magazine of the London Cycling Campaign December 2009-January 2010
RIDE E V A W E H T
ber's to Decemo e d ri C m LC Join an ate change de clim p8) ry to s s (new
London Cycling Awards All the winners and shortlisted projects revealed inside
LOCAL GROUPS 01_cover.JK1.indd 1
RIDING TIPS 11/11/09 21:56:27
2 Newhams Row London SE1 3UZ 020 7234 9310 www.lcc.org.uk
contents DECEMBER 2009-JANUARY 2010
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 Read more about member beneﬁts on p.45 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 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.
opinion Koy Thomson Are electric bikes the future for car users? Zoe Williams On what makes cyclists so 'nice' Anish Patel Describes his plan for safer city streets Steve Peat Speaks about winning a rainbow jersey at last
5 15 17 58
news & letters News The latest stories and policy affecting London cyclists Letters Your rants, raves, comments and queries
features Skyride review How 65,000 enjoyed a car-free capital London Cycling Awards A look at 2009's winning projects Muddy Hell Halloween cyclocross race at Herne Hill? Spooky Best Rides in London Historical water features Overseas Europe's most cycle-friendly country, Denmark Technical Quick tips to get you home in one piece
19 22 28 30 32 34
reviews Bikes What's hot in the two-wheeled world for 2010 Products Six lightsets tested, plus ideas for Xmas gifts Culture Bicycle Film Festival and books reviewed
36 39 42
members Members’ pages Five ways to get involved at LCC Local Group News Round-up from the boroughs Communities Behind the scenes of one Redbridge scheme How To Keep riding this winter Events diary Listing of December and January rides
45 46 53 54 56
COVER PHOTO: www.danielbosworth.com December 2009-January 2010
HOW TO: keep riding this winter
LCC CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Koy Thomson Whichever way you look at it, cars are becoming redundant says LCC's chief executive. Are electric bikes the best urban alternative for the future?
remain more convinced than ever that the car is grinding inexorably, and ever more slowly towards the status of being a mere hobby, just as traction engines and canal boats eventually did. Since the car is rapidly being revealed as useless for actually going anywhere, we may as well change its priorities and look at it as an instrument of pleasure, like body oil.” This is James May of Top Gear. To be fair, James’s is not an anti-car argument. It is an argument against regulating performance cars off the road. Cars according to May should be like sports equipment or a ball gown, to be used for fleeting and occasional pleasure, not something you would use every day. Why bother (the argument continues) making cars more fuel efficient, smaller for town use, or going electric, when in an urban context there are far better alternatives for getting around? Cars become like a yacht, playthings for the elite with the great unwashed cleared out the way. Put aside the elitist implications and rural contexts where public transport is so bad, and James has a point. I agree with him, cars are increasingly useless and replaceable in an urban context. It is time we faced up to it. Even car makers recognise that motor traffic ruins the look and feel of our towns and cities. This is why car adverts are set in motor-traffic free cities, and why the Ford Mondeo advert ‘Desire’ actually has all other cars but the Mondeo being floated off the streets with colourful balloons.
Are dreams electric? So we agree then, cities are better not dominated by motor traffic. While cars should be far more fuel efficient and use renewable electric energy, so called ‘eco’ cars do nothing to help win our streets back as public spaces. Electric bicycles, however, may have a role as a car replacement for those needing to be eased into the idea of cycling. Take estate agents, for example: they must spend an utter fortune on car parking. Given the unreliability, wasted time in traffic jams and expense, replacing the car for them should be a no-brainer. There is an argument that given their mileage and dress code that some ‘effort relief ’ is justifiable. Indeed get a bike that you like the look of and it can become part of the brand. Central London estate agents Winkworth are doing this with Go Cycle. Over time this may lead to having mixed fleets of electric
bikes and the cheaper and more efficient pedal bike. The curious thing is electric bike makers seem to market to cyclists rather than motorists. There was an explosion of electric bikes at this year’s Cycle Show — they should really be targeting car shows or businesses who can no longer bear the costs and hassle of cars.
Businesses hold key to growth The other interesting thing about the Earl's Court show was that cycling manufacturers and retailers are still selling bikes as hardware, rather than cycling in itself or as a service. Businesses will increasingly want to buy cycling services that get a specific number of their staff riding regularly. They don’t want to buy (or lease) bikes, stands, maintenance, insurance and training separately, and have to manage these and cycle schemes all themselves.
“James May has a point... cars are increasingly useless and replaceable in an urban context” At LCC we are pushing boroughs to set ambitious cycling targets because in the end, clear targets rather than vague aspirations for growth create demand for, and stimulate, the supply of effective cycling services. As well as innovation within the private sector, we are also convinced that there is huge added value in supporting local community organisations and social entrepreneurs to be involved in cycling delivery. We must create space and opportunity for them to grow rather than crowding them out with our own cycling service products and ambitions for organisational growth. So this is a plea to the big moneyed newcomers to London to recognise what good work is already being done and nurture it rather than elbow it aside for self-interested gain. Finally it would be nice if cycle makers and retailers recognise that they have an interest in supporting cycling to grow, through funding local advocacy and campaigning as part of their marketing approach. December 2009-January 2010 London Cyclist
News Visit www.lcc.org.uk for campaign updates and latest news reports
Motorbikes in bus lanes: send feedback now
Record entry for 2009 awards The London Cycling Awards continue to go from strength to strength, with a record crop of nominations this year. The winners were announced at the LCC annual general meeting on 17 November 2009. Nominations encompassed both large projects — such as the £500,000 Camley Road-Agar Grove link that won Best Facility — as well as smaller projects in schools and workplaces. See p22 for full report.
MEMBERS OF THE public have until 5 January 2010 to have their say on the motorbikes in red-route bus lanes trial. LCC responded to the official consultation in July, making the case that allowing fast-moving powered two-wheelers in bus lanes discourages less-experienced cyclists from usingg these routes, and is likely to harm the mayor’s own targets for increasing cycling activity in the capital. Whatever your views on the trial, fill in the online survey at http://tinyurl.com/tflconsultation. Estimated drop in number of speeding/red light tickets to be issued next year Source:
Lobby MPs to reinstate axed police lorry-safety experts
and issue improvement notices under the Health and Safety Act. LCC cycling development officer Charlie Lloyd said: "It's difficult to believe that our cycling mayor is disbanding the only police unit in the country that has the power to properly investigate unsafe lorry operators and bring them up to standards set by Health and Safety law."
SAVE THE CVEU Contact your local London Assembly Member via www. writetothem.com to ask them to sign the Early Day Motion supporting the CVEU and improved lorry safety.
LCC IS CALLING on cyclists to urge their MPs and London Assembly Members to support an Early Day Motion to reverse Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to disband London's specialist lorry-safety police unit — the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) — run by the Metropolitan Police. The decision comes in a year when eight of the 10 cyclist fatalities in London have involved lorries. Since 2005 the CVEU has completed over 3,000 roadside checks of freight vehicles, finding fault in over 70 percent of cases. The unit has also visited over 400 companies to examine procedures, agree action plans
URGENT ACTION: to reduce the number of cyclist casualties
Safety Plan misses vital problems LCC HAS RESPONDED to TfL's Cycle Safety Action Plan, intended to address the problem of cyclist fatalities and injuries in London. A new Cycle Safety Working Group has now been set up by the Mayor, which includes key road user representatives including LCC. The plan has a strong focus on
reducing the danger from lorries, which are involved in over half the cyclist fatalities in London. However, lorries are only involved in a small proportion of collisions causing serious injuries. If the casualty targets are to be met, action to reduce injuries caused by all motor traffic needs to be taken.
+++ For info and tips on women's cycling, check out the 'SheSpoke' pages on LCC's website +++ 6
December 2009-January 2010
Have your say on the future of London LONDONERS ARE BEING urged to have their say on London’s future as laid out in a series of key consultations from the Mayor and Transport for London. And LCC’s policy experts are currently poring over hundreds of documents that have been made available for comment. The London Plan sets out the high-level vision, with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy laying out what the boroughs should aim for, and the Local Implementation Plan guidance giving more specific instruction on local implementation. The Economic Development Strategy focuses on increasing economic productivity in the capital. Some of LCC’s earlier recommendations have been taken on board already. The concept of permeability —which allows cyclists access to routes that are restricted for motor vehicles — is now part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Also LCC’s emphasis on the importance of involving the health sector in promoting cycling is now integrated into the strategy, and the provision of cycle parking
CAPITAL GAINS? Send your feedback on the Mayor's latest policy proposals by early January
spaces has now been increased to a more realistic 66,000. However, LCC says more needs to be done if the Mayor is to achieve his desire for a proper 'cycling city' and for LCC’s aim of one in five on a bike by 2025 to be realised. For example, greater vehicle speed enforcement is promised, but LCC thinks the transport strategy should also include widespread extension of 20mph
limits to reduce road danger. If you have views on these, or want to help broaden the analysis,
please contact LCC campaigns manager Tom Bogdanowicz (email@example.com).
HAVE YOUR SAY The Mayor’s deadline for feedback is 12 January 2010. Please visit the following websites to read and comment individually on the documents: ■ London Plan — www.london.gov.uk/thelondonplan ■ Mayor’s Transport Strategy — http://mts.tﬂ.gov.uk ■ Economic Plan — http://lda-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/eds/eds ■ Local Implementation Plans (LIPs) — http://www.tﬂ.gov.uk/ corporate/about-tﬂ/boroughpartnerships/1474.aspx
New Highways deadline gives opportunity to raise quality
LEADING THE WAY: Cycle Fridays proved a big hit
Cycle Fridays take a break... but novices keep on riding DURING THE 10 weeks of Cycle Fridays, working with Transport for London, LCC led a total of 60 rides, with 430 cyclists taking part. The idea for guided ‘BikeTubes’ came during the tube strike in June, with LCC capitalising on the disruption in commuter behaviour to run 10 rides independently over two days to
encourage novices to try cycle commuting. Mark Campbell, a Cycle Friday regular, said: “The rides gave me loads of confidence and I’ve learnt how enjoyable it can be to cycle in the city.” ■ Weekly led rides continue this winter from Greenwich (Weds, 7.45am) and Wimbledon (Tues, 8am) — www.lcc.org.uk.
LONDON ASSEMBLY MEMBERS put the spotlight on Cycle Superhighways in their latest questions to the Mayor. The budget for highways is expected to rise to £30m in the next financial year as two highways are completed next summer and four more get underway. Significant sums are being allocated to ‘complementary’ measures such as cycle training and parking along the routes. The Mayor does not intend to sign the 10-point LCC manifesto on the routes, but says TfL will continue to engage with stakeholders on design aspects of the highways and “will take their views into account”. TfL’s business plan indicates
ALL ROUTES: completed by 2015
that after the first two routes are completed next year, a further four will be delivered by 2012, with another six by 2015. Koy Thomson, LCC chief executive said: “The extended delivery time provides TfL with the opportunity to put in place more time-consuming changes and innovations which will make the highways stand out internationally. LCC will continue to seek to work with the Mayor and TfL to deliver the manifesto and the very best possible result for London cyclists.”
+++ Sign up at www.lcc.org.uk to receive a fortnightly e-newsletter on latest campaign news +++ December 2009-January 2010
News N ews
Leading the wave at climate demo SNAP HAPPY: but for how long?
Tory speed camera ban undermines 20mph limits A FUTURE CONSERVATIVE government would refuse to fund any more fixed speed cameras in urban areas, shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers told her party conference. The ban would include average-speed cameras on urban roads, which could effectively prevent the establishment of area-wide 20mph limits. LCC cycling development officer Charlie Lloyd said: “Area-wide 20mph policies reduce serious injury to cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Faster motor traffic creates hostile environments for walkers and cyclists.” Labour Transport Minister Lord Adonis highlighted that, under the current Conservative Mayor, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London have requested more funding for their Safety Camera partnership. Lloyd added: “There seems to be confusion between the Shadow Transport Secretary's plans and those of Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson over the best way to reduce danger on our roads.” A more welcome policy for cyclists was that Villiers announced the party will speed up permission for the Mayor’s 'turn left on red' experiment for London cyclists. She also voiced support for more traffic police and education to reduce danger on the roads.
SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER sees London Cycling Campaign local groups organising guided rides to join the Wave demonstration in central London. The event is demanding strong action against climate change when the UN meets in Copenhagen from 7-18 December. The rides will congregate either at Grosvenor Square in time for the midday march, or in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster where at 3pm protestors hope to join hands around the entire building. All participants are asked to wear blue, for what organisers hope will be one of the largest street demonstrations in UK history. Many local
BLUE SEA: dozens of local rides will converge for central London protest
groups will also organise return rides back to their respective boroughs.
■ Find out where your nearest
ride departs at http://lcc.org.uk/ index.asp?PageID=1572
Olympic legacy has a new minder OLYMPICS MINISTER TESSA Jowell has finally set up an organisation with responsibility for the Olympic Park to ensure that the post-Games legacy is properly planned. This is a body for which LCC has been lobbying for some time. The Olympic Park Legacy Company is a not-forprofit company with Baroness
Margaret Ford as its chair. The LCC campaign group with responsibility for the Olympics has written to Baroness Ford requesting a meeting. It is also following up on LCC’s official response to the Legacy Framework Masterplan and our response to local planning applications for Stratford City.
Find details of the new organisation at www.olympic parklegacycompany.co.uk.
GET INVOLVED If you would like to be involved in the LCC Olympic campaign group, contact Tom Bogdanowicz; firstname.lastname@example.org
ON THE RIGHT TRACK: post-Games legacy for the Olympic Park and all cycle activities rests with new organisation
+++ Get a full listing of local maintenance classes at http://tinyurl.com/LCCmaintenance +++ 8
December 2009-January 2010
One-way trial kicks off in K&C THE ROYAL BOROUGH of Kensington & Chelsea will trial ‘no entry except for cyclists’ signs streets, creating on five one-way onenew contrafl contr ows in Holland Street, Thackeray Street and Old Court Place. Gilston C Road and Hollywood number of visito Road will remain two-way rs to th year’s Cycle Show is for cyclists, but have cy at Earl’s Court existing existin contraflow cycle Source: BikeBiz lanes removed, being re LIVERPOOL STREET: two-tier German-designed racks lead the way in parking provision replaced with the new signage. This is to “allow more parking “al and reduce street clutter” s according to a Kensington & Chelsea spokesperson. Minister Lord Adonis criticised Mike Cavenett said: “These are THE INSTALLATION OF new For many years, councils have cycle parking at London’s impressive bike racks. It's two-tier cycle racks have more used the ‘no motor vehicles’ no mainline stations after touring pleasing that provision is slowly than doubled Liverpool Street entry sign to indicate cycle them by bicycle. The Josta racks improving for rail passengers at station’s cycle parking capacity, contraflow. However, motorists mainline stations, though it looks are widespread in Leiden, with the new facilities increasing frequentlymisunderstand this Holland, where Lord Adonis also provision from around 70 bikes to like these racks have filled up sign, thinking they could enter. visited. However, the Dutch city almost immediately. LCC is very 189. Specialist company CycleThe result has been that councils has 7,000 bike racks, whereas pleased the Mayor has pledged Works installed the new have been reluctant to use the London still only has a few another 66,000 new bike parking German-designed Josta racks, confusing signs, with the hundred. The Liverpool Street spaces in London, up from his which use an innovative rear knock-on effect that they’re station improvement follows the commitment for a mere 12,000 wheel-locking design, allowing reluctant to create cyclist last year. This new figure is much opening earlier this year of a bikes to be safely lifted overhead. contraflows. secure cycle parking facility by nearer the 100,000 spaces that The improvements were funded LCC and other cycle UK Transport for London at London by Transport for London's Centre LCC has consistently said campaigners have fought for Bridge station, which has spaces London urgently needs.” for Cycling Excellence. years to allow the classic ‘no for 400 bikes. Earlier this year, Transport LCC communications officer entry’ sign to be used in conjunction with an ‘except cycles’ sign below it (as is the case all over Europe). Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said: “We want to make it easier for councils to encourage people to choose greener transport options.” Lambeth Cyclists, said: “One hot STRONG LOBBYING AND afternoon in June several of us volunteer activity by the LCC cycled around the areas taking local group in Lambeth has BLUEPRINT: for further schemes detailed notes on locations we influenced £500,000 of spending felt were significant for improvdecisions for the zone one Cycle Thomson said: “Well done to ing the cycling experience Hire Scheme infrastructure Lambeth Cyclists for their efforts. around Vauxhall, the Oval and improvements. Lambeth Cyclists LCC is doing what it can to Waterloo. We know even local took advantage of the tight promote coordination between residents have problems dealing schedule for improvements by boroughs and TfL over improvepresenting Lambeth Council with with all the one-way streets ments. The Cycle Hire Scheme around there.” a comprehensive list of potential involves nine London boroughs, Lambeth Cyclists' proposals solutions based on its on-the-road and there’s no-one coordinating include switching many streets investigations this summer. on-the-ground improvements back to two-way for cyclists. The list has been adopted across this huge area.” Richard Ambler, Lambeth almost in its entirety, with a LCC is pushing for an Council’s cycle projects officer, further £200,000 being earintegrated zone one BikeGrid to marked for extra cycle training to added: “These changes could allow all cyclists quick and coincide with the introduction of become a blueprint for similar comfortable routes across town. ■ For more local group news, treatments across the borough.” the Cycle Hire Scheme. Luke NO ENTRY: continental style LCC chief executive of Koy Evans, spokesperson for go to page 46.
New racks are Josta job for busy y station
Lambeth Cyclists' £500k funding win
+++ Stay up to date with cycling news in London, go to www.lcc.org.uk and hit the news tab +++ December 2009-January 2010
Westminster council and TfL in ‘naked’ experiment
SWITCHED OFF: signals experiment to begin at busy junction near Victoria
THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER and Transport for London are to trial switching off certain traffic signals. The experiment will start with the signals at the junction of Victoria Street and Strutton Ground — and the junction will be monitored for six weeks with 12 CCTV cameras and eight number-plate recognition cameras.
For the first two weeks, the signals will work normally; before being switched off for a fortnight, and turned back on for the next two weeks. The behaviour of motorists and pedestrians will be studied at both this junction and one about 100 yards to the west. Martin Low, Westminster City Council's head of
LCC volunteer could break round-the-world record
HAIRY STUFF: both rider and route
JULIAN SAYARER, a 23-yearold London cycle courier and former LCC campaigner, is on course to become the fastest person to cycle around the world. He’s averaging over 100 miles per day, which should bring him home in 165 days on Friday 4 December 2009 to his start point at Rouen Cathedral, France.
Current record holder James Bowthorpe from Balham could be the person to hold the record for the shortest period of time, having only completed his 175-day trip on the weekend of September's Skyride. The 18,000-mile trip takes riders through 20 countries. LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said: “We're really impressed by the dedication of all these riders, though we can't help rooting for Julian seeing as he gave his time for free to help out in the LCC office. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
MORE INFO You can track Julian’s latest adventures at www. thisisnotforcharity.com
IN BRIEF East London 'bike hub' celebrates third birthday
transportation, said: “We will A VICTORIA PARK not-forbe creating a bit of indecision in proﬁt organisation providing all road users' minds to create a bike training and repairs, safe environment. When lights is celebrating its third are out, we have noticed that anniversary. In that time, drivers are far more considerate Bikeworks has risen to and show more care than when become a valued community they have the reassurance of cycling hub in East London traffic lights. We think there is a aiming to provide access huge potential to reduce delay to all, regardless of ability for all road users.” or budget. LCC cycling developing Bikeworks provides cycle officer Charlie Lloyd said: “A training to children, adults, lack of traffic lights has been special needs riders, as well shown to encourage people to as working on a pioneering think more about how they will pilot in Tower Hamlets with get through junctions without GP-referred patients. It endangering other road users.” also handles mechanic The idea of removing traffic training, bike recycling, as signs and signals began at well as traditional bike shop Drachten in the Netherlands, activities like selling cycles, where road users behaved with parts, accessories and extra caution, leading to a repairs. undertaking repa significant reduction on in ■ To learn more accidents. The about the th services concept now mentioned above, menti appeals to the contact Jim conta Mayor of Blakemore on Blake London as part Lance info@bikeworks. rs’ we info@ llo ‘fo of er mb nu of his policy of Twitter org.u org.uk or 020 Armstrong has on ‘smoothing the Source: twitter.com 8980 77998. traffic flow’.
Disabled d cycling charity seeks sponsors after arson attack A BRIXTON-BASED charity that encourages disabled cyclists, and has close links to LCC, is having to review its Lambeth project after its storeroom was destroyed by arson. It's hoped new storage can be found as quickly as possible to allow cycling sessions to continue and financial donations are welcomed to help replace both fire-damaged bikes and buy a new secure container. The fire on the night of 16 October destroyed 12 threeand four-wheeled cycles and 11 other bicycles. It also rendered the brick storeroom near the lido unusable. Wheels For Wellbeing manager Janet Paske said: “As it stands, we can’t run any
SPECIAL BIKES: destroyed by ﬁre
sessions from Brockwell Park until the spring. That means the people who were coming to us for fun, fresh air and cycling will suffer because there is nowhere else nearby with the range of bikes that we've previously been able to offer.” ■ Visit www.wheelsforwell being.org.uk for more details.
+++ Organising a guided ride or event? Then advertise it for free at www.lcc.org.uk/events +++ 10
December 2009-January 2010
Letters Comment, opinion, rants and raves — send yours to email@example.com JK
SKYRIDE: big success, but not quite perfect
Spot the offender I just read through the Oct/Nov edition of London Cyclist. With interest I read the news piece titled ‘Beware mobile users’. Then, a page further in the letters section, there’s an image where a cyclist is shown riding in the middle of the road and next to him there’s a massive lorry. Am I wrong or is the driver of this lorry just talking on a mobile? If yes, given that you have the numberplate on the picture, you really ought to report him. Pascal Opitz, SE15
Skyride comment 1 I enjoyed the London Skyride very much and think it was a very good day for cycling. Unfortunately the day was somewhat marred for me when I collected my free ‘goody bag’ in St James's Park and found a Nestlé product inside. In case you don't know, there is a very long-standing boycott of Nestlé products owing to its 12 London Cyclist
appalling, aggressive marketing of baby milk powder in the third world which is claimed to contribute to infant deaths and hardship (www.breastfeeding. com). You may also remember Nestlé trying to extract £3.7m from the world's poorest country, followed by a humiliating climbdown after global outrage. I returned the Nestlé product to the young woman who had handed me the bag and she was very interested to hear about the reasons Nestlé is boycotted by so many people. I’m sure that these are not the sort of activities we want associated with cycling. Steve Wagland, Islington
Skyride comment 2 It is very sad that the closest we Londoners get to experiencing car-free streets is by participating in a mass advertisement for a second-rate TV company. What’s more, the company's owner, Rupert Murdoch, has spent the last two decades backing
governments who have overseen a mass increase in numbers of cars on our streets. I hope the people that enjoyed Skyride will use it as inspiration for working to make safe, car-free streets a reality every day — not just when some corporation wants to use us as a billboard. Tim Gee, E5
Reporting crime I was recently involved in a road incident on my bike, in an area well covered by CCTV, which I wanted to report to the police as a case of dangerous driving. I reported it using the Met's online crime reporting service, despite there being no category for dangerous driving. I received a phone call the next day saying that I would have to go to a police station and re-report the incident there. When I did so, I was handed a 19-page form to fill in. Given that we have so many deaths on our roads, I would have thought that we should be able to
report incidents of dangerous driving online. It is important to give vulnerable road users nonaggressive means of responding without deterring them with mounds of needless paperwork. Is this something LCC would be prepared to lobby for? David Vail, E5
LCC says: Reporting motoring violations online or by phone is something that LCC would certainly support; we'll raise it next time we discuss policy with national campaigning organisations. Cartoon carry-on Clearly Mr Weiss (Letters, London Cyclist, Oct/Nov 2009) has never had a cycle stolen and found the police utterly unwilling to do anything about it despite close CCTV coverage. Under such circumstances, the desire to bop the next cycle thief on the head with a D-lock becomes more understandable. Dave Burbridge, Purley
December 2009-January 2010
Letters Put a lid on it
Missing a trick?
I was stunned to see your photos (London Cyclist, Oct/Nov 2009) of people practising the road skills you described without a cycle helmet — in particular the young cyclist on the road looking backwards. Is this really the LCC standard for safe riding? I know that the LCC position is that helmets are a matter of choice, but so is smoking and I tend to suggest to kids they shouldn’t start. So on a road where there are parked cars and an increased chance of an accident I think it is more than sensible to ask a child to wear a helmet — particularly whilst on a safety course — and for LCC to only publish pictures which reflect that care and attention. Looking backwards is a great idea to develop and helmet wearing is too. All of us know someone whose life was saved, or impact injury was lessened, because of a helmet — so come on LCC. If it’s good enough for Boris, it’s good enough for us. Clive Hook, email
I can’t help feeling that despite so much good work the LCC is still missing a few tricks. Permeability is great and lorry mirrors are long overdue, but for me a cyclist’s best friend is a bus lane and I cannot understand why you don’t lobby for far more of these and for existing ones to have longer (ideally 24/7) hours. Many cycle routes go down narrow residential roads with car door, parked car and tailgating issues, whilst most bike lanes are narrow, too intermittent, too cambered, full of glass and parked cars. Only a bus lane gives a rider real space and a true safe haven. I’m not at all convinced by your fears over motorbikes in red route bus lanes either. Presumably thanks to camerabased fines, motorists actually respect bus lanes and other than cars turning across them we are pretty safe when using them. The police are regularly criticised for losing the support of the public and for me at least that is no surprise. Many seem to be Clarkson-loving petrolheads who hate cycling. If the police used the same tactics against motorists as they use against us (plains clothes hanging around at known trouble spots etc), they could catch thousands of motorists each month. LCC should be lobbying for a much fairer approach by the police and greater action against bad driving — on-the-spot fines and points for any bad driving that endangers other road users. Lastly I think you should do more to encourage better cycling. Red light jumping is
LCC says: LCC opposes legal
compulsion to wear helmets because of the lack of conclusive evidence that helmet laws provide an overall benefit to cyclists. You'll find pictures in the magazine of children and adults with and without helmets, which reflects London cyclists’ behaviour.
Reviewing matters I was going to suggest having an article on cycle security and there it was in the Aug/Sept edition. Sadly it arrived a week too late, as my Ridgeback Element was stolen the week before, near Euston station. Yes, I had only used a thin cable lock and when the police asked about cameras covering that particular area I had to admit there weren't any — but would they have checked the footage anyway? They advised me to look online (ebay, gumtree, etc) to see if it was being sold — to no avail. Since then I have read and re-read your comparisons of folding and hybrid bikes. Could you perhaps include a table comparing the features — eg for the former, how long it takes to open up and fold away; for the latter, the available frame sizes? I can then make a more informed choice next time I buy. Jonathan Spink, Penge
PUSHBIKES: ideal against Panzers
wrong, riding on pavements is even worse and never excusable in my experience, wearing headphones is contributory negligence and far too many cyclists never use hand signals to show where they are hoping to go. If motorists behave like that we rightly abuse them. Rant over. Henry Harris, email
For King & country I spotted this poster (above) on the London fixed-gear and single-speed forum (www. londonfgss.com) which I thought might be of interest to readers. Apparently it was spotted in Edinburgh Castle as part of its display of recruitment material from WWII. And we thought we faced a few bike battles in the current day… T Locke, Twickenham
Taxi rankles I commute about 100 miles a week in London and have been
doing so for a number of years. I enjoy it but find myself increasingly frustrated by both motor vehicles and other cyclists. Earlier today I endured an experience that I would care not repeat. I was cycling along, admittedly too close to the black cab in front of me when the car in front of the cab brakes and indicated it was turning right. The cab lined up on the right-hand side of the road behind that car so I assumed it was going to turn right (although it hadn't indicated). I applied the brakes and filtered over on the left-hand side of the lane. At this point the cab changed its mind and overtook the car in front on the left-hand side; I wasn't unduly worried as there was enough room. However, to my horror the cab then indicated left, so I hit my brakes quickly as I wouldn't be able to ride clear before it turned into the road on my left. But as the cab turned it took me out. Now up until this point, some may say this was my mistake, but it's actually what happened next that I really have issues with. The cab stopped (eventually) and I was somehow in front, but on top of my bike, so I got to my feet and away from it. The cab was trying to drive off, but couldn't as its wheel was on my bike. I'd had the wind knocked out of me, so pointed to my bike and the cabbie reversed and I picked up it up. He then proceeded to shout at me and, before I could respond, drove over my rear wheel and was away. I tried to catch his number plate, but couldn't see it in time.
PHOTO COMPETITION WINNER
For the second time in three issues our prize for best snap goes to Merton Cycling Campaign for its shot from the Mayor of London's Skyride. The group used the event to announce its success in gaining a grant of £10,000 over two years from Comic Relief, enabling children's cycle training to be delivered through member Fred Ellis and his organisation, Pedal4Health. Well done to Merton. Watch out for another competition in the next issue.
December 2009-January 2010
London Cyclist 13
Letters I was still trying to come to terms with what had just happened and get myself out of the middle of the road when a lady must have noticed my leg covered in blood. She asked if I was okay several times; I was very grateful for this as I could have been in a much worse situation. As it turns out, I was cut in several places but internally I felt fine. On the rest of my way home I mostly wondered how cyclists are able to stir up so much hate in other road users. What the cab driver did was criminal, regardless of fault; since he was involved in an accident I believe the law says he should have checked to see if I was injured or not. I've only ever had two bike collisions with cars and both have been with black cabs. Maybe if a motorist was given three points on their licence for such a collision, they'd give us the respect we deserve? B Stone, email
LCC says: The law says the taxi
should have stopped to find out what happened. All cases of dangerous taxi driving should be reported to TfL’s Public Carriage Office as well as the police, though unfortunately in this case there is little that can be done without the registration or licence number.
Up your game I'm back on the bike after a year off. The renewed cycling experience is doing me a lot of good and I've resolved to try never to give up cycling again.
But I have always had two problems with cycling in London and I speak with 35 years of experience behind me. The main problem — and there is no polite way to say this — is other cyclists. Yet again, as I made my slightly nervous return to the roads, I was staggered by the bad behaviour of some of those around me. I'm sorry, but in my view, a great many of the cycling fraternity need to learn a bit of discipline and respect both for others and for the rules of the road. The other eternal problem is the state of the road surface. Can't the people who dig up the roads get them back in a decently flat state? It can't be that hard. Tony Cantlay, email
Fast tracked Just back from a trip with bikes to Ebbsfleet International, with my six-year-old son. Journey time was a very quick 12 minutes and there were lifts at both ends, so getting on and off the train was dead easy. Ebbsfleet station has a cycle path almost from the front door linking to National Cycle Route 1 which we then followed into Gravesend, not the world's most exciting destination, but we did see some very big ships and it was enough for Freddie. The Javelin high speed trains have room for bikes in coach A at the Kent end of the train and I would guess you could get six to eight in there. Anyway, the guard told us that next month they will be running
JAVELIN TRAINS: the quickest way to access the Garden of England
trains at weekends to places like Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover. So a high-speed journey will get you and bike to Kent, in a way simply not possible without crossing London until now. Hope that’s useful to know about. Adam Edwards, email
Scooter scares I wrote some time back about about delinquent scooter riders being a menace on the road. But they have gone beyond this rather affectionate term now. What I’d like to know is: are marked cycle lanes for the sole use for cyclists? Can scooters, motorbikes or taxis enter or leave a bus lane crossing the solid white line along the bus lanes? If, as on Putney Hill Road, scooters are excluded on the signs are they still entitled to use the bus lanes?
I have no problems with motorbikes, but find more and more scooters in my area are becoming dangerous to cyclists, pedestrians and children. Leigh Wright, Putney
LCC says: Cycle lanes marked by a dotted line are advisory, while those marked with an unbroken line are for cyclists only. Powered two-wheelers may only use bus lanes that are specifically marked for their use (usually red routes). In these instances they may enter and leave the lane whenever it's safe to do so. Motorbikes or scooters are not currently allowed to use the bus lanes on Putney Hill Road.
EMAIL THE MAG firstname.lastname@example.org
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
14 London Cyclist
Dece De December cemb mber er 2 200 2009-January 0099-Ja Janu nuar aryy 20 2010 10
Zoe Williams After a widely-reported incident involving City Hall's most famous resident, our regular columnist asks what makes cyclists so 'nice'
oris Johnson, never exactly the cyclists’ cyclist, became a hero a few weeks ago when he pedalled over and saved environmentalist filmmaker Franny (the Age of Stupid) Armstrong from a gang of bad, mugging girls. I call them ‘girls’, but one of them had an iron bar. So they were definitely as bad as boys. As reluctant as I am to fete the mayor for a relatively small act that has won him near-global rejoicing, I have to admit, cyclists are nice while they’re on bikes. Even Tory cyclists are nice. Probably even David Cameron would be nice, on a bike, regardless of whether or not the driver who followed him with his briefcase and his clean clothes was also nice. What is it that makes cyclists so nice? We’ve all got a story of kindness: the courier who stops in the rain to help with a puncture, even though you’ve come out without a puncture repair kit, or indeed any knowledge of how to use one, and you don’t even deserve a bike. Or the cycling club who slowed down to let you ride with them all the way to the South Downs, even though you were no way fit enough to be with them in the first place. Or the one who joined in with you to shout at a motorbike after you’d been cut up at the lights, even though they probably didn’t see what had happened.
Armour-plated ignorance Here’s the thing, I don’t think you become more saintly upon the purchase of a bike, nor even when you start riding it. But I do think certain rules apply. Cars make you selfish. Just the noise of the key in the ignition turns a part of you into Jeremy Clarkson. Sure, it’s a tiny part, and you’re not about to start climate-change-denying and choosing trousers to make your packet look big. But there you are, in your vehicle, and everybody else is your enemy. It’s the simple impact of being encased in metal; probably wearing armour has the same effect. If you saw somebody being mugged, you wouldn’t think, ‘I’m in a car. I could probably help.’ You’d think: ‘I wonder why that poor woman is shouting help. Oops, too late. Now I’m in a different postcode. Gah, she’ll probably be alright. Those muggers only looked about 12. Maybe a policeman will walk past.’ Being a pedestrian doesn’t do this to you, but it leaves
you feeling no more invulnerable than the victim. So maybe if you were a championship rower, you might wade in, but as a regular person, you might well run away. I don’t want to say I would. I like to think I would charge in, shouting a jaunty war cry. But I think I would probably run away.
Knights in shining Lycra A bike offers you that unique combination of power and engagement. You’re right there, in the world. That ‘help’ is coming from your fellow man, you’re in it together. But at the same time, if things go horribly wrong, you’re still on a bike and you can get away pretty fast. Even if you’re Boris Johnson. I imagine a similar heart-filling sensation of heroic humanity might come upon you if you were on a horse. But who knows? And besides, then you have the feelings of the horse to consider.
“I don’t think you become more saintly after buying a bike, nor when you start riding. But I do think certain rules apply” Now I think about it, this must be why a bike was traditionally the vehicle of choice for policemen. It was nippy, it was friendly and it didn’t turn them into monsters, like wearing thigh boots or carrying a stun gun. Unfortunately, it also made them look absurd, especially if they had a bell. However, you only look ridiculous in uniform. In regular clothes, even those such as Boris Johnson might wear, you look like a guardian angel. An affable, be-wheeled angel. Zoe Williams is a freelance journalist and columnist who contributes regularly to publications including The Guardian and New Statesman
December 2009-January 2010
London Cyclist 15
Anish Patel Since his partner was killed by an HGV on her daily commute, Anish Patel has become an ardent campaigner on a range of cycling safety issues
t all started with an innocuous text on my work mobile. My partner Catriona’s office was trying to contact me; she'd not shown up and they were worried about her. I checked my personal mobile to find missed calls and voicemails from the police. From that moment on my life turned into a nightmare. Cat was hit by a tipper truck at 8.20am on 29 June close to Oval tube. She was pronounced dead three hours later. Cat was a very experienced cyclist and would think nothing of a 100-mile spin up and down mountains. She'd never do anything to endanger herself or others — I know this for a fact. She'd done nothing wrong that fateful day. Some statistics indicate cycling is getting safer and part of me wants to believe this. However, I'm a cyclist too and I’ve never felt more unsafe. Since 2004, the number killed or seriously injured has risen significantly and HGVs are still a major problem. Lorries are a tiny proportion of the total number of vehicles on our streets, yet they cause half of all cyclist deaths, particularly women. Yes, there are bad cyclists out there that tarnish us all in the eye’s of many drivers; however, those killed are often safe and strong cyclists — just like Cat.
We need strong action, not tinkering In memory of Cat, for my own safety and so that other families never have to receive a text message like I did, we need change. By coincidence, two weeks after Cat was killed I almost literally rode into Mayor Boris Johnson in the street. He was with Lord Adonis (Secretary of State for Transport), Kulveer Ranger (Mayor’s Transport Adviser), Peter Hendy (Commissioner for TfL) and David Brown (MD of Surface Transport), and they were on their way to a press launch. When I spoke to the Mayor then, he said he wanted to make London a true cycling city. My message to him and his colleagues was that to do this they need to do something fundamental and not tinker around the edges. The two decisions the Mayor has taken that I least understand are disbanding the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (see page 6) and allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes — both directly opposed to safer cycling. Beyond this, I believe we need to take action on many fronts to create this proper ‘cycling city’. Prevention is the first task, changing the way in which traffic flows around London in order to prevent incidents happening in the first place. I believe we need to (i) ban
HGVs at peak commuting times, and (ii) allow cyclists greater access through traffic lights and one-way streets when it’s safe to do so. The next problem is that of inadequate separation, which involves giving cyclists the space they need and separating out different forms of traffic. This would mean (iii) having a minimum width for every cycle lane, and if this cannot be met, don’t have one. I would also (iv) ask that bus lanes are made permanent 24 hours a day, with motorcycles banned from them.
“If we truly want to make London a world-class cycling city, we need fundamental changes” A third strand is to improve education for all road users, (iv) teaching cyclists to ride safer and be more courteous and (v) informing drivers better of the dangers they pose to vulnerable groups such as cyclists. Finally, the law needs changing to correct the unfair bias towards motorists. Existing laws must be enforced: when people break the law, they need to be prosecuted. To this end (vi) the police’s CVEU must not be disbanded. The Mayor must (vii) stop ‘encouraging’ commercial vehicle companies and force them to change. And (viii) there must be a balance of proof between the cyclist and driver, and dangerous drivers must be prosecuted whenever there's reasonable cause.
Change must start happening now In 2005 I was thinking about changing jobs and Cat said to me: “Will you be there in three years time?” She explained: “If the answer’s no, you should start doing something about it today because every day you delay is a waste.” Her message was that once you know what you want from the future, you must start making it happen immediately. If we truly want to make London a world-class cycling city, we need to tackle issues head on and make fundamental changes. These will be difficult and not always possible, but we must start trying now. December 2009-January 2010
London Cyclist 17
Success for Skyride The first Freewheel-inspired Mayor of London's Skyride brought 65,000 cyclists onto the city's streets in September — here's our review of the day Photos: JK (except where shown)
he largest traffic-free event in the UK made September a special time for London cyclists. It was certainly a busy period for LCC, who this year led 55 free guided rides from the suburbs to the Mayor of London’s Skyride on the third Sunday of the month. A whopping 3,500 people joined LCC rides this year — with 400 on the Greenwich ride alone — and they proved hugely popular for encouraging families and novice riders out on to the streets. Each had its own leader and several marshals to navigate and keep cars a comfortable distance away. In fact, LCC organised twice as many rides as it did last year. Chief executive Koy Thomson said: "In many ways this was a normal week for LCC ride leaders as they take groups of experienced and novice cyclists out on the roads year round." The event itself hardly needs an introduction: a 10-mile car-free circuit from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London, via St Paul’s Cathedral, with cyclists of every age, shape, size and ability level mixing with costumed performers, musicians and extroverts all getting their five minutes in the spotlight. But the best thing has to be the number of people who just rock up and pootle about as if it were the most natural thing in the world to be riding around Trafalgar Square without any cars, buses and taxis rumbling past.
BIKES NOT BUSES: rule the roost in Trafalgar Square for once
ST PAUL'S: and one very tall Frenchman
BIRDS' EYE VIEW: at Blackfriars Bridge
SIR CHRIS HOY: did even more photocalls than Kelly Brook
December 2009-January 2010
Skyride In a brief interview with London Cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy expressed his support for the closed-street event and similar projects. He said: "Anything that gets people onto their bikes is important, but something on this scale is just phenomenal. I went along to the Glasgow Skyride earlier in the summer and this is so much bigger and better — a true carnival atmosphere. It would be great if they could happen more frequently."
BUCKINGHAM PALACE: nice of the Queen to let us make proper use her driveway for an entire day Danny_McL@flickr
Now that closing off the streets is such an established practice — and don’t forget on the day before Skyride there was the final stage of the slightly-less-involving-but-stillworthy Tour of Britain — LCC believes such events should happen far more often in Greater London. In Bogota, the capital of Colombia, they close down 70 miles of the road network every Sunday. There the 'Ciclovía' is a street party that combines sport, recreation, health, commerce and culture in one free package supported by the mayor and staffed largely by enthusiastic volunteers who dress up in uniforms reminiscent of the Baywatch lifeguards. Can you imagine that in London? Every Sunday in summer, with a car-free event in every borough once a year — isn’t that something worth shouting for?
PIANO MAN: poor old Elton's fallen on hard times
ALL SMILES: for this cheeky pair
JUST CRUISING: past National Gallery
WHAT A CARRY ON: Terry and June enjoy some tandem laughs Danny_McL@flickr
OLYMPIC STARS: Jason Kenny beats Ross Edgar on static bikes
FLAG BEARERS: on LCC rickshaw
As well as being an integral part of the organisation of Skyride, LCC can proudly say it came up with the idea in the first place. The man we have to thank is David Love, who has been an LCC activist for years and is current vice-chair of the board. He says: “Skyride was born on the slopes of Table Mountain, outside Cape Town. It was 2001, the year that I first rode the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, along with thousands of other gleeful cyclists. Afterwards some friends and I started thinking about how we could bottle that joy and bring it home. It took six years of lobbying and cajoling, by all manner of people within (and some outside) LCC to make the first Freewheel happen in 2007. Now it’s such an established fixture on the London calendar, it’s time it was held more often and there were more local versions.”
December 2009-January 2010
Feature F t
2009 London Cycling Awards It’s been a fantastic year for cycling projects in the capital. Hardly surprising then that, with record nominations and an unprecedented number of shortlisted schemes, this year's awards attracted five of the best winners ever
he London Cycling Awards continue to go from strength to strength. The growth in London cycling has helped generate interest in the awards and the many outstanding nominees in turn generate yet more cycling in London. This level of growth has not been seen since Victorian times. And while city-wide cycling projects like the Cycle Hire Scheme and the Cycle Superhighways grab the headlines, hundreds of smaller projects around the capital's schools, workplaces and local communities are as important in helping Londoners enjoy cycling. For the individual it’s that personal contact that can make all the difference.
Best Cycling Facility The prestigious Best Facility award was shared this year between two fabulous projects. Other projects that didn’t quite make the shortlist included: the state-of-the-art bicycle park at the On Your Bike shop near London Bridge station; a very convenient cycle crossing into Hyde Park at Stanhope Gate, which allows northbound cyclists to avoid Marble Arch; and the Redbridge Cycle Centre which is already attracting hundreds of keen cyclists and was the result of effective local campaigning.
MISSING LINK: Camden's new walk/cycleway means journey times to the City have been greatly improved
The London Cycling Awards have been presented annually for more than a decade at the LCC Annual General Meeting in recognition of best practice in cycling promotion across Greater London. Details of all the projects that were nominated can be found at www.lcc.org.uk/awards. The London Cycling Awards were kindly supported in 2009 by Evans Cycles and Ride2Work.
WINNER 1: London Borough of Camden, with TfL funding PROJECT: walking and cycling link between Agar Grove and Camley Road, Camden NOMINATED BY: Jean Dollimore & Stefano Cassalotti, joint coordinators, Camden Cycling Campaign & Camden Council Camden Council developed the £500,000 Agar Grove link in response to lobbying by the Camden Cycling Campaign, as well as the council’s own ‘cycling tsar’ Paul Braithwaite. They were fortunate in securing Transport for London financial support. The cleverness of the design is how it handles a five-metre drop from Agar Grove, a key cycle node in
Camden, to the Camley Road connection to King’s Cross with a minimum of fuss. One judge described it as being like “arriving on a country lane with no motor traffic.” Another enthused about all the connections the link completes, including routes northwards to Islington, Haringey and Tufnell Park.
MORE SPACE: allocated for cyclists at Islington junction
WINNER 2: Hyder Consulting/TfL PROJECT: redesign of the junction of Pentonville Road and Penton Rise NOMINATED BY: Hyder Consulting & Ralph Smyth The redesign of this junction was undertaken by consultancy Hyder with TfL. It was praised by the judges for resolving problems at a difficult traffic junction on a busy main road in Islington. This junction was the scene of a fatal collision between a cyclist and lorry in 2007, and at the inquest of it was stated that there had been 23 collisions at this junction over the previous four years. The project is significant in that it reduces road danger by, unusually, reallocating road space away from cars towards buses, bicycles and pedestrians.
DOUBLE CAPACITY: thanks to innovative parking design
SHORTLISTED: Transport for London/ Cycleworks/Network Rail PROJECT: two-tier cycle parking at Liverpool Street and Euston stations NOMINATED BY: Cycleworks The orderly and space-saving cycle parking at Liverpool Street and Euston stations has been heaped with praise by campaigners and users alike. The facilities were designed by Cycleworks, in partnership with Network Rail and the TfL Centre for Cycling Excellence. They have increased parking provision at the two stations from 116 to 233. June-July 2009
Best Workplace Initiative Workplace initiatives have moved on a long way and this year’s crop included some excellent ones that didn’t even make the shortlist: media companies Haymarket and Sky have both installed great facilities that are boosting staff cycle use, while Sutton Council’s comprehensive travel plan has increased cycling among staff by seven percent.
SHORTLISTED: BAA Heathrow PROJECT: BAA Heathrow staff cycle parking NOMINATED BY: Theo Panayi, BAA Transport Strategy Manager
AWARENESS TRAINING: for HGV drivers has been pioneered in Lambeth
WINNER: London Borough of Lambeth PROJECT: cyclist awareness project for HGV drivers NOMINATED BY: London Borough of Lambeth Of all the projects nominated, this is probably the one most LCC members would like to see replicated across the city, if not the country. London is currently suffering something of a crisis in that eight out of ten cyclist fatalities this year have been as a result of collisions with lorries. This bold project is exactly the kind of initiative that’s needed to
reduce that terrible toll. Lambeth Council has chosen to provide its lorry drivers with a specialist training course, provided by experienced tutors from Cycle Training UK, to educate them as to the habits and vulnerabilities of cyclists in the city. The scheme involves classroom sessions and practical, on-bike, training sessions.
As the largest employment site in the country (with over 70,000 workers), any attempt to get staff to travel to work by bike can have considerable impact on individual health as well as the environment. Heathrow’s new ‘smart’ bike sheds, with showers, lockers and drying room, attracted well over 100 staff onto their bikes within the first month.
SHORTLISTED: WestTrans PROJECT: Try Cycling To Work NOMINATED BY: WestTrans The WestTrans project allows employees to try out a bicycle for three months free of charge, with free cycle training and other support. At the end of the loan, employees can buy the bike at a discounted rate. So far over 70 people in Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow have taken part.
Best Cycling Initiative For Young People This was a very strong category, reflected by the fact that a total of five projects made it onto the final shortlist. It was pleasing to see a good number of projects among the nominations taking place in the outer boroughs, areas that in recent decades have had very car-centric cultures. We’re sure all these projects will help with the shift towards more sustainable and healthy modes of travel.
WINNER: Metropolitan Police Regents Park Safer Parks Team PROJECT: Blue Wheelers/Frank Barnes School for the Deaf NOMINATED BY: Belinda Sinclair, LCC community cycling officer This project is a great example of a group of police officers going beyond the call of duty to help children at a nearby school for the deaf learn cycling and road safety awareness. The officers have shown sensitivity, taking their time to meet and work with the children at the school, and dedication, by learning to sign as a means of communication. They have also put to good use abandoned bikes that might otherwise have been thrown away. This project is supported by the Community Cycling Fund for London.
GOOD SIGN: community police work
SHORTLISTED: Bromley Cyclists Go-Ride project PROJECT: Children's cycling clubs NOMINATED BY: Charles Potter
Worried by a lack of activities for kids, Bromley Cyclists organised four clubs where children can socialise and enhance their skills. The project is expanding into after-school clubs in even more areas. This project is one of the recipients of the Community Cycling Fund for London (read more on page 53). December 2009-January 2010
Feature Best Cycling Initiative For Young People (cont.) SHORTLISTED: Wandsworth Primary Care Trust/ Pedal4Health PROJECT: The Wheel Thing/ Bike4Life NOMINATED BY: Fred Ellis The health authority in Wandsworth is boosting fitness levels in the borough using family cycling clubs organised by Pedal4Health, an independent cycle training provider. Participants are either referred by a health professional or by themselves, and enjoy fun and free cycling lessons, with riders graduating from off-road instruction to longer leisure rides. Over 70 individuals have taken part so far. Pedal4Health was founded via the Community Cycling Fund for London.
SHORTLISTED: Active Change Foundation PROJECT: Pedalling for our Future NOMINATED BY: Gerhard Weiss, Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign The Active Change Foundation’s ‘Pedalling for our Future’ is an annual bike ride that engages with youths from deprived backgrounds in Waltham Forest. The participants come from tough neighbourhoods where crime levels are high. This year, 75 young people joined the ride, which carried a strong ‘No to Guns, Gangs & Knives’ message. The promoters have put vast efforts into building strong relationships with this difficult-to-reach group of youngsters.
SHORTLISTED: Newton’s Primary School PROJECT: Cycle Parking NOMINATED BY: Transport for London Cycling Centre of Excellence Newton’s Primary School benefitted from the installation of a 20-place parking shed this year, as part of the programme to install modern cycle parking facilities at schools all over Greater London. This Transport for London scheme was started in 2003, and is expected to have covered every school in the capital by 2017. TfL also funds Level 2 National Standards cycle training in every school, and every child in years 5 and 6 at Newton’s achieved Level 2.
Best Community Cycling Initiative This category attracted a whopping 16 entries with an astonishing variety of projects and events, ranging from a social ride for London’s more sartorially conscious cyclists, to a project helping recovering drug and alcohol abusers and an international bike polo competition.
SECONDS OUT: STA Bikes collects another prestigious award for its work with cyclists in Hackney
WINNER: STA Bikes PROJECT: On Yer Bike training and maintenance in Hackney NOMINATED BY: Sally Haywill, STA Bikes This project was organised by STA Bikes, who also wowed the judges last year with their pioneering cycling project in Hackney. This year saw them organising Saturday morning events, based in
estates that usually have a low take-up of cycling. Participants ranged in age from 4 to 80 years old. Monday night maintenance sessions formed the second part of the scheme.
SHORTLISTED: London Borough of Hounslow/ Skyride partnership team PROJECT: Hounslow Skyride NOMINATED BY: London Borough of Hounslow
SHORTLISTED: Norwood Redbridge/Norwood Barnet/ Barnet Mencap PROJECT: Get On Your Bike/ Cycle My Way NOMINATED BY: Norwood
Hounslow hosted the first outer borough Skyride in Greater London, with 11,000 cyclists enjoying the day, which saw many roads closed to cars between 11am and 4pm. Any event of this magnitude is demanding in terms of organisation, but the various agencies worked well with the council to provide a magnificent day out for all.
Norwood is a leading UK charity that supports children, families and adults who have learning disabilities. Both of these projects were launched to give adults with disabilities the chance to enjoy cycling. Over 50 participants have now graduated from complete novice to experienced cyclist via the scheme. Funding's received from the Community Cycling Fund for London and PlaySport London.
SHORTLISTED: Roxy Erickson, director EHBPC PROJECT: European Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship NOMINATED BY: Oliver Schick This inaugural European tournament was declared a great success by all the enthusiastic participants and spectators who attended the event in Southwark last summer. Representatives from
nearly 10 countries took part, with competitive action over two whole days. The event has spawned new players and teams and is seen as a milestone in the evolution of this fast-growing sport.
December 2009-January 2010
Feature Photos: waughphotos.com/thisview@flickr
BEER RUN: the course passed through the cobwebbed bar, where spectators could jeer on assorted ghouls like the Mighty Boosh's eel-loving 'Hitcher'
Muddy Hell, it’s Halloween Braving a better class of trick or treater, Matthew Moore gets spooked by a very unusual cycling event at the Herne Hill velodrome
n paper it seemed pretty crazy — a chilly Halloween night at an old velodrome, 280 cycling nuts variously attired as horror characters, a damp, grassy track including some sharp hairpins, a muddy woodland trail and a few planks to jump over, oh, and a hotpotch of 'frankensteined' bikes. And in the flesh it didn't get any more sane — this was London's first Muddy Hell cyclocross event. And what a night it turned out to be... Event organisers Rollapaluza put a lot of thought into making this an
evening with something for everyone and with 1,000 people venturing along, it seemed they got the formula right. A busy bar with a great atmosphere was the centre of preceedings; a spot of planning genius even routing part of the course through the bar, meaning you could cheer and spectate while downing a few pints of mulled cider. With a bit of liquid courage inside them, a few intrepid souls were hitting the roller-racing machines. Elsewhere, spinning different wheels of steel, the DJ had heads bobbing with some dark and dirty drum and bass, ska and
SHINE A LIGHT: handrail assistance on track-side section
December 2009-January 2010
KISS OFF: plenty of men in make-up
DOUBLE DOWN: hard graft in the sand
reggae. And there was plenty for kids to enjoy too, from age-group races earlier in the evening to apple-bobbing.
From novices to experts It’s fair to say the spectators had an easier night of it than the ‘cross racers though. This packed racecard — sponsored by Tour de Ville Cycles — kicked off at 5pm with three junior competitions for under-12s, under-14s and under-16s. The adults’ events kicked off at 6.30pm with an entrylevel race for novices, mountain bike, fixed gear and singlespeed riders. From the comfort of track-side, we watched riders in all sorts of costumes — witches, pumpkins, sparkly gimpsuits and jumpsuits — negotiate the track. And at 9pm it was time for the big one, with 80 seniors taking off at a cracking pace. One of the great things about cyclocross is that something sems to happen on the course every few metres, so it was a real buzz to view at close quarters. The experienced riders made the fluid dismounting and remounting their bikes over jumps appear effortless, though my friend wondered how intimate injury was avoided.
A word to the wise After the race, we spoke to a few of the riders about what it’s like to ride ’cross. LCC member Mark Brown, 44, rides with local cycling club Dulwich Paragon who were well represented at Muddy Hell. He said: “I really
MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE? Skeletor misses out again
enjoyed it — though I’ve absolutely no idea how I did. The ground was very hard, so I’ll be feeling that in my arms tomorrow.” Delia Beddis, 26, who also rides for Dulwich Paragon, finished third in the women’s race and said: “There were four women from my club here, which is quite a lot for one event. Once you got into the woods you tended to go faster because you couldn’t see what was ahead of you... ignorance is bliss! And you really needed to be careful not to catch your pedals in the corners too.” So why should people give cyclocross a go? As another competitor commented: “It’s like mountain biking without the fashion and road biking without the elitism. Just look at it, it’s so much fun — it’s like the wacky races!” We had to agree. See you on the start line next year then?
FIND OUT MORE ■ Rollapaluza holds regular roller-racing nights across London — for more details go to www.rollapaluza.com ■ Did you know that the Herne Hill velodrome is the only surviving finals venue from the 1948 Olympics? The track is now closed for the winter, reopening from 6 March 2010; the off-road track is open all year. www.hernehillvelodrome.com ■ Cyclocross probably started with early 20th century road racers deciding to go cross-country in the winter months. It’s growing quickly as sport at the moment and you'll find a short potted history at www.wikipedia.org/ wiki/cyclocross
October-November 2009 London Cyclist
Best rides in London
Central London water features Across London there are hidden reminders of the role water has played in the city’s growth. Chris James explores a handful of little-known historic sites
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NEW RIVER HEAD 6
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f you think of water in London you probably think of the Thames, but that’s only one element of water in the capital. London has been shaped by its water supply and as it grew it reshaped the physical manifestations of water — its rivers. Today there are at least eight rivers that flow under our wheels into the Thames, itself entirely shaped by man. Today we take the supply of clean water as a basic right and rarely think about how this vast city is supplied and what happens to the waste. Historically clean water was not easy to obtain and, as for sewage, not very sanitary. This ride provides an introduction to the wealth of hidden water features that exist throughout London.
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ch wy Ald TEMPLE
1 YORK WATERGATE
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4 SERPENTINE (WESTBOURNE EXIT)
2 THAMES EMBANKMENTS
St James Park
Va ux ha ll
Lambet h Bridg e Br idg eR oa d
3 GROSVENOR CANAL
GUIDED RIDES: best way to tap into expert knowledge
WATERGATE 1 YORK
One of the most evocative monuments to London’s physical history is little known. An echo of the former line of the River Thames, the York Watergate now stands at the rear of Embankment Gardens and is more than 100 metres from the present Thames, providing visitors with an idea of the width of the river in the 17th century. When built in 1626 it was the watergate into the garden of the Duke of Buckingham’s mansion which stood nearby on the south side of
the Strand (a pre-Roman track and shore of the river). With many nobility owning riverside properties, the Thames was the safest method of travel through the city, especially after dark. Boatmen would pull up to the gate while potential passengers would shelter inside the gate on either side of the central passageway.
d Grosven or Roa
EMBANKMENTS 2 THAMES
The Victoria (north shore) and Albert (south shore) Embankments were astonishing achievements of engineering, social welfare and transportation. Following the Great Stink of 1858 and regular cholera outbreaks, legislation was passed to enable London’s sewer system to be constructed. Joseph Bazalgette designed the Embankments to narrow the Thames, to contain the main sewers and provide new public open space, roadways & bridges. Later they were also used to contain District line tube tunnels. As you pass Lambeth Bridge note Horseferry Road, which indicates where the horse-carrying ferry ran between Westminster
and Lambeth until 1750. On the south bank if the tide is low you can see two arches (pictured); these were built to allow barges to reach the Doulton pottery factory in Lambeth after the Embankment was built. In the Riverside gardens next to Vauxhall Bridge you can see a buttress from which, until 1867, prisoners sentenced to ‘transportation’ embarked on their journey to Australia.
December 2009-January 2010
Best rides in London
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
6 NEW RIVER HEAD
Lunch stops There are two cafes by the Serpentine: the Serpentine Bar and Grill and the Lido Cafe. Both offer a relaxing spot to admire the beautiful lake created by the damming of the Westbourne.
Neither new nor a river, this is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in London’s history. By the 17th century, London had outgrown its water supply and wells such as Goswell and Clerkenwell were often polluted, but nothing practical was done until Hugh Myddelton’s scheme in 1609. Myddelton’s solution was revolutionary — he found a source far out of London and brought water in by aqueduct. He offered ﬁnance to build the river, but the money ran out. King James I offered ﬁnancial help in return for a considerable
share of the proﬁts. The great enterprise was ﬁnished in 1613 and allowed London to ﬂourish. Water ﬂows from Chadwell and Amwell Springs in Hertfordshire to London down a gradient of two inches in the mile and was carried across dips and valleys by means of more than 100 wooden bridges. The New River still supplies north London.
5 CLERK’S WELL
FACTFILE Distance: 8.5miles Location: central London Terrain: urban roads and pathways Gradients: negligible Time: 3-4 hours with lunch
As early as 1174, the Clerk’s Well was the scene of medieval ‘miracle plays’ performed by the Parish Clerks of London. The well was located in the boundary wall of St Mary’s Nunnery, but after the dissolution of the nunnery the well was moved; in 1800 a pump was placed at pavement level to facilitate public use. The exact location was rediscovered in 1924 during building work in Farringdon Lane. The Clerk’s Well now has an accompanying exhibition outlining its history. The route to the Clerks Well passes the Cholera Pump (pictured) in Broadwick Street.
CANAL 3 GROSVENOR
Between the rail bridge and the road bridge is Grosvenor Dock. Take the steps down to the lock gates which cut off what remains of the old Grosvenor Canal from the Thames. The canal was built in 1823 by the Chelsea Waterworks Company, as part of a scheme to improve its supply of water to central London. This small canal was opened in 1825, and ran on land in Lord Grosvenor’s estate, from the Thames to Grosvenor Basin (now Victoria Station). It was last used as a depot for loading rubbish onto barges for
Sir John Snow established that cholera was a water-borne disease during the 1854 Soho epidemic and removed the pump’s handle which he was convinced was the source of the disease. His actions saved the lives of countless Londoners.
■ The Key to the Clerk’s Well is held at the Islington Local History Unit, who will arrange entry if you call in advance, 0207 527 7988. ■ The Thames used to be the main transport artery through London and is slowly being rediscovered. The current Thames Clipper ferries allow bikes to be taken on board which provides a useful access route to points as far east as Woolwich. ■ During the summer why not combine this ride with a swim in one of London’s outdoor lidos? All offer a fantastic way to appreciate water in the city and in Hyde Park you can swim in the Serpentine next to the Lido cafe. http://www. lidos.org.uk
AUSSIE LANDMARK: buttress in gardens by Vauxhall Bridge (see point 2)
(WESTBOURNE 4 SERPENTINE EXIT)
taking down to Rainham and Erith. It was the last commercial canal to operate in London, with rubbish barges using it up until 1998. Grosvenor Dock is also the site where the eastern branch of the River Westbourne ﬂows into the Thames. On the other side of Grosvenor Road stands the Western Pumping Station (1875).
The Westbourne is one of London’s hidden rivers, running from Hampstead to the Thames at Grosvenor Dock. Follow the route of the Westbourne, which ﬂows through pipes above Sloane Square station, via Bourne Street and Knightsbridge to Hyde Park. In 1727, Queen Caroline had the Westbourne dammed and the small lakes in Hyde Park were joined together and landscaped to form the Serpentine. The Westbourne exited from the Serpentine via the cascade at the eastern end.
Other springs existed in the area and one was the source of water for Westminster Abbey. Spring monument, on the bridge at the east end of the Serpentine, stands where a house containing water conduits stood and supplied water to Westminster until 1861.
December 2009-January 2010
Overseas O verseas www.visitdenmark.com
BIKE CULTURE: Denmark has a higher percentage of regular cyclists than anywhere else in Europe
Bring home the Danish With its highly developed cycling culture and infrastructure, Denmark is the envy of Europe. After a two-week exploration of Jutland, Ruth Bradshaw agrees it should be high on the 'to do' list for any serious tourer
t was clear from the moment we arrived in Denmark that cycling here would be a very different experience. It’s not just the physical facilities for cyclists — although with over 10,000km of sign-posted cycle routes, segregated cycle lanes on nearly all main roads and special traffic lights for cyclists at major junctions these are excellent — but the whole experience of being a cyclist. For a start it is far easier to leave your bike without worrying about it (at least in the countryside). There was amazement at our enormous lock — most Danish bikes have small integrated locks which go through the back wheel — and we soon stopped fretting about finding something we could lock the bikes to.
Denmark is a relatively small country formed of the Jutland peninsula (which shares a border with Germany) and numerous islands, the largest of which are Funen and Zealand. We had decided to focus on the south-western part of the country for our two-week break as this is most easily accesible from Esbjerg where the ferry from the UK arrives. We cycled mainly on waymarked routes, following a mixture of quiet country lanes, specially-built tracks and disused railway lines with a surprising amount on ‘unmade’ gravelled roads. Once away from the windfarms and industry of Esbjerg our trip got into full swing as we headed down the west coast of Jutland. This part of
Denmark is flat and the coast consists of tidal mudflats and marshes riddled with bird life. Our first stop was Ribe, an historic market town with a cathedral, the tower of which is visible for miles around. Like most of the Danish towns we visited, it has an attractive medieval centre, the majority of which is now pedestrianised. We spent two nights here to give us time to visit the Viking museum and take the tractor bus out to the island of Mando.
Flat out in Jutland We then headed across Jutland to the east coast — this journey was mainly on long straight roads through flat agricultural land and it proved the
December 2009-January 2010
on Replica Viking ship Farop lake least interesting day’s cycling, though made considerably harder by a strong headwind. As we approached the coast the countryside became hillier and more attractive with a succession of empty winding tarmac and the occasional opportunity to coast downhill. After spending the night in Haderslev we continued south via Aabenraa where we visited Brundland Slot, a small fortified medieval castle, to Sonderborg which had a larger castle and a pleasant harbourside area — the perfect place to enjoy a beer as the sun went down. The following day’s ride to Fynshav — where we caught the ferry to Funen — was lovely, through woodland with views to Germany on our right. We spent our first couple of nights on Funen in Faborg, a small town in the south-west. Here we witnessed some amazing sunsets and spent a relaxing day cycling through the rolling countryside, along the occasional bumpy forest track and past numerous farms with enormous barns and beautifully-painted, carefully-maintained thatched houses, before heading back to town along the coast. After leaving Faborg we rode north up the west coast of Funen to Middelfart where we stayed overnight in a farmhouse on the coast that had its own private beach. From Middelfart we crossed by bridge back onto Jutland and continued north through Fredericia. This area was more built-up but we also cycled through some stunning wooded areas as we followed the coast, before a long descent into Vejle — and the only steep-hill warning sign we saw in Denmark and probably
Windmills do Island flatlan minate the Mando ds Tim me for a sundowner at Fabborg, Funen best avoided in the opposite direction. After pausing briefly to explore the centre of Vejle which has some interesting modern sculpture, we ventured on to our next overnight stop by Farop lake near Jelling.
mopeds (but not motorbikes) are allowed in cycle lanes and there’s poor access onto trains for fully-laden bikes — but these are more than compensated by otherwise excellent provision. Cycling is really the only natural way to see this country.
Pop round Arhus Most of our subsequent route to Silkeborg was on ‘The Army Road’ (Haervejen), a 1,000-year old-route that runs from Viborg to the German border. We were now in Denmark’s Lake District — it doesn’t compare to the English one in terms of scale, the lakes are smaller and the highest point, Himmelbjerget, is only 147m — but it offered some of the best vistas we found. It also provided an opportunity to ease our legs and exercise our arms as we spent a ‘rest’ day canoeing on the Gudena river. On our final full day’s cycling we headed east out of Silkeborg, initially on a route that roughly followed the previous day’s river journey — it was much quicker cycling than paddling — and then across more undulating hillsides and farmland before finally meeting a riverside cycle path into Arhus where we spent three days before catching the train back to Esbjerg. Arhus was a great place to finish our journey, with a multitude of museums, quality restaurants and lively bars. We particularly enjoyed the Steno Museum (history of science and medicine) and Den Gamle By (an open-air museum of traditional Danish life). Surprisingly perhaps, there are some things which are less than perfect about cycling in Denmark —
FACTFILE ■ Transport Harwich to Esbjerg ferry operated by DFDS Seaways (www.dfdsseaways.co.uk) ■ Accommodation We stayed primarily in private rooms (B&B type accommodation) which cost 400-600kr for a double room. Tourist offices have lists of private rooms available locally. ■ Tourist Information/Maps The Danish Tourist Board website (www.visitdenmark. com) was useful for advance planning and local tourist offices sent us lots of useful information including an excellent free map showing all the cycle routes. We also used a map produced by the Danish Cyclist Federation called Cykelferierkortet (available from Stanfords). ■ Food Eating out in Denmark can be expensive, but in most places we stayed there were an Italian restaurants serving good pizzas and pasta at reasonable prices (approx. 65kr for a pizza). We found it was best to carry a picnic lunch with us as we couldn’t guarantee passing somewhere to buy food during the day. ■ Arhus card This cost 149kr for 48 hours and provided half-price admission to the Art Museum and Den Gamle By, plus free admission to numerous other museums in Arhus, free bus travel in the city and discounts in bars and restaurants. ■ Exchange rate £1 = 8.5kr approx (Nov 2009)
December 2009-January 2010
LIMIT SCREWS: can be adjusted to move your chain onto another chainring or cog
Simple fixes to get you home safely Don’t get stranded if something happens to your bike – these simple tips from Ian Pearson at CTUK wil get you up and running in a jiffy
ost mechanical failures develop over time and can be prevented, or spotted early, by regular checks and timely maintenance of the bike. Although there may be times when the unforeseen happens and you face a long walk home, it pays to be resourceful and be aware of other creative solutions. Here are a few tips that might help in a crisis. 34
Be prepared Carry a basic tool kit. Everyone should, at very least, be able to deal with the most common fault, a puncture. Make sure you know the location of bike shops near your regular route.
CABLE TIES: among the most versatile tools available
Snapped a gear cable? If the front gear cable breaks (dropping the chain on to the lowest chainring), it’s a simple job with a screwdriver to
December 2009-January 2010
Technical the tyre at the point of damage. This will stop the inner-tube herniating through the damaged tyre again. A piece of plastic rubble-sack from a skip is good, or better still, the woven plastic used for cubic-metre bags of sand. At a push, on a dry day, even cardboard will do the job. Do not inflate the tyre to full pressure though, as none of these fixes will be as strong as the original tyre carcass. Replace the tyre as soon as possible.
Forgotten your puncture kit? This is the easiest thing to cadge from another cyclist, but failing that it’s possible to knot or zip-tie the inner tube so that the hole is bypassed (see photo, below left). This gives a slightly lumpy ride and is definitely only a temporary fix.
BARE ESSENTIALS: always carry a spare tube and multi-tool
Lost a pannier ﬁxing-bolt? Borrow the bolt from your waterbottle cage (usually an M5 bolt, the same size as used on racks and mudguards) and use that. A zip-tie threaded through the bolt hole will be strong enough to support only a light load on the rack. Alternatively, convert your laden pannier into a rucksack using your spare inner-tube as shoulder straps.
Snapped the chain?
wind in the ‘L’ limit screw of your derailleur until the chain is pushed onto the middle chainring, giving far more useful gear ratios. Similarly, a broken rear gear cable normally means the derailleur will move the chain to the highest gear. To achieve a more usable gear, screw the ‘H’ limit screw all the way in. It’s usually possible to push the chain down three gears.
Sidewall blow-out? You'll recognise this by an enormous bang. So after your hearing returns to normal, look for and fix the cause. Often it’s a brake pad set too high that it rubs on the tyre sidewall. The sidewall wears through and the inner-tube bursts out. The inner-tube may be so badly damaged that it's unpatchable and if that’s the case use your spare. But hold your hoses — before you inflate the tube, it is vital to place a piece of strong, flexible (but non-stretchable) material inside
Rejoining a chain is a safety-critical job, so this is only for those with a certain amount of skill. I have seen a broken chain rejoined with a short piece of fence-wire, but would not recommend it. If you have a chain tool (often included on the pricier pocket multi-tools) and the knowledge to use it, remove the damaged link, discard it, and rejoin. Be aware that certain manufacturers (including Shimano) recommend that their chains are joined only with special joining pins. As it is now shorter, check if the chain will run on the largest chainring to largest sprocket. If it doesn’t run, it is critical (previously only undesirable) that you avoid this gear combination while riding as the chain is likely to jam. Carrying a spare SRAM PowerLink allows easier and more reliable rejoining of a chain without the problem of it being shortened. Even without a chain tool, any surplus pin can be eased out using a suitable diameter Allen key carefully tapped with a half-brick or similar objet trouvé.
Still can’t ﬁx it? Hail a cabbie and say please. Bikes do fit in most black cabs. Then when you get home, make a diary note to book up on a maintenance course.
WEDGE PACKS: can hold most basics, plus keys and money
CHAIN FIXING: made easier by carrying the right tool
MORE INFORMATION ■ Cycle Training UK runs regular, hands-on maintenance training courses in London. Details available from www.cycletraining.co.uk ■ Also see www.cycle-systems-academy.co.uk
December 2009-January 2010
New bikes for 2010 With a variety of urban bikes, ﬁxies and singlespeeds now appearing from all manufacturers, we look at a few of the hottest models for next year Demon Frameworks www.demonframeworks.com One of the undoubted stars of the London Cycle Show was this new model from Demon Frameworks. Called the ‘Woodman’ thanks to a pair of Cerchi Ghisallo Corsa wooden rims and custom-shaped wooden handlebar, it sports more vintage styling than your nan’s old kitchen. The tubeset is handmade Reynolds 631 steel with contrasting decorative lugwork, Sugino supplies the crankset and bottom bracket,
while the top-end hubs and track cog are from Phil Wood. Finishing kit from Nitto, Gran Compe and an MKS pedal package round-out an impressive spec. This complete bike is yours for approximately £2900, but visit the website for a multitude of other customising options.
Charge Bikes has dominated the urban scene in the last couple of years and the Lazy Susan continues the company’s innovative and often unique approach. Designed to provide a conﬁdence-inspiring balance (‘scuse the pun) between stationary ‘feet on the ﬂoor’ stability and efﬁcient pedalling, this is both a practical and eye-catching model.
The integrated rear rack and wooden cargo platform offer ample room for transporting work gear or shopping, a three-speed Sturmey Archer transmission and drum brakes keep things tidy, and both bars and sprung saddle are new in-house products. In sizes XXS-M, it will retail for £499.99. Just don't get caught giving your mate a 'backie'.
A new departure for the longestablished mountain bike and BMX brand is a range of city slickers, headed by the Trafﬁc 1.0 at £669.99. It packs plenty of speciﬁc commuting features — reﬂective decals, Pin-head security wheel skewers and seat-pin, punctureresistant tyres and a protective top-tube bumper — onto a
The US giant continues to expand its massive urban ﬂeet with two 'Sohos'. The burly ﬂagship model is built around an 8-speed belt-drive system that uses a Shimano Nexus hub, and includes matching wraparound mudguards, rubber top-tube bumper and puncture-resistant Bontrager Hard-Case treads as standard. It comes in sizes 15-25in and will retail
for £799; the cheaper singlespeed comes with traditional chain and no mudguards for £425. Elsewhere the super-stylish second generation of District bikes now includes drop-bar options with traditional chain-drive (inset).
signature ‘triple triangle’ aluminium frame that gives a more upright, comfortable riding position than even a mountain bike. A colour-matched rigid fork, Deore drivetrain, disc brakes and Alex rims will take years of street abuse. A large men’s size range, from XS-XXL, is complemented by a women’s step-through frame version.
December 2009-January 2010
42:16 www.4216bicycleco.com Also unveiled to the public at this year’s Earl’s Court show — and surely the most stunningly ﬁnished — was this handmade, ﬁllet-brazed beauty from new brand 42:16. This 'S' (Street) model is intended as the ﬁrst of a new range and is currently available as frame only (£495), or with the matching one-piece stem-handlebar and fork upgrades (£39.95 and £54.25 respectively); a complete bike build should be available from early 2010. Constructed from custom doublebutted steel, there’s reinforcing rings at the headtube, plus chrome-plated track dropouts and chainstay for durability. Hand-painted coachline
detailing gives extra caché; available either in pale green or black. The 42:16 website’s due to go live in mid-December.
A sub-brand under the Specialized umbrella, Globe’s varied line-up offers cargo bikes, minimalist singlespeeds and urban cruisers. The 8-speed Live (£449.99) has an integrated front porteur basket with wood base built into the aluminium frame, double kickstand for easy loading, classic colour-matched mudguards, hydraulic disc brakes and ergonomic contact points.
After a break from the UK market, KHS is back with a bang — it celebrated its 30th year of framebuilding using Reynolds tubing by launching a new range of city bikes at Earl's Court. KHS prefers double-butted steel on its urban bikes as it offers a more compliant ride and this was showcased by the Flite 100, a classic track-style ﬁxie/ singlespeed in Reynolds 520DB tubing with lugged ﬂat crown forks that weighed in at just 19lbs. Supplied with front or rear brakes (not shown) in ﬁxed/freewheel options, sizes 53-60cm, in black or limited-edition gold from £499.99.
The Haul (£549.99) shares many of these features but has a sturdy elm wood deck built into the rear rack which can hold up to 40kg. Another nice touch, like the headbadge design, is that you get LED front and rear lights thrown in for free. Sizes S-XL, with women’s step-through frame options.
Also worth highlighting is the Urban Uno (below) — a 'new age' singlespeed with sloping top-tube, sloping lugged fork crowns, bull horns and old-school, salmon-style mudguards. Three sizes from 15.5-20.5in, £499.99.
www.genesisbikes.co.uk Alongside its big-selling freeride rigs Kona has always offered a handful of retro-styled steel cyclocross/street bikes and it’s the latter range that sees major additions for 2010. Most eyecatching of these ‘road’ models has to be the racing green Grand Wagon, which will set you back £1,800. The frame’s bronze-welded Dedacciai cromoly, and you get a Mavic Track Ellipse wheelset with ‘ﬂipﬂop’ freewheel or ﬁxed gear option. Like all Konas it comes in a huge range of sizes from 49-60cm. The Dr Fine (inset) is built from
7005 butted aluminium and uses a proprietary P2 700c fork, Alﬁne hub gear and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes; sizes 45-60cm, £950.
Lifting design themes from the past, mixed with a contemporary geometry and component package, the Flyer returns in smart new livery. The slim Reynolds steel frame has a classic seat-clamp lug, track ends with built-in chain tension screws and removable cable clips; the fork’s lugged too. Available in ﬁve sizes between 52-60cm, the complete bike costs £599. For dirtier work the Day One (£499) singlespeed now comes in two guises — ﬂat-bar
townie (inset) or traditional drop-bar ‘crosser — both incorporating 16mm seat-stays and identical chainstays to those used on Genesis mountain bikes.
December 2009-January 2010
Commuter lights A decent sets of lights is vital for safe winter commuting. We review six options from £20 to £150 with different battery and accessory set-ups Light & Motion Stella 150N £149.99 www.bikelights.com ■ Run time: 2.75hrs (max) ■ Recharge time: 10hrs This kit offers a couple of mounting options: either lamp clipped to handlebar with battery secured below stem, or Velcro’d neatly on top of your helmet. The latter’s only possible due to the featherweight NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) battery pack and is ideal if you sometimes ride off-road, especially for peering around trees or obstacles. One button toggles between high, low and ﬂashing modes and in use the
light consistently exceeded its claimed burn times on all settings, producing a deep centre spot with softer ﬁll to the edge of its range. Recharging is an overnight job though. Overall we'd rate this as the most powerful light in its class. JK
Cateye EL020 Hybrid £49.99
Smart Lunar 25 £54.95
www.ﬁsheroutdoor.co.uk ■ Run time: 8.5hrs (F); 62hrs (R) ■ Recharge time: 23 hours for 2900mAH AA battery
■ Run time: 11hrs alkaline; 3hrs solar (constant) ■ Recharge time: 7hrs (solar) Lighting your way as you ‘boldly go’, the EL020 looks like something Captain Kirk would use to seek out new life forms. You can switch between an internal NiMH battery charged by a solar panel or a standard AA battery if that runs out. The cut-away sides give good visibility, and the beam is focused and powerful enough to cover 15 metres on a dark road. You may be wondering whether a solar light is a gimmick, but place it in a well-lit area at work for a day and you’ll be persuaded otherwise on your commute home. Though pricey, this sturdy, practical light comes highly recommended. MM
Too many bike lights are functional black boxes that have never known a designer’s tender touch. Enter Smart’s Lunar range to put top-drawer lighting in an attractive and weatherproof casing. The front light houses a single LED that’ll comfortably illuminate 8-10 metres ahead on a dark road in standard or boost mode. It also outperformed Smart’s seven-hour estimated burn time and both ﬂashing mode and side cut-aways combine to give you added visibility. The half-watt rear lamp is admittedly more boxy, but throws out an incredibly bright light in steady mode for 62 hours. Over ﬁve days after we turned it on, it was still going strong. It’s truly hard to ﬁnd fault with this great value, attractive commuting lightset. MM
Blackburn Flea, £24.99 each
Cateye HL-EL320/ TL-LD610 £59.99
■ Run time: 12hrs (low) ■ Recharge time: 45mins Easily the smallest lights in the review, the Flea packs a lot of illumination into a featherweight package. Slip them in your bag or pocket and you always have a back-up. In ﬂashing mode, you’ll grab the attention of trafﬁc for at least 50 metres, though the beam isn’t wide or distinct enough to show your path ahead at speed in one of the two steady modes. The other big attraction of the Flea is the choice of recharge modes — it gets its name from the way it can suck power from a standard battery with the supplied charger, or you can buy an appropriate USB or solar charger. Small is beautiful and well worth it here. MM
■ Run time: 102hrs (F), 109hrs (R) ■ Battery type: 4 AA (F), 2 AAA (R) If you’re after a lightset that burns forever, this Cateye kit is worth hunting down. Both units ﬁnally gave up the ghost more than ﬁve days after we started testing them! The single-LED front EL320, powered by four AA cells, just lost out to the ﬁve-LED rear LD610 with its two AAA batteries; some clever optics make this a particularly impressive tail-light. But there are downsides: housing four batteries makes the EL320 bulky and reports from long-term testers support our concerns about the build quality and fragile catches. A little on the expensive side too. MM
Blackburn Mars 3.0, £19.99 www.blackburndesign.com ■ Run Time: 60 hours ■ Battery type: 2 AAA Since the Mars 3.0 arrived it’s been a permanent ﬁxture on our seatposts. Five rear red and two side amber LEDs kick out a wonderfully bright lightshow. It squeezes an incredible 60-hour
runtime from its two AAA batteries, so the new tool-free casing isn’t something you’ll be needing to ﬁddle with too often. MM
ONE TO WATCH New from Exposure’s stable comes the Spark (£100), a high powered front light that offers a 220 lumen output and is powered by two Lithium-Ion cells. Regular users can upgrade with Spark’s rechargeable battery kit. Run times are claimed at 1.5 hours on maximum setting and 12 hours on low with the rechargeable battery, and 2.5-20 hours using disposables. At just 72g, it’s a cable-free lamp tailor-made for commuting. Full test next issue. www.exposurelights.com
December 2009-January 2010
Xmas cycling gifts Looking for a present for the bike nut in your family? Then here's a few choice buys Camelbak HAWG NV £99.99 www.zyro.co.uk Since the '90s the HAWG has been the benchmark for hydration packs, but for 2010 its classic design's been completely overhauled with an ultra-lightweight back system and other features. This new low proﬁle system provides an air channel to keep your back ventilated, yet still offers sufﬁcient padding for long days in the saddle. The 3-litre drinks reservoir sits in its own easy-access compartment nearest your back, which ensures the weight remains stable even on the bumpiest off-road terrain. Elsewhere there’s a main pocket large enough to hold most laptops and a change of clothes, a front
Endura FS260-Pro Bib shorts £64.99 www.endura.co.uk As winter draws on, you need to make some smart choices in your wardrobe — these high performance bib shorts are a great ﬁrst layer and are as well featured as alternatives costing £100 or more. Superbly tailored, they use a Coolmax fabric which is fast drying, supportive and extremely comfortable; the silicone leg top grippers stop the shorts riding up as you spin away. The al antibacterial chamois is fairly ve unobtrusive ives and also gives some relieff ars from the jars and bumpss ing you get riding e. a road bike. XL; Sizes S-XXL; in black, blue, red w. and yellow. er MMallinder
pocket for bike tools and spares, two side pockets for snacks or tubes and a helmet holder with LED light slots. There’s also a waterproof-zipped MP3 pocket on top and a full waterproof cover built into the bottom. A wide waist-belt, well-padded harness and adjustable sternum strap make for one of the comﬁest packs we’ve ever tested. We’ve used this pack for both daily commutes and weekend adventures and highly recommend it to that growing band of riders looking for quality kit for crossover cycling duties. The ultimate do-it-all pack just go better. Also available in blue, red or teak. JK
Po Campo handlebar bag £65 www.cyclechic.co.uk Designed by Chicago girls looking for accessories that are functional yet fashionable, Po Campo's bags come in two designs with a choice of three fabrics. Both are 'waterresistant', though torrential downpours are best avoided. The handlebar bag (shown), which measures a mere 25cm across, is small enough to ﬁt under the arm or squeeze on the bars of most bikes, attaching
securely via adjustable straps and stainless steel clips. Magnetic clasps replace ﬁddly zips and there are handy pockets for phone or Oyster card. LL
Fibre Flare £24.99-29.99 (250-292mm) www.ﬁbreﬂare.com If you’re serious about being seen, the Fibre Flare's a must-have. Its single optical ﬁbre is lit at both ends and throws out a steady or ﬂashing light in all directions. Trafﬁc can easily see you from the side — and from up to 300 metres away. Easy to attach to your pack, jacket
Howies Tracker £160
or seatpost and with a battery life of over 70 hours, it puts alternatives in the shade. MM
Howie’s updated Tracker will appeal if you want a premium parka-style jacket that’ll stand up to short ride in the rain. A black ‘Epic’ cotton outer layer and a quilted lining make it very comfortable to the point of being too toasty; six pockets and a detachable hood prove useful too. But the Tracker's far too bulky to stuff in a pack and ultimately more about fashion than practical cycling. MM
Product editor Matt Moore organises our ongoing reviews schedule. Contact: email@example.com
December 2009-January 2010
Culture From ﬁlm fests to roller-racing extravaganzas, it's been a busy autumn Bicycle Film Festival 2009 www.bicycleﬁlmfestival.com farid tejani/bliinkpix.com/bicycleimages.com
FILM FANS: Barbican screenings were a sell-out
GIVE IT SOME: massive crowds urged riders on at a special BFF Rollapaluza 'Brief Encounter' evening
THIS YEAR’S BICYCLE Film Festival again saw the world’s best bike ﬁlms presented to an ever-growing audience of fans. Regular favourites like Breaking Away were joined by a series of shorts that showcased innovative movie-making from around the world, including a number of urban shorts from London such as Polo Manual. Organiser Brendt Barbur commented on how London’s bike culture is inspiring people around the world. With the exciting Rollapaluza ‘Brief Encounter’
mixed doubles madison event on Friday, the photocat (a kind of treasure hunt on bikes) on Saturday, and the BFF Polo Tournament on Sunday, there was a packed calendar of events slotted around the screenings which ensured that this was a weekend to remember. Competitors dressed up for Rollapaluza as their favourite ﬁlm couples, with prizes awarded for best costumes. The winners were Team Tom & Jerry who recorded a stunning time of 47.34 seconds in one of their rides. With 37 doubles
Lance & Le Tour Matt Lamy £9.99 YOU MAY THINK the world needs another Lance book like it needs another ﬂu pandemic — having read a few dozen and generally despaired at the dubious quality of what’s been churned out, I’d tend to agree. Luckily, however, this one rises above the crud and does that rare thing in a modern biography — actually speaks to people who know and have worked closely with the subject, in this case since the Texan’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent Tour de France glory hunt. An impressive list of luminaries from whom author Lamy gleans that unique perspective includes former team-mates George Hincapie, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Roberto Heras, Victor Hugo Pena and Sean Yates, plus Mark Gorski (US Postal team manager 1995-2003) and even Dr Scott Shapiro, the neurosurgeon who removed Armstrong’s brain tumours in 1996. The book alternates chapters on each of the seven tour wins with insightful background on how his teams were set up, the technology behind his bikes, why the French press has had it in for Armstrong and how psychology played its part in his comeback. The prose ﬂows well, all the better for avoiding back-to-back slabs of race 42
commentary and it’s interesting to follow Armstrong’s rise from ‘contender’ to ‘champion’, to hear from colleagues, not always in glowing terms, how he handled the pressure. As you’d expect des by looking at Lance’s the narrative concludes li this hi year — andd the h most recent return earlier political inﬁghting — after three year’s away from the sport, then ponders how he will fare over the next few seasons now he has his own team to boss again. Whatever you think of Armstrong, the man or the athlete — and let’s face it, no other racer has ever divided opinion so dramatically — you won’t fail to be absorbed by how his career developed and what was going on behind the scenes. Both a glimpse into the machinations of the pro peleton and Armstrong himself, this is one stocking-ﬁller actually worth having. JK
teams, it was a record entry for the event. Saturday’s photocat saw competitors taking pictures based on ﬁlm themes. One team posed in front of a large moon tapestry for an ET-style handlebar-basket shot, while another pair even travelled to Brighton and back to get a snap on the seafront. The polo tournament attracted teams from London, Paris, Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester and was won by London-based BAD Polo. In brilliant weather, Brixton Cycles were on hand for bike maintenance, and a very high level of polo was witnessed. It concluded another great weekend for which the organisers deserve massive compliments. Oliver Schick
Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance Lennard Zinn £17.99 THIS IS THE latest updating of what is revered by many ass the seminal tome on cycle maintenance. So patched onto the comprehensive basics are new sections on Campagnolo’s 11-speed and Ultra-Torque cranks, Shimano’s electronic Dura-Ace and Sram’s Red shifters, plus a little extra focus on all things cyclocross. What has always marked out the Zinn books isn’t just the clarity of the technical text, but the uncluttered and simple accompanying illustrations. There’s more than 350 of the two-colour drawings here, making parts' identiﬁcation a doddle even for novices. Fixes are graded in terms of difﬁculty — though there’s a few things only a well-tooled and experienced home bodger should really attempt. Almost too good to leave your grubby thumbprints on. JK
December 2009-January 2010
The Practical Cyclist: Bicycling for Real People Chip Haynes £9.99 THIS IS A book very much for the new or returning cyclist, and would make a great Xmas present for anyone you know who’s teetering on the edge of bikedom. Practical Cyclist is written primarily to encourage local or commuter cycling, rather than trans-African adventures, with chapters providing excellent advice to novices: choosing a bike and accessories; good riding technique; basic tools and mechanics; sensible route-ﬁnding — you’ll ﬁnd it all here, and more. Chip Haynes, the author, lives in Clearwater, Florida, where he’s
known as the ‘neighbourhood bike guy’. And that’s very k cheerful, h f l much the tone off th the bbook: encouraging and knowledgeable. There’s a fair amount of touchy-feely stuff about emotions (remember them) and cycling, and the author deliberately avoids obsessing about equipment and brands. It would make an enjoyable 182-page read for all kinds of folk, but the hard facts are aimed squarely at less-experienced cyclists looking for inspiration. MC
The Time-Crunched Cyclist Chris Carmichael & Jim Rutberg £14 THIS BOOK'S AUTHOR, Chris Carmichael, has been Lance Armstrong’s personal coach for nearly 20 years, so it's fair to assume he knows a thing or two about ﬁtness. And he's identiﬁed a niche audience among today’s cash-rich, time-poor cyclists (think Colnago road bike and two kids), who aspire for success at the weekends, but without getting a bollocking from their other half for training too much the rest of thee time time. ‘Fit, fast and powerful in 6 hours a week’ is the promise, and right from the off we’re deep into a physiology lesson. Anyone who’s done any kind of training (marathon, sportive) will recognise the language — V02 max, intervals, endurance — though if this all new to you, be prepared for a bit of a shock. No-one said this was going to be fun. Towards the end of the ﬁrst chapter you realise that the solution to ﬁtting more ﬁtness into a shorter slot is to train harder. Obvious maybe, but the devil is in the detail and that’s exactly what this book provides. MC
Family Cycling Carlton Reid £11.99 Carlton Reid has been writing about bikes for nearly 20 years and is perhaps best-known for his websites (bikeforall.net and bike.biz). He’s also the father of three children (aged 9-11), so is well qualiﬁed to speak on family matters. This pocket-sized softback is a handy manual for parents looking to mobilise their youngsters. There are extensive sections on teaching your child to ride and buying just the right bike (with virtually every age up to teens treated individually). Pre-riding, child seats, tag-alongs and tandems are also discussed. Safety is another major chunk, with Reid espousing the view right from the beginning that a child on a
bike iss a healthier, happier kid than one festering at home. To that end, there’s also information on organising family holidays and racing. Family Cycling is a useful read, with lots of colourful photos, so even the older kids can pick it up and have a look. The book is one of a series edited by Richard Ballantine, with other outings covering city cycling, bike buying and bicycle design. MC
ith ten minutes or so to spare before the Garden Museum in Lambeth opened for an evening debate on The Good Life, I stood and watched the traffic at the roundabout joining Lambeth Bridge to Lambeth Palace Road, Albert Embankment and Lambeth Road. It was early October, Road dusk, d k and the Houses of Parliament — all fairytale pinnacles and tracery — glowed orange across the river. But back at the roundabout it was a different story. A difficult crossroads at any time — four major roads converging at a busy riverside roundabout with traffic lights at each junction — at going home time it seemed unbelievably chaotic and dangerous. At least a third of the cyclists had no lights, and many of those ignored the traffic signals to seek safety by negotiating the roundabout in the dead time between traffic light changes — where they met and often nearly collided with other cyclists, motorcyclists and joggers doing the same. A number of cars overshot the lights before or after a red signal, and all one could watch in amazement was a combination of probability theory, chaos theory and fractal geometry geometr all come together in a fast-moving fairground of lights, tights and an split-second manoeuvres. In London, I now realise, commuter cycling is an extreme sport. Lo Some cyclists are risk-takers, others, one has to say, simply stupid. cy I watched watche on several occasions cyclists move from the inner lane of the roundabout to the outer lane without either looking behind or ro signalling signallin their intention, thus causing car drivers behind them to brake, brake curse and drive on. Yet there was a kind of strange beauty to this nightly ballet mécanique, as well as wonder that everybody n got off the th roundabout alive. It seems such a contrast to the disciplined disciplin phalanxes of cyclists one sees at rush hour in Amsterdam or Copenhagen. London cycling culture is now more like New York Cope than elsewhere in Europe: frenetic, individualistic, more out for else the adrenaline rush of the wired generation rather than the slow adre meander home.
Night at the museum The enchanting Garden Museum is housed in the former church of St Mary-at-Lambeth right on the roundabout, where the great 17th century plant collectors, the Tradescants, are buried. It also has a beautiful knot garden (and more recently allotments, with chickens coming soon). For this opening event of the exhibition (which runs to 7 March 2010) a panel of young and elderly gardeners spoke passionately to a large crowd about growing your own vegetables and becoming selfsufficient. Though London is now home to the fastest growing cycling population in the UK, the capital also hosts an equally pre-eminent population of guerilla gardeners, bee-keepers, allotment holders and others keen to change the world with a fork and spade. Whether these two constituencies overlap is another question. One could guess by the kind of bike they might choose to ride: mean machines or workhorses? Perhaps every household should have both. ■ Ken Worpole’s new edition of Alexander Baron’s classic East End novel, King Dido, has just been published by Five Leaves Press. More details at www.worpole.net
LCC is nothing without its members — your help can make a big difference, so here’s ﬁve ways to get involved VOLUNTEER LCC is always looking for people to help in the office and with on-street campaigns, including rides and other events.
Melissa Gomez, Newham “When I lived in Barcelona, I helped the local campaign group with their events and on-street marketing. Now I live in London I’m doing the same with LCC. I love keeping busy, helping the cause and making friends.” ■ Email matthew@lcc. org.uk for more information about volunteering
office. £50 contributes towards printing leaflets. £500 means LCC can attend a high-profile event where we can spread the message. ■ www.lcc.org.uk/donate LOCAL GROUP Hounslow is looking for a new borough co-ordinator to run the local LCC group. Are you a keen cyclist and organiser living in or near this west London borough?
Local campaigns, rides and events
LCC groups organise local campaigns and rides — the latter are for experienced and
novice cyclists alike, and for adults as well as children. You don’t even have to be a member to take part, so invite your friends along too. ■ Visit www.lcc.org.uk/local to find your local group. ■ Email firstname.lastname@example.org about Hounslow. RECRUIT If every member persuaded one friend to join this year, LCC would double its membership to more than 22,000. The more members we have, the more resources we have to fight for cyclists’ rights and the bigger voice we have in the city.
just a PR excercise; it must produce radical changes along these routes to encourage thousands of new cyclists to take to the roads. Rushed, half measures won’t do. ■ Support our manifesto by signing online at www.lcc. org.uk/campaigns News
Invite a friend
1 I will have enjoyed my cycle journey not just survived it, and I will feel safe and feel it is safe for less experienced cyclists 2 I will feel that cycles have priority and that motor trafﬁc is not dominant 3 I will have the incentive of trafﬁc-free or trafﬁc-light sections 4 I will not feel that buses, lorries and cars are passing too close and too fast 5 I will not have to pull out to overtake motor vehicles, nor fear being hit by opening doors 6 I will be able to cycle at the speed I want and not feel pressured to keep up or slow-down 7 I will not have to cross lanes of fast moving trafﬁc and compete for position 8 My route through junctions will be clearly marked and respected by motorists, and I will not incur time delays if I use cycle-speciﬁc crossings 9 When crossing a minor road I will not have to give way to emerging vehicles 10 On red I will stop in an advanced position and be able to go before other trafﬁc; where safe I will be able to by-pass trafﬁc signals at T-junctions and left turns
KINGSTON UPON THAMES
PROBLEM: cyclists travelling on the A24 at Tooting Broadway (route 7) must negotiate parked motor vehicles and narrow, congested roads. SOLUTION: peak hour restrictions on parking and loading.
London-wide cycle network. Only the easy bits will be addressed, and the critical work at junctions, roundabouts, signals, and the reallocation of space to cyclists will be dropped or postponed because they conflict with motor traffic capacity. In short, blue-wash. Best? The mayor uses his authority and vision to break through the institutional barriers, speed up decision-making and push through inspired solutions. He needs to say ‘the first two Superhighways create the brand, don’t get it wrong’.
What can you do to make a difference?
PROBLEM: travelling southbound on Kennington Park Road on the A3 (route 7) cyclists must cross the path of fast-moving motor trafﬁc turning left without trafﬁc lights. SOLUTIONS: tricky, but LCC recommends an interactive design process with cyclists.
delivered, and the ambitions of those delivering the first two highways. Official reports show that we are falling disappointingly short of exemplary or visionary solutions. The mayor has set tough deadlines which are perversely making people avoid challenges and conflicts. What the mayor can do is to encourage
PROBLEM: in the event of a collision at this point on the A202 New Cross Road (route 5) a cyclist would have no escape. SOLUTION: remove railings.
officials to bust through the barriers and use his influence to make things happen.
And the 'complementary measures'? A significant budget has also been allocated towards encouraging cycling in areas adjoining the Superhighways.
PROBLEM: cycle lanes on Cable Street (route 3) cross from one side of the road to the other across a stream of trafﬁc. SOLUTION: safe, continuous cycle routes.
These measures will include marketing and events aimed at employers, employees, school-leavers, along with improved cycle facilities for residents and communities such as additional parking.
What is happening now? The Cycle Superhighway
+++ Stay up to date with cycling news in London, go to www.lcc.org.uk and hit the news tab +++ 8
BARKING & DAGENHAM
RICHMOND UPON THAMES
N GTO A SIN LSE TH KEN CHE SMI & MER HAM HAM& FUL
LCC has produced a manifesto, written by cyclists for cyclists, telling the mayor what we need from the Superhighways. We say this project must not be
Y OF CIT NST TMI
We set quality standards
What will a Cycle Superhighway be like? There are no existing Cycle Superhighways in London. We know they will be painted blue. We also know that a gap is opening between what the mayor has said publicly should be
THE ROUTES Completed by 2010: 3 Barking to Tower Hill 7 South Wimbledon to Bank Completed by 2011: HILLINGDON 1 Tottenham to Liverpool St 6 Penge to Bank 10 Park Royal to Hyde Park Corner 12 East Finchley to Angel Completed by 2012: 2 Ilford to Aldgate 4 Woolwich to Tower Bridge 5 Lewisham to Victoria 8 Kingston Vale to Westminster 9 Heathrow to Hyde Park Corner 11 Cricklewood to Marble Arch
£10 pays lunch and travel expenses for one day for a volunteer to work in the
THE MAYOR, BORIS Johnson, has pledged to create 12 ‘safe, fast, direct, continuous and comfortable’ cycle commuter routes from the suburbs into central London by 2012, and to implement ‘complementary measures’ to make them popular. The idea is similar to one proposed by LCC in 2000 — LCC sees the new routes as a step towards the completion of a London Cycle Network and not as a replacement. They will be built in stages, with the first two routes ready by May 2010 and the next four by spring 2011. All twelve are due for completion by the time the Olympics come to town. There’s a budget of some £5million per route which includes money for cycle parking and cycling improvements at workplaces, schools and estates along the route. The map (right) shows the proposed routes that have been chosen, many using major roads that include bus lanes used by cyclists. The Cycle Superhighways are part of the package of measures that are designed to deliver the mayor’s promise to increase the modal share of cyclists in London from two percent to five percent by 2026, which will require a three-fold increase in daily cycle journeys. Realistically, the Superhighways should be designed to handle a three-fold increase in traffic. For example, typical traffic on the A3 (route 7) is 200 cyclists per hour; the Superhighways therefore should be sufficiently inviting to increase this to 600 cyclists per hour.
Every penny helps
SIGN THE MANIFESTO There’s only a short time to influence the mayor over plans for the Cycle Superhighway commuter routes.
LCCS’ CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAY QUALITY MANIFESTO The following is an abridged version of the Manifesto: ENFIELD
Why not email details of our benefits to your friends. ■ Point them to www.lcc.org. uk/membership
Twelve new cycle commuter routes are planned for 2012, but we need to ensure they're fit for purpose. Sign our petition at www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns
DONATE 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.
Sign up to support LCC’s Cycle
planning process is in full swing, with the first two routes being designed now. LCC has put hundreds of hours of staff and volunteer time into providing Transport for London with detailed analysis and recommendations, both in respect to the first two routes, and the suitability and
What are the worst-case and best-case scenarios? Worst? The Cycle Superhighways will suffer the handicaps of LCN+, the project to complete a
Tell the mayor that you will not accept poor quality, unsafe routes. When we ask London cyclists what makes for a quality cycle route the same issues came up again and again. We have distilled these into a Cycle Superhighway Manifesto. The Cycle Superhighways must deliver this quality of experience, otherwise what are they for? Sign up to LCC’s Cycle Superhighway Manifesto. We will use this pressure to persuade the mayor to sign on and to empower TfL to deliver wholehearted barrier busting and genuine cycle priority. We need every LCC member to visit www.lcc.org.uk/ campaigns to show your support for our manifesto. It will take 30 seconds to show your support.
“There are huge numbers of people who are simply too nervous… the idea of a daily commute is just too much. That is why we are now looking at promoting a series of routes in which cyclists know they will be safe, where cars will not howl past them at 50mph and where they will not be punished for nervous wobbling with an angry parp of the horn. That will mean thinking creatively about ‘barrier-busting’ on routes into the centre, helping cyclists to deal with the Palio-style gyratories and one-way systems.” Boris Johnson, Way To Go (February 2009, pages 24-25) “These Superhighways are central to the cycling revolution I'm determined to bring about. No longer will pedal power have to dance and dodge around petrol power — on these routes the bicycle will dominate and that will be clear to all others using them. That should transform the experience of cycling — boosting safety and conﬁdence of everyone using the routes and reinforcing my view that the bike is the best way to travel in this wonderful city of ours.” Boris Johnson, press release 283 (5 June 2009)
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON’S VISION FOR CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAYS “The Cycle Superhighways will be a set of 12 routes that will provide a safe, fast, direct, continuous and comfortable way of getting from Outer London into Central London by bicycle along recognised commuter routes.” Cycle Superhighway Inspection Meeting info pack (June 2009, page 2)
+++ You can now follow LCC on Twitter; visit www.twitter.com and sign up to London_Cycling +++ October-November 2009
potential of the remaining Superhighways. LCC is doing this because we want the programme to work.
THE MAYOR’S COMMITMENTS FOR THE CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAYS
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MINI CONTENTS 46-51 Local group news 53 Community cycling 54-55 How To: Keep riding this winter 56-57 Events
There are up-to-the-minute listings about local maintenance classes at http://tinyurl.com/LCCmaintenance
December 2009-January 2010
Local Group News Find out more at www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups BARNET www.barnetlcc.org
Barnet Council isn't always noted for its cycling initiatives, but there are signs of improvement. It is actually offering free ‘cycle training to improve your skills’ for adults. Free training is also being offered to all school year 6 children and cycle-to-school route training for years 7 and 8 (see council website for details). And it looks as though some cycle stands are to be erected in North Finchley. ➤ Most years in the autumn we have a ride to take advantage of the London ‘Open House’ weekend. This is the chance to see interesting buildings that are normally closed to the public. This year’s fascinating itinerary visited two ultra modern developments, plus an artnouveau butchers shop and an amazingly restored 19th-century German gymnasium. ➤ Our meeting on Thurs 26 Nov is the last date for booking a place at our Xmas lunch on Sun 13 December. If you are reading this prior to the meeting date you can still book by coming to the meeting or by phoning Ian on 020 8440 5943. As usual there will be no meeting in December, but in January we will have a cycling oriented photo competition. MEETINGS: last Thurs of the month, 8pm at Trinity Church Hall, Nether Street, N12 7NN CONTACT: Jeremy Parker, 020 8440 9080
OPEN HOUSE: Barnet members after visiting King's Place
The first two of these are scheduled for 5 December and 9 January (see website for details). ➤ Brent Cyclists (with others from neighbouring groups) has produced responses to the plans for Cycle Superhighways 11 on the A5 and 10 on the A40. We do not believe either of these routes has much potential for attracting new cyclists, particularly the elevated ‘motorway’ section of the A40, and we have detailed an alternative proposal for this route to use Harrow Road. ➤ Brent continues to progress some of the remaining parts of the LCN+ project, and we have recently been consulted on plans for links on Watford Road and Sudbury Court Drive. We see merit in proposals for shared paths along the former, but the proposals for the latter are very
disappointing, with the road remaining mostly 40mph and cyclists shunted on to unsuitable service roads filled with parking. ➤ An excellent development has been the launching of Harrow Cyclists, which means we have active LCC neighbours on all sides now, and we held a very successful pub social meeting with them and other activists in October. MEETINGS: 7.30pm (preceded by business meeting at 6.30pm) on Tues 1 December, Wed 6 January, Tues 2 February at Samaritans Centre, 1 Leopold Road, NW10 9LN. CONTACT: Ian Saville 07949 164793; coordinator@brent cyclists.org.uk
Go-Ride cycling clubs for children go from strength to strength (see page 22). On 12 Nov a new after-school club began at Darrick Wood Junior School; on 12 Dec a Saturday morning club begins at The Priory School, creating valuable entry for secondary children. The other clubs have recently visited mountain bike courses and a velodrome as part of their coaching programme. Interest is high in the borough. The main factor holding back further clubs is a shortage of coaches. Financial help may be available to those who'd like to be trained; CRB checks are required.
As a new venture we will be running free drop-in maintenance sessions at Paddington Arts Workshop, W9 2BE, from 10am to 12 noon on Saturdays. This will not be professional training, the aim will be to get participants to understand how to do their own basic bike maintenance, and problems that are brought along will be fixed if they are simple, or pointers given for further help. 46
NERVOUS SMILES: Bromley kids get ﬁtted for their ﬁrst go on a track bike
➤ The first borough primary school cycling competition will be held on 15-26 March. Up to 20 schools will be invited to enter. ➤ A combined Bike Week event in June will include the Council’s Cyclist of the Year competition (a Bikeability event) and De-Stabiliser Challenge, plus the annual Go-Ride club competition. For adults we hope to have led rides on the day. ➤ Bromley Cyclists rode proposed Cycle Superhighway 6 and recommended that LCN 23 be upgraded and signed as an alternative quiet way into London. MEETINGS: 7.30pm, second Wednesdays, venue details on website. Other Wednesdays meet at Bromley South Station for an easy ride to a pub and return, the ‘Wednesday Weekly Wander’. CONTACT: Charles Potter, 07951 780869, coordinator@bromley cyclists.org
Seasonal festivities are near. Join us on 14 December for our annual get-together. We'll be providing entertainment and refreshments. ➤ Skyride — Camden Cyclists led two feeder rides and one return trip. The task was made easier this year by the route being well signed and with marshals on corners. ➤ Talk on next Local Implementation Plan — Sam Monck, Head of Public Realm and Transport Policy, Camden Council was at our October meeting to explain how Camden will accommodate cycling in the new funding structure. ➤ Agar-Camley link — more and more cyclists are enjoying this short cut to St Pancras. Meanwhile, Camden Cyclists are working with the council to get it signed and to improve access at the northern end. MEETINGS: next meetings are 14 December and 11 January at Primrose Hill Community Association, 29 Hopkinsons Place, (off Fitzroy Rd) London NW1 8TN. CONTACT: Stefano Casalotti 020
December 2009-January 2010
Groups Groups 7435 0196; email@example.com. Or Jean Dollimore 020 7485 5896; firstname.lastname@example.org
ECC have taken part in two key events: London Skyride and a meeting with Boris Johnson at Ealing Broadway station. We led marshalled rides to Ravenscourt Park pit-stop for the London Skyride, and beyond to the central London loop. We escorted a staggering 220 riders in three groups. To our surprise we found ourselves leading back 80 cyclists to West London; in previous years the return journey has been characterised by more marshals than riders. It was a splendid day of late summer weather, good humour and masses of cyclists enjoying themselves. ➤ ECC representatives met Boris, Jason Stacey, Ealing Council leader, and First Great Western managers on 2 October thanks to the representations made by Angie Bray, parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Acton. We had the opportunity to discuss the provision of cycle ramps for step-free access to the platforms, and more extensive and secure cycle parking. Alas, the consensus opinion was that cycle ramps are not feasible due to high passenger volumes (although the risk assessment that concluded this has never materialised). We, of course, are not deterred by this disappointing outcome and are currently looking for a suitable site that would benefit from a cycle ramp. On the other hand, Boris was
FUN IN THE SUN: LCC activists led huge feeder rides into central London for September's Skyride event
willing to support better cycle parking facilities, and improved access to the station; he agreed to explore the possible reopening the District Line entrance. ➤ As we head towards winter a couple of ‘cycle into autumn’ information stalls are planned at local schools to encourage youngsters to enjoy sunny and crisp winter days on a bike. ECC’s programme of social rides continues right through winter. MEETING: ﬁrst Wednesdays, venue details on website. Social ride held on ﬁrst Sundays, meet 10am at Ealing Town Hall, details on website. CONTACT: David Lomas, info@ ealingcycling.org.uk. Or David Eales 07880 797437.
MAYORAL VISIT: Boris met ECC members to discuss station access issues
Socially, our group is quite active, but we need more people to get involved in the campaigning side of things. Currently, our main campaigning focus is liaising with Enfield Council and various local interest groups in an attempt to ensure that Enfield's proposed network of Greenway cycling routes (ELCRN) gets off the ground. Please contact Richard if you would like to get involved. ➤ Our rides programme, in conjunction with Edmonton CC, continues right through the winter (even including a ride on Boxing Day), so there is no excuse not to get out on your bike. Also, as last year's Santa Ride was a lot of fun, we will be repeating it again this year on Sunday 13 December — meet at 3.30pm at the George Pub in Enfield for a short local ride, plus a few circuits of the town centre. Seasonal attire, tinsel on bikes more than welcome, as will any new faces! A merry Christmas and happy new year to all our members. CONTACT: Richard Reeve, 020 8363 2196; r.reeve@blueyonder. co.uk MEETINGS: Thurs 3 December, 8pm at Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, Firs Lane, Winchmore Hill, N21 3ER. Thurs 7th January, 8pm
at The Wheatsheaf pub, 185 Baker Street, Enﬁeld, EN1 3JT. RIDES: www.edmontoncyclingclub.fsnet.co.uk E-GROUPS: enﬁeldcyclistssubscribe@yahoogroups.com
Greenwich Cyclists has so far collected more than 1,000 signatures from cyclists using the Greenwich foot tunnel, asking Greenwich Council to keep disruption and possible closure of this important highway to a minimum during planned refurbishment works. The council runs both the Woolwich and Greenwich foot tunnels which are used by several hundred commuter cyclists and pedestrians every day, and by thousands at weekends. They’ve been awarded an £11 million amount for replacement of lifts and major overhaul of the tunnel, and started out by saying this would mean lengthy closures. We’ve campaigned from the outset saying this is unnecessary and that the work could, and should, be carried out off-peak and preferably at night, citing the huge number of people who use these tunnels to get to work. The council’s response has been tardy and shifty, and the letter which we
December 2009-January 2010
Groups G roups
FOOT TUNNEL FARCE: local LCC groups petition commuters to demand minimal closures of this vital river crossing
are asking users to sign insists on minimum closures and provision of a replacement ferry service, or alternative, in the event of complete shutdown. ➤ Southbound contra-flow into Greenwich Park. The council has fobbed us off on an earlier petition containing 320 signatures for the construction of a contra-flow cycle path on King William Walk between Nelson Road/Romney Road and Greenwich Park. As usual, the importance of four parking bays for residents on the west side of the road seems to outweigh the consideration of hundreds of cyclists who would use the contra-flow; the council also moans that they would find it “difficult” to reconstruct the traffic island in Romney Road, and also pass the buck by saying Transport for London would need to approve any change to this Strategic Road Network. Finally, they arbitrarily state that the cycle path would need to be 1.2 metres wide (on nearby Trafalgar Road they are more like 60cm) and they’d have to alter the road camber too. We’ll keep you updated. ➤ Cycle Wednesdays — we’re continuing to offer these led rides, along quiet riverside paths, starting at 7.45am from Cutty Sark Gardens. MEETINGS: see website CONTACT: Anthony Austin, 07740 434078. 48
Harrow Cyclists are firmly back on the road. The reborn group held a successful ride — a family-friendly trip to Northala Fields (‘hills’on the A40 built from the waste of the old Wembley stadium) — followed by a social meeting. But after the years of inactivity, it's face-the-future time. At the most recent meeting, attended by over half the group, we were shown plans on how Harrow Council aims to help cyclists — especially around the notorious Northwick Park roundabout (it has a shared border with Brent). It's slow and painful dealing with a cashstrapped council, but it is now taking notice of our criticisms. In a recent meeting with council cycling officers, we expressed our concern at the continual stream of ‘give way’ lines when cycle paths along main roads cross side roads. We asked for cycle priority. We heard all the usual excuses for inaction, but now we’ve heard them we can start to counter them. ➤ Harrow has rides planned into next year — we hope to have another family-friendly ride just before Christmas, so keep an eye on the website. 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
Many thanks to Stephen Taylor for revitalising our campaigning; as a result ICAG is in the process of putting together a ward-based campaigners scheme. Have you seen something in your area that you think has made cycling more risky, but you don't know how to respond? Then our new scheme might be for you. We'll be inviting LCC members in Islington to get involved very shortly. ➤ Changes made by TfL at the Pentonville Road/Penton Rise junction have been welcomed. It has been the site of several cycling tragedies and if you have any comments on the new layout please let us know (see page 22). MEETINGS: 7.30-9.30pm on second Wednesdays (9 December, 13 January & 10 February) at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. CONTACT: Alison Dines 020 7226 7012; firstname.lastname@example.org.
been going very well these past months and we shall continue them in the future. Meetings and venues alternate each month between the two groups — please check the website for meeting details in the new year. ➤ K&C LCC is planning to branch out however. Come along on Monday 7 December, to our special Xmas meeting, 7pm at the Devonshire Arms, 37 Marloes Road, W8 6LA. We plan to organise ourselves a bit more formally, so as well as this being a social event we shall also elect a new committee if we get enough nominations to fill the required roles, so do come along. ➤ Thanks to Philip Benstead we’ve had some great rides this year: ‘Parks of West London’ in March and ‘Parks of North London’ in October. See our website for photos. We hope to continue these in the new year. ➤ The council plans to have its first cycle forum on Weds 10 March 2010. Details will be subject to confirmation, but keep the date free in your diary and look out for updates. MEETING: Mon 7 December, special Xmas meeting, 7pm at the Devonshire Arms, 37 Marloes Road, London W8 6LA. Meetings next year will be conﬁrmed on our website. CONTACT: Philip Loy 07960 026450; email@example.com MAILING LIST: see links on website.
We asked the council to investigate the opportunities to allow cycling on Clarence Street
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA www.lcc.org.uk/localgroups
Our joint meetings with the Westminster LCC group have
REDBRIDGE RIDE 1: to the Kennet and Avon Canal
December 2009-January 2010
Groups G roups
REDBRIDGE RIDE 2: en route to Greenwich via the Thames Barrier
and quickly received a flat ‘no’ — the council cited ‘inevitable collisions’ and that the required signage would be ‘clutter’. It seems delivery lorries are tolerated from 10pm to 10am, but cyclists are not. And presumably huge banners advertising the Town Centre Management aren’t clutter either? Meanwhile we’ve reported many abandoned bikes in Kingston centre and they’ve been removed, making the best of the existing parking capacity. ➤ Albert Road won’t be getting a contra-flow cycle lane and will be remaining as it is because no consensus for change was reached. For now the path across the Fairfield and beside St Joseph’s will not be converted to shared use as the council hasn’t had sufficient funding. Elsewhere, around £300k will be spent on side-road entry treatments which has drawn some political criticism. We’ve raised with the council our dissatisfaction with ‘end’ markings used on cycle routes where the dashed lines disappear briefly near to pedestrian refuges. There’s no real reason for them and they are dispiriting. ➤ Sustrans have consulted us on proposed Greenways expansion (routes away from main trafficked roads) on behalf of TfL. ➤ September saw our most popular ever Bread Pudding ride with more than 30 riders. We look forward to having bigger and even better rides in 2010 — see events listing on page 56. MEETINGS: 8:30pm on 15 December and 12 January at the Waggon & Horses pub, Surbiton Hill Rd. CONTACT: Rob James 020 8546 8865.
It is thanks to the people involved with Lambeth Cyclists that we’ve had another great year with architecture rides, stalls at events, campaign successes and maintenance classes. We’d like everyone who’s ever been involved with us, and everyone who is new, to come along to our Xmas do on Tuesday 15 December to celebrate — all welcome. We’ll have the pedal-powered sound system we use for events in use, so that will be worth seeing. There’ll also be a quiz and prizes galore. If you can’t make that, then we hope to see you in the new year. MEETINGS: Tuesday 15 December and 19 January, 7.30pm, at The Priory Arms, 83 Lansdowne Way, London SW8 2PB. CONTACT: Philip Loy 020 8677 8624; firstname.lastname@example.org MAILING LIST: see links on website.
would be a useful tool for those who want to promote cycling in schools, work etc. ➤ Since the summer we have run a picnic ride to Ray Park, a Sunday afternoon tea ride, a Docklands and Greenwich ride, two feeder rides to Skyride, and two weekends away to Essex and to Berkshire. At our group meetings we have had a speaker from Bikeworks talking about disability cycling and a film night. We have assisted in the launch of the Redbridge Council 'BUG' and intend to run some bike training sessions for employees. We have also dealt honourably with the presence of the one and only Redbridge BNP Councillor at our Council Cycle Liaison Group meetings. ➤ In December we will join up with Waltham Forest LCC for the seventh Santa Ride and Christmas Party in aid of Whizz-Kidz, then in the New Year run a short family ride to the new Ray Park Visitor Centre, hold the annual Quiz Ride with New Year Meal and invite a speaker to the group meeting on 22 January. ➤ Chris Elliott and Gill James intend to step down as joint
co-ordinators in April and are looking for some new blood to carry on this work. MEETINGS: Tuesday 22 January, 8.00pm, at Wanstead House, E11; speaker tbc. CONTACT: Gill James, 020 8989 4898; email@example.com. Or Chris Elliott, 020 8989 6285 firstname.lastname@example.org
London Skyride came and went and we successfully marshalled around 140 riders in two rides from Richmond to central London. Thanks to all marshals who took part in these feeder rides — without them it would have been impossible. ➤ The Cycling Liaison Group was given a talk by the Thames Landscape Strategy (TLS) which most found informative and interesting. Inevitable flooding in years to come will mean the towpath will be unusable at high tide. TLS are preparing for this by planning ‘dry’ routes which are alternatives to the towpath but still off-road along the lines of the
Redbridge LCC has had a busy year with the 'Movers and Shakers in Redbridge' project and the production of two DVDs. The three-minute version with its very own song, 'I love my bike', written and played by local musician Glyn Protheroe can be viewed on www.youtube/RedbridgeLCC. The longer 25-minute version of 'I Love My Bike — Cycle Redbridge' features cycling in schools, utility cycling to shops and work, and cycling for fun. This positive view of cycling in the borough is available to buy and October-November 2009
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 HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM www.hfcyclists.org.uk Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org HARINGEY Contact: R White; email@example.com HILLINGDON Contact: Sarah James, 020 8868 2912, or Steve Ayres, 01895 230 953 LEWISHAM www.lewishamcyclists.net Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org MERTON www.mertoncyclists.org.uk Contact: email@example.com SUTTON www.cyclismsutton.org.uk Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org WALTHAM FOREST www.wfcycling.org.uk Contact: email@example.com WANDSWORTH www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk coordinator@ wandsworthcyclists.org.uk
Feb/March issue: Friday 18 Dec Send your copy and photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org boardwalk near Ham House. More details on their website www.thames-landscape-strategy. org.uk. ➤ RCC was asked along to a transport and parking consultation by LBRuT. This was a positive discussion about the future of transport policy in Richmond. Time will tell if any of the ideas discussed are taken on board. ➤ As the organisation responsible for ‘Greenways’, Sustrans are asking for comments on their proposals for the SW London Greenways. An online form is available on their website, go to ‘GOAL’ in the ‘What We Do’ section — http://www.sustrans. org.uk/what-we-do. 50
SOUTHWARK VICTORY: among an impressive list of improvements, the Thames Path is to be re-routed in Rotherhithe
➤ Orleans Park school in Twickenham is running an after-school club, funded by the CCFfL and it is being run in conjunction with RCC and Twickenham Cycling Club. The club will focus on maintenance and cyclocross during the winter months and move into training for racing and on road riding during spring and summer. All involved are looking forward to good results in 2010. ➤ Keep a look out for our annual Christmas ride — we usually meet up with nearby groups in the White Cross pub for their lovely apple crumble and custard. Best wishes for the new year! MEETINGS: second Mondays, 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/
rides, 11 meetings, produced six or so newsletters (thanks to Gary, Alex’s first was wonderful) and organised seven or so sets of four maintenance classes at On Your Bike (now monthly and always full). ➤ Among a truly extensive list of projects (too numerous to mention here — check website for details), we’ve commented on probably 300 planning applications this year and were a major witness at the GLA inquiry into cycle parking provision.
Cycle parking remains stupidly scarce but a lot more is on the way and developers are increasingly asking us for advice, seeing our comments. We’ve also got £1.5m worth of projects accepted onto the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Project Banks and £450,000 on works in Zone 1 to link the 25 or so bike hire stations arriving in May. ➤ The Bermondsey Bridge Connect2 project is still stuttering along painfully and unambitiously slowly. But lots of
Since our last Annual Meeting on 8 October 2008 we’ve held 98
OFFICIAL OPENING: of the new Meath Bridge over Regent's Canal attended by TH councillors, LCC members and representatives from Sustrans
December 2009-January 2010
Groups good bits like the Trinity Square to Great Dover Street link is going in at last. And Rye Lane should be contra-flowed in early 2010. ➤ Our north-south route with Southwark Living Streets is pretty well that of the first Cycle Superhighway — more than just a thin blue line we hope. And there’s £600,000 or so for complementary measures. ➤ We jumped through a lot of complex hoops and two shortlists to become the only cycling group accredited as a supplier to the 2012 Olympics — and then didn’t get the big grant. But the Quality Management and Environmental policies we wrote as part of that complex game are now of course on our website. ➤ What next? We’ve got 820 LCC members in Southwark, the most ever, and 452 on our Southwark Cyclists e-list, also a record. So thanks once again to all involved. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays, 6.30pm at Better Bankside, The Community Space, Great Guildford Street/Zoar Street corner, London SE1 0TF CONTACT: Barry Mason, 07905 889005; info@southwarkcyclists. org.uk
TOWER HAMLETS www.towerhamletswheelers.org.uk
20 October saw the opening of the £2 million Meath Gardens cycle/pedestrian bridge, which links Bethnal Green and Bow across the Regent's Park canal (see photo) — it greatly improves access to Mile End Park from the west. The bridge was constructed as part of the Sustrans Connect2 project and is an excellent addition to the cycling infrastructure in Tower Hamlets. Wheelers were well represented at the opening and it was a useful chance to make new contacts. ➤ TfL has published the route map for Cycle Superhighway 3 and unfortunately they don't seem to have taken the comments from ourselves and Newham Cyclists on board to any great extent. Canary Wharf still seems mainly detached from the route and it still ends mysteriously at Royal Mint Street, which isn’t really anywhere.
➤ The Wheelers rides programme continues, the latest being a weekend away in Suffolk, followed by a trip to Eastbourne. Attendance is good, and significantly up on previous years, which is encouraging — see rides diary on website. ➤ Finally our self-help workshop continues to run on the last Saturday of each month (except December), at the Boxing Club, Town Hall, Limehouse — details also on the website. MEETINGS: second Wednesdays, 7.30pm at St Margarets House, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green. CONTACT: Owen 07903 018970; enquiries@towerhamletswheelers. org.uk
Westminster's canal routes are now coming under the spotlight. Although a splendid new path was laid this year through the open space between the Grand Union Canal and Saint Mary Magdalene's church, cycling was banned along the towing path at this point. As a result, eastbound cyclists are blocked at the end of the path by Delamere Terrace and Blomfield Road, which are one-way in the opposite direction. This urgent problem is currently being considered by a Cycle Route Implementation Stakeholder Plan (CRISP). ➤ Further east, we have heard that there is a proposal to improve the high-level path along the Regent's Canal and the Lisson Green Estate. This path currently features some anti-cycling barriers that many local cyclists see as a challenge to their balancing skill. ➤ Another current obstacle is in Kensington Gardens, where the east-west cycle route does not continue west of the Broad Walk along Studio Walk in front of Kensington Palace. We have heard that the Royal Parks will seek funding in 2010 to undertake an 18-month trial to allow cycling along this path. MEETING: Thursday 3 December, 7pm at Heart of London Business Alliance, London House, 53-54 Haymarket, SW1Y 4RP. CONTACT: Colin Wing, 020 7828 1500; cyclist@westminster cyclists.org.uk 51
Community cycling Behind the scenes look at grass-roots schemes in the capital
Redbridge rolls out new project for cyclists of all abilities ■ PROJECT Redbridge Vision: Cycling Centre Bikes & Activities ■ PURPOSE Provide people of all abilities access to cycling ■ AWARDED £3,455 ■ ACTIVITIES Session on special bikes and all-ability cycle training THE REDBRIDGE CYCLE centre is London’s flagship cycle training facility. It has been built for the 2012 Olympics, and features purpose-designed road, BMX and off-road circuits. Road, mountain and BMX bikes are available for hire, and the course has become very popular with cycle clubs and the general public. However, until recently the only provision for people with special needs or disabilities was the disabled parking spaces and toilets; they had no way of cycling on the circuits. LCC has played a large part in changing this, giving the one in 10 Londoners with some kind of mental or physical disability new chances to cycle. Following a successful application to the Community Cycling Fund for London, Vision Redbridge, which manages the
FOR INFO Contact the Community Cycling team: ■ 020 7234 9310 (option 4) ■ email@example.com ■ www.lcc.org.uk/community
centre, bought a range of specialist and adapted all-ability bikes. The bikes are now being used by organisations such as disability charity Norwood (www.norwood. org.uk). This is national charity provides support to people with learning disabilities, and the Redbridge branch now includes cycling in its range of services. Working with LCC, Vision Redbridge, CTUK and with the help of funding from Play England, Norwood has been holding weekly sessions at Redbridge Cycle Centre with professional cycle instructors on hand to teach and support people with disabilities. More than 45 people attended during the first six weeks of sessions, trying out the new range of bikes which were provided free of charge.
Reaping dividends Antony Lane is a Londoner who has suffered ill health, but who has participated in the project. He has big cycling aspirations for the future: “Before this session, I hadn’t cycled for years. My health was poor and my eyesight worse, so I couldn’t ride my bike on the road any more. This project has enabled me to get back on my bike and ride, which is great. I want to build up my strength and try some charity rides next year.” Lee Salmon, adult opportunities manager at Norwood, was really impressed by how much everyone got involved, and is keen to expand the project: “A lot of
these people haven’t had the chance to cycle before, and this project lets them put their abilities to the test and make wonderful progress. The sense of achievement they get from them getting on the bikes is palpable.” Vision Redbridge has been keen to maximise use of the bikes and, in conjunction with LCC, organised an event in September.
Event success Again more than 40 people participated, including representatives from disability groups and organisations, the local community and service-users from the local Mildmay and Woodbine day-care centres. Michelle Wood, Redbridge Sports Development Officer was pleased to see such a big turnout and hopes the event will encourage even more groups to access the service: “It’s really important that venues like this are accessible and provide services for people of all abilities.” Vision Redbridge doesn’t charge for the use of the bikes, and three members of its staff have been trained to instruct all-ability cyclists via London disability specialists Bikeworks. The course provides experience of working with people of all abilities, identifying potential risks and allocating bikes most suited to an individual’s needs.
VISION ON: all-ability riders can now enjoy sessions in east London
HOW IT WORKS LCC is influential in spreading cycling culture to harder-toreach communities in London. We work closely with TfL and the Big Lottery Fund to manage the Community Cycling Fund for London, a scheme that awards grants of up to £5,000 from an overall total of nearly £250,000.
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 December 2009-January 2010
Keep riding this winter November is a month that sees many cyclists put their bikes away until spring. Mike Cavenett gives a few hints on keeping cool about the cold
inter has something of a bad reputation in this country. Yet the truth is that one of the great things about London is the weather — because it’s never too hot, nor ever too cold for riding your bike. When the sun’s blazing, your own manufactured breeze keeps you perfectly cool, while even in the depths of winter the temperature rarely troubles to get below zero. In the aftermath of January’s freak snowstorms, cyclists were some of the only ones to get to work. Do you really want to swap the open road for packed public transport with its swine flu and other germs? Not us.
Follow Danish example It’s interesting that Copenhagen has winters with similar temperatures to London, but more snow and even shorter days. Yet a much higher proportion of Danes cycle year round. Its 400,000 winter cyclists can’t all be extreme sports nuts, so maybe riding in the cold just isn’t that bad after all? Figures that might surprise some include the fact that in London we typically have the same number of rainy days in August as in November. And — thanks to Boris for this stat — it’s only actually raining in London a mere six percent of the time. 54
Now, no-one is suggesting it’s okay to ignore the changing seasons and flit around in a crop-top in December. In fact, rather than ignoring the changes, when you cycle you become more attuned to the weather and more likely to appreciate the good stuff when it comes along. There’s nothing like riding to work on a gloriously sunny winter’s morning, feeling somehow like you’ve cheated the system a little, getting something you maybe shouldn’t have. Cycling in the morning (whether it’s sunny or not) also gives you valuable exposure to daylight, which can improve the mood of many of us who are stuck working inside most of the day. Yes, having some specific winter gear is important. However, one has to keep the season in perspective; on most days a stout pair of shoes, a breathable jacket and some gloves will keep the cold out well enough. A hat, inside or outside your helmet if you wear one, retains vital warmth.
true as it now in these days of superb breathable and waterproof fabrics, so here’s a list of must-haves: ■ Waterpoof jacket — the very least you’ll need as a regular cyclist. Check out our 12 jacket review in the Oct/Nov 2009 issue of London Cyclist. ■ Gloves — when the temperature drops your hands, because of their exposed location at the front of the bike, can get cold very quickly. Windproof gloves are essential for keeping out the chill. If you have more money to spend, or a long journey, then look for breathable gloves; the sweat from your hands can make the interior of some pairs uncomfortably damp. If they do get damp, make sure you dry gloves during the day if you’re at work. Hoarding a few spare pairs of cheap gloves is never a bad idea as a back-up.
LUCY COOPER Marketing Manager
Choose the right clothing Saying that, being cold and wet is no fun at all, so when it rains it’s sensible to have an array of clothes to which you can turn depending on the conditions. The old adage “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing” has never been as
“Go for a ride in between Christmas and New Year when there’s no traffic. Cycling along the Thames is beautiful on a sunny winter’s day and you’ll hardly see anyone. But if you’re taking your bike on public transport during the holiday season, check for disruptive engineering works.”
December 2009-January 2010
CHARLIE LLOYD Cycling Development Ofﬁcer “Go for a Sunday ride with your local LCC group (www.lcc.org.uk/local) and stop for lunch in a pub or café. Sit around the fire and share tips on how to keep warm. Riding a fixed-gear bicycle is because it keeps your legs moving all the time.” ■ Waterproof trousers — these quickly fit over jeans or work trousers and, if they’re of reasonable quality, will provide protection against wet weather. Again, buy breathable if you can to avoid clamminess. ■ Overshoes/waterproof socks — a sturdy pair of shoes and thick socks will protect against any amount of cold, but not rain. That’s why overshoes — tight-fitting booties that slip over your cycling shoes — are a good winter choice. They come in all manner of materials and fittings, so try before you buy, but remember they’re not designed to be used with recreational or work shoes. Waterproof socks (eg SealSkinz) come in a range of thicknesses and have long been favoured by mountain bikers as a more versatile alternative.
too. Despite their dubious aesthetic qualities, tights do allow you to ride in all but the very worst weather. And for those who don’t want to scare the horses, a new breed of ‘riding trousers’, made from breathable, water resistant soft-shell material, perform a similar function. ■ Arm/leg warmers — take a tip from experienced roadies and carry minimal clothing to maximum effect. These cut-off ‘sleeves’ can really be carried anywhere. ■ Neckware — a scarf isn’t ideal for cycling: too much unnecessary dangling material. However, a ‘Buff ’ is a lightweight, breathable, woven fabric tube that fits over your head or around your neck; it’s highly versatile in summer and winter and perfect for cycling (and other activities).
Wrap up warm
Winter bike accessories
■ Tights — in freezing cold and even light rain, tights come into their own. In a shower, they actually keep you more warm than dry, ensuring you don’t lose too much body heat; however in heavy rain, tights can ‘wet out’ and your legs can chill to the bone fairly quickly in high winds. Therefore, a towel and dry trousers at your destination are necessary, and somewhere to dry the tights
WINTER WONDERLAND: don’t miss out
■ Lights — riding in the dark without lights is illegal, so make sure you have a pair. See p39 for our latest reviews. ■ Visibility — there’s no law that says you have to wear high-visibility clothing, though if you choose to there are all manner of reflective and LED lighting items to choose from. Some prefer a full reflective jacket, but if you have a regular jacket with a high-viz vest over it, you have the option to slip off the vest for non-riding occasions. ■ Mudguards — these are great for keeping out the elements, and keeping you and your clothes clean and dry. Many roadies eschew these for weight/ aesthetic reasons, though this hardly applies to the typical commuter. Clip-on mudguards can be useful if you do want to take them off quickly or you don’t have enough space between wheels and frame. ■ Rucksack/panniers — there’s arguments for either, but during the winter you’re likely to be carrying more protective gear, so ensure your bag has appropriate capacity and is properly waterproof, including zips. Send your winter riding tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put them up on the website.
Events Your bimonthly guide to all the best rides and events IN BRIEF Somme to Flanders War historians among you may be interested in this 312km cycle ride from the picturesque resort of Le Touquet, through the beautiful Somme Valley among major First World War battleﬁelds and monuments, to ﬁnish at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres. The event will raise money to support MAG (Mines Advisory Group), one of the world’s leading landmine clearance organisations. For more information and to register email lesley. email@example.com or call 0161 238 5447. www.maginternational.org
Sign up now for Cyclone: Britain's biggest sportive AFTER JUST THREE editions, the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge has established itself as the country’s biggest sportive ride — and is now rightly billed as the cycling equivalent of the Great North Run. Entries opened earlier this month and you’ll need to get in quick to book your place alongside the thousands of other riders for 2010. The main challenge events
takes place on 12 June and offers three levels of ride for different abilities – 33, 63 and 104 miles; the longer two feature significant route changes from this year. Starting from the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club at Kingston Park, all rides head out into Northumberland’s beautiful countryside on quiet roads. There are well-stocked feed stations, free bike checks at
Evans night-rides Off-road night-riding is almost the best fun you can have on a bike and you can sample it for yourself at some of this winter's popular Evans weekenders. Head to Dorking, North Downs (5 Dec) or Chieveley, Berkshire (9 Jan), where you can also hire Exposure lights if you don't own any. www.evanscycles.com TON UP: have a crack at the UK's biggest sportive in Northumberland's hills
LISTINGS: RIDES & EVENTS ➤ ➤ For the latest info on cycle rides and events, updated daily, visit www.lcc.org.uk/rides Sunday 22 November ➤ Bread Pudding Autumn Special: 10.30am and 2pm, Kingston Market Place. 2 easy-paced half-day rides. Contact: John Dunn (020 7397 1875); johnedunn@ blueyonder.co.uk Sunday 22 November ➤ Surrey Dock City Farm ride: 11am, John Ball Primary School. Easy paced 4-miler, suitable for families and children aged 6+; free bike loan available, please turn up 15 mins earlier. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); mail@ britishschoolofcycling.com Wednesday 25 November ➤ Maintenance workshop: 7-9pm, Armada Centre, 21 McMillan Street, Deptford, SE8 3EZ. Two-hour session on gears, £10. Contact: Julian Dobson (07771
692344); firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday 1 December ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam (07940 121513); email@example.com Saturday 5 December ➤ Ride the Wave: 10am, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn WC2A. Starts at 10am and ﬁnishes at 12pm at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park (approx 6 miles) to join a rally organised by the Campaign against Climate Change. Contact: Phil Thornhill (020 7833 9311); firstname.lastname@example.org LCC is also organising Wave rides through our local groups — see page 8 for details. Saturday 5 December ➤ Cycling Santas: midday, 16 Abbots Park Rd, Leyton, E10. Annual Xmas ride raising funds for Whizz Kidz. Contact: Tony Fincham (020 8558 3801); anthony. ﬁncham@mypostofﬁce.co.uk Sunday 6 December ➤ Oxleas Wood night-ride: 5pm, John
Cyclelogical in Newcastle and a personalised certificate for every rider. Entry in each category is a bargain £20 per adult.
Packed programme But the Cyclone forms only part of a packed three days of bike fun. Friday night sees the Leazes Criterium, with races for all age groups, including pros. But the climax to the weekend is Sunday's famous Beaumont Trophy, a top-level road race that's been run since the 1950s and is now part of the Premier Calendar series. In 2009 it was won by Bradley Wiggins, so expect another strong field. ■ www.northernrockcyclone.co.uk
CRIT RACING: for pros and novices
Ball Primary School. Easy paced 6-miler, suitable for families and children aged 10+; free bike loan available, please turn up 15 mins earlier. Contact: Tom Crispin (020 8318 1004); mail@britishschoolof cycling.com
Wednesday 15 December ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam (07940 121513); email@example.com
Wednesday 9 December ➤ LCC retention evening: see website for details or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 10 January ➤ Box Hill ride: 10.30am, Twickenham Riverside, by Eel Pie Bridge. Richmond's traditional post-Xmas ride via Mickleham. Pub lunch and downhill all the way home. Bring lights. Contact: Paul Luton (020 8977 4016); email@example.com
Weds 9 to Sat 16 December ➤ London to Copenhagen: charity bike ride with Christian Aid. 140 miles from London to Copenhagen arriving in time for the UN Climate Change Conference. Register for £99 and either commit to raising a minimum sponsorship of £1900 or choose to pay your own tour costs of £875. All accommodation and most meals are provided. Fill out the online form in the rides section at www.lcc.org.uk Tuesday 15 December ➤ Hackney Cycle Workshop: 7pm, The Kings Centre, Frampton Park Baptist Church, Frampton Park Road, E9 7PQ. Contact: Adam (07940 121513); firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 13 January ➤ LCC retention evening: see website for details or contact email@example.com Saturday 16 January ➤ Bushy Park & the Thames ride: 10.30am, Bushy Park Visitors Centre. After a glance at the newly restored Water Gardens, we join the Thames towpath to Teddington Lock and back via Cobblers Walk. Probable coffee stop. Nine miles and ﬂat all the way. Contact: Paul Luton (020 8977 4016); paul@pluton. eclipse.co.uk
December 2009-January 2010
Brief encounters at BFF
ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS of this year’s Bicycle Film Festival was the Rollapaluza night. Under the theme ‘Brief Encounters’, the mixed teams were encouraged to come dressed as their favourite ﬁlm couples. Stepping up to the plate, with varying degrees of success, were Sid and Nancy, Fred and Wilma, Batman and Catwoman, Dangermouse and Penfold, and a host of others too weird to describe. As usual the action was fast and furious, with those attending rating it as the best Rollapaluza party of the year.
Disability group pushes cycling onto TfL agenda ON OCTOBER 22, the London Disability Cycling Forum met at Transport for London’s offices with the specific aim of getting cycling added to the organisation’s key disability document — its Disability Equality Scheme. This lays out what TfL plans to do over the next three years to ensure that disabled people are seriously considered in the provision of cycling services and facilities. Amazingly, it’s never been included before.
Stephen Golden, the Group Head of Equalities and Inclusion, gave a brief introduction before further discussion ensued and the result of these efforts is due to be published in December. ■ The next meeting of the LDCF is on 12 January from 6.30pm, so if you’re interested in attending, take a look at www.wheelsforwell being.org.uk/index.php/ldcf/. Or contact chairperson Janet Paske for more information on 020 7346 8482.
Ride on through winter THE SUCCESS OF this summer’s guided Cycle Friday rides has inspired a couple of local LCC groups to continue providing similar commuter trips over the winter months. Primarily COMMUTER RIDES: still happening aimed at novices, contact Charles on 07590 077445 the rides are open for further details. to all abilities and offer the Those in the south-east can chance to explore some quieter join a riverside ride to London paths that the summer outings Bridge on Wednesdays, didn’t touch. starting at Cutty Sark Gardens For those based in the in Greenwich at 7.45am — south-west, there will be a ride on email firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday mornings, starting from for info. south Wimbledon at 8am —
Steve Peat Britain's latest cycling world champion is also our most popular and successful mountain biker. John Kitchiner offers his long overdue congratulations to Shefﬁeld's favourite son, Steve Peat
In five words, how does it feel to have won that coveted rainbow jersey at last? A big fat huge relief. After so many silver medals (four) and near misses, that relief must have been immense? It certainly took a long while to sink in. I still get emotional when I hear from certain people and hear their stories of how they watched the race — it felt like the whole world was congratulating me afterwards. Did you feel a sense of pressure from your army of fans, peers, media? How did you cope with it? I don't want this to sound daft, but this was the first year that I put everything to one side. When I started to get my usual barrage of messages from fans telling me this was my year, I just ignored it; I put a hell of a lot of pressure on myself to please all those people and I think it's been my downfall until now. Dr Robert Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University has also been a huge mental help for me. Before I left for Canberra I didn't train too well because of a back injury and I was trying to use it as an excuse not to perform well, but the good doctor got me back on track and I never felt more confident or relaxed about a race. The online coverage (freecaster.com) of your win has had millions of hits already — can you believe those figures? It's awesome. I just saw some year-end Freecaster numbers and we had a total of 2.1 million hits on the downhill footage, compared to 350,000 for the cross-country. It's great times for us and mountain biking in general. You’re recognised as probably the most influential British mountain biker of all time — how do you feel about that? I don't think I’m aware; to me it's just living my life and enjoying what I do. I have been fortunate to achieve so much in my chosen sport and if I can get more people into cycling and inspire kids, with what I have done then it’ll make me a happy person. How did you get started and who were your inspirations? I had certain sports people that I looked up to but I wanted to be a plumber when I left school. I went along to a mountain bike club for a bit of fun, then entered a race for a laugh and the rest is history. I feel mountain biking has made me the person I am today. In your opinion, what needs to be done to get more people/kids on their bikes? Schools need to get involved, start clubs for kids and get them riding to school. Take them into the woods for their PE lessons and get away from all the ‘old fashioned’ sports. With all the acclaim, gongs and coverage given to Olympic cycling stars like Hoy, Wiggins and Pendleton do you feel mountain biking is overlooked, especially
SHEFFIELD STEEL: Peaty in World Cup race action at Fort William earlier this year
“I still get emotional when I hear from people — it felt like the whole world was congratulating me” when millions more people actually ride mtbs regularly than track bikes? Definitely, but I chose to do this sport so why should I complain? People will wake up and smell the bacon one day. Do you think downhill, like cross-country racing, could or should ever feature in the Olympics? Yes it would be brilliant and look way better than most other sports that are in the Olympics currently. Why does Britain produce so many brilliant downhillers? Because we have smaller hills riders have to attack every bit of the track to make each run count. That’s what you have to do when you're pushing for the top. What’s your best/worst place to ride and why? I have lots of best places but Wharncliffe Woods, near my home in Sheffield, is top of the list. There are no ‘worst’ places. Finally, what’s the fastest speed you’ve ever clocked up a bike? 62mph off-road at the Kamikaze race back in 1994.
December 2009-January 2010