employees. LCC helped bring together the Cycling Star Alliance to meet the increasing demand for trusted cycling services in the capital and to promote cycle commuting and business travel. The competition winners will be chosen from one business or public sector organisation and one NHS trust/ hospital. And to be eligible, organisations must have more than 1,000 employees and a minimum ambition to increase regular cycle commuting or business travel to five percent of all employees. The winning organisations will each receive a tailored 12-month programme of consultancy, parking, bikes, maintenance and cycle training worth £12,500. LCC director of programme development Matt Mallinder
BEN PLOWDEN, TfL's director of integrated programme delivery, addresses LCC’s 2009 AGM
Superhighways, but fear that due to the pressure of delivering the first couple so quickly many of the major decisions had already been taken. Therefore, for the second phase, we’re making sure our analysis is available to TfL much earlier. LCC is arguing strongly that this project should give real priority to the bicycle, not simply the vain hope that masses of bikes will physically push cars out of the way. We want a reallocation of road space, not a fight for road space.”
+++ Join the next Tweed Run in London this March — visit www.tweedrun.com for details +++ February-March 2010
News N ews
Health Minister says his department must lead on promoting physical activity SPEAKING TO London Cyclist's Tom Bogdanowicz at the launch of a key report on health and climate change, Health Minister Andrew Burnham called for the Department of Health to take the lead on promoting physical activity and for a rethink of the priority given to cyclists on roads. The ‘Heath and Climate Change Report’, published by the highly respected Lancet medical journal, breaks new ground in focusing on the health benefits of reduced carbon dioxide emissions and radically increased active travel. Its authors compare a scenario of ‘business as usual’ to those that deliver a significant increase in cycling and walking. The 84-page study is based on an examination of transport use in London and Delhi, concluding that reducing motor vehicle use and encouraging walking and cycling y g would bring major health hea
LANCET STUDY: compared transport use in London and Delhi, highlighting the health beneﬁts of non-motorised options
benefits as well as halving carbon emissions in London. The report states: “Heart disease and strokes could fall by 10-20 percent, with reductions
in breast cancer (12-13 percent) dementia (8 percent) and depression (5 percent). Combining increased active travel with low-emission vehicles would
bring greater benefits by further reducing air pollution.” The study assumes an eightfold increase in London cycling to match levels in Dutch cities.
INTERVIEW Andrew Burnham
AT THE LAUNCH of the Lancet report (above), UK Health Secretary Andrew Burnham spoke exclusively to London Cyclist magazine. What role do you see for cycling in improving the nation’s health? If we can encourage more people to cycle to work, we can have an appreciable impact on individual health and also on our carbon output as a society. Together with Andrew Adonis [Transport secretary] and Ben Bradshaw [Culture, media and sport secretary], I've recently launched a scheme — the Cycle To Work [Guarantee] scheme — where we are encouraging employers to use the government tax incentive to offer schemes to purchase bikes and to have a repair service on site. This is a crucial part of our policy and I wanted the NHS to be in there
at the start showing the lead. So 60 NHS trusts, or of that order, were early signatories to the Cycle To Work Guarantee. The NHS has put its money where its mouth is and shown a lead. What role do you see for voluntary organisations and community projects in promoting health and active travel together with the NHS? There is a very big and important role to play and under 'Change For Life' we've launched a sub-brand called 'Bike For Life'. The idea is that this isn't owned and run by the government: we want this to be a broad coalition of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The reality is changing here in London, the critical mass is changing and the numbers of the cyclists on the road
mean that soon a rethink is going to have to be had about the layout of roads and the priority given to cyclists. That is almost being forced by the levels of cycling. What is the role of doctors in all of this? There are 300 million consultations per year, yet we only know of one 'cycling on prescription' project and that's in Tower Hamlets, inspired by LCC... When I came into the job I said that the promotion of physical activity was core business for the Department for Health and for the NHS. It's been something of an
orphan policy in government: lots of government departments have a toe in the water, but nobody is really saying it's our job to get a grip and really promote it. I believe the natural home [for exercise promotion] should be the Department of Health. As a country that loves sport as much as we do, we should be much more active than we are today. So, apart from cycling, we're promoting free swimming and we've got a range of other schemes to keep people physically active. I would like to see health professionals who are prescribing anti-depressants or something else saying that actually a course of structured physical activity is what you actually need to get yourself on a better path.
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LCC swaps expertise with campaigners at Nottingham conference
WAY TO GO: shorter, safer cycle routes in the City
STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS from LCC were among the hundreds who attended the three-day autumn ‘Cyclenation’ conference in Nottingham. Community cycling officer Rosie Tharp presented at the event on the theme of successful community partnership working. Cyclenation is the UK federation of cycle campaigners, and represents groups from as far afield as Inverness, Leeds, Swansea, Taunton and the Isle of Wight. LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said: "The conference was superbly organised by Cyclenation and Throgmorton Street, Salisbury Pedals, the Nottingham cycle Court, Creechurch Lane and campaign group. It was a great Finsbury Circus (the western link opportunity to exchange ideas to Moorgate). with fellow campaigners, and LCC campaigns manager Tom hear some excellent speakers." Bogdanowicz said: "Making these The next Cyclenation streets two-way opens up key conference is expected to be in cycle routes and enables cyclists to avoid busy main roads. ds. Portsmouth in the spring, registration likely We look forward to the he with regist City Corporation and d to cost aaround £20. London boroughs Presentations Pre making more streets from the autumn years of jail time fo fully accessible to LA doctor who in r an conference can confe jured two cyclists." cyclists in road ra downloaded be do ge attack Source: from http://www.
Improved access in the City as streets become two-way for cyclists FOLLOWING LONG-TERM advocacy work from LCC in the City, cyclists now have some new route choices as several one-way streets have been made two-way for cyclists. These welcome improvements are designed to make bike journeys shorter, safer and more convenient. City of London cycling officer Jereme Mckaskill said: "These new two-way streets provide a genuine benefit to City cyclists. For example, the route along Cloth Fair lets you bypass a
busy section of road alongside Smithfield market." LCC first reported the planned changes early last year (London Cyclist, April-May 2009), with the necessary infrastructure changes taking place in December. Seven more roads that are currently one-way to all traffic are set to become two-way for cyclists before the summer starts. Streets affected are Fann Street, West Smithfield (two-way around the circuit), Cloth Fair,
VICTORY AT LAST: all change for the dreaded Brixton gyratory system
AFTER A DECADE of hard campaigning by Lambeth Cyclists and other organisations, traffic on Brixton Hill outside the town hall became two-way again
in November. The change came as part of ongoing works to improve the town centre for walkers and cyclists. The plans, funded by TfL,
cyclenation.org.uk/ cyclena resources/papers.php resource JonathanGill@flickr
Brixton beneﬁts from long overdue gyratory changes
include remodellingg the gyratory around St Matthew's church, a major renovation ovation of Windrush Square and d improving pedestrian crossings across the whole area. Wider bus lanes will improve access to the town centre for those using public transport and on the A23 Brixton Road, between Stockwell Road and Coldharbour Lane, footways have also been widened and traffic density along Effra Road is being reduced. Lambeth Cyclists' co-ordinator Philip Loy said: "The Brixton Triangle report produced by the local LCC group in 1999 recommended removal of the gyratory road system and we're delighted that finally these aspirations are coming into effect. It shows that campaigners need both patience and vision."
NOTTINGHAM: hosted Cyclenation
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BMJ research supports Islington's 20mph stance MarcEMarc@flickr
ISLINGTON’S DECISION TO become the first London council to adopt a borough-wide 20mph speed limit has been strongly vindicated by a new academic study. The research published in the British Medical Journal shows that in the capital’s existing 20mph zones fatal or serious casualties to children have been halved, with overall casualties down by more than 40 percent. Islington introduced the limit at the beginning of January as part of its strategy to deal with death and injury caused by motor vehicle collisions, and in an attempt to make long-term reductions in congestion and pollution. The measure will affect over 150 miles of residential JK
NEW SIGNAGE: shows new limit
UNMASKED: plan for cleaner air
Air pollution could force closure of busiest roads
MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON has said he’s considering temporary bans on cars and trucks on the busiest roads in the capital to combat air pollution, which is breaching safety levels. Last year, the can spend any way they like, European Commission turned TWELVE OUTER LONDON within the bounds of the Mayor’s down a request for additional boroughs will receive an extra Transport Strategy. Previously, time to comply with EU £25,000 from TfL this year to ‘cycling money’ was ring-fenced. legislation on air quality, and create cycling strategies. As LCC campaigns manager will now decide whether to fine part of their applications, each Tom Bogdanowicz said: Britain for failing to meet borough had to show council “LCC will be lobbying these anti-pollution targets. commitment to cycling. It’s boroughs to ensure they allocate The decision relates to requests hoped these ‘Biking Boroughs’ this funding to for temporary will lay down a framework temporar exemptions from make the the EU's air quality standards through which they’ll increase strategies for dangerous airborne spending on cycling in the dan become a particles 2010-11 financial year. partic known as PM10, the reality by which In a change from the previous whic environmental number of rentals from ce sin me working campaigners claim years, in 2010-11 all London cam he sc lib Vé ris Pa with local cause thousands of deaths boroughs will have a proportion inception in 2007 Source: City of Paris/ cyclists.” in the capital. London has of their transport budget they JCDecaux the worst wor record for nitrogen oxide pollutants among European capitals and Euro one of the worst wo for airborne particles. LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said: “The mayor could turn his problem into an opportunity to promote active, pollution-free travel such as walking and cycling. We close city centre streets successfully for mass cycling and running events like Skyride and the London Marathon, so why not do it more LUCKY DOZEN: Richmond is one of outer London's new 'Biking Boroughs' often and across a wider area?”
Outer boroughs get £25k to create bike strategies
Cycling in New York rises by two-thirds in just two years
BIG APPLE: big on bikes, though not in Central Park
NEW YORK CITY has seen a 66 percent increase in cycling since 2007, according to a survey released by the US Department of Transportation. This rise is attributed to the building of more than 200 miles of segrated and unsegregated cycle lanes in the city. 2009 saw a rise of 23 percent, which came on top of 2008's 35 percent increase. The city's also beneﬁted from a reallocation of space towards pedestrians, with several major plazas such as Madison and Times Squares redesigned with fewer car lanes.
streets, with only a small number of arterial roads retaining the higher 30mph limit. A spokesperson for the local LCC Islington Cycling Action Group said: “As well as the dramatic reduction in loss of life and serious injury, lower speed limits turn streets into living spaces not sterile stretches of tarmac. They re-create and re-invigorate communities, as well as saving lives, they smooth traffic flow and cut pollution.” LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said: “It’s surprising the mayor isn't introducing a blanket 20mph limit in residential areas across the whole city because the reductions in loss of life and injury are staggering.”
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Letters Comment, opinion, rants and raves — send yours to email@example.com Steve Melia makes an interesting case for creating car-free developments (guest column, Oct/Nov 2009 issue), but he has chosen the wrong city. While isolated (dare I say ‘exclusive’) car-free enclaves might be the only viable answer in cities where the car has a suffocating grip, 43 percent of London’s households do not have access to a car (ONS, 2007). Over the last decade this magnificent city has been reinventing itself as a great place to cycle. We need to keep making the existing streets and neighbourhoods safer for everyone. After all, people living in a car-free community would still need to share the streets with other road users to get them anywhere just like everyone else. I’m uncomfortable about LCC supporting some sort of Utopia and being diverted from its work on lobbying for solutions that can benefit us all, such as lower speed limits and permeability. Andrew Ross, email
SEEN OR NOT SEEN
Recently I was knocked off my bike by a car pulling out of a side road. Then a couple of weeks later my neighbour was knocked off his bike by a pedestrian who stepped out in front of him. Both of us sustained significant injuries. Each of us was clearly visible and we each had right of way. I'm sure it’s an experience common to all London cyclists, that drivers etc look but don't see us, or see us but somehow discount us — or think we all travel at walking speed. Isn't it time for a major city-wide campaign to educate drivers, along the lines of ‘Think Bike’ for motorcyclists a few years ago? Perhaps it could try to persuade drivers that cyclists are entitled to our space on the road and have the same rights as other road users? Is this something LCC could push for? Maggie Le Rougetel, email
LCC SAYS: Yes, LCC exists to transform London by raising the priority of cycling and to fight for the rights of cyclists on the road. 12 London Cyclist
CAR-FREE DEVELOPMENTS: like this one in the German city of Freiburg needn't be the stuff of dreams any longer
I’m somewhat surprised that last issue’s cover featured three cyclists all riding without helmets. On checking some of the past issues, this is not the first time you have done this. For a magazine/ organisation that promotes safety I strongly feel that this gives out the wrong message. I appreciate that there is mixed feedback on the value of wearing a helmet. But having had a few accidents, I can tell you that without a helmet I would have sustained serious head injuries. David Standeven, email
LCC SAYS: Helmet use for cyclists
is not compulsory in the UK and LCC supports that position. On our covers we try to reflect the real-world situation in which some riders wear helmets and others don’t. For the record, on the last cover (Dec 2009-Jan 2010) the cyclists are all wearing helmets.
POLICE BIKE BREAKING LAW
Recently coming in from the Elephant to Westminster Bridge,
I caught up a number of times with a police motorcyclist in the advance stop line zone. Dutifully, myself and another cyclist refrained from moving any further forward or worse. But I could not resist actually telling him off for sitting in the ASL. To cut a long, good natured argument short, he told me he was not in anyone's way (in fact he was being a good boy by getting out of the way) and that in any case prohibition of motorbikes in ASLs was not enforceable. So is that the green light for us doing whatever we like, as long as we don't get in the way of other road users? Sadly I did not take down his details... David Pryke, SE26
Next time you cycle to work take a look around you. What do you see? Are junctions full of cyclists raring to go on a green light? Are cycle racks always full of cycles during the day? Those of us who can remember cycling about London during the 1980s can
recall times when we were more exposed to the self-righteous attitudes of the motorist. There was even a grocer’s daughter from Grantham who believed being a motorist was something to be proud about, something which lauded a person’s ‘wealth and status’ as an active consumer. How times have changed. Now we have sustainable lifestyles and green transport plans high on the political agenda, issued from just about every local authority and government department (with the exception of the DTI). We even have a cycling mayor who’s not frightened of a few spins of the cranks or getting his hair wet, and his enthusiasm for Cycle Superhighways is commendable. However, the battle for the right to cycle safely is not over yet. Even though there has been a big increase of cycle journeys in London, we still lag way behind other European cities as far as getting new people into cycling. A paltry two percent of urban journeys are currently made by
Letters bicycle, representing more than 535,000 journeys. If half of these current urban cyclists encourage just two new people to start cycling on a regular basis and enjoy the health benefits, then we would have reached a critical mass. A goal of just four percent or even six percent of journeys by cycle would make a huge difference. When the Olympics arrive, the world will see us as a cycling city. Surely if we can put men on the moon, then we can put people on saddles — it’s not rocket science is it? Martin Ireland, Battersea
FRENCH WAR MEMORIAL
I was interested to read T Locke’s letter in the last issue. It reminded me of the headstone I spotted recently in northern France, dedicated to Private EH Toms of the London Cyclist Battalion. I also saw memorials to the Army Cyclist Corps and the Northern Cyclist Battalion. Liz Robinson, email
URBAN BIKE CONFUSION
Interesting preview of the latest machines (‘New bikes for 2010’, Dec-Jan issue), but it struck me as significant that, out of the 14 bikes shown, only four had mudguards, three had any luggage-carrying capacity and none at all had lights. It’s symbolic of the UK bike scene, I think, that what are being sold as essentially urban bikes are lacking in the three most important ancillary features. After all, it rains here a lot, commuters need to transport stuff to and from work, and it usually gets dark at night. I'm not blaming your writers
MEMORIAL: to London Cyclists
— after all, they're not responsible for what's on sale — but the producers of these machines, which simply do not have the essential equipment that an urban bike requires. I suppose it boils down to an all-too-common misperception of what urban cycling is — for most people, it’s not a subdivision of sport, but a means of transport. Richard Carter, Putney
LCC SAYS: The items you mention (mudguards, racks, lights) are considered as accessories, extras that you can add when purchasing your bike, customising with the items of your own choosing. All bike shops will ‘bundle’ those items into your original bike deal for a good price. Worth noting is that legally all bikes, even mountain bikes, must be sold with reflectors and a bell. MAGAZINE MAKEOVER
I’ve just been re-reading the last issue and it is really superb. I'm
not a graphic designer, so can’t explain why and what, but it has just got so much better over the last few issues as your new team got it going. As a past supplier of images, I shall have to ‘up my game’ to meet your new standard. And, of course, it’s not just the aesthetics, fonts etc, the information and writing is now very good. It may even start earning serious money from booksellers, as well as getting marketeers more interested in advertising in it. So congratulations to the editor, his colleagues and contributors. Lionel Shapiro, Camden
SUPPORT A CRACKDOWN
So I noticed in the Daily Telegraph that the LCC’s Tom Bogdanowicz supports the police in cracking down on cyclists who flout the law. Hello? How about supporting a campaign to crack down on motorcyclists and other motorists who go over the white line or stop in the ASL, thereby putting our lives in danger? The authorities, including the police, seem to have one law for the cyclist and another for the motorist. My office is on a one-way street. Dozens of cars a day go up it the wrong way as a short cut. Occasionally the local council parks a CCTV car to catch them. Hang on, did I say ‘catch them’? No, the CCTV car is clearly marked, so there is a constant procession of drivers heading towards the no-entry signs before changing their minds when they spot the camera. When the CCTV isn't there the lawbreaking continues. Authorities in this country are in thrall to the
motorist; they let them get away with transgressions for which we get fined. This must change. Paul Crittenden, email
LCC SAYS: The Telegraph got it wrong. Tom (and Charlie Lloyd) opposed the new Westminster plan to use ‘city guardians’ to crackdown on pavement cycling and LCC wrote to the newspaper to say so. LCC spoke out against the scheme and was cited on radio and in The Times opposing the proposal and saying that ‘enforcement of moving traffic offences needs to be carried out by trained police or police community support officers’ not ‘city guardians’ (this view has also been voiced by the government and committees in both the House of Commons and Lords). We were also quoted in The Times (correctly) as saying Westminster Council needs to improve conditions on its roads for cycle users. The Telegraph did not speak to LCC and erroneously wrote that LCC conditionally supported the Westminster scheme. LCC recognises that the vast majority of road injuries involve motor vehicles and traffic policing, which is vital, needs to prioritise those vehicles that represent the greatest danger to road users — The Times chose not to quote this in the article.
In last issue’s guest column, we mistakenly referred to the author’s late wife as his partner — we apologise unreservedly for the error in the text and the distress this has caused Anish and his family.
Read more online If you can't wait for the next issue of London Cyclist magazine, you can read daily doses of this subversive cartoon strip (based in a Wisconsin cycle repair shop) by visiting www.yehudamoon.com
London Cyclist 13
Anna Glowinski A lifetime of racing and riding inspired this month's columnist to improve the lot of female cyclists by setting up her own fashion brand nly around one-third of London cyclists are women, a fact that applies to cyclists of all age ranges. As a female I have experienced the three main things that put ladies off riding our bikes: teenage insecurity, concerns about safety and image issues. Unusually for a young girl, I started cycle racing at the age of five, my dad dragging me along to cyclo-cross races to justify his own weekly habit. I loved getting wet and muddy, often winning a Mars bar or something equally ‘awesome’. All that practice paid off and eventually I got quite good, winning a national championship at the age of 11 and going on to win a few more. Aged 15 I was a bit of tomboy, the only girl who cycled to an all-girls school. So when one day Ben, a hottie from the local boys’ school, asked me out no-one could believe it. Soon after, though, one of my teenage classmates (I never found out who) threw my bike in the school pond and I suffered the humiliating realisation that cycling wasn’t cool. After that, I went to extraordinary lengths to prevent Ben finding out my secret. There were ridiculous lies as to why we couldn’t meet when I was racing on a Sunday. The relationship eventually ended, but the die had been cast: my bike and I had fallen out of love. I took the bus to school with my squealing girlfriends and happily left all my bikes to rot. A few years later, at university, it seemed obvious to commute to Gower Street on my bmx. At that time, the cycling culture was changing, so much so I decided to give something back to the sport I had loved and lost by writing my final year dissertation on ‘Attitudes towards cyclists in London’. Then BAM! A speeding car hit my mum on her way home from a leisure cycle. While watching her learn to walk again, I decided my bike and dissertation could both go to hell.
Acquiring a new conﬁdence
Despite this, I found over time that I was still wedded to cycling and eventually conquered my fear by training as a cycling instructor. It gave me the confidence I needed to hit the roads again and now I can’t bear to think of how I rode before I had cycle training. I’d acquired the confidence, yet I still felt self-conscious. My boyfriend lives 10 miles away and it’s too yucky to routinely ride that kind of distance in non-cycling gear. But then I wouldn’t want to meet him in a restaurant in anything less than an outfit I feel pretty in. This was the impetus to
start designing cycle clothing, bringing together my understanding of performance-wear and my vanity to offer gear that is appropriate for turning up to a job interview or drinks with friends. There are several companies now making quality women’s cyclewear, but this is a product of — not a cause for — more ladies taking to two wheels. More women are
“Cycling is contagious. If a confident group of girls ride to school together, others will want to play” being encouraged on to bikes by a consistent stream of events and initiatives from campaign groups, governments, commerce, the media and the arts. Each of us plays our part in representing cycling in a positive light.
Falling in love again
And cycling is contagious; if a confident group of 13-yearold girls ride to school together, then others will want to play too. Likewise, when a woman turns up at work on her bike looking sparkly-eyed and bushy-tailed, how could her colleagues not be envious? Cycling and I are friends again: we do low-level racing together with a group of fun girls, who love to train hard on a balmy summer night and then undo all the good work with a drinking session. I’ve learned to accept cycling, warts and all. It’s true that someone I love might get hit by a car again (or it might be me); there might be a day in squelching shoes after an unexpectedly deep puddle; or I might still feel embarrassed and hurt if a group of cocky teenagers says I look like an idiot. But with all the wonderful freedom, fun and fresh air that cycling offers, how could I ever turn my back on it again?
MORE INFO For fashion tips, pics and to check out the latest product range, go to www.ananichoola.co.uk
London Cyclist 15
Don’t miss a trick in this election year Now’s the time to put cycling on the agenda for May’s local elections says Tom Bogdanowicz. Here’s an outline of what we should be pressing for...
LCC LOCAL ELECTION CYCLING MANIFESTO A third of Londoners want to cycle according to surveys. Increased cycle use offers a quick and affordable way of reducing congestion, pollution, climate change and healthcare costs. It is beneficial for the individual and for the whole community. Even those who drive cars and don’t cycle can benefit from reduced motor traffic and less pressure on car parking spaces. We would like our borough to be a leader in sustainable transport and for our roads to be the most cyclefriendly in the capital for both children and adults. To make this happen we ask you to support this manifesto.
CYCLE TRAINING FOR KIDS: should be a top priority for council election candidates
verybody knows that the national election will take place in 2010, but for London cyclists there’s another equally important election: the capital’s local council elections on 6 May. With climate change and health issues to the fore, this is an opportunity for all of us to persuade local politicians that cycling offers solutions to a multitude of local issues. Remember that under the new Mayor, local councils have much more freedom to fund, or not to fund, cycling projects. You, and your local LCC group, can make sure that candidates for
NATIONAL ELECTIONS As we go to press no date has been set for the 2010 national elections — but LCC will be working with other cycling groups to ensure that cycling is on that election agenda as well. Issues such as speed reduction, road space allocation, high motor traffic flows and car dependency are all of national importance.
councillors are aware that one in three voters would like to cycle and that many others are cycling already. By adopting cycle-friendly policies, candidates will appeal to many voters and help improve the environment for the whole community. Your local LCC group activists will already be working hard to put cycling on the agenda of election candidates. Issues such as cycle parking, cycle training, safe routes to schools, 20mph zones and highquality cycle routes all require action at a local level. You too can make a difference. Find out who your local candidates are and ask what they propose to make it easier for adults and children to cycle in the borough. Ask them if they support LCC’s Local Cycling Manifesto (right) — it highlights points that we'd like to see adopted in all boroughs but each local LCC group can adapt it based on local circumstances, especially the final two points. When you get any response from candidates, let your local LCC group know so they can pass the info on to others (www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups). And don’t forget to vote on 6 May.
TRAINING FOR KIDS Provide free on-road cycle training for all school children, free or subsidised training for adults and regular training for highway engineers and transport planners. MORE CYCLE PARKING Deliver sufficient cycle parking for staff and visitors at all council, NHS and school buildings and make it a requirement in all relevant planning applications. LOCAL ACCESS Make local cycling journeys easier by returning borough one-way systems and streets to two-way operation, or by allowing contraflow cycling. LORRY DANGER Reduce casualties involving lorries through a driver-cyclist awareness programme for all council HGV drivers and by council membership of the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (see page 20). SAFER STREETS Reduce danger, particularly to children, by setting a 20mph speed limit where people live, work and shop and by adopting a road danger reduction strategy for the borough. SOLID TARGETS Back an investment plan that will surpass the Mayor’s target of a 400 percent increase in cycling by 2026. HEALTHY STAFF Encourage council staff to cycle by signing up to the government’s Cycle to Work Guarantee scheme. EVENTS & ROADSPACE Promote healthy living by running regular cycling events such as car-free Sundays, reducing car-dependency and reallocating road space to cycling and walking. LOCAL ISSUES I Local LCC groups can add their locally-specific manifesto point here — maybe a specific junction or street that ought to be made more cycle-friendly? LOCAL ISSUES II Local LCC groups can add another locally-specific manifesto point here too — maybe a route through a park that could be made accessible?
Why save the CVEU? To ensure cyclists’ safety it is vital that the police’s Commercial Vehicle Education Unit is maintained. Charlie Lloyd examines what’s required hy has the potential disbanding of a tiny group of Health and Safety-accredited police officers been the cause of such extensive news coverage, including motions in Parliament and questions to the Mayor of London? Why are LCC and others campaigning so hard to keep the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) alive? Quite simply it’s because the CVEU — set up in 2005 as a partnership between the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London’s Freight Unit — has been tackling the serious problem of work-related road deaths in London. These include the large number of cyclist-lorry fatalities that often grab the headlines, and also the many incidents involving buses, vans and taxis colliding with other vulnerable road users.
But now the CVEU could be a victim of budget cuts by mayor Boris Johnson, even though the savings (less than £1 million) are a tiny slice of TfL’s budget cut (which runs into billions). Without TfL support port the unit could disappear in March rch of this year.
rail, sea and air transport industries invest massively in analysing every incident to reduce the risk of future casualties, danger on the roads has long somebody else’s business. been seen as someb Since 2003, it has been acknowledged acknowledge that the Health and Safety at Work Act reaches b beyond the workplace The most dangerous workpl boundaries and must work in Britain? m be applied to driving Work-related road stats drivin for work Since April 2008 , the Corporate wherever tell a story: about a third where it happens. Manslaughter Ac t ha Work-related road of the crashes that killed Work can be used whe s been in force. This re a failure to man crashes the 2,538 people on UK crashe killed over age road risk has led to a death. Pena 800 people roads in 2008 involved peo in 2008, lties could be as high as 10 percent compared drivers at work; in London, compare with 595 of annual turnov er. ‘on-site’ deaths. lorries kill about 25 people in n d London’s CVEU is the the capital each year, mostlyy only police team fully equipped to pedestrians, cyclists and motortordeal with with this this prob problem as its officers cyclists; and over 60 percentt of cyclist deal accredited as Health and deaths involve vehicles at work ork (lorries, have been accredit Executive vans, buses, cars and taxis). Whil While th the SSafety f t E ti iinspectors as well
extra deliveries. The police’s CVEU is one of few agencies capable of building a new ‘safety culture’ within road transport. As Health and Safety inspectors, CVEU officers have the right to make detailed checks of how companies operate to ensure they act safely. They can examine how all incidents are reported and followed up, and if there’s training and monitoring of staff and vehicles. The CVEU can challenge poor practice and give support to improve operations. They can issue improve-ment notices and if improvements do not take place, then companies risk a prohibition or even prosecution.
Voluntary schemes cannot replace CVEU work
WHAT THE TRAFFIC COMMISSIONER SAID: “I was surprised to ﬁnd that safety was taken much less seriously in road transport than in other modes… Since I became Trafﬁc Commissioner, around 5,000 people have died in crashes involving HGVs. Were safety in the driving cab taken as seriously as safety elsewhere in transport, a huge improvement could be achieved” Retiring Traffic Commissioner, David Dixon, 2006 christine@flickr
When challenged on scrapping the CVEU, the mayor claimed that much of its work would be covered by the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS). The flaw in this argument becomes clear when you realise that FORS is a voluntary organisation that covers only a small percentage of London haulage operators. FORS was set up by Transport for London to recognise haulage operators that meet the highest safety standards. The 200 FORS members represent the leading operators, the ones who want to be safe. For the poor performers, only a police enforcement unit like the CVEU can bring about change.
Saving the CVEU — what needs to happen
as being experts in vehicle and driving laws.
Wider enforcement needed to reduce danger
Traditional road safety policing has concentrated on illegal behaviour by drivers and the use of unsafe vehicles. Indeed, the Metropolitan Police has been addressing these issues with the aid of expert officers for many years. Extending the Health and Safety at Work Act encouraged the Met to go further and set up the CVEU. They understand that the causes of crashes often include more than illegal driving and unsafe vehicles. There are often cultural problems where drivers are encouraged to take risks: working long hours, taking phone calls while driving, going faster, and making
Campaigning by LCC and others interested in reducing road danger has increased the probability that funding might be found to replace the TfL cash. As we go to press it seems likely that a smaller but still effective team can continue its essential work. The police see the need to maintain the specialist role of its CVEU team, and for the sake of all road users, it’s hoped the money can be found.
REDUCING THE RISKS OF WORK-RELATED DRIVING:
SPEAKING OUT: on lorry safety
Every organisation where people might drive as part of their work must do “all that is reasonably practicable” to prevent casualties. H&SE guidance on managing risk can be downloaded at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ indg382.pdf
‘BikeGrid’ in Zone 1 could transform public spaces Central London urgently needs a proper cycle network — LCC has produced detailed plans about how it could be implemented quickly and for little cost David Morley Architects
GARDEN SQUARES: the BikeGrid would transform public spaces
he sad fact is there currently isn’t one complete east-west or north-south cycle route that crosses Zone 1 — and central London needs an integrated cycle network now like never before. In response to this serious problem, LCC has produced plans for how a Zone 1 'BikeGrid' could be built quickly and at relatively low cost. Speed is of the essence because summer 2010 sees the arrival of the Parisian-style Cycle Hire Scheme in the capital. There will soon be 6,000 bikes and 400 docking stations across Zone 1, with an expected 40,000 extra bike trips taken per day in that central area by business people, commuters, shoppers and tourists. As it stands, there is no plan to create an integrated route network to meet the needs of this massive influx of new cyclists, or the long-suffering users of the current road network. This year also sees the arrival of the first two of the mayor's Cycle
Superhighways, with a further ten being built between now and 2015. Under current plans, cyclists using these commuter-friendly routes will simply disappear into the 'black hole' that is the current central London ‘non-network’, often being dumped unceremoniously into dangerous one-way systems like Tower Hill. It's a crazy situation and not one that's likely to help achieve the mayor's target of a four-fold increase in cycling.
into open, safe and cheerful public spaces. Remember that 40 percent of households in London don’t have a car and Zone 1 is principally an area for commerce, shopping and tourism. There’s no reason why we can’t reallocate space to cyclists and walkers in our public squares, just like they have in Times Square in New York. The Cycle Hire Scheme and the Cycle Superhighways mean now is the time to get this done.
Action needed now!
LCC has used its considerable cycling infrastructure expertise to minimise the need to build new cycle lanes. Instead, the BikeGrid uses existing road networks, improving them by making them two-way again, with traffic-calming measures designed to prioritise walking and cycling. Chief executive Koy Thomson said: “The BikeGrid is a realistic project that could transform swathes of London from noisy, grubby car alleys
FREE PARKING: too much space for cars and other vehicles
EAST-WEST EXAMPLE: Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge Sou thw ark St Union St
Bayli s Rd
2. REMOVE RAT RUNS EXAMPLE The Cut, Upper Ground PROBLEM Streets in areas full of pedestrians (many pubs, cafés, bars, theatres) are used by taxis as shortcuts. SOLUTION Through traffic should be prevented, with many entry points to these routes blocked. Access remains for taxis picking up and dropping off, and for deliveries.
('Active Ribbon' thanks to Andrew Stuck at Rethinking Cities) “The BikeGrid would have an extraordinarily positive effect on Londoners’ mobility, reallocating streets with low motor-traffic flow into an active-travel network encouraging very high levels of cycling and walking, pushing the capital towards achieving its targets for lowering CO2 and air pollution, reducing road traffic deaths, while boosting public health. The time is right for it now.”
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4. MAKE THAMES BRIDGES SAFER EXAMPLE Tower Bridge PROBLEM For cyclists crossing the Thames there's no option of nipping down a side street, they're forced to use a small number of routes with high levels of motor traffic. SOLUTION Approach points to bridges and bridge routes themselves need cyclefriendly safety measures.
no mechanism or process for co-ordination. The nine central London boroughs decide independently where the money should be spent and, if they’re lucky, TfL can fit the bits together. The BikeGrid provides the framework within which a new process of co-ordinating investment
many Thames crossings that are dangerous to cyclists would be fixed. Transport for London has recognised there's a need for improvements to accompany the Cycle Hire Scheme, and has allocated five million pounds for what it calls 'complementary measures'. Despite the money being allocated centrally, there’s
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ZONING IN: how north-south (red) and east-west (blue) routes meet 12 Superhighways and form a linked network
3. CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAY ENTRY POINTS EXAMPLE Superhighway 2 stops at Aldgate and Superhighway 3 stops at Royal Mint Street PROBLEM Under current plans, commuters who disembark for a Cycle Superhighway will be dropped into the 'black hole' of central London's disconnected road traffic system which can include potentially dangerous one-way systems. SOLUTION Cycle Superhighway end-points must link seamlessly into Zone 1 BikeGrid.
Green spaces regenerated
As well as providing complete east-west and north-south routes for cyclists, the BikeGrid would also provide huge benefits for walkers. The project encompasses the regeneration of several garden squares, many of which are currently little more than car parks and roundabouts. LCC’s plan proposes closing many of them to motor traffic and making them places (or plazas) where people congregate, just as they did many years ago before the massive reallocation of space to the car. Property is likely to become more desirable close to the BikeGrid, and road surfaces and signage would be improved throughout, along with decreases in noise pollution and road casualties. The Royal Parks would finally be properly linked and the
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1. ACTIVE RIBBON: linking major employers PROBLEM South of the river is not over-endowed with transport links SOLUTION An integrated cycle network creates quality links all over south London. This section of the BikeGrid connects two major health nodes, St Thomas' and Guy's hospitals, and links major employers such as Ernst & Young, the Department for Health and the London Fire Brigade head office.
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NORTH-SOUTH EXAMPLE: Regent's Park to Green Park
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9. REVIVE PUBLIC SPACES EXAMPLES Hannover Square, Berkeley Square, Belgrave Square, Portman Square, Hyde Park Square PROBLEM Many of the West End's lovely open spaces have been turned into car parks and roundabouts. One-way systems encourage fastmoving traffic, discouraging pedestrian access and increasing danger and journey times for cyclists. Air and noise pollution mean walkers and cyclists visit less often. SOLUTION Close many square to motor vehicles/through traffic. Street-scape to rejuvenate them, making places people congregate. These are linked by the BikeGrid and cycling is encouraged.
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7. TRAFFIC-CALMING & 20MPH EXAMPLES Harley Street, Belgrave Street, Long Acre PROBLEM Many routes aren’t cyclefriendly, with fast-moving traffic. SOLUTION Remove roads from the motor traffic feeder system, but keep them accessible for deliveries
8. LINK ROYAL PARKS EXAMPLE Regent's Park to Green Park PROBLEM Routes through parks are closed to cycles and green spaces are not linked by a coherent walking or cycling network. SOLUTION New cycle routes join green spaces, with new entry/exit points designed where necessary, plus increased access for cycles within Royal Parks on designated routes.
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6. MAKE ONE-WAY STREETS TWO-WAY AGAIN EXAMPLES Harley Street, Brook Street, Connaught Street PROBLEM One-way streets encourage fast-moving traffic, and make direct cycle journeys more difficult; contraflows can be dangerous. SOLUTION Convert several one-way pairs (where one-way streets going in opposite directions are next to each other) back to two-way. Converting both pairs to two-way, with one closed to through motor traffic, creates cyclist and walkerfriendly routes.
and residents. Traffic-calming measures and 20mph speed limits encourage cycling and walking.
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5. IMPROVE CROSSINGS EXAMPLE Junction at Harley Street & Marylebone Road PROBLEM Intersections make cyclists follow convoluted routes or dismount to use pedestrian crossings. SOLUTION Provide Toucan crossings to allow cyclists to travel more directly and safely across major motor-traffic routes.
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NO HALF MEASURES: continuous cycle lanes needed to link network properly
The London Cycling Network Plus (LCN+) was to be a 500-mile cycle network in Greater London. It started in 2001 but most of the TfL funding stops in 2010, leaving boroughs a choice whether to complete their sections or not. Unfortunately, only about 60 percent of the project (per TfL) has been completed (to varying standards). The hardest, most expensive and (many would argue) most important sections (often on TfL roads) were left until last. The end result is an incomplete project that is far from being a ‘network’. In continental Europe most successful cycling cities boast cycle route networks and London still has the opportunity to create a basic network. New cycling projects like the Cycle Superhighways and Cycle Hire Scheme can tackle some LCN+ routes and barriers, while the Greenways programme and borough road improvements can tackle others. LCC suggests that co-ordinating new and old cycling projects could help create a basic London network and make the best of the millions of pounds already invested in LCN+.
must fit. It will require the continuation of complementary measure funds and a dedicated delivery team. In other words, this should be a special project. LCC first proposed a ‘Central Area Network’ back in 2002 and others have come up with similar schemes since. We argued back then, as we do now, that central London should have a proper, integrated cycle network and a single highway authority. We know we have backers for the BikeGrid project within TfL and borough councils are likely to welcome the plans if it draws money into their neighbourhoods and improves their streets. What cyclists need now, and what London needs, is the green light from our cycling mayor to make this essential and overdue project a reality.
The Ritz GREEN PARK
Julian Sayarer London cycle courier and former LCC volunteer Julian Sayarer completed a round-the-world ride in December. LC spoke to him about his record bid What was your official finishing time? 165 days. Minus my transit times. Guinness World Records needs to confirm a few things — for example I moved through about 12 time zones which also need to be accounted for — and we need to come up with an actual final figure. When does the clock stop — when you hit 18,000 miles (minimum distance) or when you complete your loop? When you complete your loop, as you have to start and finish in the same spot. When you’ve completed your loop it doesn’t matter if you’ve ridden 18,050 miles or 18,500 as that’s when the clock stops. For the transit sections, how does the timing work there? The clock stops when you reach the point from which you’ll be transported to the next leg. I had a GPS to verify the entire route and timings. Could you briefly summarise the route you took? I went out through Europe, across Russia and Kazakhstan to China (Shanghai), then rode down southeast Asia from Thailand (Bangkok) to Singapore. After that I rode up from the bottom of New Zealand's south island to Auckland, before flying to 24
Canada and heading along the west coast of the States to Mexico and back up to Boston. Then my final leg was from Lisbon back up to Rouen. How many countries did you visit? Twenty. So what’s needed to verify the challenge with Guinness? You need photos at landmarks, audio-visual footage, any local media that’s written about you that you can collect, witnesses to your departure and return on official letter-headed paper and stuff like that. I had a guy from the UK Refugee Council who came to witness me setting off and getting back to Rouen.
Beaumont’s record more recently, James Bowthorpe, who started a few weeks before you — did that have an impact? I don’t know if I’d have been as inspired to try and break the record if it had been James’s because he did it with little fuss, for a charity he really cares about and didn’t involve big business. I’ve read the challenge manifesto on your website and it gets quite ‘political’ — what motivated that?
What made you consider this challenge in the first place? The other guys who did it? Thinking you could do it for your own, different reasons? I’d done several big rides before and thought it would be interesting. But I did take some ‘negative inspiration’ from another guy who’d done it (Mark Beaumont) with substantial support from sponsors, including big multi-nationals who’d seemed to cash in on the idea. I thought I could do it in a much smaller fashion, for fun. But there’s another guy who beat
TOTALLY DRAINED: sheltering from the sun in Russia
Interview I just wanted the record to be on a more low-key footing, not as something that big business could have its name slapped all over. I wanted to show that it could be done without the aid of sports scientists, dieticians, masseurs and the like. I wanted to show that it could be done on a paltry budget by a ‘normal’ person.
“I wanted to show it could be done on a paltry budget by a normal person”
Your website’s name was ‘thisisnotforcharity.com’, but that doesn’t mean you’re anti charity does it? More that you weren’t just doing the ride for any specific charity? Exactly. I was involved with four non-profit organisations: LCC for whom I used to volunteer, New Economic Foundation, Tax Justice Network and CAMRA. But from a few comments left on my blog, it appears some people have read or partially read my manifesto, got the wrong end of the stick and have me down as some sort of bastard. Having said that I also heard from one guy who found out about LCC, then joined, after reading about it from my site, which really pleased me.
machine after all. Plus I’d done a few big rides across Europe, so things like the camping side were quite simple to finalise. If you’re prepared for whatever the ride may throw at you, then it’s pretty straight-forward.
A lot of people like myself might fancy such a challenge but it’s such an enormous undertaking — where do you start with the planning and logistics? And how long before you ride do you need to start preparation? For me, as I’m just a courier, the bigger problem was more about financing — my whole challenge had to be self-financed. If you have money in place, there’s visas to sort — for me that was for places like China, Russia and Kazakhstan — and some bureacracy to go through, plus the connecting flights to confirm, but there’s surprisingly little planning. And the bicycle’s a pretty simple
Did you do any specific training and have mileage targets before setting off? No, not really. I always wanted to be a pro cyclist since I was a kid so have always ridden quite hard, but in recent years I’ve been a bike messenger and rack up 70-80 miles a day anyway. In London, cycling’s my transport too so I’m probably doing 400 miles per week. I worked out that Mark Beaumont’s record averaged about 650 miles per week and I didn’t see that as too much of a step up, especially when I’d be able to ride continuously without the stop/starts you get in London. What was your biggest single tour before you did this one? I’d done a couple of rides to Istanbul and on one of those I’d ridden most of the way back too; I guess that would have been about 3,000 miles or maybe a little more. Where were your best and worst experiences on the whole loop? Did you get scared at any point, especially on more isolated stretches? To be honest I think the further you’re
CHANCE FIND: one of several deserted truck terminals in the US desert
away from people sometimes, the less reason there is to be scared. People were great throughout but I particularly loved Kazakhstan as it was the first place I’d got to that felt really remote and it was really exciting just being there. I speak fairly good Turkish, which overlaps with Kazakh, so I was also able to communicate fairly well. Just riding along and seeing a camel takes some beating. I felt safe everywhere really — in fact it was only when I got back into ‘western’ society in New Zealand, where a policeman warned me to watch out for gangs, that I even considered it. There were no worst places — New Zealand was the hardest though as the weather was horrendous and I had recurring problems with my brakes. How much rest did you manage? It wasn’t really an issue until the last three weeks when I was averaging 150 miles per day and didn’t get a lot of sleep, which was pretty grim. Did you have a lowest ebb, where through fatigue or circumstance, you questioned what you were doing? In Kazakhstan I was quite ill at one point. I think I’d eaten something dodgy and had a touch of heat exhaustion, but I ended up vomiting up all my food and slept feeling feverish, not ideal when you’ve got to climb on the bike again. Also there were times in China when my Chinese puncture repair kit failed and I had to mend eight punctures, repeatedly inflate the tyres and then just go as far as I could listening to the air seeping out. Finally when my bike arrived in Lisbon after the American leg, I found both brakes badly damaged, one rotor and one lever, and I lost the best part of a day fixing it, so I was faced with the realisation that the homeward ride to Rouen wasn’t going to be chilled, that I was going to have to ride extra long days to try and make up time. That leads nicely onto mechanicals: other than the brakes, how did the bike and components fare? I had no issues with the Tout Terrain frame at all, it proved extremely reliable but I did have big issues with the rear wheel. The original broke in California, having done three-quarters of the trip, and the guy I was staying with kindly helped rebuild it with an older rim he had in the attic. Although it worked it only lasted a couple of thousand miles to Georgia. There I got it rebuilt again, though not by a proper bike shop, and by the time
Interview I arrived in New York it had gone for a third time. I got it fixed once more by a decent shop but still the spokes kept breaking. Bit of a nightmare. What spares could you afford to carry? Not much. I always had a spare chain; I went through three on the trip. Spare tubes too. I changed tyres once in north America, which I’d planned in advance, and that was it. I did get a new chainring and rear spocket fitted in Singapore as well. That’s pretty impressive considering you covered what would be a lifetime’s mileage for some people… No, you’re right, and most of the problems happened in north America when I was trying to pick up the pace a bit. Did you weigh your bike and luggage at the start? I reckon I had 20kg of luggage. The bike itself, with its Rohloff hub, weighed roughly 15kg. What did you leave behind that you wished you’d taken? I didn’t take a spare pair of disc brake pads as I figured I wouldn’t be braking too much. But coming down an underpass in Shanghai I couldn’t stop, the pads had gone completely which proved quite hairy with the weight I was carrying. There were things, like some of the cooking gear, that it turned out I didn’t need and I was carrying a fair weight of paper for my writing too. I used four panniers, but I reckon you could do it with just two. Where was your best meal, or where you found something you’d been craving? China was great for the fresh fruit and veg, while south-east Asia had some amazing curries and fish dishes, though I surprised myself with how nice it was to find some wholemeal bread and Nutella in Singapore. How long does it take your body to recover — months, weeks? I’m not sure. I know James (Bowthorpe) had some advice to try and ride a little every day and that’s what I’ve been doing anyway as it’s my way of getting about town. Standing up for long periods, like at the Bikefix ‘welcome home’ party just before Christmas was hard work, but fundamentally I think I’m fine. Which countries did you feel were the best or worst for cyclists? Places like Kazakhstan, Russia and 26
CHINESE WHISPERS: who is this strange Westerner on a bike?
Ukraine certainly had loads of really wide roads with very little traffic which was great. While in the deep south of the USA drivers had little regard for cyclists whatsoever — there’s big pick-up trucks everywhere and they make it clear you’re not welcome on the road. In terms of attitudes to cycling, did you notice big differences between countries? Is there anything London could learn from any of the places you visited? There was definitely a different culture in most countries. To be honest it started just over the Channel in France where the culture’s completely unlike ours — there’s no great investment in cycling as such, but the people just have more patience and respect for cyclists. Compared to London where you get used to being squeezed on the streets, it’s almost embarassing sometimes in France, Italy, or even Spain, where on a climb a driver is more willing to create a tail-back than overtake and cut down your space. Even in cities like Paris, where there’s no more cyclists than London, they view cyclists more as part of the road.
LA CONFIDENTIAL: the less glamorous side of Tinseltown
“Pick-up drivers in the US make it clear you’re not welcome on the road”
What’s next for you? I want to write a good book about the challenge — that’s probably as important to me as the ride itself. I do want to ride to China again though just as a personal challenge, and the chance to ride in latin America would be good. But I don’t foresee any ‘competitive’ rides in the near future, it’s not really in my nature — I’m more of a cruiser, stopping to sample the local wine sort of rider.
THE RECORD As we went to press Mark Beaumont was still the official round-the-world record holder, with a time of 195 days. James Bowthorpe completed his ride last September in a time of 176 days, though he didn’t make any deductions for transit — his final time is still to be verified by Guinness. Julian Sayarer completed his ride in 165 days, having made deductions for transit — like James, his time is still to be officially verified.
Peckham BMXers in race for 2012 success Few Londoners are probably aware that Peckham boasts the best BMX club in Britain. Mike Cavenett visits a club with growing ambition ootball in Manchester, yachting in Cowes, golf in St Andrews; will people one day be discussing ‘BMX in Peckham’ in the same reverential tones? They might do, because BMX racing there is fast-becoming one of the capital’s sporting success stories. In a few short years, Peckham BMX has established itself as the number one BMX racing club in the UK, with a total of seven national champions. Not only that, but two out of the four
youngsters chosen by British Cycling to be in the Olympic BMX development squad for 2012 are from the club, one of whom — 19-year-old Daniel Whyte — is already European champion in the men’s 17-24 category. At its most embrionic, BMX started in southern California, where kids mimicked motorbikers by riding their pushbikes around rough dirt tracks. But the real trigger came in 1971, when Steve McQueen’s On Any Sunday featured a group of fledgling BMXers
in its opening credits — the film was a huge success and inspired a new generation of young cyclists. The latest American obsession was born.
South London scene
A decade later and the sport crossed the Atlantic, and in south London kids like CK Flash (real name Michael Pusey), founder and head coach of Peckham BMX, were riding the streets: “I grew up in Brixton in the early 80s and we used to ride all over: around the
AIR TIME: Peckham BMXers practise midweek under ﬂoodlights
streets, in the skate park, anywhere we could. Years later, when I was DJing on commercial radio, people heard me talking up BMX and they asked me to set up a club at the Brockwell Park track. The track had been there for years, but there was no focus, just people messing around.” “Then some time later, I was working with kids in Peckham at the Bird In Bush Road BMX track and the council asked me to help set up a similar club there. I said I would but only if they fixed up the track, which was in a bad way. They did and that’s how Peckham BMX club started.”
On the big stage
From these humble beginnings Peckham BMX club has grown and now comprises 35 to 45 riders at any one time, boys and girls, with ages ranging from six all the way up to 19. They compete around dedicated BMX circuits with racers in their own age groups. Training takes place five days per
week, all year round: “I just got hold of an electronic gate today, which I’m taking up to Crystal Palace later tonight. We won’t let the snow stop us. We’ll practise starting and use the bikes in the gym for some fitness work,” CK said. Since its inception in 2004, the club has risen steadily through the rankings, first winning regional competitions and eventually becoming national champions in 2009. “Last season we would put the whole team in the coach, and drive all over the UK to race and win trophies: Scotland, Hartlepool, you name it. We’ve got seven national champions now and we want to get even bigger.” Now that BMX is an Olympic sport (Beijing 2008 was its inaugural year) the stakes are even higher. Crewe’s Shanaze Reade is already a female world champion and many BMX riders, Reade included, also go on to successful careers on the track, with a few also crossing over into mountain biking. The reasons for Peckham BMX’s success are numerous. They have complete buy-in from the entire local
community, with their coach being well-known wearing his radio and club DJ hats, as well as being club coach. The club has taken the sport from the local tracks out to schools and colleges, and given it valuable exposure at community events like Southwark Youth Carnival. They’ve even been involved with the British Film Institute and had a short documentary made for the London Film Festival. Just as importantly, the club has managed to hone this steady stream of club participants into the best in the country. “When we travel to other cities people aren’t sure what to expect from these rough kids from Peckham, but they don’t get to be as good as they are from messing about,” says CK. The kids are no doubt tough, competing in a sport where physical contact and crashes are routine; however, with the aid of British Cycling, the club has instigated a high-quality training regime. This includes teaching even the youngest kids the importance of a healthy diet for building long-term sporting success. The club has certainly benefited from the personal ambition of its founder and coach though: “We took our best racers out to the United States last winter because we wanted them to race with the best. I had to decide whether to take them or buy a new car — I chose to wait on my car. Out there in Oklahoma, our boy (Whyte) reached the final with some of the best BMX racers in the world and now he’s looking at the Olympics in 2012.”
Building for the future
STAR PUPIL: Daniel Whyte and CK Flash celebrate another win
LONDON BMX CLUBS ■ Peckham, Southwark (www.peckhambmx.co.uk) ■ Burgess Park, Southwark (020 7525 1101) ■ Brockwell Park, Lambeth (www.brixtonbmxclub.com) ■ Old Dagenham Park, Essex (www.badbmx.com) ■ Lake Farm Country Park, Hayes (www.hawksbmx.co.uk)
Despite the club’s extraordinary success, there’s still frustration at the lack of a full-size BMX track in London. National and international BMX races take place on 350m-long purpose-built tracks, each about the dimensions of a football pitch, while Peckham BMX still trains on a circuit less than one third of that size. “We’ve got £60,000 to build a full-size track, but no land,” CK says. “It’s frustrating because we need it now to prepare for 2012. We’ve done all the feasibility studies and Burgess Park is where it should go, but things are happening too slowly.” He has other plans too: “I’ve written a business proposal to build an Extreme Sports Centre in London, with an indoor BMX track and I’ve just applied to Dragon’s Den to get investment for it.” Thanks to the ongoing commitment of those involved it looks like Peckham is set to grow as a centre of BMX excellence for years to come. When faced with a man as determined as CK, you have to fear for those Dragons.
Best rides in London
Markets and squares of north and east London On a ride taken from his new book, LCC’s Tom Bogdanowicz links together g some of the ﬁnest markets and squares in Hackney and Islington
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6 DE BEAUVOIR R SQUARE
This ride is based on one from the new London Cycling Guide, published by New Holland in April 2010 (£10.99). Written by LCC’s campaigns manager Tom Bogdanowicz, in association with LCC, it was inspired by the many rides organised by LCC’s local groups.
The meat market stands on the site of a 13th-century cattle market. It’s the last major produce market left in central London and is open weekday mornings. By night, this area turns into clubland, with queues stretching outside popular venues. The Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great is well hidden behind a half-timbered gateway in West Smithfield, near a little roundabout just south of the market. One of London’s oldest places of worship, dating from 1123, the Romanesque church stands next to two timber-framed 17th-century
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Upper St 8 LONSDALE SQUARE
http://www.bi maps/bike-path/ 228916
CANONBURY SQUARE Ca no 7 nb
Walk erdess Sheph
he once-outlying villages of Hackney and Islington were absorbed into the capital as Victorian developers built smart squares in the classical style from the borders of 18th-century London out to the north-east boroughs and beyond. Although wartime bombing and post-war construction destroyed many 19th-century houses, enough squares and terraces remain to make a beautiful half-day ride. As well as historic squares, the route includes thriving local markets. Sunday is the best day to visit most of these, although Broadway Market is only active on Saturdays.
ROAD MARKET 4 COLUMBIA
houses in Cloth Fair. Through the gate into Charterhouse Square there’s what was founded as a Carthusian monastery in the 14th century, but today is an old people’s home, which offers guided tours in the summer.
This fragrant and colourful destination is the East End’s best known flower market (Sundays until 2pm) where you can buy plants at knockdown prices; the later you come, the cheaper they are. Local cyclists frequent the Laxeiro Spanish restaurant (north end of the road) and the Royal Oak pub (midway). There are a few rings for bike locking in Ezra Street, but beware of theft.
Best rides in London ST MARKET 9 CHAPEL
BROADWAY 5 MARKET
■ Fox & Anchor, 115 Charterhouse Sq, EC1 ■ Brick Lane Bagel Bakery, 159 Brick Lane, E1 ■ Laxerio, 93 Columbia Road, E2 ■ The Dove, Broadway Market, E8 ■ The Marquess Tavern, 32 Canonbury Street, N1 ■ Hope & Anchor, 207 Upper Street, N1 ■ Manze’s Pie & Mash, 74 Chapel Market, N1 ■ Bhel Poori, 92 Chapel Market, N1 ■ Crown Tavern, Clerkenwell Green, EC1
CAMBRIDGE HEATH AD BETHNAL GREEN
FACTFILE Distance: 8.5 miles Location: N & NE London Terrain: mostly quiet roads, all surfaced, some cobbles Gradient: ﬂat Time: 2-3 hours London Cycle Guide: map 7 Get a map: http://www. bikely.com/maps/bikepath/228916
5 BROADWAY MARKET
Broadway Market, usually packed with Hackney residents and their bicycles, has gourmet food stalls every Saturday. The Dove pub serves meals and is a favourite with the Hackney Cyclists’ crowd. In London Fields there’s one of London’s finest open-air heated swimming pools (bike stands outside). The attractive park, where cycle events take place in the summer, is a haven for cyclists from all over London, who hold picnics, barbeques and show off their latest bikes. The annual bike breakfast held during Bike Week should be a must in your diary.
This small but lively street market (reached from the route by a passageway through the Sainsbury’s car park) has provided Islingtonians with fruit and veg for decades. Manze’s (number 74) serves traditional jellied eels, as well as pie and mash, and the all-you-can-eat vegetarian Bhel Poori (number 92) welcomes
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
hungry cyclists. Across the street from the market is the new N1 centre with shops and cinemas.
SQUARE 7 CANONBURY
Former residents of this area include George Orwell (author of 1984) who lived at number 27b Canonbury Square, Evelyn Waugh and Dame Stella Rimington (former boss of MI5). The Marquess Tavern, at the bridge over the New River, is a well-established favourite and has a generous amount of cycle parking. The Elizabethan Tower of the Canonbury estate, just off Canonbury Square, dates back to the 16th century, while next door, Canonbury House (built circa 1780) is a fine example of Georgian architecture. The houses behind it are an early example of the use of stucco.
2. SPITALFIELDS MARKET This covered market, which was saved from demolition and is now an elegant shopping area, is busy from Thursdays to Sundays and is noted for its independent stalls selling fashion, jewellery, interiors and art. Bike stands in Lamb Street. 3. BRICK LANE MARKET One of London’s bestknown markets, Brick Lane sells almost everything and is thronged on Sundays. Delicious bagels are served 24 hours a day at the two bakeries near Bethnal Green Road. Watch your bike as the area’s wellknown for stolen bike sales. 8. LONSDALE SQUARE The Tudor style of Lonsdale Square (1838) contrasts sharply with the more classical lines of neighbouring Cloudesley Square (1825). 10. EXMOUTH MARKET There are restaurants, bookshops and, on Fridays, attractive food stalls. 11. CLERKENWELL GREEN This artisanal area was once London’s Italian quarter. St James’s Church overlooks the Green and its open-air pubs, while the 18thcentury classical courthouse is now a Freemasons’ hall. The Clerk’s Well is located inside Well Court at the corner of Farringdon Lane.
BEAUVOIR 6 DESQUARE
The traffic-free bike route through De Beauvoir town is often cited as a model of good cycle access and design. Leading up to it, Albion Square features grand Italianate villas and a charming flower garden, while De Beauvoir Square itself (1838) is overlooked by a Victorian church and the surrounding buildings have a Jacobean flavour too. It was designed by Roumieu and Gough who were also responsible the neo-classical Milner Square further along the route. February-March 2010
Overseas O verseas Photos: Pál Viktor/Hursty
CRITICAL MASS: brings tens of thousands to Budapest's streets twice a year
Budapest enjoys mass bike revival Cycling’s thriving again in Hungary, explains Bencze-Kovács Virág, with its capital city leading the way in chic style and infrastructure projects n the not too distant past, cycling used to be the major mode of transportation in rural regions throughout Hungary. Like many places in the world, however, things subsided for a while. But now, building on momentum from the last decade, a thriving urban bike scene is aiming to make cycling mainstream once again, especially in the major cities. And the appeal of two wheels is nowhere more apparent and visible than in the chic capital, Budapest, already famed for its vibrant cultural life. Here it’s not just the fit and brave being encouraged to buy or hire bikes and hit the wide tarmac avenues and narrow downtown streets — there’s a place for everyone. Even though on first sight Budpapest’s streets might not appear too friendly for bikes, in fact there are 13,000 cyclists commuting on
a daily basis in the most built-up areas of the city. Recently70 kilometres of separated cycle paths have been built along main arterial roads, making cycling even more attractive. The fast-improving infrastructure provides the best way to cruise up and down beside the river Danube, with the EuroVelo Route 6 ‘riverside corridor’ leading directly through the world heritage-listed landscape on the Buda side. Within easy reach are the historic Buda castle and magnificent Buda hills, while the path also provides the most scenic route for a day trip to Szentendre in the north or Érd in the south.
Cruising the blue Danube
Pest is within easy riding distance from the Buda side too. You only need cross the Danube on Szabadság
Bridge or Lágymányosi Bridge to meet the opposing ends of famed Parisian-style Andrássy Avenue and Városliget, the Budapest equivalent of Bois de Boulogne. Cycling is even a viable option for club hopping, but you need to watch your alcohol consumption as according to the law you cannot drink and ride. The biggest organised cycling festivities are the bi-annual Critical Mass events, which happen in late April and September — these both attract tens of thousands of cyclists on to the city’s streets and spawn a host of other bike-related activity. Additionally, the Hungarian Cyclists’ Club organises a twice-yearly Bike to Work campaign and weekly Safety Rides (Bebiciklizés) where riders of all skill levels and experience can learn how to mingle with the Budapest
PLAY MISTY FOR ME: stunnning vistas within national parks
BIKE LANES: sign of growing movement
in the post-industrial town of Miskolc, only two hours by train from Budapest. Miskolc is situated at the foot of the Bükk Mountains, where pristine forest trails are numerous and tourists thin on the ground.
Head for the hills
TRENDSETTER: stylish author Virág
traffic safely and lawfully. In recent years, to move cycling up to the next step and make it more appealing, the Club has been instrumental in lobbying for modern forms of cycling infrastructure, much of which has already been constructed. Away from the capital, one of the most exciting examples of the countryside bike revival is happening
The Bükk National Park — consisting some 430 square kilometres and the highest and largest plateau in country — is home to dozens of unique animals and plants. Hundreds of kilometres of well-maintained cycle and hiking trails are open here, serviced by dozens of guests houses and hotels which provide quick access to every part of the mountains. You can easily spend a week visiting old iron smelting monuments, trout farms, waterfalls, high peaks and cool valleys. Miskolc itself also provides enough to see for a couple of days. In 2010, some 16 kilometres of new bike trails will be built, making prime tourist sites such as the Cave Bath, medieval Diósgyőr Castle and the mountain resort of Lillafüred far more viable
EASY RIDERS: on an Aggtelek tour
and simpler to reach by bike from the railway station. Should you wish to mingle with English-speaking locals, hospitable bike activists organise guided city tours and hill rides on weekends. Or if you’re more adventurous, the sort who goes out of their way to find stunning locations, then you should head for the world heritage sites of Tokaj and Aggtelek-karst, both within a day’s ride from Miskolc.
USEFUL LINKS ■ Budapest bike map in PDF: http://utvonaltervezo. eu/kepek/budapest_ bicikli_kerekparutak01.pdf ■ Bükk National Park: www.bnpi.hu ■ Miskolc general info and bike info: www.miskolctour.hu ■ Advocacy and programmes: www.kerekparosklub.hu
OUTSIDE BUDAPEST: biking holidays in the Aggtelek National Park THE METROPOLITAN CHARMS of Budapest aside, Hungary has fascinating rural terrain for cyclists. Not too hilly, but challenging nevertheless, and with no-one around to hear you scream, Hungary’s Northern Uplands — basically, the contiguous ranges of hills stretching north-east from Budapest — are well off tourism’s radar. Simon Hursthouse, English owner of cycling holiday specialists Tour Central, says: “Relishing a challenge, I moved to the Aggtelek National Park in 2005 to set up self-catering holidays for cyclists and nature lovers. One benefit of living within the protected environment of the park is that nature takes centre stage, and it’s frequently breathtaking. There’s also hardly any traffic. This is most appreciated by those starting
TOO MANY ROUTES: too little time
out on two wheels and those getting back into biking, though I’ve noticed even mile-munching riders slow down to take it all in. In conjunction with CTC Holidays, I run a week of different daily tours running to around 40-50 miles a day, though a 'Super Randonneur' tour might hit the 200-600km mark for the Paris-Brest-Paris crowd. There are good offroad trails too. And if you’re already thinking that eastern European country roads amount to little more than cart tracks, think again. EU money has recently brought some superbly resurfaced roads to the area, though thankfully, the horses and carts remain. ■ www.tour-central.com
Technical Jeremy Hughes
BEAM ME UP: reliable lights front and rear are essential
Know-how for night riders Most commuters in Britain spend half the year cycling in darkness, so David Dansky from CTUK suggests a few simple tips to minimise the risks f your bike is your main form of transport you probably find yourself regularly riding at night for at least six months of the year. There are obvious issues of reduced visibility while riding in the dark which may increase the risk in night-time cycling. In order to be more visible to other road users at night there are a variety of actions you can take to get yourself seen, ranging from your riding position to fitting appropriate lights and wearing suitable attire. The Highway Code states: ‘At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors if manufactured after September 1985)’. The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations (RVLR) expands on this explaining that ‘at night’ means between sunset and sunrise and in conditions of poor visibility. The RVLR also states that both lights and reflectors need to be clean and working properly. One light is required at the front
and one at the rear, fitted either centrally or offside (towards the right) of the bike. The front light should conform to British standard BS6102/3, and the back to BS3648 or BS6102/3 (or equivalent European standard). In 2005 the RVLRs were amended to allow flashing (LED type) lights both at the front and rear. Flashing lights must emit at least four candela
lights with a strong beam aimed at the road surface 5-10 metres ahead and angled slightly to the left so you can see the edge of the road. It is sensible to wear light-coloured clothing at night too. The Highway Code recommends ‘reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) when riding in the dark’.
Light up — it's the law
At least as important as what you wear at night is where you ride in the road. The main principle of low risk cycling, day or night, is riding in a manner and position where you can see and be seen by other road users thereby being able to communicate your presence and intentions to them. There are two main positions for cycling on road. You can ride in the middle of the lane (the primary position) or to the left of it (the secondary position). As its name indicates, the primary position is the default position to take. You are part of the traffic and are very
As long you have some lights it is unlikely that you will be arrested for riding with lights/reflectors that don't exactly meet the regulations, however CTC’s Chris Juden warns that in the event of a crash at night even a minor infringement of the regulations (such as a muddy reflector) may be considered contributory negligence. When riding around well-lit urban spaces lights make it easier for other road users to see you. When riding on dark streets or country lanes you need to use your lights to see where you are going — you should consider using
Where you ride is key
FULL EXPOSURE: one-piece lamp/battery units allow quick ﬁtting and removal
visible to drivers and illuminated by their headlights because you are right in front of them. Riding to the left of the traffic stream, in the secondary position, is a concession to road users coming from behind at higher speeds, allowing them to pass. Cycling in this position should be done only when it is safe to do so. There are occasions where you should move from the secondary to the primary position. This is called ‘taking the lane’. Places where you should take the lane include passing parked cars, passing side roads, approaching and moving through a junction, riding in a bus lane, moving through a roadnarrowing, in fact whenever you want to ensure you are not overtaken. To do so, plan well ahead and look over your right shoulder to see if it is clear. If it is clear far enough behind that no one will be affected, move right into the traffic stream. You may have to wait. Good communication and signalling should enable you to negotiate your way into the traffic stream.
Be safe, be seen
During the day it is easier to make eye-contact with drivers so you can assess whether you have been seen. Since this is difficult at night you cannot always be sure that a driver has seen you. You may need to move earlier and use gaps in the traffic stream where you have enough time to move without affecting a driver. Looking back constantly, even if not planning to change direction or line, is a way of ensuring that you draw a driver’s attention to you even if you can’t see them. If you’re wary of riding at night you may wish to avail yourself of the free or subsidised cycle training available in many London boroughs. A lesson from a professional cycling instructor can help improve your skills and confidence. Even experienced riders may learn how to ride more efficiently after training. ■ www.cycletraininguk.com
Road bikes A mid-priced road bike can give you the versatility of being both a nippy commuter and a sportive racer — here's a few options from £650 to £1,200 Boardman Team Carbon £999.99 www.boardmanbikes.com
THOSE OF YOU who follow product development will know that Boardman — owned by Olympic and triple World Champion, and World Record holder, Chris Boardman MBE — teamed up with Halfords a few years ago to launch a range of bikes. Boardman is a separate company to Halfords (a common misconception) reponsible for designing and producing the bikes, while the retail giant retains an exclusive distribution deal for the brand. The range has been almost universally lauded since its debut, so here we decided to test the sub-£1k Team Carbon which sneaks into the picture for most Cycle2Work schemes. Straight from the box you notice three things: its weight, looks and frame detailing. But as weight-watchers salivate over the meagre 8kg (medium size) and aesthetes nod admiringly at its sleek lines, the tech-savvy will appreciate what really makes this bike special: the frameset. Constructed from an ultra-light unidirectional carbon fibre monocoque — and twinned with a matching fork — it features oversized box-section chainstays, aerodynamically-shaped down-tube and oversized bottom bracket; it’s stiff (where it matters), responsive and cuts
through wind like the Batmobile. Put the hammer down and it accelerates beautifully and effortlessly; you get a jump on everyone from the lights.
Those with a keen eye will notice the tapered head-tube, hiding a tapered fork steerer and 1.5in lower headset bearing, which not only strengthens that whole area but provides crisp, positive steering. It truly is a classy piece of kit — hardly surprising as it’s essentially the same frame that Nicole Cooke rode to Olympic gold in Beijing. There’s little skimping on the
components package either. Other than the chain and cassette, the entire transmission comes from the SRAM Rival stable, Ritchey supplies the finishing kit (minus the saddle) and Continental the race treads. The gearing is more than sufficient for the London area, indeed you’ll only find yourself slipping out of the big ring if you live in the hilllier boroughs. On long outings there’s so much compliance in the frame that your body doesn’t feel like it’s been through the grinder afterwards, making it a great choice for sportive newbies as well as commuters. It’s so nimble
that bunny-hopping over unseen road debris or hazards is a cinch. Very rarely do you find a bike that you’ll want to leave wholly untweaked, but my only changes have been purely for personal preference — swapping to a slightly shorter stem and firmer saddle — so it’s hard to recommend this bike highly enough. With Boardman’s B56 ‘secret squirrel’ project promising further refinement to the range, and considering there’s a standard two-year warranty on all frames, it’s a lot more bike than you should rightfully expect for this money. If we gave ratings, it would get top marks. JK
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ROAD BIKE There's much to consider when choosing the right road bike, so here's a few quick pointers: ■ SIZE: there’s no substitute for visiting a shop and getting a test ride. There’s plenty you can change to make a bike more comfortable, but the frame's not one of them... ■ BUDGET: set a ﬁgure and stick to it. As a general rule, spending over £600 will get you a good,
upgradeable starter bike; a £1k bike should see you right for years. ■ UPGRADE: given a choice between better frame or better components, go for the frame, it’ll give you a better base on which to add upgraded components later. ■ GEARS: a triple chainset (rather than a double or compact, pictured right) will give you extra lower gears; very useful if you have hills
nearby or if it's your ﬁrst road bike. ■ SADDLE: everyone has their own preference, so look for optimal comfort and support. ■ POSITION: getting used to a typical roadie riding position (let alone riding on the 'drops') can take a while if you’re not used to it. Take your new bike out for a couple of gentle spins before trying any long or hard rides.
Cannondale CAAD9 £999
Focus Cayo 105 Ltd Edition £1,200
WITH A FRAME that weighs just 1.25kg and impressive, solid handling, the CAAD9 proves that aluminium road bikes still offer an attractive option at the £1k price point. The CAAD frameset has a distinguished history — the first model was launched in 1983 — and when you get in the saddle you quickly appreciate the smooth, grounded feel of this slim-line chassis. Around town, we found the steering accurate and responsive without being twitchy, ideal for inching between cars and avoiding wing mirror dinks. Almost as impressive for an aluminium bike, albeit with a Cannondale Ultracarbon fork, was the way the CAAD9 ironed out bumps — not as well 'damped' as other carbon choices here, but certainly in the same league. The CAAD9 finds the right
GERMAN COMPANY FOCUS launched its ﬁrst models in the UK in 2006 and has quickly gained a reputation for making some great bikes at very tempting prices. The Focus Cayo 105 Ltd Edition is no exception. In overall terms, the Cayo’s comfort really stands out. This is largely down to a cleverly-designed frame: Focus even increases tube dimensions as the frame sizes get larger, which it claims gives consistent performance across the platform. We found the Cayo delivered a ride that’s sharp and responsive, but still comfortable over long distances. On our eight-mile commute, we loved the fast take-off, and the Cole Rollen rims and 23mm Schwalbe Lugano race tyres helped us increase our cruising speed by 5mph for the same effort. The Cayo’s design allows you to apply power in comfort, when you need it, without forcing
emphasis between frame and components. Like most in its class, gearing’s courtesy of a 9-speed Shimano Tiagra transmission, with either a compact or triple chainset available for the same price. Cannondale also offers a version with 105 or Ultegra, and this isn’t a bike you’ll have any qualms about upgrading. Cannondale has also stuck to Shimano for the wheelset, wrapping them in Schwalbe’s performance Lugano 23mm tyres. The CAAD9 proved something of a revelation, maybe just the bike that could win carbon converts back to aluminium. MM
Specialized Secteur Sport £650
Trek 1.5 £800
THE SECTEUR FRAME is a less-expensive aluminium version of the carbon one used in Specialized's Roubaix series and this Sport model sits towards the cheaper end of a four-bike Secteur range. It has a fairly upright riding position, and Zertz inserts in the seatstays and forks help provide some cushioning on the road. Highlights of the spec include a carbon fork, Alex rims and a sprinkling of Shimano Sora and Tiagra components, though the rest is fairly vanilla. Nevertheless,
this is still an entertaining ride, more than happy to eat up those country miles despite never being ultra-quick off the mark, or super-sharp under braking. Around town, it’s manoevrable enough to inspire confidence and feels solid enough on London’s patchy road surfaces. Rack and mudguard mounts reinforce the impression that this will make an excellent commuter machine. In fact the Secteur will suit both long or short hauls without breaking the bank or the back. MM
ALTHOUGH IT’S ONE of the least expensive bikes here, the Trek 1.5 is a very attractive proposition if you’re buying your first road bike and need a nippy town hacker that’s also good for fitness training. On some short to mid-length commutes, we found it was a handy little performer and its understated, clean lines turned quite a few heads. While the Alpha aluminium frame is obviously heavier than a carbon equivalent, a Bontrager carbon fork and seatpost help keep the weight down to 9.4kg, which meant we had no problem getting the 1.5 up to speed quickly. We tested the triple-
you into an unbalanced position. That also means it's easy to change hand position on the FSA Vero Comp handlebars; even sprinters won’t ﬁnd these too deep. The Shimano 105 10-speed gears are well enough spaced to maintain a decent cadence on climbs and rapid progress on the ﬂat, while the hours spent on the Concept Extreme saddle were among the most enjoyable we've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Speed freaks might ﬁnd the geometry a little relaxed, but that comes into its own on longer rides. For a 'budget' carbon bike, the Cayo's a great performer. MM
chainset version of the 1.5 which mixes mainly Shimano Tiagra gear with a SRAM cassette and gave us a nice range of lower gears for our local hills. You may have to reach a little for the deep drops on the Bontrager SSR VR bars, but they’re solid and don’t flex if you need to put your back into a spot of honking. Trek’s also stuck to its in-house brand for the alloy rims which so far have proved straight and reliable. The brakes — while not quite as powerful as some others tested here — are still effective. In short, the 1.5 is a great value, versatile all-rounder. MM
Panniers Rucksacks and panniers both have their merits for commuting, but here we focus on the latter with a review of ﬁve new models and an ultralight rack Ortlieb Downtown £110 www.ortlieb.com Pitched at anyone who needs to take a smart bag into the ofﬁce, the Downtown beneﬁts from a softer, more rounded design than most. The good news is that this pannier's also as tough and no-nonsense as you’d expect from Ortlieb; touches like reinforced corners and feet are select highlights of a robust build that weighs just 1.5kg. Like the Michaud, it attaches to racks at an angle so you’re less likely to kick it as you pedal. Heavy-duty waterprooﬁng keeps your A4 documents, 15in notebook or spare clothing dry in a 12-litre interior, though the sleeker look means there’s no reﬂective strip at the back. It's wellfeatured for the money and, if you're the suited and booted type, it won't cramp your style. MM
Knog Dry Dog £99.99 (17in)
Arkel Dolphin 32 £108 (pair)
Basil Jada-Mirte £43.99
Easily the highest capacity pannier here, the 40-litre Dry Dog is also impressively lightweight. A 840-denier backlined fabric, roll-fold flap and heavy-duty fasteners keep your stuff dry as a bone. The Klickfix fixings are limpet-tight, but make sure you place the pannier carefully so your heel doesn’t hit it while spinning the cranks. Inside, the mesh magazine pouch and 17in laptop pocket are practical ways of organising the space. We do have a couple of minor quibbles though. The top flap is in three sections joined with high-viz piping, and one of these split after about a four weeks’ use. The shoulder strap is also a fairly complicated and heavy affair, so we didn’t tend to carry it. But these are small niggles in an otherwise impressive performer that’s big enough to swallow the kitchen sink. A 13in laptop pocket model is also available for £89.99. MM
Arkel isn’t as well known as some pannier manufacturers, but the Dolphin 32 has proven a great all-rounder with its simple, no-frills design. We found the large external open pocket useful for storing a spare layer, and the zipped waterproof external pocket ideal for wallet and keys. The 16-litre internal capacity is waterproof thanks to 400-denier ripstop nylon which you can weld, sew or tape if it tears. However, fixing the pannier to your rack is a little awkward — the hook and strap that secures the bottom of the pannier takes time to get the hang of. The solid back makes this set fairly hefty at 1.9kg each. But if you’re after good value and reliability for commuting and touring, the Dolphins are an excellent choice. MM
‘Excuse me, where did you get your pannier?’ — it’s not a question you often hear one female cyclist ask another. But we’ve heard it about the Jada-Mirte on a few occasions. It’s easy to see why — its 16-litre, unpartitioned capacity was made to shop. It puts Dutch elegance, an attractive and understated design and a comfortable-to-carry shopping bag style into one water-resistant package. When it’s off the bike, it’s almost impossible to pick out as a pannier. Zipping up the fixing cover leaves only a small reflective strip to give away the Jada-Mirte’s cycling allegiances. It isn’t intended for heavy loads or bumpy roads — the fixing system won't take the punishment — but if you want to turn heads on a shopping trip, it’s for you. LL
Tubus Airy rack £135 www.tubus.com Tubus, like Blackburn, has a well-deserved reputation for making durable bike racks. However, the company’s latest offering, the titanium Airy is aimed at weight watchers rather than long distance tourists. At just 222g, the Airy must be the lightest ever made. The mounting hardware adds another 50g or 90g depending on whether you use one or two rods. The rack is designed to carry 30kg, a third more than its steel
equivalent. For good measure I sat on the Airy and it survived my 70 kilos. The catch, of course, is that this rack makes your wallet a lot lighter too — at £135 it works out at 60p per gram, but that won’t stop the titanium enthusiasts demanding one. TB
Michaud24 panniers £200 (pair) www.michaudapparel.com The poshest panniers here by a mile, the Michaud24s brings a little French élan to commuting luggage. The 20-litre business pannier, weighing 2.2kg, has space for cards, pens and comes with a leather laptop/ document sleeve. The matching 25-litre, 1.9kg leisure pannier has a front pocket that will hold the head of your squash or tennis racket; you can clip both together to use for weekend trips. The luxurious lining’s only currently available in merlot, but Michaud plans to launch other colours soon.
To attach the Michaud24s at the forward-facing angle, just drop the clips over your rack and, if the heavens open, pull out the rain covers from underneath. Stylish enough for the smartest ofﬁce, versatile and practical, the Michaud24 has the luxury market sewn up. MM
Product Security, lighting, sticky rubbers and tasty clobber — we've got it covered Kryptonite Modulus £34.99 www.madison.co.uk
Fresh from Kryptonite is this modular locking system, which can be used with either two 1.07m ‘noose’ cables or a single 1.8-metre cable, to secure your bike pretty much anywhere. Other than the cables there’s two components to the package: a ‘lock-head’ and a mounting bracket. The bracket can be screwed into bottle-cage mounts if your bike has them, or strapped to one of its tubes, including the seatpost; the lock-head then quickly snaps into this bracket and can be left there permanently. I went for the first mounting option, using my bike’s seat-tube braze-ons
which offered most versatility with different types of bike stand, and simply carried the cables in my pack or pocket. The two-cable option meant I could secure frame and back wheel to one end of a typical stand and the front wheel to the other, effectively like having two locks in one. I’d have preferred an extra 30cm on these cables in some tighter situations, but then again you can simply release the lock-head from the bracket if you need that little bit of additional reach. This sort of lock is only suitable on its own in areas of low-mid bike theft and should
Continental Top Contact £39.99
Nathan Cyclops £8.99 Nathan Magnetic LED £12.99
Sugoi HOV jacket £90
Originally developed as a hardcore touring tyre, the Top Contact series has now been expanded with numerous sizes and options that are equally suited to the demands of London commuting. Beneath the grippy tread there’s two layers of Vectran fabric to combat punctures — I haven’t had a flat on these in four months’ use — but should you flat you’re covered by a Safety System Guarantee for one year from date of purchase (keep receipt) — yes, they'll give you a free tyre if you puncture! I dropped 15psi below Conti's recommended 70psi in the recent snows and found traction to be very impressive. A reflective sidewall stripe enhances your visibility at night and you also get a free inner tube with each tyre. JK
Two takes on the bike light from the same brand. The rubberised Knog-a-like Cyclops clips easily to your bar or seat-tube, with static or flashing modes. The Magnetic LED, with its ‘Share The Road’ logo, attaches to clothing or backpacks, and has a replaceable battery that should last up to 150 hours. Both should keep you visible for
Sugoi was one of the first companies to produce an urban clothing line to sit alongside regular road/mtb staples and this jacket is part of its HOV (Human Operated Vehicle) collection. Styled and cut more like a casual jacket with the collar, shoulder and hem detailing, it’s not lacking in technical features either. The softshell fabric is windproof and water repellent, with a stretchy feel that allows a great range of movement in the saddle; subtle reflective patches, front and rear stash pockets, fold-down splashguard and press-stud hem adjuster are all neatly conceived too. Sizes: S-XXL. JK
still be coupled with a heavyweight D-lock in the worst areas. But for convenience, portability and short stops (eg
the best part of a mile. No problems with the Cyclops in use, but its cheese-shaped stablemate slipped or was knocked off fairly regularly. JK
Endura Zyme shorts £29.99 www.endura.co.uk As well as this urban warrior camo, the Zyme comes in subtler grey (which we’ve been wearing most) or olive colourways. The material’s a prewashed easycare nylon that looks a lot like faded denim close up, but a special ﬁnish has been applied to keep you comfortable and
dry. A double seat and heavy-duty double/triple stitched seams will appeal to harder riders or mountain bikers, plus there’s adjustable hems and waistband (or belt loops if you’d prefer). You can also clip in a pair of Endura liner shorts (not included). Doesn’t stand out as a bike short down the pub either. Sizes XS-XXL. JK
when you’re in a café and the bike’s still in view), it’s proved pretty handy. The single cable pack is available for £29.99. JK
Culture Glossy guides, travelogues, biogs and coffee-table tomes reviewed Andrew Edwards & Max Leonard
FO A CYCLING FOR sub-culture whose sub re-emergence has been rebubbling away for a bu handful of years now, it’s ha perhaps surprising that pe there’s not been a decent th book bo about fixed-gear bikes bi — and the fashion scene they’ve inspired — until now. You can scarcely look at any media today without a ‘fixie’ putting in an appearance somewhere, whether in editorial or advertising, so this glossy tome by a pair of Brighton-based enthusiasts is extremely timely. The first half of the book charts the rise of the fixed-gear bike from its omnipresence in the late 1800s, through its days as a stage-racing thoroughbred and track icon, to the style statement popularised by couriers in 1970s New York. The second half concerns itself with the modern ‘scene’, notably in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and London, with further chapters focusing on freestyle riding, roller racing and bike polo. The layout’s crisp and the photography throughout — including the archive stuff — is consistently brilliant.
Cycling in the UK
IN A NUTSHELL this is a 272-page 'selected highlights' guide to the 12,000-mile National Cycle Network, featuring around 50 mostly traffic-free routes of about 10-20 miles in length. It’s a book squarely aimed at family daytrippers and novice cyclists. It divides the UK into nine geographical regions and each offers between four and seven described routes. The London section features rides that will be well-known to all but novice cyclists. Each route is covered over a couple of spreads and, despite its large format, the info provided is fairly typical of most pocket-sized guides; the main difference being larger fonts and larger, well-chosen photographs. For each route, there are a number of maps to guide you, though annoyingly many of these have been rotated 90 degrees. 42
Highlights for me include successive personal accounts from velo legends Eddy Merckx, Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree on their struggles to break the world hour record; a genuinely insightful look at Japan’s hugely competitive and highly accomplished Keirin race schools; and, for the aficionado, nostalgic exotica from the likes of Rih and Rotrax. The 80s attire of 'Fast Eddie' Williams
This might save space but it won’t help navigation. As well as the maps and descriptions there's useful details on potential pitstops, nearby stations and bike hire (when it’s available). There’s also detailed data on terrain, including distance in miles and details of the severity of any hills. In short, it makes planning a day out a formality. A useful extra are the seven short sections that offer ideas for rides for those with a particular interest — for example bird-watching, coastlines or National Trust properties. Other than as eye-candy over the winter, this isn't a book for the experienced. However, it should prove more than inspiring to novices or friends you've been trying to convert. MC
should also be mentioned in despatches. Bike nuts like myself will probably read it from cover to cover, others simply pore over the images — either way it’s money well spent. JK
SOME MIGHT CALL him arrogant, aloof or even cock-sure, but one thing’s for certain: Mark Cavendish is the most exciting and fastest sprinter in world cycling. Boy Racer is about how he developed from fat wannabe riding in car parks on the Isle of Man to becoming a multiple Tour de France stage winner. Expertly ghosted by journalist Daniel Friebe, Cavendish’s story is of a prodigious athleticism, realised as much through bloody determination as through innate talent. The book describes candidly his fascinating journey from British Cycling’s academy system, focused on track success, to becoming a pro with one of the leading road racing teams, T-mobile. There are terriﬁc descriptions of his four stage wins in the 2008 Tour, followed by Olympic disappointment in Beijing, and his subsequent victory at the Milan-San Reno race, one of the sport's 'holy grails'. Refreshingly, Cavendish tells it like it is. He wears his emotion on his racing jersey, evidenced by spats with team personnel and rivals. It also opens the window on cycling team dynamics, the inﬂuence of his mentors, the pro peloton, and intense loyalty from team-mates. His shunning of modern cycling’s ﬁxation with sports science in some ways harks back to the Merckx era. The man clearly knows his own mind and what works for him. If Mark’s cycling career had stopped in 2008, where this book does, then he'd already be a great cyclist. However, at just 24 years old and with another 23 race victories in 2009, it’s pretty much guaranteed that this is only volume one of a very exciting series. Matt Mallinder
A Bit Scott-ish
THIS IS MIKE Carden’s second book, another entertaining travelogue covering a 14-day, 500-mile journey through the heart of Scotland. There are no photos, though the occasional line-drawing does punctuate the 200-plus pages. Carden is knowledgeable about local history, and his enthusiasm for this topic shapes his route and provides colour to the journey. That’s not to say the book is dry; rather the tone is lighthearted and the writer’s charm is usually adequate to pull you along as he bumbles through his adventure, though don’t expect
the insight of Bill Bryson or the invention of Tony Hawkes. Even though the literary devicee (at least I hope that’s what it is) of the author having conversations with his bike — the ‘Scott’ in the title — becomes a little wearing, the writer still comes across as a thoroughly affable bloke. Overall this one's probably more of a blended Scotch than a 20-yearold single malt. MC
Cycling Home from Siberia Rob Lilwall £10.99 AUTHOR ROB LILWALL was a geography teacher who decided the wilds of the capital’s classrooms weren’t thrilling enough for him, so he boarded a plane to Siberia with his bike and travelled 35,000 miles back home over three years. His journey takes in epic escapades across the Far East, Papua New Guinea, Australia, south-east Asia and the Middle East, ending with the brief mention of a more comfortable jaunt through Europe. This large format 350-pager feels suitably hefty in the hand and there are 16 pages of photos to illuminate the experience,
along with a few helpful maps. Lilwall writes well, striking a ﬁne een balance between sharing the emotional ﬂuctuations of the journey, but without over-aggrandising his efforts. The author's Christian faith is apparent throughout, but it shouldn't feel cloying to the uncommitted and doesn't impinge on the generally excellent storytelling. If you enjoy insights into cultures and personalities in far-ﬂung destinations, you’ll enjoy this merry romp. MC
Cycling is My Life Tom Simpson £8.99 THIS IS A RE-ISSUE of Simpson’s autobiography, first published in 1966, the year before his death. Many cycling fans will know the story of the death of this exceedingly talented road racer who tumbled from his bike near the summit of Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France, his body wrecked by exhaustion, amphetamines and alcohol. It’s a fairly slight tome, at 180 pages, but includes 12 pages of black and white photos. The man’s Durham childhood is covered briefly, before the book embarks on an entertaining ride through club, international and
professional achievements. The writing is strong and Simpson gives a good account of the ups and downs of being a paid athlete, though you can’t help ponder the experiences — his unmentioned problems — that are missing from the story. It's certainly a good read, but the excellent biographies of Simpson by William Fotheringham and Tim Sidwells are, inevitably perhaps, more illuminating than the man’s own words. MC
Josie Dew ne of the many benefits about going everywhere by bicycle is the things you find lying in the road. Recently I came across a stash of teaspoons in the verge not far from where I live. This wasn’t a heap of teaspoons found in one singular stash, but I spotted a spoon one day and a couple of days sing later later I found another one much further up the road. Then a few days aft after er that I picked up another three all flung far apart from each other. By the time no more teaspoons were found, I had enough to stock a small canteen. Over the years I’ve come across all manner of interesting rubbish scattered at the roadside. A lot of it can be very useful — hats, gloves, reflective jackets, spanners, allen keys, monkey wrenches, hammers, tape measures, map books, karabiners, bungee cords, coils of rope, gaffer tape, masking tape, penknives, padlocks, torches, spade heads, sunglasses and bookshelves. Other things can be excessively useful — like money. People always seem to drop large and small denomination coins in the road. Occasionally you come across the odd note. Once in the Lake District I found a twenty in the middle of nowhere. Another time I was cycling along, heading for the Humber Bridge, when I spotted a black wallet loaded with fat wads of cash and credit cards. Instead of sleeping in a cold wet tent, I was suddenly visualising five-star luxury in a hotel in Hull. But not wanting to be struck down by a hand from above, I instead set about hunting for the wallet’s owner. Eventually I succeeded and was rewarded with a hefty reward from said wallet.
Strange what you ﬁnd...
What isn’t such a rewarding find (unless you like to pick it up and take home to eat) is the roadkill. In this country it tends to be pheasants, pigeons, squirrels, rabbits, rats, badgers, blackbirds, songbirds, foxes, deer, stoats, weasels and the occasional mole hedgehog, frog, toad and adder. In New Zealand the most prolific roadkill were possums. In Sweden it was moose; in Lapland, reindeer. Depending where I was in North America it was either chipmunks, prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, beavers, bobcats, skunks or, once in Vancouver Island, a black bear. In Japan it was mamushi or habu (poisonous snakes, some the size of drainpipes) or wild boar. In India it was monkeys, wild dogs or humans (I came across a fair number of fatal car crashes). One of the most memorable roadkill sightings was in North Africa. Not long after I’d left school at 16, I was cycling in Algeria when I came across some men and a truck roughly resurfacing a w road. ro A dead dog lay in front of them, but instead of scooping up the fly-ridden in corpse, they simply layed Tarmac co right over the carcass, creating ri a very interesting undulation in the middle lane. ■ Josie Dew has written se seven books about cycling ar around the world. Fo For details see www. josiedew.co.uk
February-March June-July 2010 2009
Survive a charity ride Don’t put off your big ride ambitions says Ann Kenrick. They’re also a great way to get the whole family cycling — and fundraising — together French motorbike outriders to push you up the worst of the hills. One of the great things about the actual ride is the camaraderie and the friendships that you strike up en route. People from all sorts of backgrounds are doing it for all sorts of reasons: one girl’s parents had died recently and were originally from the Pas de Calais and she wanted to remember them in that way; and a photographer had got married in his sixties, and now had two young children and a wife in her thirties, so he was using the ride to motivate himself to get fit.
A ﬁnish to savour
PERSONAL TRIUMPH: reaching the Arc de Triomphe
y love for charity rides started four years ago when my eldest daughter was coming up to her sixteenth birthday, and I saw a poster encouraging people to bike to Paris and raise funds for the Royal British Legion. I have always loved cycling and thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate her birthday. I rang the RBL to see if we could join their ride; the chap on the other end of the phone was friendly, but asked tactfully if either of us had ever ridden 70 miles in a day. No, was the answer, so we abandoned the idea of doing it then, but I signed up myself for the following year. Four years later and I’m doing it for the third time with my husband and, for the first time, with our 18-year-old son Milo. On our ride we had to raise £800 each for the Royal British Legion (on top of the £500 for accommodation, travel and support), and we threw ourselves into it as a family. Our
various efforts included sending our friends packets of poppy seeds and asking for donations; organising a Pedal To Paris party with fantastic tombola prizes; and holding a girls’ jewellery-swapping party. You don’t need to be particularly fit when you sign up as long as you’re prepared to follow a training schedule for six months (see below). It’s a long way — almost 300 miles in four days — but many people come to it as novices and leave accomplished cyclists.
Something for everyone
There are three ability groups on the ride: the social group, which averages 10 miles per hour; the medium group at 14 miles per hour; and the scary fast group who fly past the rest of us in a peleton at who-knows-how-many miles an hour. The RBL team carry all your luggage, sort out any bike problems and there’s a support van if you need a lift, or there’s the option of a firm hand on the back from one of the
The ride itself involves several early starts, and we set off from Camberwell at 6:30am on the first morning to join 170 others on the nine-hour 80-mile leg to Dover. From there, we took a ferry to Calais, from where the ride passes through beautiful French countryside and the towns of Abbeville, Beauvais, ending at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Riding with the RBL is great because every village celebrates your arrival, and it’s touching to mingle with the anciens combattants and sing the Marseillaise before you set off each morning. The last day is a bit different, with everyone aiming to arrive at the Arc de Triomphe at the same time, which we just about do, each of us cursing the cobbled streets but feeling on top of the world in what turns out to be glorious sunshine. The final bonus is eating as much as you want during your well-deserved slap-up dinner in Paris, knowing you’ll still probably lose an inch off your waistline. ■ Ann Kenrick OBE is an LCC Trustee and author of Let Me Out: How to enjoy the school run. For a rides calendar, go to www.lcc.org.uk/rides.
LONDON TO PARIS: training for 300 miles in 4 days ■ 6 months to go: minimum of 60 miles per week. ■ 3 months to go: up the total to around 75 miles, including a longer ride of at least 40 miles. ■ 1 month to go: 80 miles per week, with one 40-miler. ■ 2 weeks before: drop to around 50-60 miles per week, with a maximum of 30 miles in any single ride.
Members’ page LCC is nothing without its members — your help can make a big difference, so here’s ﬁve suggestion on how to get involved 1 Volunteer with LCC ■ Communications Intern Looking for a career in journalism or PR? LCC is seeking a volunteer intern to help with getting our message across to Londoners, cyclists, decision-makers and the media. We’re looking for someone with excellent writing skills, a passion for cycling, and bags of commitment. The intern will assist the communications officer, working across the LCC website and magazine. We can provide on-the-job training and fantastic opportunities to enhance your CV. Priority will be given to those with previous journalism or PR training or experience. Hours are negotiable. ■ Fundraising Researcher LCC is looking for an enthusiastic volunteer with experience of fundraising for campaigning organisations for trusts and foundations to support our fundraising team. For further information on either role, please contact membership officer Matthew Dunton at firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Make a donation
3 Make sure you’r pt up-to-date with thee lake te st cycling news!
The LCC e-newsletter gives you the latest campaign news, events information and special me mber offers. If you’re not gettin g it you’re missing out. To recei ve the e-newsletter, email your em ail address and membership num ber (if applicable) to membership@ lcc.org.uk
2 Tell us your story We want to hear from you if you have an iinspirin i i g LCC story. Do you love volunteering with LCC? If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident have you had to make use of the third party insurance or legal advice? Have the membership beneﬁts saved you lots of money? Or has an LCC campaign success really helped you? If you have a story you would like to share with other LCC members on this page please email Matthew at email@example.com
■ Car manufacturers in the UK spend over £500 million per year on advertising their products. It’s impossible to find out how much the oil and motor industry pays its lobbyists in Westminster, but you can guess it’s in the millions. These are the resources LCC battles against to make sure cyclists are heard. £10 — pays an LCC volunteer’s expenses. Volunteers are crucial for LCC they support at events enabling LCC to spread vital campaigning messages. They also work closely with the LCC team on major campaigning and fundraising projects. £50 — enables LCC to communicate its campaigning messages and give out information on cycling to over 11,000 Londoners £500 — LCC to attend an environmental or industry eve event spreading our campaigning messages an and disseminating cycling information. information ■ www.lcc.org.uk/donate www.lcc.o
5 Recruit a friend
We are deter determined to make 2010 our greatest year ever and we need your help. If each one of yyou can persuade one friend to collective voice will become even join, our coll stronger. Throughout 2010 we’ll be letting you know on this page exactly how many members you have recruited. new membe You can start now by emailing your friends a link to frie our membership pages pag where they will wil find details of the t benefits of supporting LCC. sup Point Po them to www.lcc.org.uk/ ww membership me
LCC members can enjoy up to 15% off bikes, parts and servicing at over 120 Greater London bike shops — visit www.lcc.org.uk/discounts for a clickable map and shop details February-March 2010
Community cycling It’s been a busy 12 months for the community team, so here’s a quick look at three projects that have thrived over that period n 2009, almost 3,000 Londoners participated in cycling activities funded by the Community Cycling Fund for London (CCFfL), which is administered by LCC staff. The fund typically supports community projects encouraging harder-to-reach groups to take up cycling. The three projects shown here illustrate the diversity of the schemes, but all use the psychological and physiological benefits of cycling in a social situation to improve people’s lives.
HOW IT WORKS LCC is influential in spreading cycling culture to harder-toreach communities in London. TfL and the Big Lottery’s Community Cycling Fund for London awards grants of £5,000 and £10,000 from an overall total of nearly £250,000. There are two funding rounds in 2010. Contact the community team for more information.
FOR INFO Contact the Community Cycling team: ■ 020 7234 9310 (option 4) ■ firstname.lastname@example.org ■ www.lcc.org.uk/community
Innovative scheme gets Ealing Bike recycling parents back in the saddle can help the ■ PROJECT Ealing Cycling Campaign’s ‘Back on your Bike with Children’ ■ PURPOSE Encouraging young families back on to bikes ■ AWARDED £4,009 (CCFfL) ■ ACTIVITIES Free loan of equipment for transporting young children on bikes Many parents give up cycling when they have kids, so to get them back on their bikes, Ealing’s local LCC group has launched a scheme to select and loan child seats, trailers and equipment to parents.
Almost 30 people have signed up so far. Fiona, a mother with a young son, said: “My son Jeremiah absolutely loves it — so much so he goes to sleep talking about the bike and can’t wait to get washed in the morning to get back on it.”
Estate’s week of cycling fun encourages social interaction
■ PROJECT Servite Houses housing association, Wandsworth — community bike week ■ PURPOSE Encourage estate residents to cycle and promote cycling as a means of transport, healthy living and social interaction ■ AWARDED £4,000 from the Community Cycling Fund for London and Big Lottery
Servite Houses’ summer of promoting cycling culminated in a fantastic week of cycling activities over the October half-term. Expert mechanics from GoByBike came along to help residents fix their bikes and teach those with no previous experience basic maintenance skills. The week ended with a Halloween ride followed by a party. Sarah, one of the project volunteers, was overjoyed with the results: “I think it’s probably been one of the best things we’ve done here. All of the kids had a great time and they’ve all come away with their own bike, which they can use with the other kids to build friendships.”
■ PROJECT Islington Margins On the Streets ■ PURPOSE Building self-esteem and practical skills for homeless people in the community ■ AWARDED £4,300 (CCFfL) ■ ACTIVITIES Bike maintenance and restoration bikes, plus all-ability cycle training The Margins project runs bike maintenance and restoration sessions for vulnerable homeless people. Learning new skills enhances participants’ self-esteem, provides practical help for mobility and creates potential employment opportunities. Plans are to expand the project with a bike recycling business incorporating a shop and a café with bike parking. One project participant, Belinda, said: “The workshop was brilliant. Having known nothing about bikes, I now know an awful lot, and I’m so pleased to be getting one myself next week.”
There are up-to-the-minute listings about local maintenance classes at http://tinyurl.com/LCCmaintenance
Local Group News Find out more at www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups BARNET www.barnetlcc.org
Before our group pre-Xmas lunch at a local restaurant we always like to have a proper ride to whet our appetites and, by a miracle, this time it didn’t rain and we only had one puncture. So it was a great success with prizes for the best decorated bike and rider. ➤ The massive Brent Cross redevelopment plan was finally approved by Barnet Council at the end of last year. Like many others, we have grave reservations about the scheme. Ours focus on the potentially enormous increase in traffic, inadequate cycling provision in general and still no effective way of crossing the North Circular Road by bike. However it may be that because of the size of the project the decision will be ‘called in’ for an inquiry by the relevant government minister. ➤ The Feb evening meeting will look at Spring bike checks. ➤ The March meeting will also be the AGM. Do you approve of the way the group is being run? Or are you full of ideas how it could be run better? If the latter, how about putting your name forward to join the committee. Either way don’t be put off attending the meeting because we won’t ‘volunteer’ anyone who would rather not be. After the official AGM bit we’ll either be having a discussion on campaigning issues, highlighting the worst/best cycling locations in Barnet, or showing some cycling films. MEETINGS: last Thursday of the month, 8pm at Trinity Church Hall, Nether Street, N12 7NN. CONTACT: Jeremy Parker, 020 8440 9080
Brent Cyclists have held their first two drop-in maintenance workshops at the Paddington Arts Centre. The first session attracted 12 cyclists, with one satisfied customer declaring it an "excellent initiative" that she would 50
GATHERING OF THE CLAN: Barnet Cyclists set out on the annual Xmas ride
recommend to her friends. Check our website for details of future sessions. ➤ There have been no significant cycle scheme developments recently, but we continue to respond to minor traffic consultations, which currently include School Travel Plan consultations — typically these tend to be introduced by a statement that they are intended to encourage cycling (and walking) to the schools, but then contain no real pro-cycling measures, or worse, anti-cycling measures. A classic case recently occurred when a new one-way street was proposed by such a plan to reduce congestion near the school. We objected, pointing out that ‘solving’ congestion in this way would just encourage more car use. ➤ A draft strategy has been produced for Brent parks which says encouraging things about the desirability of cycling in the parks (currently almost entirely banned) and proposes some routes we also want to see. Unfortunately, it does not clearly identify funding or timescales. ➤ At our March meeting, author Ken Worpole of London Cyclist column fame will be coming to
talk to us — see you there. MEETINGS: 7.30pm (preceded by business meeting at 6.30pm) on Tues 2 February, Weds 3 March, Tues 6 April, at Samaritans Centre, 1 Leopold Road, NW10 9LN. CONTACT: Ian Saville, 07949 164793; coordinator@brentcyclists. org.uk
Bromley Cyclists wants to show novice cyclists how many places there are to ride on quiet roads
and shared-use pathways in the borough. As a part of this strategy, we have pioneered the Bromley Woodlands Ride, a remarkable route of 20 miles in urban Bromley, but almost entirely along quiet trails and traversing urban parks. Check website for the next outing of this clever ride. ➤ A spectacular Bike Week event is being planned for Norman Park on 19 June — put that date in your diaries now. ➤ We would like to find a Cycling Champion among borough councillors, someone who cycles or at least keeps a
MISSING LINK: Camden pathway now complete with new markings
Groups Groups bicycle in the shed. Do you know one? Any undercover reports welcome; confidentiality not guaranteed. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays, 7.30pm, venue details on website. The Annual Meeting will take place on 10 February, 7.30pm, same venue — all members of the management committee (coordinator, secretary, treasurer) are up for election. Other Wednesdays we meet at Bromley South Station, 7.30pm, for an easy ride to a pub and return. CONTACT: Charles Potter, 07951 780869; coordinator@bromley cyclists.org
We started our end-of-year party by watching the film on the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group to the Netherlands in April (www.vimeo.com/4381805). This led to much discussion and was followed by an amusing set of films assembled by Stefano while we enjoyed refreshments. ➤ Guerilla signage? Out of sheer desperation at the lack of signage for the brilliant new Agar-Camley link, we decided to make a few of our own. We've also put up warning signs at the dangerous Crogsland Road crossing. ➤ We hope to organise a hustings for the General Election and plan to spend our January meeting working out a strategy for getting the best promises from candidates. MEETINGS: 8 February and 8 March at Primrose Hill Community Association, 29 Hopkinsons Place, (off Fitzroy Rd), London NW1 8TN. CONTACT: Stefano Casalotti, 020 7435 0196; email@example.com. Or Jean Dollimore, 020 7485 5896; firstname.lastname@example.org
2009 was a great year. We organised over 20 social rides, including a programme of family rides over the summer; we led several rides into both the Hounslow and central London Skyrides; we had the best Bike Week to date, plentiful volunteers meant that we could, for the first time, hold simultaneous events and Dr Bikes. We also had a strong presence in community events
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE PROPERLY... 'guerilla signage' in place at Camden's award-winning Agar-Camley link
over the summer. The CCFfL project exceeded all expectations: to date 25 families are cycling with their children. Campaigning for better local cycling facilities was not forgotten; we focused on parking at, and access to, Ealing Broadway station, our efforts culminating in a meeting with Boris Johnson, Jason Stacey and First Great Western management. ➤ 2010 promises old and new challenges. Meeting the increasing demand for social rides requires a large pool of ride leaders and back-stops to share out the marshalling. Cycle Superhighways and CrossRail have the potential for improving cycle travel in Ealing, or damaging what is currently available (eg further restrictions to carrying bicycles on local trains) — outcomes will depend on our ability to lobby decision-makers so that cyclists’ needs are not forgotten or ignored. We can do all these things only if more LCC members become active campaigners. Give it a go! MEETING: ﬁrst Wednesdays of the month, venue details on website. Social rides on the ﬁrst Sunday of each month, meet 10am at Ealing Town Hall, details on website. CONTACT: David Lomas, info@ ealingcycling.org.uk). Or David Eales, 07880 797437.
There is a feeling of cautious optimism as we move into 2010: Enfield Council (via the new LIP funding process) has successfully placed a higher bid for cycle funding than in recent years. 42 percent of its ‘corridors funding’ this year has been allocated to cycling projects, mostly for the design and implementation of the first three Greenway routes in the borough — an extension of National Cycle Network route 12, from Enfield Island Village to Hadley Wood; a route from Enfield Town to New Southgate; and Grovelands Park to NCN12 via Trent Park. However, it must be said that Enfield does not have the best track record in implementing such schemes on time. This can put the funding at risk, as money
OH DEER: Enﬁeld's Santa and Rudolf
cannot be carried forward to the following year. Past excuses given have been a shortage of available resource and a lack of support from councillors/cabinet members. We have been given assurances on the resourcing front, but remain to be convinced that support from councillors will be forthcoming if any obstacles or objections are encountered along the way. With local council elections in May approaching, what better time to start lobbying all the political parties, to ask them what they would do to encourage cycling and sustainable transport if they were elected? Visit www. enfield.gov.uk to find out how to contact your ward councillors and party group leaders. ➤ Do you cycle on The Ridgeway in Enfield? Although it is one of the only practical routes between Enfield Town and Potters Bar, and increasingly used by cyclists, many are put off because it is a busy, narrow, high-speed road. There is a footpath along much of the length of this road, and perhaps this could be made continuous and upgraded to shared pedestian and cycle use? Let us know what you think? MEETINGS: ﬁrst Thursdays of every month. Thurs 4 February, 8pm, King William IV pub, 192 Hertford Rd, Edmonton Green, N9. Thurs 4 March, 8pm, Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, Firs Lane, Winchmore Hill, N21.
Groups G roups
HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM www.hfcyclists.org.uk
WAVE RIDERS: Greenwich Cyclists assemble for December's Wave demo
CONTACT: Richard Reeve, 020 8363 2196; email@example.com RIDES: www.edmontoncyclingclub. fsnet.co.uk E-GROUP: CycleCampaigning Enﬁeldsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
Foot tunnels — our petition with more than 1,000 signatures urging minimum disruption while the Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels are refurbished was formally handed over at the full meeting of Greenwich Council on 16 Dec. Meanwhile council supervisor Jeff Horsman briefed us at our pre-Xmas meeting and said: ➤ £5 million has to be spent by March 2010 and non-disruptive work had already begun overnight. ➤ Any closures of the Woolwich tunnel would take place during ferry operating hours, with no planned night work; unplanned ferry stoppages during critical tunnel operations could result in temporary loss of any crossing. ➤ At Greenwich the pattern would either be: (a) overnight closures 10pm-5am MondayFriday, with Thames Clippers providing a service until 1am [Jeff’s preferred option], or (b) weekend closures 10pm Friday to 6am Monday. Only about 30 people a night use the tunnel between 1am-6am and would have no alternative. Negotiations are ongoing with the ferry operators and TfL so at this stage a free crossing in late evening (and weekends in option B) 52
cannot be promised. ➤ Risk assessment is ongoing and would consider scenarios such as a fire in the tunnel, emergency evacuation of offices in Canary Wharf , and the control room not being manned for short periods. A contractor for lift replacement (Apex) has been appointed but the old lifts will not start to be replaced before April 2010. The main building contractor will be appointed in January. ➤ Cyclist killed — a woman cyclist in her 60s died of injuries following a collision with an HGV at the junction of Trafalgar Road and Vanburgh Hill in December. A short distance away, a Polish woman was killed earlier this year by a hit-and-run left-turning vehicle on Woolwich Road under the Blackwall Tunnel flyover. A white bike we placed at the first scene is still there and we’ve attached a bouquet to the railings at the site of the second tragedy. ➤ LCN route blocked — Greenwich Cyclists are campaigning for the removal of an illegally-built wall which blocks an LCN link between Charlton Road and Old Dover Road near the Blackheath Standard. We met residents who insisted that the estates there had become safer as a result of the wall and that it should remain in place. We will press for a speedy referral to the Secretary of State, as we seek reinstatement of the pedestrian right of way and cycle route. MEETINGS: see website. CONTACT: Anthony Austin, 07740 434078.
Police in H&F have been giving the highest number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for cycling on the footway. This is in line with what residents have called for, but is against Home Office advice to only give tickets to those cycling in a dangerous way. Following our representations, the police have been instructed by the Borough Commander to only give tickets to cyclists riding in a dangerous way on the footway, instead of to everyone. It is still illegal to cycle on the footway in most places, and the police will ask you to get off your bike if they stop you. ➤ Will the council ever put a ramp in to lead those a bit wary of the Holland Park roundabout to the safer toucan crossing? A serious problem with the latest proposal (made by us before Westfield opened), is that cyclists would be using a lane marked buses only. It will be considered as part of a review in the first quarter of 2010 of how cyclists will use the area including the bus concourse. ➤ On the Scrubs Lane access to the Grand Union Canal towpath, the Council is planning to make the steps less steep and wider with a wheeling channel. This instead of a ramp which would have been more expensive. ➤ We had a good turnout for the Xmas ride to the White Cross in Richmond — a lovely ride beside the river in bright sunshine before meeting more old friends for lunch. ➤ Please put the date 20 June in your diary for the Greenfest
(www.greenfest.org.uk) and if you wish to be involved in the planning get in touch. Hope to see many more new faces in the new year. MEETINGS: see website. CONTACT: John Grifﬁths, 020 7371 1290 or 07789 095 748; firstname.lastname@example.org
The good news is that Harrow Cyclists is now formally set up as part of LCC. We now have a constitution, a committee and our own bank account (admittedly with a balance that leaves a lot to be desired). We’ve agreed future meeting dates and venues (see website). But the even better news is that besides organising rides, the group has an agenda for cycling change in Harrow. ➤ We are investigating where the council budget can be tapped for bike facilities while offering the local authority some value for money advice — it’s better to spend the available cash on a large number of Sheffield stands than one or two luxury roofed bike racks. The group has compiled a list of 12 locations across the borough where bike parking would make a difference. ➤ And the group is looking towards the next council elections in May. We’ll be sending all prospective councillors a list of questions and ways of making Harrow a better cycling borough over the next months. We’ll collate the answers and put them on our website in the form of a 'This is
ROBIN HOOD GATE: opening of A3 crossing celebrated by Kingston Cyclists
Groups what they pledge' statement for the better responses, and a naming and shaming of those who ignore us or fob us off with meaningless verbiage. ➤ Tesco is another target. The town centre superstore moved the bike racks to an almost invisible location a year or so ago. The car park spaces to bike rack ratio is around 100 to 1; turning even a few car spaces over to bikes would make a major difference. Our local Sainsburys is way ahead. ➤ Our task now is to grow the group; there’s still a big gap between active members and the LCC total membership. Besides mailings in London Cyclist, the website will be improved with mapping tools which will show safer routes as well as pointing out just where facilities are lacking. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays, 7.30pm at The Village Inn, Rayners Lane, HA5 5DY. CONTACT: Colin Waters, 07799 537504; email@example.com E-GROUP: http://groups.yahoo.com/ group/harrowcyclists
A petition urging the council to address the serious problem of cycle theft in the borough was presented to the full council meeting in December — see website for the full text. ➤ In conjunction with Living Streets we have stepped up efforts to get the Fieldway Crescent/ Madras Place junction with Holloway Road improved after a pedestrian was injured at the crossing recently. Islington council and local councillors, as well as TfL, all agree something needs to be done but actually getting something done seems to be very difficult. ➤ Plans to make Bunhill Row two-way for cyclists are under discussion, although it is not clear if funding for the scheme has been secured. ➤ Have you encountered problems at the junction of Tufnell Park Road with Fortess Road and Junction Road? Someone who uses it regularly has been in touch to say how dangerous he finds it and we'd like to hear from anyone else who has similar concerns. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays
(10 Feb, 10 March, 14 April), from 7.30-9.30pm at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. CONTACT: Alison Dines, 020 7226 7012; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surbiton Neighbourhood committee will be presented with an assessment of how the contraflow cycle lane on King Charles Road bridge has been working. A local council candidate has been petitioning for the removal of the cycle lane and reinstatement of two northbound traffic lanes. You’ll be welcome at the meeting on 3 February at 7.30pm, Dysart School, 190 Ewell Road. A 7am-7pm screen-line cycle count took place in 2009 and found 344 cyclists crossing that bridge southbound. This was the second busiest location in the whole borough. The busiest location was on the Richmond Road by Kingston railway station with a count of 467. ➤ Surbiton station has a new cycle compound with swipe-card entry. There’s no charge for use of this facility which encloses 80 spaces. Only 80 people are being issued with cards which explains why you may see empty spaces. ➤ The new ‘Pegasus’ crossing between Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common is now operating at Robin Hood Gate and is very welcome after many years of waiting. Some said a crossing on the busy A3 was not possible. ➤ We’ve again been fitting bike lights free of charge in Kingston and New Malden funded by our own activities. ➤ Provision of a cycle track on the south side of Wood Street has hit a problem — would you believe that a full-signalled pedestrian crossing apparently has to be provided to allow cyclists to cross the pedestrian exit from the rear of Bentalls? ➤ The council’s four-day per week cycling officer has left and we hope to hear that she will soon be replaced. We wish Emma well in her new job. MEETINGS: 8:30pm on 9 Feb and 9 March at the Waggon & Horses pub, Surbiton Hill Road. CONTACT: Rob James, 020 8546 8865.
Groups OTHER GROUP CONTACTS BARKING & DAGENHAM www.stibasa.org.uk Contact: email@example.com BEXLEY Contact: Frances Renton, 01322 441979; firstname.lastname@example.org CITY CYCLISTS www.citycyclists.org.uk CROYDON www.croydon-lcc.org.uk HACKNEY www.hackney-cyclists.org.uk Contact: email@example.com HARINGEY Contact: R White; firstname.lastname@example.org HILLINGDON Contact: Sarah James, 020 8868 2912, or Steve Ayres, 01895 230 953 LEWISHAM www.lewishamcyclists.net Contact: email@example.com MERTON www.mertoncyclists.org.uk Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org SUTTON www.cyclismsutton.org.uk Contact: email@example.com WALTHAM FOREST www.wfcycling.org.uk Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
April/May issue: Friday 19 Feb Send your copy and photos to: email@example.com
Many signs of progress at the December Cycle Liaison Group, possibly accelerated by our Movers & Shakers campaign; the long-overdue Redbridge Cycling Strategy will be formally adopted in April; £30k extra funding for adult cycle training this year has been found, following increased demand; consultation on the last section of the Roding Valley Way is underway (watch out for meetings in Areas 1 or 7); Seven Kings Water to Happy Valley off-road path is under construction; improvements including lighting to the George Lane/Woodford High Road junction are in progress, and an advisory cycle lane between Links Road and Epping New Road is proposed; the Redbridge Bicycle User Group has had its first cycle 54
XMAS CHEER: LCC members and friends gather for the annual Xmas Day ride, organised by Southwark's Barry Mason
training session and is looking forward to discounted purchase of bikes under the Cycle2Work scheme from April (next BUG meeting on 9 Feb); and we can expect an improved surface on the Empress Avenue cycle route sometime soon. ➤ Initial studies are starting on one of the Cycle Superhighways, from Ilford to Stratford — it will be interesting to see how they deal with the Ilford end. ➤ The group meeting on 17 Feb will be on a different night from usual (Weds) and have a different format, as it's a LCC Local Groups Meeting with LCC cycling development officer Charlie Lloyd present. Meet at the George, Wanstead from 6.30pm, before the meeting starts at 8.00pm. See Hubbub and our website for early spring rides, worshops and Easter weekend away. Also a diary date: 9 April, for Redbridge LCC AGM. MEETINGS: Weds 17 February, 8pm, Wanstead House. Then Tues 24 March, 8pm, Wanstead House (speaker tbc). CONTACT: Gill James, 020 8989 4898; firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Chris Elliott, 020 8989 6285; email@example.com
the members want to race, so we’ll be working with Twickenham Cycling Club on their race fitness. ➤ TfL are introducing two new schemes on their roads in the borough. The first is a scheme to move the Clifford Road toucan on the South Circular northwards to where it should have been in the first place — we have welcomed this relocation. The second is a scheme to install a toucan on the A316 where it meets the cycle route between Meadway and Jubilee Avenue and will also close the underpass — we have concerns over the timings of the lights as it could mean a long wait on the central reservation. ➤ Our fledgling maintenance workshop is now at two locations — check the website for more info. Also have a look at our rides and events for the year. By the time you read this, we should also have a new website up and running, time permitting, so please take a look and send some feedback. MEETINGS: second Mondays of the month, from 8pm at The Ship Inn in Richmond. CONTACT: 07976 294626; info@ richmondlcc.co.uk GENERAL BLOG: http://richmondcc. blogspot.com/ RIDES BLOG: http://richmondcc rides.blogspot.com/
The Orleans Park after-school cycle club goes from strength to strength, they won the schools trophy for cyclocross at Hillingdon. The workshop was completed in the new year and there is to be a grand opening. Rides will start in the spring and
It's too easy to forget that people new to bikes or London, or both, might not know the many and varied routes from central London to Putney, Woolwich
Ferry, Wandle Trail, Waterlink Way, Lea Valley, Greenwich, Erith, Rainham Marshes, the Tilbury ferry, the London Stone, Purfleet's graffiti walls, Whitstable and the rest — so part of this year's rides from Southwark Cyclists will be those essential bits of the London knowledge. ➤ Our rides for the London Festival of Architecture 2010 will build on the 15 we did with them in 2008 and the overlap with Bike Week will push the latter interestingly even more into the backgound. It's Bike Year every year. And more partnerships and even more emphasis on using the planning system cleverly to lever in more bike facilities for everyone everywhere. ➤ We’re now on Facebook and Twitter too. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays, 6.30pm at The Community Space, Better Bankside, 3 Great Guildford Street/Zoar Street corner, London SE1 0TF (bring bikes inside). CONTACT: Barry Mason, 07905 889 005.
TOWER HAMLETS www.towerhamletswheelers.org.uk
The Tower Hamlets Cycle Ranger scheme is now officially up and running. The aim is to identify individuals who regularly travel along particular routes in the borough and to get them to (a) assess the current condition of the route, and report where improvements are needed, and (b) to regularly review the state of the route. This should provide input into a master list of
Groups improvements needed throughout the borough and should help get new hazards rectified promptly. The scheme is being managed by the council and funded via the ‘Healthy Towns’ programme. Wheelers members have already agreed to act as rangers for a number of routes, but more are needed and if you are based in the borough and would like to help, please get in touch – details on our website. The council Project Manager is Alix Stredwick — before going across the border to Hackney, Alix was instrumental in the rejuvenation of Wheelers several years ago, so it’s good to be working with her again. ➤ Another area where we could do with some help is reviewing planning applications to make sure that, where relevant, cycle facilities have been properly taken into account. If you think you could give a couple of hours per month to this, we’d be glad to hear from you. Contact Robl@ wheelers.org.uk ➤ Monthly maintenance workshop — last Saturday of the month (except Dec) at Limehouse Town Hall. ➤ Rides — see website for details. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays of the month, from 7.30-9pm at St Margaret's House, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green. CONTACT: enquiries@towerhamlets wheelers.org.uk
The Wandsworth group mustered a respectable number of cyclists on their led ride to the Wave demonstration in central London (in support of the Copenhagen climate conference) on 5 December — a lot of them as participants in the ‘Ting Ting Tooting’ project run by Charlie Holland. It was great to see so many new faces joining us. ➤ On the subject of rides, a Putney mass cycle event in March has just been mooted. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in getting involved. We have also been in touch with the council about the new northbound cycle lane on Putney Bridge and suggested some simple measures to help cyclists access the new lane and also to turn right off the bridge from the
southbound lane when they need to. If users of the bridge contact us (email@example.com. uk) we can tell them of our proposals and how to support our suggestions with local councillors. ➤ We're delighted that our latest Mover & Shaker — James Cousins, the councillor for Shaftesbury Ward — is talking so enthusiastically about his new-found cycling prowess on his blog. There are still funds available for this project, so if you know of a suitable local decision-maker or community leader for our course, do contact us at movers@ wandsworthcyclists.org.uk. ➤ And of course we're very keen for new volunteers to get involved in our campaigns, especially in light of forthcoming local elections in May. We have a manifesto and need support in putting this to local candidates — offers of help to address as above. MEETINGS: see website CONTACT: Simon Merrett, 020 8789 6639; coordinator@ wandsworthcyclists.org.uk
As has been widely reported, Westminster council wishes to use its own ‘city guardians’ to enforce the law on cyclists. We believe, however, that they will only be able to deal with unauthorised cycling on the footway. When committee discussed this proposal, they found our suggestion of making legal cycling easier less attractive than taking over powers from the police. ➤ As part of the diagonal crossing project at Oxford Circus, further restrictions were placed on cyclists' movements: we cannot now turn into Oxford Street or continue along it. These restrictions came as a surprise to us — there was no mention of them in the recent traffic management order, so we have asked the council for a copy of the order that brought in these restrictions. They are currently trying to find it. MEETING: Thursday 11 February, 7pm at Heart of London Business Alliance, London House, 53-54 Haymarket, SW1Y 4RP. CONTACT: Colin Wing, 020 7828 1500; cyclist@westminstercyclists. org.uk
Events Your bimonthly guide to all the best rides and events
Ride the ton at Outdoors Show TO PROVIDE THE 'outdoors' element at this year's Outdoors Show, Action Medical Research has organised a choice of two rides — either 100 miles or 100 kilometres — for seasoned and recreational cyclists. Both rides leave the NEC in Birmingham at 7am on Sunday 28 March and the longer option in particular offers some
excellent climbs including Saintbury Hill and Broadway Hill, passing through Warwickshire and the Cotswolds. Rides are fully supported with marshals, bike mechanics, back-up vehicles and regular refuelling points. All riders also receive free tickets to the Outdoor Show. www.action.org.uk/out100
HUNDRED NOT OUT: challenge yourself to a '100' at the Outdoors Show
RIDES & EVENTS ➤ ➤ For the latest info on cycle rides: www.lcc.org.uk/rides Tuesday 2 February ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam Thomson (07940 121513); firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 7 February ➤ Surrey Docks City Farm: 11am, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. Easy 6-miler. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004) email@example.com Sunday 7 February ➤ Hawksmoor, Wren and Archer: 10.45am, Waterloo Station, by vehicular exit arch. Ride NCR4 to Greenwich, then follow the 'Hawksmoor Ride' from London Cyclist. Contact: Paul Luton (020 8977 4016); firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday 10 February ➤ LCC retention evening: see website for details or contact email@example.com Sunday 14 February ➤ Bread Pudding Challenge Ride: 10.30am, Kingston Market Place. Medium grade, please bring lights. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875); johnedunn@ blueyonder.co.uk Tuesday 16 February ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm,
The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam Thomson (07940 121513); firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 20 February ➤ Chiswick House: 10.30am, Mortlake Green, by station. Short, easy ride taking in the Thames banks and visiting Chiswick House gardens. Contact: Paul Luton (020 8977 4016); paul@pluton. eclipse.co.uk Sunday 28 February ➤ Bread Pudding Ride: 10.30am, Kingston Market Place. Medium grade, please bring lights. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875); johnedunn@ blueyonder.co.uk Sunday 28 February ➤ Oxleas Woods: 2pm, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. Gentle ride to Eltham, then into Oxleas Woods. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); mail@ britishschoolofcycling.com Tuesday 2 March ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam Thomson (07940 121513); email@example.com Saturday 6 March ➤ North Downs: 9am, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. Tough ride along NCR21 and over the North Downs, with some steep off-roading. Contact: Tom
Diary dates for charity cycle rides IF YOU'RE LOOKING to combine your cycling with some worthwhile fundraising, here's a few ride ideas: ■ 18 June-4 July: LEPRA ride through Malawi. www.leprahealthinaction.org. ■ 2-5 July: Meningitis Trust's London to Paris ride. www.meningitis-trust.org. ■ 2 July-28 August: Otesha's John O'Groats to Land's End ride. For 18 to 28-year-olds. www.otesha.org.uk. ■ 22 Sept-7 Oct: LEPRA ride through Madagascar. www.leprahealthinaction.org. ■ 11-14 July: MAG Somme to Flanders ride. www.maginternational.org. ■ 19-28 November: Regain Sports Charity's India ride. www.regainsportscharity.com. Crispin (020 8318 1004); firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 7 March ➤ Grand Union Canal: 10.30am, Richmond, Little Green, by library. Ride through Syon Park to Brentford and follow the towpath. Contact: Paul Luton (020 8977 4016); email@example.com Sunday 7 March ➤ Greenwich Loop: 11am, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. Gentle ride to the Pilot Inn on Greenwich Penninsular. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday 9 March ➤ LCC retention evening: see website for details or contact email@example.com Saturday 13 March ➤ Tilbury Ferry: 10am, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. Highlight is the extraordinary Thames footpath from Rainham, return by train. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); mail@ britishschoolofcycling.com Sunday 14 March ➤ Bread Pudding Ride: 10.30am, Kingston Market Place. Easy-paced, bring lights. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875); firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 14 March ➤ Locks, Docks and one Smoking Ferry: 11am, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. 15-miler via Woolwich Ferry
IN BRIEF London Tweed Run As we went to press (mid Jan), dates for this year's Tweed Run still weren't conﬁrmed. It looks likely it will be in late March, but if you don't want to miss out on one of the cycling calendar's most fun events, keep an eye on tweedrun.com
PEDAL IT PINK Get along to Lee Valley Country Park on Sunday 28 March for the south-east leg of the women's-only bike ride series in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. Choose a marathon (26.2 miles) or half marathon (13.1 miles) distance. Contact: Nik Emmonds (0115 925 8777); pedalitpink@ breastcancercampaign.org
Sign up for Cyclone Get in quick and join the UK's biggest sportive. www. northernrockcyclone.co.uk
and Greenwich. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); email@example.com Tuesday 16 March ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam Thomson (07940 121513); firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, March 20, 2010 Saturday 20 March ➤ Bedfont Lakes Country Park: 10.40am, Strawberry Hill Station, west side. 11 ﬂat miles to scenic nature reserve. Contact: Paul Luton (020 8977 4016); email@example.com Saturday 27 March ➤ Olympic Ring: 9am, John Ball Primary School, Blackheath. 60km of continuous, green and attractive paths linking all 9 central London Olympic venues. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); mail@ britishschoolofcycling.com Sunday 28 March ➤ Bread Pudding Ride Winter Special: 10.30am, Kingston Market Place. Easypaced two-part ride with pub lunch and tea stop. Contact: John Dunn (020 8397 1875); firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 28 March ➤ Thames Barrier: 11am, John Ball Primary School. 10-miler, lunch at Barrier Gardens. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); email@example.com
London cyclists www.danielbosworth.com
In the ďŹ rst of a new series, we meet the city's extended cycling family
Name Robert Evans Age 19 From South-west London Bike Customised Mike Aitken S3 BMX Favourite London ride Any street really What one thing would improve cycling in London More places for BMX, proper skate parks
Name Liam Rogers Age 28 From Dalston Bike French beach-cruiser or Cannondale Bad Boy Favourite London ride Regent's Canal What one thing would improve cycling in London More cyclists, stopping idiots jumping red
Name Nigel Frost Age n/a From Peckham Bike Challenge Hurricane Favourite London ride Along the river to Woolwich and beyond, industrial grunge and open spaces What one thing would improve cycling in London More cyclists
Name Jim Blakemore Age 35 From Tower Hamlets Bike Planet X Carbon Pro Road, Pashley BMX Favourite London ride Southbank on BMX or mtb What one thing would improve cycling in London More cyclists on the roads