These past few weeks of good weather have encouraged a lot of bikes out of their winter hibernation.

You can’t help but noticed how many more squeaking chains, low saddles and under inflated tyres there are amongst these returning commuters.

I am also noticing one or two more shiny new bikes with their riders virtually glowing in crinkly new hi-viz jackets.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone announced a couple of weeks ago that the number of cycle journeys in London has increased by 6% in the year to March and are up 83% since 2000.

What makes this particularly good news is that despite the increase, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in this city has fallen by 28%.

Cycling in London is becoming safer because more people cycle.

It is as simple as that.

And the nice thing about cycling becoming safer is it encourages even more people to cycle.

London’s Evening Standard recently published a twelve point charter for safer cycling which Nic Price has detailed here.

  1. A real cycle network across London
  2. Better cycle lanes with proper segregation
  3. Enforcement of special advanced stop lines for cyclists
  4. HGVs to be fitted with special cyclist safety mirrors
  5. Compulsory cyclist awareness training for all bus drivers and new HGV drivers
  6. Make safe the Thames bridges: some of the most dangerous places for cyclists
  7. Cycle-friendly streets: fewer one-way systems which funnel cyclists into the middle of traffic
  8. More cycle parking across London
  9. A police crackdown on bike theft
  10. Campaign to urge the self employed to claim a 20p a mile cycling allowance against tax
  11. Better cycle-bus-rail coordination: adequate parking at all railway stations
  12. Cycle training for all schoolchildren and any adult who wants it

This looks like a decent list that will get more people riding but while I support it, I can’t see how the tax allowance is making cycling safer.

I miss the increased visibility that the hybrid’s more upright riding position gave me but I love the increased speed and agility from the road bike. It’s now so much easier to keep up with moving traffic and opportunities to overtake are far more common. I feel that I flow with the traffic far more easily and it is almost as if I simply blow in to work now.

Commuting in the snow

February 8, 2007

With most of the UK shut down after only a few inches of snow this morning I decided to see what my ride would be like.

Keeping warm wasn’t a problem as it wasn’t any colder than earlier in the week but the view out onto the street was a little daunting.

Kempshott Road in the snow

Snow was still falling and cars were gingerly making their way down the street.

Potter's Lane in the snow

Once I got going it was fine. It didn’t take too long to get used to the difference in surface traction and the only real annoyance was the freezing flakes in my eyes. I can’t see me commuting in ski goggles so I’ll have to get some clear glasses if we’re going to have much more snow.

Snow bikes

My commute in pictures

January 16, 2007

Inspired by Treadly and Me, this is my 15km ride in to work. It usually takes me around 45 minutes.

Ellison Road
Ellison Road
The start of my run in from Streatham to Soho.

London’s shortest cycle path
London's shortest cycle path
This is at the end of my road and I can’t resist a wry smile every time I go past.

Crossing Greyhound Lane
Crossing Greyhound Lane
This is the most unpredictable part of my route as it is always busy and although traffic lights have been installed, they aren’t active yet.

Estreham Road
Estreham Road
Normally quiet once you get past Streatham Common station.

Railway tunnel
Railway tunnel
This links Estreham Road to Potter’s Lane.

Conyer’s Road
Conyer's Road
The continuation of Potter’s Lane past the historic water pumping station.

Crossing Mitcham Lane
Crossing Mitcham Lane
Can be busy. You’re crossing into Riggindale Road which is one way (against you) for cars.

Riggindale Road
Riggindale Road
Usually this quiet.

Bedford Hill
Bedford Hill
Runs through Tooting Beck Common towards Balham.

Balham
Balham
Traffic starts to build up as you approach Balham.

Clapham South
Clapham South
Quite a busy intersection at the southern tip of Clapham Common.

Clapham High Street
Clapham High Street
Cycling in bus lanes is great until a bus comes along.

Stockwell
Stockwell
Bit of a choke point for cyclists before they split up for routes into the City and West End. Notice all the cycle racks on the left outside Stockwell station.

Vauxhall
Vauxhall
Clubbers still coming out of Fire at 8am on a Tuesday morning.

Vauxhall Tunnel
Vauxhall Tunnel
A nice short cut through the bus station that avoids the crazy traffic at this notorious black spot for cyclists.
[Please excuse the poor quality]

Albert Embankment
Albert Embankment
First view of the Thames and Big Ben.

Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge
Tiny cycle lane that often gets ignored by trucks and taxis.

Tufton Street
Tufton Street
A quick , almost traffic free run behind Westminster Magistrates’ Court. It was swarming with armed police when the people charged with plotting to blow up US-bound airliners were brought to court last year. It’s often full of prison vans waiting near the loading bay at the rear of the court.

Great Smith Street
Great Smith Street
Usually quiet despite leading to Westminster Abbey.

Broad Sanctuary
Broad Sanctuary
Suddenly you pop out into a bit of space and see Westminster Abbey in front of you, Big Ben a bit further on and the London Eye in the distance.

Little George Street
Little George Street
A short cobbled section past the Methodist General Hall Conference Center (and cafe).

Horse Guards Road
Horse Guards Road
Runs along the eastern edge of St James Park past the memorial to the Bali bombing victims and the rear entrance to Downing Street. You regularly get delayed here as motorcades with outriders sweep in or out. Also, this must be one of the darkest streets in Central London at night. Maybe they dim the street lights due to the security cameras.

The Mall
The Mall
A nice wide stretch of road running down to Buckingham Palace.

Crossing into St James’ Street
Crossing into St James' Street
This can be busy as its funneling a lot of traffic from Pall Mall out of the West End onto Piccadilly towards the A4 and west London.

Crossing Piccadilly
Crossing Piccadilly
From St James’ Street into Albemarle Street (past the notorious Albemarle Club).

New Bond Street
New Bond Street
Past Cartier, Chanel, Tiffany, Ralph Lauren and the like.

Burlington Gardens
Burlington Gardens
Where drivers like to cut in front of you at the last minute.

Crossing Regent Street
Crossing Regent Street
Notice one of our 18 metre long bendy-busses speeding up towards Oxford Circus.

Golden Square
Golden Square
My home away from home at work in Soho.

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