London Cyclist Winter 2017

Page 1

CYCLIST Winter 2017

Your voice for Magazine of the London Cycling Campaign a cycling city




BIG S T H G I L TEST d s teste d n a r 16 b p16) (


01_cover.FINAL.indd 1

20/11/2017 11:19

IFC.indd 2

15/11/2017 16:24




Campaign 08 Update on new Cycle Superhighways The Big Lights Test 16 16 of the latest lights reviewed London 27 Dockless hire bikes come to town Campaign 33 How’s the Mayor doing on cycling? London 37 Rotherhithe cycling/walking crossing

Sport 5 top training tips for winter Travel Croydon to Arnhem on a tandem Route LCC’s new lunchtime ride

OPINION & NOTICES News & Campaigner Awards Ashok Sinha, LCC chief executive

REVIEWS 41 44 62

06 66

Editor’s Choice 07 Round-up of easy-to-fit mudguards Bikes 52 Final update on our 2017 longtermers Reviews 59 Winter jackets & cycling books

MEMBER OFFERS Legal advice from Osbornes CycleSure theft insurance

56 58

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 3

0304_contents.FINAL.indd 3

17/11/2017 17:42


Your voice for

a cycling city Unit 201 Metropolitan Wharf 70 Wapping Wall London E1W 3SS n 020 7234 9310 n EDITORIAL Editor: John Kitchiner, Design: Anita Razak Contributors: Ashok Sinha, Rob Eves, Tom Bogdanowicz, Simon Munk, Fran Graham, Sarah Flynn, Jess Strangward

ADVERTISING James Pembroke Media Anna Vassallo, 020 3859 7100 anna.vassallo@


Editorial, copyright & printing policy


16 LCC’S NEW LUNCHTIME RIDE Enjoy one of London’s best ‘off-road’ loops guided by John Kitchiner and Tom Bogdanowicz



LCC is a charitable limited company, reg no 1766411; charity no 1115789

Start/finish: LCC office, Wapping Wall

Limehouse Basin The Basin, formerly known as Regent’s Canal Dock, was built in 1820 and served as an off-loading point for ships whose goods were transferred onto barges and taken into other parts of the city. The DLR runs on a viaduct originally built for the London and Blackwall Railway above the original wharves along the north side of the basin. Beyond these, the Commercial Road Lock leads to the Regent’s Canal (which we return on later). For now we’re heading in a north-east direction on the dramatic Limehouse Cut — one of the best off-road paths in the capital. The Cut is a wide canal, linking


PHOTO BY: Matt Alexander


Time: 2-3 hours, depending on stops


Type of ride: easy; almost entirely off-road; canals can be busy (please use a bell)

London Stadium



Aquatics Centre

Victoria Park

Rail stations: Limehouse and Westferry DLR, Wapping or Shadwell Overground, plus Stratford stations and Hackney Wick

ray which could swim off at any moment. Expressionist architects of the 1920s aspired to buildings like Hadid’s but building technology of the time was not up to the task; Hadid’s work turns imagination into reality. She recounted that she wanted the exterior to reflect the activity inside. It is worth interrupting your ride to take a dip in the main pool (£5 entry) which is contained by a cathedral-like transparent hall that gathers light from all sides. The 50m pool is bizarrely still even when there are many swimmers, presumably because of its greater than usual depth. There is also a diving pool where Tom Daley won his Olympic medal and a training pool where children can exercise.

Of course you can start from dozens of different places on this route — and it’s well served by mainline, DLR and Overground stations — but we’re kicking off from Wapping Wall. Initially we’re following the Thames Path, first through King Edward VII Memorial Park, then along Narrow Street to Limehouse Basin. You can also join here from Cycle Superhighway 3.

62 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

COVER: Ofo Bikes, World Car-Free Day, Waterloo


Length: 16km (10 miles)


CONTACTS n London Aquatics Centre, E20 2ZQ (020 8536 3150)


n Olympic Stadium, E20 2ST (0800 072 2110)

Limehouse Basin

n Velodrome, E20 3AB (0300 003 0613)



Velodrome & VeloPark


the Lee Navigation to the Thames. It was built to avoid the lengthy detours of the curving lower reaches of the River Lea at Bow Creek and was officially opened in 1770. At that point it only allowed passage for one barge, but by 1777 it was widened to today’s proportions. There’s still lots of industrial heritage to enjoy along the way, including Bow Locks, The House Mill and Three Mills Studios, plus several recent additions like the floating cycling/walking pontoons.

London Stadium & Arcelor Mittal Orbit You leave the Cut just before the London Stadium to join the Greenway. If you have time, it’s also worth visiting the Victorian warehouses on Fish Island (just over a small bridge) which now house artist’s studios, cafes and bars. Leave the Greenway fairly quickly to cross the Loop Road and enter the park proper. From here you can easily find your own way around on the trails network, but our route loops

around anti-clockwise, taking in the main architectural highlights before meeting the River Lee Navigation. Since the London 2012 Olympics, the main stadium has been converted into a football ground for premier league side, West Ham United. Retractable seats have been incorporated so that the venue can still host athletics events, while the interior capacity has been reduced from 100,000 to 60,000. The exterior of the stadium is also very different to how it appeared at

the Olympics; it now has a sparkling hi-tech ‘digital skin’ and recordbreaking new roof, the largest of its kind in the world. Near the main entrance you’ll also find Champions Place, where the paving stones are engraved with memories and messages from players and fans.

Velodrome & VeloPark Cyclists visiting the park will undoubtedly gravitate towards the extraordinary Velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects. They wanted to illustrate the speed and elliptical movement of the riders inside on the exterior of the building and the very first drawings simply show a mass of oval circles. Discussion with Sir Chris Hoy motivated the architects to populate the ends of the oval with spectator seating so that the crowd noise carried right


around the track. In recent meets, as during the Olympics, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the noise which has driven riders to break multiple records and bag major international honours. Visitors can see the Siberian pine track at any time (free) except when events are taking place. It’s worth getting tickets for events to enjoy the unique atmosphere. Park your bike outside or circumnavigate the Velodrome to see the road, off-road and BMX circuits too. You can book to ride on the track yourself — or the road circuit, mountain bike and BMX tracks. Cycle hire is available on site. Victoria Park When you finally cross back over the River Lee Navigation, you’re soon into ‘Vicky Park’. Voted London’s most popular people’s park, it has two delightful lakes with the popular Pavilion Café on the banks of the western-most one. On the island in the centre of the lake 2012 money was used to construct a Victorian pagoda and bridge that were never built when the park was created in 1845 because cash was short. Skirt (or cross) the park to its south-east corner, and then follow the lovely Regent’s Canal back all the way back to Limehouse.


Aquatics Centre A rare London masterwork of the late Egyptian-British architect Zaha Hadid, the centre was built for the Olympics. It looks like a giant manta

©Crown copyright 2017 Ordnance Survey. Media 036/17

as you’ve probably read earlier in this issue, LCC has a new home. It’s farewell to Bermondsey Street and welcome to Wapping Wall. We made the move from SE1 over the water to E1 in mid-November, relocating to one of the old riverside warehouse buildings, Metropolitan Wharf. It’s hardly far from our previous office, so we hope to see lots of our members, supporters and friends popping in as soon as we’re settled. One thing we’re very excited about is the potential for interesting new lunchtime rides, whether it’s nipping into the West End via CS3, exploring the Olympic Park, or heading further afield. To entice you to visit us, here’s one of our favourite routes, starting from the new base — we’ll see you out there! n You can find details on another 40 great routes in the London Cycling Guide by Tom Bogdanowicz (produced in association with LCC and published by IMM Lifestyle Books, £9.99).



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. n London Cyclist is printed by Wyndehams on paper made from 100% FSC sustainably-managed and carbon-balanced forest.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 63

London Cyclist is published by London Cycling Campaign n Find out more about our aims ( n To become a member ( n To make a donation (


LCC Members’ Legal Helpline

Osbornes Solicitors are the official legal partner of LCC, providing members with exclusive access to a legal helpline. If you’re involved in a collision or have a cycling-related legal issue, phone the Cycling Team at Osbornes for advice on (020) 7681 8672.

4 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

0304_contents.FINAL.indd 4

19/11/2017 22:34

5.indd 5

15/11/2017 16:27


CAMPAIGNER AWARDS 2017 LCC’s Campaigner Awards were once again a highlight of the AGM, with a wonderful list of nominations for each category — a great testament to the breadth of passion and dedication among our local groups. A big thank you to Tom Platt from Living Streets who helped judge this year’s awards, and Stuart Kightley from Osbornes Law, LCC’s legal partner, who helped present the awards on the night. BEST RIDE & RIDE LEADER Winner: David Eales Memorial Ride, Nick Moffit with Ealing and Hounslow Cycling Campaigns. Highly commended: David Senior. BEST INFRASTRUCTURE CAMPAIGN Winner: Brent Cyclists for the Carlton Vale cycle tracks. Highly commended: Hounslow Cycling Campaign and Timothy Harris — Church Street, Isleworth

closure to motor traffic. Highly commended: Enfield Cycling Campaign for the A105 cycle lanes.

BEST CAMPAIGN INITIATIVE Winner: Enfield for their ‘Surprise Breakfast’ for workers on the Enfield Cycle lanes.


Highly commended: Brenda Puech — the People Parking Bay. Highly commended: Newham Cyclists — WI rides.

Big changes to data protection rules are on the way — this means that from May next year we won’t be able to keep you up to date by email unless you explicitly say that we can. Being a member isn’t enough, you’ll need to tick a box and confirm that you want us to stay in touch. In fact, you’ll get to say exactly what you want us to contact you about — be it campaigning news, membership benefits or fundraising appeals. In recent years LCC has used email activism to mount some of the largest pro-cycling advocacy campaigns in the UK. This includes bringing more than 10,000 cyclists together for the Big Ride in 2012; and winning support for the Cycle Superhighways, Mini-Hollands, and ongoing investment in London cycling. It really is one of our most effective and vital campaigning tools. This is also a great opportunity to make sure you get exactly the news/ info you want from LCC. Please head to and tick those boxes!

6 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

0607_news.FINAL.indd 6

19/11/2017 22:35

JUNIOR CAMPAIGNER OF 2017 Winner: Ben Chico. CAMPAIGNER OF THE YEAR Winner: Ruth-Anna Macqueen An active member of her local group and member of the new Women & Cycling group, Ruth-Anna has also passionately campaigned to get more parents and kids cycling — from setting up and running the Hackney Family Cycling Library and Kiddical Mass rides to creating online resources (Family Cycling UK and the Hop Onboard Project). Highly commended: Tabitha Tanqueray (Cycle Islington), Jono Kenyon (Hackney Cycling Campaign), Elizabeth Eden (Southwark Cyclists), Charles Martin (Get Sutton Cycling), Clare Rogers (Enfield Cycling Campaign), Paul Gasson (Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign), Selena Calder & Grant Gahagan (Haringey Cycling Campaign), Alex Jenkins & Julie Plichon (Tower Hamlets Wheelers).

NUMBER CRUNCH Bike manufacturing statistics, from the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry

12.6m Total number of bikes produced in Europe in 2016 (split across 28 countries)

83k Total number of bikes built in the UK in 2016 (17th on list)

2.3m Total number of bikes built in Italy in 2016 (1st on list). Netherlands 6th with 775,000


BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT Winner: Hackney Family Cycling Library. Highly commended: Enfield Cycle Campaign — ‘Try a bike’ at the Palmers Green Festival.


Quick-fit mudguards SKS Raceblade Pro XL One of the most versatile clip-on mudguards for road bikes, the Raceblades employ a doublehinged, quick-release design that works with rim or disc brakes alike. Fits tyres from 25-32mm wide. Rubber straps even make them suitable for carbon and aero forks. £49.99. RIDEGUARD PF1 Made in Bristol (from 100% recyclable polypropylene) and weighing a mere 31g, the PF1 fits in minutes using four zipties. Designed to work with mountain bike suspension forks, they protect from all sorts of flying debris. Choose from 20 great colours (£8.99), or colour-matched front and rear set (15.99). CRUD Racepac Lighter and slimmer version of the iconic ‘Cruddie’, for hybrid/ trekking bikes as well as mtbs. The rear Raceguard fits to your seatpost with a simple clamp (5mm allen key), while the front attaches to down-tubes with a couple of rubber bands. Top splash protection. £19.99.

LCC HAS A NEW HOME After twelve years at Newham’s Row in Southwark, we are excited to announce that LCC HQ has moved to Wapping. The move took place in mid-November, so we should hopefully be settled in before Christmas. And we look forward to seeing members, supporters

and friends popping into the new office for a cuppa. The new address: London Cycling Campaign Unit 201 Metropolitan Wharf Building 70 Wapping Wall Wapping, London E1W 3SS.

TOPEAK Defender iGlow TX The big deal with this heavy-duty set is the integrated lights, which offer 50hr+ of constant illumination or 100hr+ on blinking mode. The telescopic arms (with multiple adapters) fit to pretty much any bike with mounting bosses and they work with tyres up to 700x44c. £36.99 (rear), £55.99 (pair).

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 7

0607_news.FINAL.indd 7

18/11/2017 12:41


You wait ages for one Cycle Superhighway... TfL has publicly consulted on two new Cycle Superhighways in London — about time too. Simon Munk assesses the plans for CS4 and CS9


he East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways were opened by a bevvy of LCC activists and former Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan in May 2016. Since then, and despite Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pledge to triple the mileage of protected space for cycling on London’s main roads, we’ve had a steady diet of nothing. All that is finally set to end, however, with the announcement of public consultation on two major new Superhighways. Of course, the Mayor and TfL haven’t been idle. Their Healthy Streets portfolio has seen consultations on the removal of motor traffic from Oxford Street, and on Lambeth Bridge and Waterloo Roundabout, with construction beginning at Swiss Cottage for CS11 and along the extension of the NorthSouth Cycle Superhighway. Plus both the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and Direct Vision lorry standards have been moving forward. And we’re still expecting further announcements soon (possibly by the time this hits your doormat) on CS11 and Regent’s Park. But new mileage of Cycle Superhighways has been missing in action, until now...

8 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

NEWNEW_008014_superhighways.FINAL.indd 8

17/11/2017 22:30


Cycle Superhighway 4 in South-East London CS4 is set to run from just west of Tower Bridge to the outskirts of Greenwich. In a second, or subsequent phases, it’s also due to be extended to London Bridge at one end, and through Greenwich town centre and on to Woolwich at the other. The scheme is primarily ‘bi-directional’ track (two-way track, one side of the road) with cycle movements separated from motor vehicle movements at junctions. And what there is of it is broadly really good. CS4 has been in design for years — and Gilligan previously had a scheme on the table, but it never quite made it to the public. This not only is out in the wild now, but is the best version of the scheme seen yet. It starts out on the northern side of main roads Tooley Street and Jamaica Road. As it runs close to the southern Thames shore, and similarly to the East-West Cycle Superhighway, the roads it does cross won’t have many motor vehicles turning across the track. On Jamaica Road, before the infamous Rotherhithe roundabout, the scheme crosses to the south side of the road, to bypass the roundabout entirely. Somewhere between the roundabout and the start of Evelyn Street the track is due to cross back to the north side. But, as the ‘somewhere’


ABOVE: the notorious Rotherhithe tunnel roundabout will have protected cycle tracks around the south side.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 9

NEWNEW_008014_superhighways.FINAL.indd 9

17/11/2017 22:30

10.indd 10

15/11/2017 16:27


Cycle Superhighway 4 in South-East London

on bringing this section forward — most likely in 2018. But it is concerning that, given British Land’s plans for Canada Water are very advanced, this section is missing from this consultation. Obviously, without the Lower Road section, CS4 is not a Cycle Superhighway. This section, and its relation to the Canada Water area is also of particularly strategic importance, as it’s just off the British Land site where it looks like the walking and cycling bridge across the Thames from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf is proposed (see page 37). Linking to this bridge via a safe cycling route from CS4 is also obviously key. Other major concerns LCC has raised at consultation include: a better solution long-term for Tooley Street (it is currently bus lane in one direction); further links beyond London Bridge

implies, there’s a flaw here — the entire section on Lower Road is missing from this consultation. And this is the biggest issue with CS4. TfL says the Lower Road section is missing because it’s “adjacent to Canada Water, an area that will see major regeneration and development in the next few years. To understand how these developments and future transport schemes would affect the existing road network, we have jointly commissioned a Strategic Transport Study with the London Borough of Southwark. When completed, this study will inform the design for Lower Road, ensuring that it meets the future needs of the community.” Both Southwark Council and British Land, the developers who are working on Canada Water, have said they back CS4, and are working











New mini-roundabout

Bus stop moved 35 metres west

Bus stop removed


Segregated one-way cycle track replaces trafc lane

Bus stop moved 60 metres west

Deptford Park







Bus stop moved 80 metres west




Segregated two-way cycle track reduces footway width


Crossing moved 150 metres east






New 6 metre wide pedestrian crossing on desire line replaces crossings either side

Link to Thames Path cycle route



Bus stop moved 40 metres west


Connection to proposed Cycling Quietway on Gosterwood Street



Bus stops



New pedestrian crossing







Segregated two-way cycle track replaces trafc/bus lane

Double yellow line replaces single yellow line along some sections of Evelyn Street and Creek Road


CS4 Lower Road (subject to separate consultation in future)



Cycle Superhighway 4 (CS4) Tower Bridge to Greenwich












Southwark Park

RD .





Surrey Quays S W Shopping Centre


New eastbound bus gate and extended left turn lane




Crossing simplied and widened to 8 metres

Redesigned and improved roundabout layout





Connection to proposed Cycling Quietway on Tanner Street
















Shad Thames becomes one-way northbound

Cathay Street becomes one-way northbound

Marigold Street exit only WEST






















No left turn from Jamaica Road into Bevington Street






to both the East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways; and other links on and off the route to estates to the south, to Quietway 1 and to local shops and schools. Our consultation response — and that of the LCC’s borough groups in Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark (who have all been out campaigning hard for CS4) — calls for cycle tracks to be installed on several key link roads, including Abbey, Bevington and Deptford Church Streets for starters. A few of the junctions also need further work — most notably a rather odd mini-roundabout and combined pedestrian cycle crossing that would see Cycle Superhighway flows mixed with children heading off to primary school at Oxestalls Road. Many of the side roads along CS4’s proposed route also need further consideration, potentially with modal filters (roads closed to motor vehicles with bollards, etc) on a residential area-wide basis. With CS4 the concerns around bi-directional tracks (see page 14) are not as strong as with CS9. However filtering some of the busier roads will help reduce turning movements across the track, and also in some places, even on the other side of the road from the track, area-wide filters could make sure the Cycle Superhighway doesn’t displace rat-running through-traffic onto residential streets such as Southwark Park Road.


Crossing widened and moved to western arm

ABOVE: this is how Jamaica Road looks now, with cyclists forced to mix with fast-moving vehicles, buses and motorbikes. Compare it to the main image on page 8, which shows how it could look when CS4 is built. TOP LEFT: a before/after comparison of CS4 in Deptford.

Three right turn bans at junction

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 11

NEWNEW_008014_superhighways.FINAL.indd 11

17/11/2017 22:30

12.indd 12

15/11/2017 16:29


Cycle Superhighway 9 in West London CS9 will run initially from Kensington Olympia through the northern side of Hammersmith gyratory, along King Street and Chiswick High Road before crossing the Kew Bridge junction (but not the bridge itself ) and running to near Brentford Station. There’s a CS1-style section around Wellesley Road where the route is along residential streets, rather than tracks along a main road. CS9 is set to be extended to Hounslow town centre in a second phase. A potential link from Hounslow onwards to Heathrow is highlighted as one of the 25 most important routes for cycling in London. Of course, LCC wants to see the route extended the other way. If cycle tracks were put along Kensington High Street, that would enable a direct link from CS9 to the end of the East-West Cycle Superhighway and then into central London. The routinely anti-cycling stance of Kensington & Chelsea council urgently needs to be overcome. As well as the premature end of the scheme at the Kensington & Chelsea border, the other major concern for CS9 is again the design of side roads with bi-directional tracks (see page 14). CS9 undoubtedly suffers9worse problems Cycle Superhighway than CS4 here, particularly the Chiswick Kensington Olympiaaround to Hounslow

ABOVE: a protected bi-directional cycle lane is proposed along Hammersmith Road.

Right turns into and out of Russell Road permitted for cyclists HO LLA ND



















Access to North End Road from cycle track via Southcombe Street New signal-controlled junction with pedestrian crossings







Connection to proposed Quietway on St. Peter’s Square Garden






St. Peter’s Square Garden






5 A31










Taxi rank relocated from Hammersmith Road by Kensington Olympia to Avonmore Road AD RO



Improvements to Hammersmith Gyratory previously consulted on in 2016

Cycle track switches to other side of road at proposed signalised crossing (existing zebra crossing)

No access to Studland Street from Nigel Playfair Avenue for all vehicles including cyclists

No access to South Circular from Stile Hall Gardens for all vehicles except cyclists

New signal-controlled pedestrian crossings

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Syon Park

PHOTO: Joe Clarke


RIGHT: a sadly familiar scene for west London commuters, with high volumes of motor traffic around Hammersmith.






Hounslow East Y







AD RO N DO LON Isleworth













Duke s Avenue entry only





Syon Lane

Westbound cyclists use Watermans Park





CS9 Brentford to Hounslow (subject to future consultation)





Mini-roundabout converted to give-way junction










Kew Bridge




New signal-controlled pedestrian crossing outside Kew Bridge Station










Ravenscourt Park







Off-carriageway cycle facility

ROAD Green


Cyclists use quieter road s

A3 1




No access to South Circular from Wellesley Road for all vehicles except cyclists

Chiswick Park

Turnham Green



Cyclists use 24-hour bus lane

Duke Road exit only

Ravenscourt Park

Stamford Brook



Segregated one-way cycle track replaces traffic lane and/or narrows footway


No right turn from Chiswick High Road into Heath eld Terrace buses and cyclists

Segregated two-way cycle track replaces traffic/bus lane and/or narrows footway


CS9 Brentford to Hounslow consultation) (subject to


No left or right turn into British Grove from King Street/ Chiswick High Road


Cycle Superhighway 9 (CS9) Kensington Olympia to Brentford


New signal-controlled junction with pedestrian crossings


Kensington (Olympia)

NEWNEW_008014_superhighways.FINAL.indd 13

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 13

17/11/2017 22:31


Cycle Superhighway 9 in West London High Road section — where many of the side roads are rat-runs to and from the A4. For the scheme to be as safe and successful as possible, more needs to be done here — with more modal filters most likely closing some of the side roads, and an area-wide consideration of where A4-Chiswich High Road traffic should be routed. This would have the added benefit of potentially also helping with the most contentious element of CS9 — the fact the track is set, in small bits, to eat into pavement space. This has been most hotly debated around Our Lady of Grace & St Edward Catholic church, where the pavement is set to be cut from around 5m to 2.2m at the narrowest point here. This has seen the local priest call for his congregation to pray against CS9 and he’s compared it to the damage the Luftwaffe did to London (although Nigel Lawson beat him to that rather offensive analogy). In this location, as an example, if Duke’s Avenue was closed to traffic, this would both eliminate through motor traffic turning across the track and remove the need for a right turn lane in — thus freeing up space to widen the pavement and retain the track. As well as fixing side road crossings along the length of the scheme and extending the scheme, CS9 needs more work to link to other schemes such as Quietways in the area. And in the residential section, Heathfield Terrace looks set to be too busy with motor vehicles for all-ages, all-abilities cycling. Also, at Kew Bridge

ABOVE: artist’s impression, looking west along Chiswick High Road from Cleveland Avenue. BELOW: looking east along Chiswick High Road, showing the wide, separated cycle track.

there’s a bus stop where the track disappears, and a lack of links onto and off the bridge. Beyond Kew Bridge, bus lanes should not be used as a replacement for cycle track, and the use of a relatively quiet park with a steep slope is far from ideal. Despite these difficulties, however, CS9 is recognised as long overdue and has been endorsed by the borough groups and LCC Infrastructure Advisory Panel. It’s set to deliver much-needed cycle tracks in West London, linking stations, shops, schools and commuter routes for cycling. Now where’s that CS11 consultation?

BI-DIRECTIONAL CYCLE TRACKS ‘Bi-directional’ two-way tracks on one side of the road have two major advantages over ‘with flow’ one-way tracks on both sides of a road. They can lead to simpler signalled junctions, with fewer issues of turning traffic across the cycling flows needing to be controlled, and offer more capacity with tracks that are likely to be primarily ‘tidal’. In other words when most people ride in one direction in the morning and back the other way in the evening, overtaking slower riders is easier on bi-directional track because one can very often use the oncoming lane. However, in London and even internationally, the design of some bi-directional tracks has raised safety issues. TfL’s London Cycling Design Standards and other design guides recommend careful design of bi-directional tracks where they intersect with unsignalled side road junctions. International evidence and London’s own experience with the older Royal College Street and Tavistock Place schemes is that unless designed right, drivers too often don’t ‘see’ those cycling the ‘wrong way’ along tracks and collision and injury numbers are higher than ‘with flow’ tracks. The East-West Cycle Superhighway largely avoids this issue because the river is directly to one side, so there aren’t many junctions. It is important to understand the safety issues, but also keep them in perspective. The evidence is clear: even poorly designed bi-directional tracks get lots more people cycling and offer huge benefits in terms of health, active travel etc. There is also evidence bi-directional tracks are still safer, in collision terms, than just riding in the road. And with so few of each type of track design in the UK, there’s too little evidence to make a broad judgement on how much better ‘with flow’ tracks are than bi-directional ones in terms of safety. But it is clear that bi-directional tracks in London, with unsignalled side roads crossing the track, need to be designed carefully to avoid higher collision rates than a ‘with flow’ alternative. For both CS4 and CS9, LCC’s local groups, Infrastructure Advisory Panel and Infrastructure staff team all agree there are junctions that are a concern — and that has been raised in consultation responses. But that concern does not outweigh the positive benefits that the schemes will likely bring.

14 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

NEWNEW_008014_superhighways.FINAL.indd 14

17/11/2017 22:31

15.indd 15

15/11/2017 16:31



here’s a frankly bewildering array of bike lights available these days. From the cheap ‘get-youhome’ flashers and entry-level road/commuting lights, to the more durable road/off-road all-rounders and top racing sets. Prices reflect quality, durability and performance, starting at just a fiver, right up to £500+. Technology is driving innovation in this sector too, with lights now incorporating HD cameras, GPS, security features and smartphone compatibility. So we’ve been busy testing the latest rechargeable lights, from 16 different companies, across four categories: innovation, front, rear and sets. All these are primarily aimed at the biggest road/ commuter market, though many are also suitable for occasional off-road riding and longer overnight trips. How we test bike lights Our testing method is simple. Firstly we discharge every light fully. Then we charge and run down each light three times, noting the times and variance to makers’ claims. Our ‘run times’ are based on full/main beam modes, though we check less bright/flash/pulse modes later. The ‘actual’ times we quote are the averages of our results. With the spreadsheets filled, it’s then time for field testing and every light gets ridden repeatedly over several weeks — this helps us determine brightness, beam patterns, ease of use, battery performance in differing conditions and suchlike.

16 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

016017_lights.FINAL.indd 16

18/11/2017 00:55

SEE.SENSE Icon+ Set £149.99

REVIEWS: Simon Munk



WEIGHT: 64g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 5hr/4hr25 RUN TIME (actual): 3hr15 front/1hr50 rear LUMENS (claimed): 420 front/250 rear

WEIGHT: 129g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 2-3hr/2hr5 RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr30/2hr20 (light on full + camera) LUMENS (claimed): 30

Could these be the smartest bike lights ever? Using a smartphone (Bluetooth) app connection, you can pair the two to react in concert, and get either or both to send an alarm to your phone if they’re stolen (go out of Bluetooth range), or even to send a message to your nominated emergency contact in the event of a crash (if the app setting is turned on and the bike goes horizontal). On top of that, a sensor in each light reacts to the environment — as cars approach at night, or as you turn, the frequency with which the light flashes speeds up. However in use this final feature didn’t seem quite as smart as claimed — the front light would often flash constantly in panic, ‘close-pass’ mode, while the rear just appeared fairly random (slowpulsing through a close-pass, while frantically flashing for nothing apparent). The front light is bright and wide enough, with a focused central beam, for daylight running or country lane riding, plus there’s a 3min idle auto shutdown. They’re fully dustproof and waterproof too.

The Fly6 combines a 30-lumen rear light with a looping high-definition (HD) video camera. The result is a fairly weak rear light, with little side visibility, but a decent video camera, albeit in a quite bulky unit. For some this will represent a decent trade for not carrying two separate gadgets around; for others, rear-mounting an action camera and getting a brighter rear light would likely be a better solution for potentially similar weight and outlay. Footage is good quality, if rather over-red in near darkness and at 720p not always good enough to reliably pick out number plates every time. But if the water-resistant unit is tilted over 60-degrees for more than five seconds, it stops automatically looping and instead protects the last few minutes leading up to a presumed collision. Also clever is the simple, grippy strap mounting which fitted on all bikes we tried, aero seatposts included. Less ideal was the unit’s unfortunate tendency to shut down when left running constantly. In the (admittedly warm) LCC office, it seemed to overheat after an hour, then quite often thereafter until left to cool. Out and about this didn’t happen — as passing autumn air presumably cooled the unit enough.

MAXTEK HD Camera/Bike Light £39.99

LEZYNE Laser Drive £57.99

WEIGHT: 139g RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 6hr/3hr20 CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 4.5hr/2hr5 LUMENS (claimed): n/a

WEIGHT: 68g RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr30/1hr30 CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr/2hr LUMENS (claimed): 250

The Maxtek is very very similar to the Cycliq Fly6 — in fact the only differences revealed on close inspection were with the red outer casing and marginally bulkier unit size. But looks can be deceiving. The miniature video cam inside the Maxtek records in 1080p full HD, rather than the slightly lower resolution 720p. And with a price tag less than one third of the Fly6’s, it all seemed a bit too good to be true. In use we found the light was noticeably less bright, the weakest on test, though at least it spread broader than the Cycliq. Worse was the video quality — yes, you get 1080p full HD, but that’s not much good if the footage is grainy, jerky in movement and washed-out with way too much of the light bleeding into the camera unit. Of course, the low cost on its own might well be enough to swing it for most buyers — on paper you’re getting more light and more actioncam than you’d usually pay for a decent standalone rear light. Still, given the light isn’t bright enough for dark unlit streets, and the camera’s really not consistently good enough for night capture of number plates, it’s difficult to see what users will get from a product that does neither of its functions quite well enough.

This compact rear unit features an impressive mix of nine bright constant or flashing modes, plus one key added innovation — two red ‘laser’ lines that project either side of the bike onto the ground. The idea is that it shows drivers a virtual bike lane. Some might dismiss this as gimmicky, rather like other ‘laser lights’, but it’s harmless if not necessarily useful. We found that the two lines didn’t project back as far as we’d have liked — by the time any driver’s noticed them, they’d be pretty close to your tail. Plus we all know painted (or virtually illuminated) cycle lanes aren’t protection — this isn’t a physical measure. It might make a marginal difference to being seen and avoided, but most cyclists would probably rather just have more of the very impressive flashing effects. It’s worth noting that the relatively short run time on constant mode is more than doubled on lower settings, so most riders would benefit from selecting that as a default. As with the SeeSense pair, the rubber strap is not permanently fixed, so great for fiddly mounting options. We’ve previously rated both Lezyne’s Strip Drive and Zecto Drive as our favourite rear lights and the Laser’s a quirky addition to that stellar line-up.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 17

016017_lights.FINAL.indd 17

18/11/2017 00:55

18.indd 18

15/11/2017 16:30

KNOG PWR Rider £57.99

REVIEWS: Tom Bogdanowicz

KRYPONITE Street F-450 £45

WEIGHT: 115g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 3hr30/5hr RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr/3hr LUMENS (claimed): 450

WEIGHT: 116g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): up to 5hr/5hr RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr/2hr LUMENS (claimed): 450

Knog’s big sell for its new PWR lights is their ability to charge your mobile in an emergency. The Rider model we tested has a USB socket at the back which will provide about a 35% phone charge while riding on full beam (450 lumens) for an hour. What Knog make less fuss about is the useful, four LED readout on top showing the power reserve; it also shows how charging is progressing. Aside from the hi-tech, the light adopts minimalist Smarties-tube styling with a machined aluminium body, one rubber button to cycle through modes and a screw-on silicone strap. The beam is medium-wide with a neat transparent section on the bottom half for visibility to either side. To charge you press the red button at the back and remove the detachable (don’t lose it) cover concealing the full-size and mini USB sockets. A three-second press (to prevent accidental illumination) of a button under the light switches it on. On well-lit streets you don’t need the full or medium (200 lumens) beam, leaving a choice of low, flashing or pulse modes. Given the high relative cost you may wish to minimise re-charging because, over time, like your phone, all USB light batteries lose capacity.

Famed for its tough D-locks, Kryptonite has now brought this rugged, reliable image to a new line of lights. With matt black composite case, minimal logos, powerful beam, water resistance and shock-proofing, the F-450 we tested certainly looks the part — and it delivers no-nonsense performance too. Full beam held steady for 2hr (green indicator) before switching to low (orange) for another hour and flashing mode for five further hours. This ‘eco-mode’ reduction in power is deliberate and aims to get you home safely. Unless crossing an unlit park, you’ll rarely need to use full beam so you should get several weeks of commuter rides on flashing mode. The light has a mediumwide beam and a large choice of modes: three ‘steady’ beams, plus pulsing and flashing. Two apertures to the side alert vehicles to your presence. Like the light, the bracket has been bombproof — a clamp fixes to the bars with a manual lever and the lamp clicks into it (there is no danger of it loosening if you hit a bump or pothole). A simple lever press and the light is removed in seconds.

CATEYE Volt 400XC £39.99

NITERIDER Swift 450 £38



WEIGHT: 93g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 6hr/5hr RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2.5hr/2hr LUMENS (claimed): 400

WEIGHT: 81g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 2-3hr/2hr (charger) or 3.5hr (PC) RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 1hr30/1hr25 LUMENS (claimed): 450

As bike light pioneers Cateye has had several decades to hone its line-up. The 400XC is solidly made and water resistant, with a glossy cylindrical plastic exterior and sub-100g weight. The beam appears strong partly because it is relatively narrow — there is little light spill for the first 5m but it stretches out for a good 30m beyond that. The light is attached using the ubiquitous silicone strap — this remains permanently attached to the unit so can’t get lost. Controls are simple and clear: one orange button comes on when the full beam runs out (an average of 2hr in our outdoor testing) and you then have 15 minutes to get home or switch to the more economical flashing mode. It is also worth noting that beam is virtually unchanged in strength for the full 2hr! There is also a low mode for urban use, as well as a flashing mode. Apertures on the side allow lateral visibility. Charge time is relatively long at 5hr, though an hour less on average than claimed times. To speed this up, you can buy a fast charging ‘cradle’ (£19.99). When the USB is connected to a charger the orange light comes on, when it’s charged it goes off — no green, pulsing or other lights are involved.

If you hate lights that switch on in your bag and leave you with zero beam to get home with, then the Swift will score highly. Aside from the customary full, medium and low beams, plus flashing modes, the light has a lock mode — you hold down the illuminated button on top for seven seconds until it glows orange and it’s locked; a seven-second press brings it back. You have the option of a shorter press for regular ‘off’ mode (eg when leaving the light on the bike). The design is chunky and stubby with a nod to the ‘transformer’ look adopted by modern 4x4s. Use of composite helps trim weight to a feathery 81g, including integral silicone strap. The beam is fairly wide and there are good side apertures for lateral visibility. Although the Swift does offer 450 lumens for an hour or so, it then starts to fade gradually even though the green light stays on. After the green light turns orange you have about another hour of low beam before the light turns off. The low beam is adequate for being seen, and can be switched to flashing mode for even longer duration, but it’s too low for unlit roads or towpaths.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 19

019_lights.FINAL.indd 19

13/11/2017 20:42

20.indd 20

15/11/2017 16:33

REVIEWS: John Kitchiner

XECCON Mars 30 £21.99

LIGHTRIDER Phase £19.99

WEIGHT: 32g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 3hr30/3hr40 RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 3/2hr45 LUMENS (claimed): 30


REAR LIGHTS WEIGHT: 85g CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 5hr/5-6hr RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 32hr/24hr+ LUMENS (claimed): 50

Sold separately or as part of a set, the Mars 30’s basic styling belies some interesting features. Most innovative of all is what Xeccon refers to as its ‘Smart Braking Indication System’. What this means is that regardless of which lighting mode you’ve selected, when you brake the light jumps into an ultra bright setting rather like a car’s brake lights. Even when it’s in ‘daylight riding’ mode the light will come on when you brake, alerting those behind. In practice we found that you actually needed to grab the stoppers moderately hard for this effect to be noticeable; a light feathering of the brakes as we rolled up to a junction seemed less obvious. Like others tested here, the light also turns off automatically if you’re stationary for more than five minutes. We did have issues with the clamp slipping, but if you have better luck than us then the Mars 30 is fairly quick to charge and offers reliable run times. Whether the braking function is actually useful — as drivers don’t really expect that from bicycles — is another matter.

First thing you notice about the Phase is that it’s a chunky little unit, projecting twice as far from your seatpost than regular rear lights. This has zero bearing on performance though and there’s a lot going on under the hood for 20 quid. There are a total of 16 LEDs that work in seven different modes, from constant to various flashing and pulsing options. But perhaps the nicest feature is that the light can be set to automatically switch on when you start cycling and switch off five minutes after the bike comes to a stop — handy if you stop to chat with someone or forget to turn it off manually. Not that you’ll have too many worries about losing battery charge as we got more than 24hr run time in some settings. You even get a ‘light detector’ which ensures the lamp doesn’t power up in bright sunshine. Attachment is via a rubber strap, but it’s not fixed to the unit so can drop off when removing. Waterproof, USB rechargeable and available in four colours — this is one rear we’d recommend for pretty much any cycling application.


BLAZE Rear Burner £49

WEIGHT: 95g CHARGE TIME: n/a RUN TIME: 24hr+ (depending on batteries used) LUMENS (claimed): 10

WEIGHT: 120g (including bracket) CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 4hr/4hr RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 60hr max/8-48hr+ LUMENS (claimed): 100

Keen to include different types of rear light in this category, we got our hands on the new(ish) FLX from lock specialist Hiplok. The white casing contains a 1m retractable braided steel cable, secured with a three-digit combination key, while the black belt-clip features an integrated LED. Of course the lock’s not intended for use in areas where there’s a high risk of theft, it’s more for cafe stops or when you need to quickly pop into a shop and your bike remains in plain sight; we also found it useful as a secondary back-up lock for attaching a helmet. We didn’t find the instructions for setting the combination particularly easy to follow, so take your time to get it right first time. But we did find that the belt-clip works just as well on a courier bag/rucksack strap. Used in constant mode the light itself is fairly weak so we opted for the flashing mode for better visibility. As it’s the only light here that isn’t charged by USB, you’ll need two LR44 watch-type batteries when they do eventually fade. Perhaps most likely to appeal to roadies.

Best known for its front Laserlight, Blaze also produces two equally innovative Burners. To say Blaze does things differently is an understatement, in fact pretty much every aspect of the build is unique — and this may delight and frustrate users in equal measure. The main unit is much heavier than regular rears but happily attaches to the bracket with a super-strong magnet which we failed to unseat despite deliberately adding extra cobbled sections to our commute. Lack of adjustment at the light/bracket interface means that, on angled seatposts, the beam tends to be focused more down towards the back wheel, but excellent all-round visibility compensates for this. The light itself is extremely bright and you can choose from two constant modes and four pulsing/strobing effects. Even in cold temperatures we achieved some impressive run times, from 8-48hr+ depending on chosen mode; and a smart sensor automatically turns the Burner on in low light. On the road we had little to criticise in actual performance. But for us the biggest let-down was the charging connection: this is also magnetic and had a habit of disconnecting with the slightest knock (unlike a USB cable). That gripe aside, it’s a very slick piece of engineering.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 21

021_lights.FINAL.indd 21

15/11/2017 20:51

22.indd 22

15/11/2017 16:34

PULSE Vivid £49.99


C&B SEEN Commuter Set £59

WEIGHT: 100g (pair) CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 3hr (F&R) / 1hr35 (F&R) RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 1hr (F), 1hr30 (R) / 1hr20 (F), 1hr30 (R) LUMENS (claimed): 240 (F), 100 (R)

WEIGHT: 350g (front), 105g (rear) CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 4hr (F), 7hr (R) / 1hr10 (F), 5hr30 (R) RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 3hr (F), 5hr (R) / 7hr (F), 2hr25 (R) LUMENS (claimed): 1000 (F), 500 (R)

These safety lights have continuous beam (with four levels of brightness), a flashing beam (with three levels of brightness), and one strobe mode. A series of LEDs — we counted 50 on the front light — are laid out in a ring, giving good 180-degree visibility. On the brightest settings we found we had to be careful positioning the front unit so it didn’t distract us, or approaching cyclists. The two units have different styles of mount: the front uses a rubber strap, while the rear attaches to saddle rails with a bracket. The higher position of the rear light means it’s more visible if items are strapped to the top of a rear pannier rack. But the fixed bracket isn’t ideal if you want to swap it between bikes quickly — and we also had to move our saddle back to get enough access to the rails, again not ideal. The charge indicator is green and flashes, which some might find distracting if charging via a computer. One other potential negative is that the clip securing the light to the mount is small and a bit fiddly to unclip. But all things considered this a reasonable set of mid-priced lights. Providing you don’t want to swap them between bikes too often, they should do a reliable job around town.

This set stands out as it’s the only one with a separate battery pack. The front light mounts to bars with a quick release clamp (or rubber strap) with the battery sitting in a cradle attached to stem or bars. It delivers a very bright, long, concentrated beam that lights up the road ahead brilliantly; it also throws a decent amount of light to the sides in a pleasing sphere. There’s three levels of continuous beam and one flash. The long run times we measured were extended because the light automatically switches to low brightness when the battery level drops below 33%. Interestingly, the rear light has twin beams with two levels of continuous beam, two flash modes and one ‘disco’ mode. The latter option moves rapidly between different patterns — it’s visually disruptive, great for crowded night-time in London. It’s a really high performing set for the money, but for everyday commuting the separate battery pack isn’t the most convenient — and the two main full beam modes are more than most people will ever need. But it definitely makes a great ‘do it all’ light set for combined town and country use.

XECCON Link/Mars Twinpack £52.99

TOPEAK Aero USB 1W Combo £69.99 WEIGHT: 92g (pair) CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 5hr (F), 3hr30 (R) / 5hr15 (F), 3hr40 (R) RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr (F), 3hr (R) / 2hr45 (F&R) LUMENS (claimed): 300 (F), 30 (R) The Link 300 front lamp has one strobe mode and three continuous modes (high, low, and ‘light sensor’); selecting the latter increases brightness as daylight drops. We tended to choose strobe for our commute, but on full beam the light did a good job of lighting up darker streets. It has a focussed, oval-shaped beam that casts plenty of light to either side of your path and you can rotate the unit horizontally to position the beam exactly where you want it. We were a little cautious of the ‘light sensor’ mode given our preference for a bright light at dusk and, sadly, there’s no side visibility. The lamp mounts with a rubber strap, which holds the light in place reasonably well; it’s also convenient for quick removal and because the strap’s integrated with the casing there’s no risk of losing it. The overall construction feels solid and robust; the rubber seal that covers the charging port fits particularly well. The Link proved more than strong enough for our city-based rides and socials, and seems capable of withstanding a good bit of wear and tear. The rear light in this bundle, the Mars 30, is reviewed on page 21.


LIGHTSETS WEIGHT: 84g (pair) CHARGE TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr (F&R) / 4hr35 (F&R) RUN TIME (claimed/actual): 2hr (F&R) / 2hr10 (F&R) LUMENS (claimed): 110 (F), 55 (R) This combo includes all the features we’d expect as standard in safety lights, plus a couple of newer innovations. Both front and rear have continuous high and low beam modes, plus two flashing modes. In our test they ran for over two hours on the former and Topeak claims up to 50hr in pulse mode. The front unit produces a bright bar of light, which isn’t focussed, but it does concentrate more of the light onto the path ahead than many rivals. The transparent casing delivers great visibility from the side too. The LEDs are angled well for mounting to forks (a frequent way people use this light), but on the bars it also worked fine. The lights are attached with rubber straps — these aren’t fixed to the unit so could be lost easily. Interestingly, the lights also come with different fittings for mounting to round and aero tubing; these slide into the back of the body with the aero one having a deeper groove to ensure it fits securely. There’s also a third clip which we found worked well on the loop of our pannier bag. Plastic casings mean this pair don’t feel as robust as others, though we found they coped admirably on commutes and recreational duties. It’s a decent set, but a little higher priced than some similarly-specced competitors.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 23

023_lights.FINAL.indd 23

16/11/2017 16:23



SET UP YOUR OWN DYNAMO What if you never had to worry about charging your bike lights again? A modern dynamo set-up offers faff-free riding and long-term savings. As John Kitchiner explains, it’s simpler than you think


f you’ve been put off the idea of dynamo lights by those tyre-dragging, miniature-bottleshaped set-ups from the 70s and 80s (and earlier), then we reckon it’s time to think again. Modern hub dynamos are light years (‘scuse pun) away from their predecessors and represent stunning value for money over the long haul. When you consider that a decent front light alone costs £40-£100+ these days, you’ll have recouped your outlay on a new dynamo in a couple of years. Not only that but you’ll never have to worry about charging your bike lights again (saving on electricity too). No more USB cables hanging from computers or wall sockets either. And it’s not as complicated as you might think, as our quick guide here will demonstrate. Your local bike shop can help with the wheel build stage (usually about £40-£50), then connecting it all up is a 10-minute job. Well worth the effort...



To build your new dynamo wheel, as well as the hub you’ll need a rim, spokes and spoke nipples. The Revo hub has 32-holes (for spokes), so we sourced 32-hole rims from Stan’s and Halo (we wanted to test a lighter ‘race’ build and a more robust one). There’s several spoke calculators online to help you find the correct spoke length for your chosen hub/rim combo, but your local shop can sort this otherwise.


If you don’t fancy lacing/building the wheel yourself, enlist the help of a good mechanic (in our case that was Balazs from Machine, our local bike cafe). Once you’ve decided on your preferred spoke pattern (we opted for a traditional ‘three-cross’ design), you start feeding alternate spokes through the hub and loosely attach them to the rim. Don’t rush — take extra care at this stage; getting the correct spoke spacing is crucial.


Essentially you work on one side of the hub at a time (though you should have added a couple of spokes to the opposite side to stabilise it while doing the build). As you can see here, the design alternates ‘outward’-facing spokes with ‘inward’-facing ones. And if you look very carefully you can see the ‘three-cross’ pattern too — adjacent spokes cross directly at the hub flange, then cross two more spokes on their way to the rim.

24 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

024025_dynamos.FINAL.indd 24

19/11/2017 22:39


CONNECT THE LIGHT Start by fixing the light bracket to your handlebar (spacers are supplied for different diameter bars). With the Revo, you simply attach the clamp, tighten it with a 4mm hex key and click the light onto the mount. To adjust beam angle, loosen/tighten the bolt beneath this V-shaped mount. Next, fix the ‘plug’ to the connector wires. Just push the exposed ends through the plug and fold over about 3mm into the side grooves (no tools required). About 5mm of exposed wire is needed inside the plug to make contact with the hub. Slide the outer casing onto the plug until it clicks; this secures the wires. Now you’re ready to insert the plug into the hub connection. Some people like to wrap the wire around the headtube and fork legs, others use zip-ties. But for a neat finish we’d recommend trimming the wire length to fit properly and using electrical tape to fasten where needed (and tidy exposed wires).

EXPOSURE Revo Dynamo Pack from £329


With all the spokes loosely attached to the rim, it’s now time to tension them all up. This is easiest in a ‘truing’ stand (pictured), though it’s also possible with the wheel back on the bike in a workstand. Using the appropriate spoke key, initially give all the spoke nipples 1-2 full turns; from here you can then focus on the smaller adjustments. You can gauge most tweaks by hand, but for real accuracy use a tension meter.


Into the home straight now. With spokes tensioned and hub running freely, you need to add some rim tape (or rim strip if running tubeless tyres). Then it’s just a case of fitting your tyre and inner tube in the usual way. We chose to run a Schwalbe Marathon Plus on the Halo rim and a Schwalbe X-One AllRound with the Stan’s rim; the latter shaving over 600g in weight and making for a lightweight endurance set-up.

WEIGHT: 110g (light), 570g (pack) RUN TIME: endless MAX. LUMENS: 800 Each of Exposure’s Dynamo Packs contains hub, light, handlebar clamp, cable and connectors. And your bike’s front axle and brake type will dictate which pack is right for you — the rim brake pack is cheapest (£329), followed by the basic disc brake pack (£339) and the more costly disc QR15 (£399) for bikes with 15mm bolt-through front axles. Sold separately the dynamo hubs are £83.29 (rim) or £91.63 (disc). We opted for the disc QR15 set, which has a removable axle, allowing us to use the new set-up on both our older steel-framed cyclocrosser and a modern ‘adventure’ bike. As mentioned above, once the wheel’s built the set-up is a painless 10-minute process. Out on the road, the light came on as soon as we started pedalling and grew ever brighter until we hit about 15mph. We didn’t need to pedal furiously to stay illuminated either, at a sedate pace we still had an excellent, mid-wide beam; even on unlit off-road trails we Exposure Lights for weren’t reaching for our back-ups. supplying the Revo pack for When we stopped for a drink the Revo this feature. And big thanks stayed lit for more than half-an-hour again to Balazs at Machine and was easy to power up again after. ( for the It’s a very neat light, maybe not as fancy multiple wheel builds. as some, but a solid intro to dynamos.


Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 25

024025_dynamos.FINAL.indd 25

19/11/2017 22:40

26.indd 26

15/11/2017 16:37


As a new type of cycle hire hits our shores, Tom Bogdanowicz checks out the early players and their bikes

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 27

NEW027030_dockless.FINAL.indd 27

17/11/2017 17:40



250 bikes in Waltham Forest. £1 membership; 50p for 30 minutes. Dublin-based and in the trial stage at time of writing, the company is far smaller than its Chinese rivals but it aims to outdo them in terms of bike-quality. Three speed, steel-framed bikes will be offered from the outset in the launch area of Waltham Forest. The bikes are bright green ­presumably to reflect their Irish heritage. Our tester wasn’t able to check-out the app before the official launch but the test bike worked well. The seatpost height did not extend quite high enough, but then our tester measures 6ft3in and has the same problem with Santander Cycles (the new Pashley Santander bikes will have a longer seatpost). The bike is lighter than a Santander but gearing appears to be higher which could be a challenge if the hire zone extends to Hampstead. That said the current Santander Cycles are often criticised for having gearing that is too low.


o reap cycling’s many benefits you first have to have a bike — and dockless hire bikes are a potential solution for those who don’t own one. The app-based dockless revolution makes affordable cycle hire accessible without all the cost, installation process and planning procedures that dock-based schemes require. Dockless means that cycle hire can be rapidly extended across the whole of London, subject of course to agreement with local authorities and the viability of their business model — and adherence to a new operator’s code of conduct. The first scheme out the blocks, O-bike, had to be withdrawn soon after launch (primarily as they were causing illegal obstruction). But the arrival of dockless hire is now progressing borough by borough. At time of writing three schemes were up and running: Mobike in Ealing and Ofo in Hackney (both based in China), and Urbo in Waltham Forest (based in Dublin). In all three cases, the distribution of the cycles has been agreed with the relevant local authorities. London’s very first shared bike scheme, OYbike, launched in 2004 and used mobile

phone messages to unlock bikes that were physically attached to regular bike stands. It disappeared after TfL hire bikes arrived with their dedicated docks. How does it work? Dockless bikes first took off in China where most major operators are still based. You need a smartphone to make dockless cycle hire work. An app shows bike locations and is used to pay for hire (typically 50p per 30 mins) and unlock the bike lock via a QR code, or by entering a number. At the end of your trip you leave your bike in a suitable spot (more on this later), lock it, and go on your way. Most operators have GPS units installed in the bikes which, coupled with phone data, means they can locate bikes and address maintenance and distribution issues. The bikes used by dockless operators are relatively heavy (though lighter than Santander Cycles), with a step-through frame, punctureproof tyres and durable, albeit low-cost, equipment. This helps keep their overall cost to an estimated £100 a unit — an important consideration when the long-term success of a scheme depends on an abundant supply of bikes.

28 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

NEW027030_dockless.FINAL.indd 28

17/11/2017 17:40


FAR LEFT: Urbo’s smartphone app showing bike locations in Walthamstow. LEFT: Ofo bikes hit the road in central London.


1000 bikes in Hackney. No deposit; 50p for 30 mins (first trip free). However, the business model behind the dockless sector is fuzzy. In China operators are competing for custom and distributing large numbers of bikes in the hope of becoming the dominant brand. In the city of Shenzen alone there are said to be more than 600,000 bikes available for hire. Ofo’s operations director in the UK, Joseph Seal-Driver, says their profits will come from cycle hire: the cost of a cycle (and they build up to 30,000 per day) can be recouped from hire charges within a month or two, assuming seven hires per day (almost double the current average for Santander Cycles). Their target is 50,000 bikes in London alone and Wikipedia says they have 62.7 million users worldwide. Seal-Driver also mentions other income opportunities: riders could, for example, get credits if travelling to particular destinations like specific supermarkets, which in turn might cut deals with dockless firms. However some newspapers speculate that dockless operators will try making money from the data they gather about rider trips. Unless you switch off your phone’s location, cycle hire apps can gather movement data whether you are riding a hire bike (and most have GPS installed) or not.

Ofo says it will share anonymised movement data with local authorities for free which could help improve cycle infrastructure — a win all round if dockless firms gain more riders. Another potential profit area is advertising, whether on the bikes themselves or through messaging the users. Management, distribution & maintenance O-bikes’ ill-fated early launch in London illustrated some of the problems of schemes that are not backed by local authorities. Bikes that were initially dispersed around the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Hammersmith were then left in large numbers at popular destinations, such as rail stations, without an efficient re-distribution system; some caused obstruction, others were vandalised or stripped of parts. Amsterdam’s response to the arrival of dockless was simply to ban them on a temporary basis. In London, TfL has got together with the boroughs to create a code of practice. Now published on the web it states the obvious: n Work with local authorities, n Use roadworthy bikes that have been maintained to a high standard,

Another major operator with more than 60 million users worldwide. Currently in Hackney, Oxford and Cambridge. Ofo bikes are geo-fenced to Hackney — if you take a bike outside the borough it locks to the user and has to be brought back into Hackney within 12 hours — which may be convenient if you are heading back, but inconvenient if you are not. The bright yellow livery is easy to spot, as intended. Our tester found the Ofo app a breeze, but was frustrated when nearby bikes turned out to be inside people’s homes. The operators say this tends to happen in the first months before people realise sharing is the name of the game. The bikes tested had one gear, though Ofo is now supplying a three-geared version. No complaints about the ride or the fit ­— the adjustable saddle worked as expected. There is an option to unlock the bike via QR code or number; for our tester the number proved more efficient.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 29

NEW027030_dockless.FINAL.indd 29

17/11/2017 17:40


LEFT & BELOW: testing the Mobike app and ‘how to’ instructions on the rear mudguard.


n Remove bikes that obstruct pavements, n Re-distribute bikes, n Don’t allow hire bikes to obstruct cycle parking designed for personal use. London’s remaining operators (Mobike, Ofo and Urbo) appear to be following the rules and they all have a points system to encourage


Approximately 800 bikes in Tower Hamlets and Hammersmith £49 deposit; 50p for 30 mins. Singapore based and first to launch in London, the bikes have all been withdrawn following intervention from local authorities. The company says it is now planning a proper relaunch in the UK in cooperation with a local authority.

responsible use. You score credits for reporting faults and badly-parked bikes, and lose them for bad parking, damage, leaving bikes unlocked, etc. If your credit rating falls you pay more for hire or lose access altogether. In Hackney, where Ofo was launched, the borough has permitted hire bike ‘parklets’ painted on the road where bikes can be left. The Ofo app highlights not just where the bikes are but where it’s okay to leave them. But even with rewards, dockless schemes can be gamed. Leaving a locked bike hidden, or inside a building, means you effectively have it for your personal use. Taking it outside its official zone (some bikes are geo-fenced to a particular borough) can also lock it until picked up. The operators say they are aware of the ‘personalisation’ of bikes and have ways of discouraging it.

750 bikes in Ealing. £2 discounted deposit (£29 full price); 50p for 30 mins. One of the major operators, it claims it has 100 million users. Currently in Ealing, Manchester and Newcastle. Our tester had no problems with the app and gave the orange and silver styling the thumbs-up. The bikes have only one gear (a challenge in hillier areas) and a mediumsized front basket. The adjustable saddle was a good fit, at full extension, for our 5ft6in tester. She estimates that riders up to 6ft would be able to ride the bikes. Lights are solar-powered, front and rear. Our tester found the bikes to be scarce with some inaccessible because of ‘personalisation’ (see page 30). She was able to use the 15-minute reserve function on the app, enabling a rider to lock a bike while shopping or stopping off for a coffee. The mapping function restricts you to a small area at a time but shows places where you are encouraged to park.

30 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

NEW027030_dockless.FINAL_AR.indd 30

17/11/2017 18:25

31.indd 31

16/11/2017 21:36

32.indd 32

16/11/2017 21:42


On the right track? Fran Graham looks at how the Mayor is faring with his Sign for Cycling pledges and assesses the progress made so far



Waltham Forest’s Mini-Holland work has set the benchmark for the Mayor’s new Liveable Neighbourhoods

CC was incredibly busy in the run-up to the 2016 Mayoral election. We knew that we would have a new Mayor of London, and it was crucial to make sure whoever was elected would be a champion for cycling in the city. Thousands of you got in contact with the candidates, asking them to Sign for Cycling — committing to three actions that would create safer conditions for everyone cycling in London. By the time the election rolled round, the majority of the candidates, including Sadiq Khan, had pledged to: n Triple the number of miles of protected cycle lanes on London’s roads, to help people of all ages and abilities access the road network by bike; n Make funding available for every borough to create their own Mini-Holland — cycle-friendly town centres all over London; n End lorry danger by upgrading the Safer Lorry Scheme and using planning powers over major construction projects so that only the safest lorries, with ‘Direct Vision’ cabs and minimal ‘blind spots’, are allowed onto London’s streets. After winning the election, Sadiq reaffirmed his commitment to the cycling community, stating that he wanted “to make London a byword for cycling by making it an easier and safer choice for more Londoners.” So what has happened in the year-and-a-half since he has been in office?

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 33

033035_mayor.FINAL.indd 33

19/11/2017 22:44

CAMPAIGN Healthy Streets There have been some big ticket wins for cycling. In December 2016, the Mayor doubled the budget for cycling, to £770 million over the following five years. He’s been a champion of TfL’s new Healthy Streets work, putting in place policies that will help Londoners to choose to walk, cycle or take public transport over using a car. These Healthy Street policies are at the heart of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS), consulted on over the summer. It set out his transformative vision for London, aiming to reduce car use and enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport. The Mayor knows that he must change how people get around the city in order to combat some of the greatest challenges facing London: keeping its rapidly growing population moving, reducing illegal levels of air pollution, tacking congestion, reducing ill health caused by inactive lifestyles, improving access to transport, and mitigating climate change. This includes an ambitious target to get 70% of Londoners living within 400m of a “high quality, safe” cycle route by 2041. Alongside all this, he has also made progress on his Sign for Cycling commitments. Mini-Hollands We’ve seen the creation of the Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, the follow-on

ABOVE : Direct Vision lorries, like this one made by Dennis Eagle, should become the norm on our roads. ABOVE RIGHT: as well as funding new protected cycle lanes, the Mini-Holland project in Kingston helped transform parts of the riverside with new landscaping. LEFT: an illustration of how we hope Enfield town centre could look after Mini-Holland work is finalised.

scheme to Mini-Hollands. It’ll give boroughs access to funding to create places that promote walking, cycling and public transport. There will be smaller pots of money than the original Mini-Holland schemes — between £1 million and £10 million — but offer the opportunity for boroughs to look at area-wide schemes, getting people to their local shops, schools and amenities. Safer Lorries Another flagship scheme from Sadiq’s team is the Direct Vision Standard. All lorries will be ranked using a 0-5 star system, based on how much a driver can see directly out of their windows (instead of relying on mirrors and/or cameras).

The Direct Vision lorries that LCC has been promoting would receive the highest star rating. And by grading the lorries, the Mayor can start to ban the lowest-ranking lorries from London. While we’d like to see all the lorries in London achieve a 5-star rating as soon as possible, this is a decent first step from the Mayor. So far, so good. Protected cycle lanes But what about tripling the mileage of protected cycle lanes on London’s roads? The target was based on a rate of delivery over the four-year term that was similar to the last two years of Boris Johnson’s term. However, since the election in 2016, the pace has slowed considerably. We had to wait 10 months for his Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, to start in post. During this time, very little was actually being built. The momentum was lost, cycling proposals were left to gather dust, and the anti-cycling

34 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

033035_mayor.FINAL.indd 34

19/11/2017 22:42


AGM MOTION PASSED ON 19 OCTOBER 2017 Implementing the Mayor’s Cycling Commitments — this AGM notes and welcomes that, in response to LCC’s Sign for Cycling campaign in 2016, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave his full commitment to: n Triple the extent of ‘protected space for cycling’ (as defined by the LCC AGM Resolution of 2013) on London’s roads; n Enable every borough to access funding for a Mini-Holland-style walking and cycling project; n Make Direct Vision lorries the norm on London’s streets.

brigade was given the space to re-group. Since Will Norman’s appointment, we have seen consultations starting to be trickled out from TfL. These included projects aiming to improve some of the most dangerous junctions in London for cycling, like Lambeth Bridge north and south, and Waterloo roundabouts. We’ve also seen proposals for new Cycle Superhighways, with consultations on Cycle Superhighway 9 (CS9), from Kensington Olympia to Brentford, and Cycle Superhighway 4 (CS4), from Tower Bridge to Greenwich running over autumn (see page 8 for more detail). All of these projects are desperately needed. If they are built, they’ll be a massive improvement for those who will cycle on them. But these are just a handful of schemes. The progress on plans that had already been consulted on and were ‘shovel ready’ has been slow. Despite having the go-ahead, construction on the North/South Superhighway extension to Kings Cross and the beginning of Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) from Swiss Cottage to Regent’s Park is only due to start in autumn 2017. And at the time of writing, there still isn’t a decision about what will happen when CS11 hits Regent’s Park. Poor quality schemes We’ve also seen major projects out for public consultation that have been terrible for cycling.

The stretch of road in south London from Nine Elms to Battersea Park Rise could be a hugely popular route for cyclists, but the designs put forward for the road were dreadful — putting cyclists in part-time bus lanes and using painted cycle lanes as ‘protection’ from the huge number of HGVs along that route. In Croydon, the Fiveways Junction proposal that we saw over the summer aimed to smooth traffic flow, offering only a token consideration for the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. TfL can, and must, do better than this to meet the pledge to triple the protected space for cycling. Because of the slow pace of delivery, and the hit-and-miss quality of recent proposals, a motion (tabled by the Campaigns and Active Membership Committee) was passed at the LCC AGM on 19 October (see panel right). LCC wants to see all the Sign for Cycling commitments fulfilled, alongside the ambitions in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Which is why LCC is calling on Will Norman, as the person with responsibility for walking and cycling in London, to ensure that there is a faster rate of delivery for safe, segregated space for cycling, and that there is a high quality bar set for all proposals, so that all projects enable everyone who wants to cycle in London to do so. We still think it’s possible for the Mayor to meet his commitments, but we’ll need your help to ensure that it happens ­— so watch this space.

And also notes and welcomes that, since making this commitment, the Mayor has: n Created a new Liveable Neighbourhoods programme as the successor to the Mini-Holland programme; n Created a new Direct Vision rating system for lorries and announced targets for taking the most dangerous lorries off the road. But expresses its great concern that: n The rate of installation of protected space for cycling is too low to triple its extent in London by the end of this Mayoral term; n Many recent planning proposals — especially at Nine Elms, Croydon Fiveways and Camberwell Green — are of poor quality and do not provide protected space for cycling throughout. And calls on the Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner — as the person with prime responsibility for implementing the Mayor’s Sign for Cycling commitments, as well as achieving the Mayor’s manifesto pledge to make London a “byword for cycling” — to take urgent action to: n Ensure that the rate of installation of protected space for cycling is sufficient for the Mayor to achieve his commitment to triple its extent on London’s roads by the end of this Mayoral term; n Ensure there is high quality provision for cycling in all planning proposals, including those published for public consultation.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 35

033035_mayor.FINAL.indd 35

13/11/2017 20:50

Gi V e a gIF T T H At GI VES Ba C K Give the gift of LCC membership this Christmas Safer, cheaper, happier cycling for someone you love. Ever y gift membership ordered in December comes with free Blaze Burner bike light worth ÂŁ49 and handwritten Christmas card! We go further when we #ridetogether

LCC_gift_membership_ad_AW17.indd 36

16/11/2017 21:51



BRIDGES With East London in dire need of a safe new river crossing for cyclists and pedestrians, London Cyclist looks at TfL’s consultation and the first design on the table


alk of a new river crossing east of Tower Bridge has been ongoing for what seems like decades. Plans have been mooted and then quietly slipped away. But finally there seems to be some genuine enthusiasm at City Hall for such a project, a proper crossing serving both cyclists and pedestrians, linking up key new infrastructure on both sides of the Thames. Just two days before this issue went to press, the Mayor and TfL announced a consultation on this proposed crossing and — subject to the responses — a second consultation on the preferred design will take place in 2018. This would pave the way for application for planning consents in early 2019. Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “It’s great news that we’ve started the formal process for a new walking and cycling crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf. It will provide vital new connections to work, shopping

and leisure facilities for thousands of local residents and provide a new route for commuters into Canary Wharf.” While TfL’s provisional preferred option is a navigable bridge, we should stress that no final decisions have yet been made. Other options include a tunnel or ferry — hence this initial consultation. A navigable bridge is a complex proposal and TfL has already been assessing factors such as site, design, land requirements, cost and the need for it to open for larger vessels. The idea for a link here began in earnest back in 2014, when the government signalled its interest in such a crossing in its National Infrastructure Plan. The project took a further leap forward in June 2015 when, following funding of £200,000 from TfL and local businesses, UK sustainable transport charity Sustrans (which had been independently looking at possibilities for a crossing at the same location) commissioned a feasibility study to test the challenges of the site. reForm Architects took up the reins and

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 37

NEW037039_rotherhithe.FINAL.indd 37

16/11/2017 21:56

LONDON agreed to the use of its Registered Design and set to work with Elliott Wood structural engineers to define and test the criteria for the crossing. Currently this is the only design on the table and must take some credit for sparking Mayor Sadiq Khan’s interest. Gary Elliott, co-founder of Elliott Wood and one half of the design team behind the proposed Rotherhithe Bridge, is an avid commuter cyclist and has ridden from London to Cannes five times in aid of charity. He’s explained how their idea evolved: “The design proposal, being east of Tower Bridge, had to allow tall-mast ships, liners and naval ships to pass underneath. From an initial concept by Nik Randall at reForm Architects, we drew up a few designs, and recognised that a car-free, purpose-built pedestrian and cyclist bridge would be best. It offers dedicated entrance and exit ramps and decks that effectively separate cyclists from pedestrians — ensuring safety for both — and allowing cyclists to maintain speed for the daily commute. Our plan is for London’s first ‘bascule’ bridge (see below) over the Thames for more than 100 years.” With Cycle Superhighway 3 (CS3) between

Tower Gateway and Barking passing to the north of Canary Wharf, and both the proposed CS4 and Thames Path on the south side of the river, the bridge would connect Rotherhithe to areas beyond Canary Wharf itself, improving the travel options for thousands of people. And most importantly, provide alternatives to the existing options: Greenwich foot tunnel and Rotherhithe road tunnel. “The vision would allow those working in Canary Wharf and travelling from the south to have the option of a safe and enjoyable cycle route to work; while linking those living in Rotherhithe to the Jubilee Line, the DLR, Crossrail, as well as retail and employment opportunities across the river,” said Elliott. The numbers Figures by Sustrans estimated 2.1m cyclists each year would be using the bridge by 2020 (or 10,500 trips by bicycle each day, with a flow of 3,500 in the morning peak), with these figures set to rise with the Isle of Dogs anticipating 110,000 new jobs and 10,000 new homes by 2030. Currently cyclists account for 3,000+ round trips per day from south of the river and have to

choose between using the stairs or lifts serving the foot tunnel at Greenwich or navigating the narrow, horrendously polluted and congested Rotherhithe Tunnel (not recommended). Other options Tower Bridge is currently the furthest eastern option for above-ground crossing. For those who want to connect between Canary Wharf and London’s south east, this causes a six-mile detour via the City. “There is a small ferry close to our proposed bridge site, but it’s a 15-minute wait at times and difficult to access. It cannot be ‘roll-on, roll-off’, as in Amsterdam, as the river level varies so much it makes ramps steep and impractical. A ferry would continue to deter cyclists, not attract them,” added Elliott. The design The reForm/Elliott Wood design with its ‘slender’ structure uses the back mast as a bascule counterweight to assist the opening and to support cables that in turn support the deck, in order to create a shallow structure. The mast-andcable proposal, together with the use of the mast as a bascule, means the design proposed is very

38 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

NEW037039_rotherhithe.FINAL.indd 38

16/11/2017 21:56


ABOVE: this is how the ‘bascule’ bridge would pivot up to allow tall ships to pass along the Thames. RIGHT: plan view of the reForm/Elliott Wood bridge’s location (three locations are being considered).

important and historic body of water must respond to the significance of its setting and add to its culture and heritage. “We feel our design will do this, creating an internationally-recognisable landmark: we hope the elegant form, and operation, will become an attraction for visitors. With a clear opening span of 184 metres, it would have the largest span for a bascule bridge in the world. It’s the only bridge of this type to open in this way in the world too!”

Inevitably, as with all major infrastructure projects, time and money will tell, but the reForm/Elliott Wood concept for the bridge has already proved a popular design. It was named the People’s Choice winner at the New London Architecture Awards in 2016, receiving more than 50% of the votes. n To view the TfL consultation (open until 8 Jan) — n

IMAGES: reForm/Elliott Wood

efficient, requiring only about £9 worth of energy for each lift (at 2015 prices). The design’s limits are also well clear of the ‘central zone’ where the bridge lifts, which helps to ‘future proof’ the bridge should higher clearances be required. The design parameters were defined in consultation with the stakeholders — Port of London Authority, The Canal & River Trust, Southwark and Tower Hamlets councils, the Canary Wharf Group, TfL and LUL — and tested against all conventional typologies for opening bridges. Whilst other opening bridge types present problems for this location, the current reForm/Elliott Wood design meets these challenges with an elegant, functional structure. Elliott’s aim is for the Rotherhithe Bridge to be the first opening bridge to be built on the Thames since Tower Bridge in 1894. “It’ll be the first purpose-built pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Thames, ever, and a new bridge across such an

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 39

NEW037039_rotherhithe.FINAL.indd 39

16/11/2017 21:57

40.indd 40

16/11/2017 21:36


TIPS FOR WINTER TRAINING Don’t let the colder weather stop your preparations for next year’s big rides say Rob Mortlock, lead coach at Lee Valley VeloPark


EMBRACE THE ‘MIXED’ WINTER WEATHER Winter in the UK can feel like forever and motivating yourself to leave the house on two wheels on a cold, dreary or wet day can be a very tough ask. However, you don’t have to stay cooped up indoors. Armed with the right knowledge, skills and equipment you can make the most of the days when many other riders may opt for the sofa.

A purpose-built cycling facility is ideal for notching up your winter miles in a traffic-free setting — for example, the road circuits at Hog Hill, Lee Valley VeloPark and Cyclopark (Gravesend) are open all-year round, some are even floodlit. On closed circuits there’s no need for emergency stops when a pedestrian walks out, you won’t go skidding off any manhole covers, and you won’t break your wheels in any unseen potholes. An hour-long session is long enough (do much more and you’ll risk boredom from riding round in circles) — and on most tracks there’s gradient features and cut-through options to make interval sessions a serious prospect.

Okay, so this contradicts tip 1 slightly, but if there’s ice on the roads it’s just not worth the risk of injury to get out there. Not to mention the costs of replacing broken bikes or torn clothing. Black ice on the roads is virtually invisible and will take your wheels from under you even on straight sections — you can’t rely on every road being gritted either. Instead of risking it, why not take your training indoors to a VeloStudio or gym and test yourself on a static bike? Many purpose-built cycling studios have state-of-the-art visual systems and the ‘virtual’ riding experience can be very realistic. You can also use the winter time to get accredited on your local velodrome. If you are a regular road rider, the techniques learned on the boards can be very useful. Even if you don’t go the whole way and start racing, you can still use the track to maintain a high level of fitness. If you’d rather be outdoors, then off-road riding is the best way to improve skills, maintain fitness and gain strength. Riding a mountain bike can provide a fun variation to your usual road cycling — and you can even ride on ice and snow.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 41

041042_training.FINAL.indd 41

13/11/2017 20:53



MORE INFO Different cycling training sessions are available at Lee Valley VeloPark, go to:

As the saying goes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing choices”. Check the weather reports regularly and dress accordingly. Carry a waterproof so you don’t get caught out in the rain and layer your clothing so you can remove or add layers during a ride. Choose the best clothing you can afford — the investment will be worth it. When it’s really cold, windproof and insulating materials are the way to go. Full-length thermal gloves, neck warmers, neoprene overshoes and headwear are all essential items for long periods outdoors when the temperature plummets. Aim to cover all exposed skin on legs, hands and arms when it’s

below 17 degrees Celsius. Cold muscles don’t work as well as warm ones and you’ll increase the risk of injury. If you’re riding with others, mudguards are a great investment — nobody likes a face full of road muck. Even if you’re riding solo, guards will help keep your bike, bottles and clothes cleaner. It goes without saying that lights are an essential piece of winter kit. Small, light and rechargeable LED lights (see page 16) are perfect for those dark, winter nights and can be found at all bike shops. Just remember to keep them charged! Most cycling specific clothing is also designed with patches or tabs of reflective material in key places. If your outer layers do not have this feature, then consider adding some supplementary reflective items, such as stickers on the bike, so that you can be seen by other road users from the side as well as the front and rear.

STAY FUELLED FOR YOUR RIDES In colder weather it’s often tempting to neglect drinking adequate fluid or eating enough food during your rides. When you’re cold you might not really feel particularly thirsty or fancy taking a big drink of chilled water. Along with this, thick gloves and bulky clothing can make it difficult to reach into jersey pockets for food, grab a bottle or unwrap an energy bar. Before you know it you’re dehydrated, out of energy, blowing up on that next big climb and seeing stars for the rest of the ride. It’s still essential to keep topped up with fluids in the winter as you continue to sweat in colder weather. In fact when you are seeing your breath vaporising as a mist, that’s actually valuable moisture leaving your body, and it will need replacing just importantly as it would on a hot summer’s day. Starting rides with warm drinks in your bottles helps encourage drinking. And preparing food in

small bite-size pieces to put in pockets helps with eating on the move. It’s also a good idea to open up the packets on your energy bars or flapjacks before rides so they’re easy to access and you don’t need to keep stopping. If you’re new to cycling and eating/drinking on the move is challenging, try practising one-handed riding in a skills session, at a park, or on a closed road circuit. Finally if your rides aren’t complete without a café stop, then factor in a mid-ride coffee or hot chocolate — maybe even use it as an end of ride ‘carrot’ to look forward to.

PHOTOS: LVV, The Cyclist

Often riders choose to opt for ‘getting the miles in’ over winter, keeping the intensity low and increasing volume. While there are undoubtedly benefits to this approach — such as preparing the joints and ligaments and keeping a low load on the muscles — there are also drawbacks. If riders chose to do nothing else other than long/ slow miles, then come the Spring it’s often these same riders that get a huge shock to the system when they hit early season events. Maintaining speed work and high intensity sessions during winter continues to benefit short-term muscular endurance, working alongside that base fitness. Keep the weekends (or other days off work) where you have more available daylight for the longer club rides and steady miles, but maximise the evenings with some shorter, harder interval sessions. Ensure you have warmed up completely before undertaking any higher intensity sessions and opt for shorter intervals of both effort and rest — this will keep the overall workout time short and also minimise the chances of getting too cold during the rest or recovery periods of the session. Light load/high speed cadence drills can be a valuable way to improve and maintain some leg speed throughout the colder months.


42 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

041042_training.FINAL.indd 42

13/11/2017 20:54

Br gH E r tOgETher Introduce a friend to LCC membership and we’ll send you both a free Blaze Burner bike light worth £49.

We go further when we #ridetogether

LCC032FreeLights_Ad.indd 43

16/11/2017 21:51


Twin towns & theatre TOURS

44 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

044050_travel.FINAL.indd 44

13/11/2017 21:22


L Looking for inspiration for her next Croydon Bicycle Theatre project, Amy Foster heads to the Rhine city of Arnhem to sample its brilliant cycling facilities and stunning Veluwe national park

ight bulb moments take many different forms. For me, seeing the Omnibus Theatre (and Lambeth Cyclists supported) production, ‘A Midsummer Cycle Ride’, was that gleaming beacon of inspiration. An example of a family ride on London roads that put cycling at the centre of a theatrical performance. Now what if we could do this for families in my not-very-cyclefriendly hometown of Croydon? Returning to work as a teacher after maternity leave, I found that I had far less time to cycle and certainly no opportunities to go to the theatre. Luckily, my best friend is a theatre practitioner and she was willing to give this slowly-forming vision a shot. And that's how Croydon Bicycle Theatre was born, semi-accidentally — along with a decision to ride to Croydon’s twin town of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Arnhem and Croydon’s twinning history goes back to 1946, when both towns were only just starting to recover from the extensive damage they’d suffered during the war. The 1944 Battle of Arnhem (immortalised in Richard Attenborough’s film, A Bridge Too Far) was one of the least successful operations of WWII, despite being the largest airborne operation in history. Croydon played a key role in the Battle of Britain too, with both its airport in Waddon and the aerodrome in Kenley involved. Yet Croydon’s modern image was shaped during the post-war years, with local authorities aiming to build civic pride through a motorcentric town centre, with car parks, flyovers and underpasses all being built in rapid succession. Unfortunately, the vision of 60 years ago means Croydon is one of the least safe London boroughs for cyclists and subsequently has one of the lowest levels of commuter cycling in the capital. Arnhem, by contrast, was a host town for 2017’s Velo-City conference. To us, this seemed an obvious

ABOVE: Croydon Bicycle Theatre's Amy Foster (centre) and Vanessa Hammick, with two-year-old Edith. LEFT: the famous Arnhem bridge at night.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 45

044050_travel.FINAL.indd 45

13/11/2017 21:22

46.indd 46

16/11/2017 21:42

TRAVEL LEFT: Amy and Vanessa are joined by friend Stella for part of their Dutch adventure. BELOW LEFT: there's no shortage of bikes (or bike storage) on Rhine river boats.


indication of both how safe cycling must be there and how popular. It was this disparity in cycling facilities between the two towns which gave rise to the first part of our new project — #Tandem2Arnhem — a belief that our twin town would provide the inspiration for how the Croydon of the future could look. #Tandem2Arnhem In 2011 Vanessa Hammick, co-founder of Croydon Bicycle Theatre, walked from Wales to London collecting stories which became the backbone of a theatre piece, NowHere (later performed at the Edinburgh Free Festival). Similarly, our trip to Arnhem wasn’t just about having a nice time or checking out some high-quality Dutch infrastructure, but searching for stories that could be transformed into a theatrical narrative. And the ‘Vrienden op de Fiets’ network seemed the best place to start our search. The network was established in Arnhem in 1984 and allows walkers and cyclists to become ‘vrienden’ (friends), lodging in other members’ houses for a reasonable cost. The best thing is, you never know exactly quite who you will end up meeting or what stories you will hear. But we weren’t sure this would be enough. We needed to attract attention, to get the conversational ball rolling so to speak. Matching outfits were needed. Purple t-shirts and green shorts (tipping our caps to our suffragette foremothers), with gold accessories adding a bit of Croydon bling to the ensemble. Doing the whole trip on a tandem seemed the best idea of all. Commutare In May, preparing for a performance at the Croydon Cycle Fest, we learned that part of the etymological root of ‘commute’ is the Latin commutare, meaning 'to change altogether'. Many

of us do indeed change completely to get to and from work, donning hi-vis and helmets in an attempt to ward-off the myriad dangers of London’s streets. For this reason, the commute became a rough focal point for the conversations we had with our hosts. Our week’s tour took us from the Hook of Holland east to Utrecht, then through the town of Apeldoorn and into the Veluwe National Park before reaching Arnhem. The Rhine Cycleway and a Rhine riverboat later took us back to Rotterdam before a final ride into a North Sea storm and our return ferry home. Probably some of the trip’s most striking impressions barely even need mentioning; of course the cycling was incredible! But others evolved with time, as impressions gradually built over the days, through the different landscapes and as we met our different hosts. Tactical urbanism In Arnhem, we were extremely fortunate to be able to spend a day with Jan, from the local Fietserbond chapter. The Fietserbond, are the

By the time we reached Pieter and Annemiek’s house just outside Utrecht, we were cold, wet and hungry with a very tired two-year-old. Despite having their hands full with four-week-old baby Marit, they were some of the most kind and generous hosts we met. Tea, lasagne, snacks and even backies into the city centre (pictured above) were all provided, giving us ample opportunity to ask Pieter about his "very scenic" journey to work; especially interesting as he’d worked in Newbury and so had some idea of what commuting can be like in the UK. His 60km round trip to work in the Netherlands took just over an hour each way, which he described as "good thinking time" — but it's definitely longer than the average Dutch journey to work. "Many people take distances up to half-an-hour — more than 15km is irregular." He dismissed the idea of swapping his racing bike for an e-bike, saying: "Nowadays you get these e-bikes that go 45-50km per hour and I see them more and more on my route, and I try to follow them. It’s a really fun thing to do."

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 47

044050_travel.FINAL.indd 47

13/11/2017 21:23

48.indd 48

16/11/2017 21:42



ABOVE: the fantastic cycling tracks in Veluwe Park, 8km from the centre of Arnhem. RIGHT: bagging the obligatory windmill shot.

Croydon is eclectic to its core — brand new art installations nestle beside historic monuments and natural treasures. We set up Croydon Bicycle Theatre to make the most of Croydon’s amazing variety of outdoor spaces, and to tell some of the incredible stories from the area. We are fascinated by Croydon’s unique heritage and exploring the role cycling has had in emancipating women, young people and working class people alike. Our rides around Croydon aim to unearth some of its hidden gems and we want to make our tours accessible to everyone — of all abilities, and all ages. But these are more than just guided bike rides. We invite storytellers, musicians, comedians and cinematographers to fill our rides with surprises and unexpected intrigues. Recent themes have included local ghost stories, London to Brighton record breakers and, of course, our trip to Arnhem. We believe it is down to us collectively to use our roads and public spaces and fill them with life so that Croydon can flourish. We hope our street-based theatre will encourage more people onto the streets and lead to us seeing more investment in cycling, walking and recreational infrastructure. To find out more, visit our website:

Dutch Cyclists’ Union, campaigning for safer cycling conditions in the Netherlands. His city tour included the Airborne Museum, a solar-powered Rhine riverboat, a cool community park and even his house for a cup of tea (we needed it, we were soaked. The Netherlands may be flat, but it's wet). As he guided us around, he pointed out bits of infrastructure that the Fietserbond in Arnhem had campaigned for and saw as successes, as well as the bits that he felt were less successful. During one of our wet-weather coffee stops he told us about the chapter’s greatest campaigning victory. He described a ring road in the town centre where three lanes of traffic loop around a small park. It was one of the city’s most polluted spots and with one of the worst records for road safety, with drivers cutting across and changing lane too frequently, resulting in regular collisions. The Fietserbond wanted it changed; in their view, it was a travesty that three lanes would be allocated to motor traffic with no protected space for cyclists. They decided to stage a protest, a sort of 'tactical urbanism' event, to which key stakeholders would be invited. A red ‘bike lane’ carpet was ordered and a choir booked. The police were warned about the event and were ready as the Fietserbond laid their carpet, marking where their proposed cycle track would go. Their invited fellow cyclists set off round the circuit and with the choir performing alongside them, it wasn’t long before they’d attracted a crowd, with other passing riders joining the new route. Apparently, this lasted all day and the photos of

the event made the next day’s papers. The following year the council put in the new protected tracks the Fietserbond had asked for and both air quality and road safety improved. And so, we wondered, how can we persuade Croydon Council that our roads are ready for the red carpet treatment? And just how awesome would our choir need to be to get them to see that reducing traffic flow through our town could actually be a change for the better? The De Hoge Veluwe National Park Just 8km from the centre of Arnhem lies a truly unique cycling experience; the De Hoge Veluwe National Park. The Veluwe presents a landscape of pine forest, heath, dunes and expansive open plains, all of which are accessible through a 40km network of dedicated hard-packed cycle paths. The park is home to deer and wild boar, though all we came across were highland cattle, usually grazing in the middle of a bike track. The park’s size (5400 hectares) means that even in peak season it feels as though you’ve left the city far behind. A ride through the Veluwe is clearly a beloved daytrip of Dutch families and

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 49

044050_travel.FINAL.indd 49

13/11/2017 21:26


LEFT: no, that's not a road, that's a super-safe cycle path — does anything like it exist on any UK bridge? BELOW LEFT: Dutch trains have enough space for a dozen bikes, including tag-alongs and cargo bikes.


holidaymakers. We rode past hundreds of families riding together, with parents pedalling every kind of child-friendly bike imaginable and usually with multiple children. Other visitors ride around on the park’s 'white bikes', available without cost or reservation from any of the park’s entrances (though all visitors have to pay to enter the park). In the centre of the park lies a must-see for any culture fan visiting this region of the Netherlands. The Kröller-Müller Museum houses a thorough and erudite collection of 19th and 20th century artworks, including the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings anywhere in the world. The Museum’s sculpture park contains many surprises and delights too. Coming round a corner into a forest glade, I found a literal stairway to heaven; Watch Out! by Krijn Giezen. The staircase climbs up out of the forest canopy offering a view of the entire park. Spectacular, even though the wobble it had in the wind was a little unsettling. The De Hoge Veluwe was intentionally designed to ensure nature and culture would enrich one another, with cycling being the best way of experiencing its various landscapes. Seeing a national park provide such excellent dedicated infrastructure for cycling makes one wonder why others aren't following in their footsteps. Family cycling, Dutch-style Waiting to board a chain-link ferry, we realised the group of cyclists in front of us were all looking incredibly glamorous. Surely they had to be heading out to some sort of swanky lunch? And then we noticed; the whole family was there, from grandma down to the kids in the cargo bike. What kind of sea change do we need in the UK to be able to normalise cycling enough to the point of choosing it as natural form of transport to go for a family lunch — in your Sunday best! I remember that when I was young my grandparents would come out with us on a day

A disrupted journey and bus replacement service meant we spent longer with Astrid than we’d planned to, but it turned out to be one of the nicest parts of our trip. Astrid kindly invited us to dinner with her partner Gus joining us. ride, but once our family rides came to an end, so did my parents’ and grandparents’ interest in cycling. I wonder if my daughter already sees cycling as something that’s not ‘for’ grandparents, especially as older riders where we live are very few and far between. One of the best things about cycling in the Netherlands is riding alongside so many different generations of cyclist. Whether it was elderly couples enjoying a day out, groups of ‘golden girls’ having a natter or just older men and women doing the grocery shopping, we loved them all, taking them as role-models for our third age. I would love to believe that one day I’ll be riding my grandchildren to and from school or out for lunch, but that’s a big pipedream for Croydon right now, especially given how cyclists have been provided for in our borough’s recent consultations, such as the proposed changes at the Fiveways junction in Waddon. And that’s where we want Croydon Bicycle Theatre to come in. We want to give people the confidence to get back on their bike, with a good story or a few belly laughs along the way. Guided rides are something so many of our LCC groups do brilliantly, and fantastic marshalling takes away a good 90% of the effort involved when cycling in London. But the problem is marshals can’t always be

Gus told us there were only two reasons he rode a bike; the first was Astrid and the second was the stroke he’d suffered six months previously (which led to him and Astrid becoming an item). Not being fit enough for hiking after his stroke meant cycling was the best way of rebuilding his fitness levels. "Cycling is faster than the car when you’re going into town," he said, "and knowing how much Astrid loves it keeps me riding." Astrid lived on one of the main cycle routes into the centre of Apeldoorn and told us that each morning, the locals "go with their bikes to the station... some in suits, some very dressed up. Then from 8am you get all the students, three in a row, with music boxes on their bikes. At 8.30am you get the parents with the children; some fathers, but mostly mothers, and even some grandparents".

there. Our goal is to make our audience members feel confident enough to head out again on the routes we use for our shows, sharing the experience with their family and friends. Yet to do that, they need to really believe they will be safe doing so. With confidence, it’s not so difficult, but with infrastructure, it’s downright easy...

50 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

044050_travel.FINAL.indd 50

13/11/2017 21:26

58.indd 51

20/11/2017 15:57



TEST BIKES Final round-up on our 2017 rolling test fleet

PHOTOS: JK, Robi Volk

SCHWALBE’S CONTROL TYRES As not all tyres are equal — and tyres are such a critical factor in how a bike rides and feels — we use different rubbers supplied by leading manufacturer Schwalbe to act as ‘control tyres’ in our testing. On city bikes and hybrids we’ve been using Durano DDs or Marathons, on the cyclocross/adventure bikes we’ve run X-Ones and G-Ones, while on the mtbs we’ve been swapping between Nobby Nics and Magic Marys.

ROAD/ADVENTURE SPECIALIZED Diverge Expert After a near-freezing Epping Forest night-ride with a couple of friends recently, they asked me how the Diverge might compare to rigid mountain bikes of yesteryear. I’d made the point previously that I saw this current breed of ‘adventure’ bike more closely aligned with those old rigid mtbs than modern road race bikes — and they’ve gained in popularity for the very same reason: versatility. They can essentially cope with most riding situations, both on road and off. Our mud-plugging loop around the east London woodland was a case in point. Then I was reminded of the Northern packhorse trails we’d ridden, the European off-road ‘sportive’ we’d signed up for at the last minute and the challenge of tackling a handful of alpine cols during a balmy summer. Not to forget the bikepacking. All very different, but all great fun. And all aboard this one bike. In its marketing blurb for this model, Specialized said: “The Diverge excels where the road ends”. Cheesy as hell. As a career editor I’d just strike a red pen through those last four words, for a more pithy and accurate summary.

It’s rare not to want to change anything on a test bike and, other than swapping the stock saddle for my well-worn Charge Spoon, it’s only the tyres that have been changed. Slicks for the long-haul roadie stuff, Schwalbe X-Ones (run tubeless at low pressures) for the real crud, and the original Roubaix Pros for pretty much everything else. We did experiment with wider 35mm tyres but felt the clearance was too tight; 33s became our preferred pick. Although the transmission has run without a hitch, if we had the Diverge permanently we’d be tempted to ditch the double chainset in favour of a single ring, and pair it with an even wider range cassette. That would really be tinkering for the sake of it though. So would we recommend the Diverge? Absolutely; if you like your riding mixed then you won’t regret it. As mentioned in the last edition, for 2018 Specialized has introduced its new Future Shock technology on all the Diverges. We’ve ridden it briefly and it’s very effective. Could we have found our ‘one bike’? Now that would be telling... JK n

52 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

052053_longtermers.FINAL.indd 52

18/11/2017 19:21




Via the w r and Twitte g lin yc @london_c

Before we started this long-term test, most of our kids’ bikes had been ‘pre-loved’ — hand-me-downs from friends, shed finds or cheap buys from local websites. Chatting to other parents or reading parenting blogs, one name kept cropping up: Islabikes. Without even seeing one in the flesh — let alone trialling one — we’d heard plenty about their famed durability. Now, after nearly a year’s solid riding, we’d be happy to endorse such comments. We’ve ridden to school every day, come rain or shine, added in lots of family rides after the bell’s rung, at weekends and on holidays. And, hand on heart, we’ve not had a single issue of note; not a single puncture, zero issues with the gears and only a very minor wear adjustment on the brakes. This has been a massive relief when juggling the demands of a growing family. The bike comes with 8-speeds and we’ve only needed the lowest ones on trips to the Downs; around town the bigger gears have been more than sufficient. It was our 8-year-olds first go with multiple gears and she got the hang of them in a couple of days. The brakes have been impressive, considerably better than anything she’d used previously — and the levers are just right for little hands. The tyres too are holding up really well and have been grippy when we’ve headed out on muddy towpaths and gravelled tracks. We’ve really noticed how the Beinn’s given our daughter the confidence to practice and improve her skills. Best of all, as she’s really shot up this year, there’s plenty of adjustment at the saddle and bars to allow us to tweak the fit. The attention to detail means Islabikes will be top of our list going forward. Emma n

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 53

052053_longtermers.FINAL.indd 53

18/11/2017 19:24


ROAD/ADVENTURE MARIN Four Corners This autumn we’ve been in touring mode, so I’ve set the Marin up with my Tortec rack, bottle cages and SKS mudguards. Full-laden it transforms into a very dependable workhorse, but you can’t ignore the hefty overall weight; it makes lifting on and off trains a bit of a strain, and you’ll be truly grateful for those lower gears. Having said that the extra momentum on downhill and rolling stretches of road is brilliant. The go-anywhere nature of the bike is still a revelation — on an extended tour of East Anglia I had no worries about what surface I’d be riding on. Handling was great on sandy forest floors, heathland trails and potholed Tarmac. Maintenance-wise I’ve not had to do much: the gears have needed regular fettling and I’ve been experimenting with air pressures in the tyres, but that’s about it. If I owned the bike I’d consider upgrading the wheels — the stock ones are durable but weighty and shedding a couple of pounds would hopefully inject a more lively feel to the ride. As it is, I’ve just swapped out the touring tyres for lighter, narrower ones more suitable for winter commuting. Overall it’s the bike’s versatility and fun nature I’d most recommend. Matthew n

054055_longtermers.FINAL.indd 54

19/11/2017 13:01


ROAD/SPORTIVE CINELLI Superstar Ten months into my time with the Superstar and I’m feeling really comfortable on the bike. I’ve noticed longer rides seem to result in less aches, even my weekday usage with a hefty laptop and bag passes without any discomfort. As you might expect from a top-specced race bike, the Superstar’s not needed much more than a squirt of chain lube in the workshop — it’s been troublefree, markedly more so than my other Shimanoequipped bikes. I’ve really been impressed with the Campagnolo Potenza transmission too, it feels like a much more natural gear shifting action. The factory wheels have also been bombproof. Of all the aspects of this bike I would keep, it’s been the comfort the wider 28mm tyres deliver. I will certainly be fitting my other bikes with wider tyres if nothing else. My main reflection as the year draws to its close is that I think I’ll really miss this bike. I’ve found myself using my others less and less, they’re looking a bit neglected with their deflated tyres and dusty frames! For the sort of endurance road riding that I most enjoy, the Superstar has been, well, a star. Maybe I should step in and make Cinelli an offer they can’t refuse? Dan n

054055_longtermers.FINAL.indd 55

19/11/2017 13:02

56.indd 56

15/11/2017 17:19

57.indd 57

15/11/2017 18:40

on behalf of

LCC Memberssave on theft insurance


Specialist Cycle Insurance designed for LCC Members by CycleSure. Members receive a 10% discount on all new policies in their first year. And, a donation is made to LCC for each policy purchased!* Use code LCC10 at:

*Butterworth Spengler Facilities Ltd donate a proportion of the insurance premium to London Cycling Campaign who use this money to support their campaigning activities. The policy cover is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc and the scheme is managed by Butterworth Spengler Facilities Ltd. CycleSure is a trading style of Butterworth Spengler Facilities Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 313062.


20/11/2017 15:58

REVIEWS: John K, Ellie Mahoney, Sarah Flynn

HOWIES Clearim/Clearer £59

METIER Beacon Gilet £180

Weight: 105g Sizes: S-XL (men); XS-XL (women) Colours: clear or raven (men), clear (women)

Weight: 280g Sizes: XS-XL (men), 8-14 (women) Colours: black only

Cycling jackets don’t come much more minimalist than the Clearim (or women’s Clearer) ­— certainly not waterproof ones. Though to call this featherweight top ‘waterproof’ is perhaps a touch misleading — the fabric itself is highly waterproof, but the jacket does not have sealed seams and there’s also large mesh underarm vents where rain could get in. In practice we’ve not had any major ingress issues, despite a few Thames Path soakings. It is also PET/PFC-free which we wish more companies would embrace. Simple hem and wrist cuffs keep the weight down and contribute to a tiny packed size; the jacket can be stuffed away into its own rear pocket (right). We’re big fans of clean, unfussy bike clothing and the Clearim’s a jacket we’d want to carry all year round.

Only officially launched last month, the new Metier range could’ve easily slotted into our Big Lights Test too. We’ve seen integrated LEDs on jackets, bags and suchlike before, but here it’s taken a stage further — on both the gilets and jackets (£250) there’s two strips of white LEDS across the shoulders (offering a claimed 160 lumens) and a row of five red LEDs across the rear (22 lumens). You can choose between constant or flashing modes, with run times from 12 to 72 hours. The small, discretely-hidden battery can be removed for USB charging (about 3hr) and controls are easy to use. We noticed quite a bit of glare from the front lights, due to their positioning; it might have been better to repeat some of the excellent rear reflectivity here instead. Also we found rucksack straps obscured their effectiveness on our commutes. The gilet’s very much a high-performance roadie style; slim fit, four-way stretch, water-repellent fabric, essentials pocket. We like the innovation, but the cost will put it out of reach for most.

MADISON Zena £120

PROVIZ Reflect 360 Plus £110


Weight: 345g Sizes: 8-16 Colours: black, purple or red

Weight: 400g Sizes: XS-XXXXL (men), 6-16 (women) Colours: silver/grey only

Sitting near the top of Madison’s women’s winter jacket line-up, the Zena is arguably the most versatile of the lot, being well suited to all types of riding from touring and mountain biking to the daily commute. The waterproof, seam-sealed outer material not only feels soft to the touch, but it has a lovely stretch which doesn’t feel at all restrictive on the bike. The cut is described as ‘slim’, but in temperatures below 10-degrees we’ve managed to add a jersey and midlayer comfortably; with the extra layers the hem did become a little tighter across our hips though. The adjustable hood is a really nice fit, and equally useful on and off the bike. We also much prefer these chest pockets to hip ones, which can often get in the way. It’s been a great performer overall. One side note: the ‘red’ colour option we tested (right) is actually more pink. You’ll love that or hate it.



Out of the packet the Reflect looks like a fairly standard bike jacket, except with a little sparkle to the outer fabric. It’s only in fading light or darkness, under the direct beam of vehicle headlamps (or fellow cyclists’ lights) that it comes alive — with millions of tiny glass beads set into the material you are completely unmissable (see inset). The fabric is extremely waterproof too, though not particularly breathable, so it’s great to find pit-zips and a rear vent for cooling. Pockets at front and rear hold the basics, and there’s plenty of adjustability at both cuffs and hem. Sizing is generous so there’s room for a layer or two beneath on colder days; a long tail keeps your back warm, while the collar has a fleece lining to snug down into. For easier-paced rides and city cycling this is a standout product in more ways than one.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 59

059_jackets.FINAL.indd 59

17/11/2017 22:25


CYCLING BOOKS Tony Levene reviews some of the best bike-related reads of 2017 Shut Up Legs £8.99

Corsa Rosa £14.99

Jens Voigt

Brendan Gallagher

The Brave Athlete £20 Velo Press

Former pro rider Voight was brought up in the old East Germany, where the state ignored races like the Tour de France. Otherwise, as the fascinating early chapters explain, the state did him proud. He attended a special sports academy followed by the army — a great move for an athlete as it meant minimal military duties. Once the Wall fell, he had to fend for himself without his state security blanket. There’s also the inevitable doping story, from his time with CSC (he wasn’t implicated). But this is a happy tale. By 2002, he could use his cycling success to build his parents a house near Berlin on a road now called ‘Jens-VoigtRing’. Quite a journey...

This history of the Giro d’Italia — run for the 100th time in 2017 — is for true enthusiasts. It began as the Italian riposte to the Tour de France but it is rated, by Gallagher, as “noisier, harder, friendlier and arguably more beautiful” than its French counterpart. It has also witnessed “more than its fair share of low-life cheating, skulduggery and rank unsportsmanlike behaviour”. For example, in the 1984 Giro an Italian TV helicopter flew so low that one rider was impeded while another was helped by the wind from the propeller. In case you were wondering, the ‘Rosa’ of the title refers to the leader’s jersey, which Mussolini condemned as “effeminate”.

This US import, written by husband and wife team sports psychology experts, is not a pure cycling book — it’s a self-help book designed to push your body further. It claims to provide tools to overcome negative patterns so you can be faster and happier (it assumes the two go together) in sport and life. There’s a box-tick check-up for your “self-judgement system”, a series of exercises and it aims to tackle the “flawed thinking” around your athletic identity — are you a real triathlete unless you have done an Ironman? If self-improvement or bike racing is your thing, give this book a whirl. But it won’t help on your daily commute.

060061_books.FINAL.indd 60

Spain to Norway on a Bike called Reggie £9.99 Andrew Sykes This is Sykes’ third adventure with Reggie, an old Ridgeback Panorama tourer. Laden with tent and heavy panniers, he set off from Tarifa at the tip of Spain in early April and by late July he had arrived at Norkkapp in Norway, Europe’s most northerly outpost. The Reggie series is not just for cyclists — there’s geography and history, as well as amusing linguistic and cultural confusion. Sykes also proves you don’t have to be super-fit (he averages 75km per day) or need an expensive bike to tour Europe. Overall there’s plenty here to inspire shorter journeys along this route.

15/11/2017 18:39

A History of Cycling in 100 Objects £20

Chris Boardman

Suze Clemitson

Boardman went from unemployed carpenter to Britain’s first Olympic cycling gold medallist (at Barcelona 1992), before going on to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey on three occasions. His win in Barcelona was perhaps the first time cycle racing entered the mainstream — and it was the start of ‘scientific’ sport where man and machine were both looked at in a different way. Fast-forward a dozen or so years and we get to the start of Boardman Bikes, dealings with Halfords and his more recent advocacy work. There’s a good selection of pictures, several unflattering, even one of Boris Johnson. In fact it’s impossible to know what’s been missed out of his story. But you do have to feel for Sally, his wife of nearly 30 years, when Boardman ends up racing rather than being present at his first child’s birth.

Everything — almost — is here. There’s the Sturmey Archer three-speed hub gear, the Chopper and the Brompton. On the sports side there’s urine tests, EPO and amphetamines. There’s the mundane — mudguards, chains, brakes, locks, shorts and helmets — and even a discussion of stabilisers versus balance bikes. Part of the interest is deciding what the author’s left out. Some entries are a little off the wall; pasta, for instance, essential for high calorie activity. And cycling superstitions. Did you know that if your race number is 13, you wear it upside down? Or that Tommy Simpson died on 13 July on stage 13 of that fateful Tour? A very flickable, almost coffee table-type book for those wanting something to show where their passion lies. It’ll be in a few Christmas stockings this year.

060061_books.FINAL.indd 61

Africa Solo £9.99

Pedal Power £9.99

Mark Beaumont

Anna Hughes

Cairo to Cape Town by bike is a journey best undertaken if you have a TV series or book in the offing. It’s not for ordinary mortals; Beaumont is not a normal human being. He decided on this journey after nearly drowning on a failed attempt to row across the Atlantic in under a month. There is no back-up team on this 10,000km ride and no film crew either. He trained in Scotland and Cyprus but nothing could prepare him for the pounding of 240km per day in the saddle. And he does not grumble about the state of the roads — it’s clear Beaumont loves Africa and its inhabitants. It might not be a journey to emulate for your next holiday — though the actual journey cost less than the two flights taken — but this is a well-written, sensitive experience in Africa which you don’t need to be a cyclist to appreciate. It will help though!

It’s easy to be sniffy about ‘inspirational stories’ from the world of cycling. But Pedal Power transcends the mawkish barrier to come up with stories that campaigners can use. There’s the usual stories about super athletes overcoming obstacles on their road to stardom. And those who make bikes like no other. But there’s also — and this is inspirational — tales of ordinary folk such as Graeme Willgress. He had a mental breakdown at 17, two failed marriages, lost his parents and sister in the space of three years and ended up a recluse. Then by chance he met some cyclists. He bought a bike and started to ride. Longer and longer. He later became a Sustrans ranger, which helped bring new friends and experiences. Eventually, he came up with his Riding2Recovery writing/touring project. Prepare to be amazed by what your bike — any bike — can do.


Triumphs and Turbulence £8.99

16/11/2017 21:46


LCC’S NEW LUNCHTIME RIDE Enjoy one of London’s best ‘off-road’ loops guided by John Kitchiner and Tom Bogdanowicz


as you’ve probably read earlier in this issue, LCC has a new home. It’s farewell to Bermondsey Street and welcome to Wapping Wall. We made the move from SE1 over the water to E1 in mid-November, relocating to one of the old riverside warehouse buildings, Metropolitan Wharf. It’s hardly far from our previous office, so we hope to see lots of our members, supporters and friends popping in as soon as we’re settled. One thing we’re very excited about is the potential for interesting new lunchtime rides, whether it’s nipping into the West End via CS3, exploring the Olympic Park, or heading further afield. To entice you to visit us, here’s one of our favourite routes, starting from the new base — we’ll see you out there! n You can find details on another 40 great routes in the London Cycling Guide by Tom Bogdanowicz (produced in association with LCC and published by IMM Lifestyle Books, £9.99).


FACTFILE Start/finish: LCC office, Wapping Wall Length: 16km (10 miles) Time: 2-3 hours, depending on stops Type of ride: easy; almost entirely off-road; canals can be busy (please use a bell)


Victoria Park

Rail stations: Limehouse and Westferry DLR, Wapping or Shadwell Overground, plus Stratford stations and Hackney Wick

Of course you can start from dozens of different places on this route — and it’s well served by mainline, DLR and Overground stations — but we’re kicking off from Wapping Wall. Initially we’re following the Thames Path, first through King Edward VII Memorial Park, then along Narrow Street to Limehouse Basin. You can also join here from Cycle Superhighway 3. Limehouse Basin The Basin, formerly known as Regent’s Canal Dock, was built in 1820 and served as an off-loading point for ships whose goods were transferred onto barges and taken into other parts of the city. The DLR runs on a viaduct originally built for the London and Blackwall Railway above the original wharves along the north side of the basin. Beyond these, the Commercial Road Lock leads to the Regent’s Canal (which we return on later). For now we’re heading in a north-east direction on the dramatic Limehouse Cut — one of the best off-road paths in the capital. The Cut is a wide canal, linking




Limehouse Basin

the Lee Navigation to the Thames. It was built to avoid the lengthy detours of the curving lower reaches of the River Lea at Bow Creek and was officially opened in 1770. At that point it only allowed passage for one barge, but by 1777 it was widened to today’s proportions. There’s still lots of industrial heritage to enjoy along the way, including Bow Locks, The House Mill and Three Mills Studios, plus several recent additions like the floating cycling/walking pontoons.

London Stadium & Arcelor Mittal Orbit You leave the Cut just before the London Stadium to join the Greenway. If you have time, it’s also worth visiting the Victorian warehouses on Fish Island (just over a small bridge) which now house artist’s studios, cafes and bars. Leave the Greenway fairly quickly to cross the Loop Road and enter the park proper. From here you can easily find your own way around on the trails network, but our route loops

62 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

062063_ride.FINAL.indd 62

16/11/2017 16:57



Velodrome & VeloPark

3 3

London Stadium



Aquatics Centre

ray which could swim off at any moment. Expressionist architects of the 1920s aspired to buildings like Hadid’s but building technology of the time was not up to the task; Hadid’s work turns imagination into reality. She recounted that she wanted the exterior to reflect the activity inside. It is worth interrupting your ride to take a dip in the main pool (£5 entry) which is contained by a cathedral-like transparent hall that gathers light from all sides. The 50m pool is bizarrely still even when there are many swimmers, presumably because of its greater than usual depth. There is also a diving pool where Tom Daley won his Olympic medal and a training pool where children can exercise.

CONTACTS n London Aquatics Centre, E20 2ZQ (020 8536 3150)


n Olympic Stadium, E20 2ST (0800 072 2110)

imehouse Basin

around anti-clockwise, taking in the main architectural highlights before meeting the River Lee Navigation. Since the London 2012 Olympics, the main stadium has been converted into a football ground for premier league side, West Ham United. Retractable seats have been incorporated so that the venue can still host athletics events, while the interior capacity has been reduced from 100,000 to 60,000. The exterior of the stadium is also very different to how it appeared at

the Olympics; it now has a sparkling hi-tech ‘digital skin’ and recordbreaking new roof, the largest of its kind in the world. Near the main entrance you’ll also find Champions Place, where the paving stones are engraved with memories and messages from players and fans.


Victoria Park When you finally cross back over the River Lee Navigation, you’re soon into ‘Vicky Park’. Voted London’s most popular people’s park, it has two delightful lakes with the popular Pavilion Café on the banks of the western-most one. On the island in the centre of the lake 2012 money was used to construct a Victorian pagoda and bridge that were never built when the park was created in 1845 because cash was short. Skirt (or cross) the park to its south-east corner, and then follow the lovely Regent’s Canal back all the way back to Limehouse.


Aquatics Centre A rare London masterwork of the late Egyptian-British architect Zaha Hadid, the centre was built for the Olympics. It looks like a giant manta

©Crown copyright 2017 Ordnance Survey. Media 036/17

n Velodrome, E20 3AB (0300 003 0613)

Velodrome & VeloPark Cyclists visiting the park will undoubtedly gravitate towards the extraordinary Velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects. They wanted to illustrate the speed and elliptical movement of the riders inside on the exterior of the building and the very first drawings simply show a mass of oval circles. Discussion with Sir Chris Hoy motivated the architects to populate the ends of the oval with spectator seating so that the crowd noise carried right

around the track. In recent meets, as during the Olympics, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the noise which has driven riders to break multiple records and bag major international honours. Visitors can see the Siberian pine track at any time (free) except when events are taking place. It’s worth getting tickets for events to enjoy the unique atmosphere. Park your bike outside or circumnavigate the Velodrome to see the road, off-road and BMX circuits too. You can book to ride on the track yourself ­ — or the road circuit, mountain bike and BMX tracks. Cycle hire is available on site.

Winter 2017 LONDON CYCLIST 63

062063_ride.FINAL.indd 63

16/11/2017 16:57

Green Jersey

64.indd 64

16/11/2017 17:04

65.indd 65

15/11/2017 18:42


ASHOK SINHA Over-regulation of cycling is not the right response to a recent tragedy, says LCC’s chief executive


ere we go again. Just when you think the many-headed hydra of compulsory cycle registration, hi-vis clothing and helmets is finally slain, its remains are disinterred and paraded across the media. Ostensibly this is all about balance: if motorists are expected to shoulder a duty of care to other road users then why not cyclists too? And shouldn’t cyclists also be expected to take proper steps to keep themselves safe? The reality, of course, is that isn’t about balance — which I’ll come to in a minute. Nonetheless the answer to those two questions, however ill-posed, is essentially yes: all road users have a legal and ethical duty to act in a way that minimises risk of harm to others and cyclists should observe the Highway Code and take sensible steps to avoid being in harm’s way. Therefore, as well as campaigning for safer cycling infrastructure, safer lorries and a safer road environment in general, LCC has consistently advocated that cyclists stay within the law, undertake cycle training and look out for pedestrians and other cyclists. So what’s the problem? The answer is two-fold: first, the current debate about making our roads safer is not balanced; and second, the regulation of cycling that has reared its head again is disproportionate at best and counterproductive at worst.

Tragedy brings return of tribalism This all started with the tragic case of Kim Briggs, killed when crossing the road when Charlie Alliston cycled into her riding a fixie with no brakes. Whatever the arguments over whether Alliston, convicted of “wanton and furious driving” should have been convicted of the higher charge of manslaughter, or whether the law should be updated to provide more coherency between the charges that can be laid against drivers and cyclists, we can all agree that it is not acceptable to put others at such risk in the way that Alliston did. The problem starts when this tragedy is used as a platform to resurface old tropes about cyclists’ behaviour and a return to tribalism. In the wake of this case, Transport Minister Jesse Norman has announced a review of road safety. Of and by itself this is no bad thing. Although the number of people killed on UK roads has declined since a peak of around 8,000 per year in the 1960s, the number of fatalities in

“The worry is that compulsory wearing of helmets and hi-vis will be on the table”

2015 — at 1,730 — is still too high (as is the number of people seriously injured that year — 22,144). So if the DfT can act to reduce this casualty rate even further, then so much the better. The worry is that the minister has reportedly said that compulsory wearing of helmets and hi-vis clothing by cyclists will be on the table if, in his view, the evidence supports this. Surely the minister must be aware of the evidence that this would substantially deter people from cycling, creating worse public health outcomes overall from lack of physical activity? And that the indisputably best way to reduce cyclist casualties is to make roads themselves safer? The minister also recently wrote to national cycling organisations exhorting them to remind their members to abide by the Highway Code: I’m not aware of a similar letter going out to major motoring organisations (not that I’m saying it should) despite the far higher risk of death or serious injury if hit by a car. This feeds tribalism. Duty of care towards each other Last year three pedestrians were killed in collisions with cyclists. As someone who has had a child hit by a cyclist when crossing the road, and who has been knocked off his bike several times by inattentive pedestrians, I fully endorse the idea that everyone should continue trying to raise awareness of a mutual duty of care. I agree that, as cycling numbers have risen in London, there is added need to increase cyclist education ­— indeed LCC staff and volunteers were on site for a week before and after the commencement of the trial closure of Bank junction (ie to everything bar pedestrians, cycles and buses) to raise awareness among cyclists of the need to ride responsibly in their new found safer space for cycling. But none of this diminishes the core truth that the best way to reduce death and serious injury on London’s roads is safer road infrastructure, slower motor vehicle speeds, reduced motor traffic in residential, shopping and other areas, and less bad or illegal driving. That’s what the Government should concentrate on achieving via its forthcoming review.

66 LONDON CYCLIST Winter 2017

062_ashok.FINAL.indd 66

13/11/2017 20:44

IBC.indd 67

15/11/2017 20:57

OBC.indd 68

15/11/2017 18:43