Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Waterloo entrance mess

Sunday 24 January 2010

Waterloo Station is a massive transport hub and gateway to London’s cultural centre on the Southbank. So what a shame that the main entrance is such a mess, with the grand staircase obscured by a jumble of taxi and cycle lanes, service roads, pedestrian crossings of all flavours, railings, motorbike parking and a complete lack of bicycle racks.
Not that cycling around this area is at all encouraged, with the three lane Waterloo roundabout and similarly fearsome connecting roads. The jumble of inefficient and indirect South Bank cycle routes through busy pedestrian areas form the alternatives. But at 8am on a weekday, happy cyclists still wheel quickly into town through this part of town, generally getting through the traffic quicker than the taxis and lorries paralysed in queues. But to the rail users flooding in from the South of England, sardines for so much of their commute: can we not advertise some cycle parking at the station, so they can hop on some wheels for 10 minutes to fly to work, instead of directing them like sheep into tube and bus pens to get there in twice the time, sweaty, annoyed and slothen?

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Sainsburys’ insult to cyclists

Saturday 16 January 2010

I visited Sainsburys Haringay, North London this week and was shocked to find their cycle parking further from the entrance than any of the car spaces. No wonder the cyclists that did still come chose to lock them to a tree just outside the door. Sort it out!

Snow in London

Friday 8 January 2010

It’s a snowy week here in London but the main roads ae luckily being helped open by gritting lorries. Pretty unpleasant on a bike with all that black clothes-staining slush everywhere.

Iced over cycle track:

Cycle SatNav please!

Sunday 20 December 2009

I’d really love SatNav for my bike. I’ve been banging on about it for a couple of years now to my missus and am amazed that there’s still nothing available. Cycling is generally a lot simpler and quicker than driving and public transport, but only if you know the routes. I think its a key barrier to the perception that London streets are dangerous.

There are so many lovely routes through parks and backstreet gems which open up London to cyclists. It just takes the thought of going round Aldwych roundabout and have double deckers on all sides, or ending up in circles in damned West-End backstreet one-way systems hounded by taxis, and a sensible person may well ditch the bike purchase. But if you can all-but-guarantee them a nice route away from the traffic, with an estimated time of 16 minutes, compared to cramming into a tube full of tourists, then they may well just take it.

Even having been in London myself a couple of years now and know many of the key cycle routes, but I’m often still wishing for SatNav. Recently I went from King’s Cross to Golders Green and after about half an hour study of the map decided the simplest thing was to slog it up the A41 Finchley Road for half an hour.

I often cycle plan routes with the excellent CycleStreets.net and also really like the TFL cycle planner (although it is most inflexible), but both of these print off umpteen pages of maps and directions with plenty of “After 1.3km bear left onto Unnamed Street”. The only way you can realistically take them with you is to study the map and write out your own directions.

Sure, you can attach your TomTom to your bike, but that’ll take you on the A41 given half a chance. It doesn’t know about the excellent London cycle routes, cycle-only contraflows and hills.

So, for all current and future urban cyclists, please someone make us a cycle SatNav!

Liverpool Street station’s new cycle parking

Saturday 19 December 2009

With a fanfare, London Liverpool St Station doubled it’s capacity for bicycle parking a month ago. Meeting a friend there for coffee, I had a look for the new stands and despite their shininess an impressive double decker design, they were already full. No wonder people still drive to the city.

Cambridge’s love affair with the bike

Saturday 19 December 2009

It’s been a few years since I was in Cambridge cycling has exploded! This compact and flat city has always had a cycling-dominated town centre, but now the numbers have increased so much, that when I cycled into town at lunchtime in the week recently, it was actually very difficult to find somewhere lock my bike.

There are numerous cycle stands every few yards it seems, but these were overflowing and bikes were still leant untethered against every available wall. Bike thief paradise? Please Cambridge City Council, more cycle parking please!

The only room here is with a kick-stand.

So short of space here, people are leaning them against John Lewis’s windows.