Thursday 28 June 2012

There's NO space, NONE AT ALL, for a cycle lane

An explanatory message about today's Constitution Hill closure for the Bomber Command Memorial ceremony in Green Park, brought to you from the Royal Parks and everyone else involved in the event .

"Look, it's patently bloody obvious. There's a ceremonial event going on in the park. It needs TV cameras and taxi unloading so there is absolutely no room for a two-way cycle lane - there just isn't. Use your eyes. Can't you see - there's no room to swing a cat, let alone an elephant here. The road is totally full, congested, stuffed and, let's face it, cycles are way too noisy - the clanking of gears and puffing of the drivers as they peddle up the hill might drown out the noise of the service in the park behind the TV wagons. Anyway it'd cost billions of pounds to move the metal barriers two metres to the right.

No, better off by far if you just dismount and walk with the pedestrians, or even better still just avoid the whole of Green Park and mix it with the lorries, taxis and limousines on Hyde Park Corner. In fact, better still, why don't you just leave your sodding bike at home and drive to where you're going like any sensible person.

Don't you understand anything? There's a war on - listen to the bombers overhead. Keep calm and don't carry on. There is just no space for cyclists in our lovely parks. In short, Fuck Off.

What are you asking? Is the pavement designated shared use for cyclists today? We've no idea - I mean, who gives a flying fuck.

You want to know if we've thought about the alternative route coming home when you come through the Wellington Arch and see the road's closed? It's bleeding obvious isn't it - go round Hyde Park Corner. If there's one thing we've learnt from the war, it's that a bit of spine stiffening is good for you, casualties are inevitable but you'll be fine if you keep your wits about you.."

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Aargh! Where's the cycle lane gone?

Or 'Why I fear that Going Dutch could screw up in London', Take my word for it, it'll screw up if our highway engineers slavishly follow  the D(a)fT standards.

Westminster Council have just resurfaced the roundabout on Sutherland Road in Maida Vale, with the cycle lane just as it was before, and today a taxi-driver, turning left, and myself, going straight on, shared one of those London 'who goes first?' frisson of fear moments.

For amusement I'd taken the cycle lane that skirts the edge of the roundabout, and comes off, as shown, in the direction I was travelling:

The cycle lane then appears to come to an abrupt stop at the T-junction, where the taxi was adjacent to me and wanting to turn left. I'm wondering if he expects me to give way to him now now I've (seemingly) run out of lane and from the look on his face and the movement of this vehicle I can see he's thinking the same;

The thing is, I know that the cycle lane markings have disappeared because the powers that be stupidly say you don't have them where there are Zig-Zag markings for a Zebra, and I know they reappear after it (not that you can see it at this point).

However, this is clearly a subtle distinction of the type that the average road user will, quite understandably, have no idea about - it just looks like the bike lane's ended and the traffic's merging..

So I give a Paddington hard stare at the driver and pedal forwards in an assertive fashion, while subtly slowing in case the driver decides to turn and I need to stop.

Tomorrow I could take my primary school cycle trainees to this spot and see if they can grasp the nuances of using this cycling lane, but I don't think I will.

If you don't want to go to Maida Vale to experience this confusion, simply cycle over Lambeth Bridge towards Millbank Roundabout and ask yourself whether the cycle lane continues invisibly to the left-hook position on the roundabout or stops at the end of the white line where the zig-zags begin - I'll bet even TfL can't tell you what they intend here or why.


Where are the female delivery & tipper truck drivers?

We've just had a supermarket delivery to our house. I asked the male delivery driver how many drivers are female in his depot fleet. 'One and there are nineteen male drivers'. I'm sure that this isn't a typical gender split of a large supermarket's workforce.

As a cycling instructor in central London I spend my day working with primary school children in the adult environment of the street, and I can't help but notice that just about every driver I see is a bloke - the taxi driver, the courier driver/motorcyclist/cyclist, the bus driver, the Addison Lee driver, the lorry driver, and the car driver.

This week, cycling my line of ten year olds along a narrow (because of the parked cars) two-way street, I gently gestured with my hand in a please slow down way at an oncoming male driver who had bottomed his car over the speed hump. He didn't slow down or alter his approach and as he slid past the line of kids he shouted 'Fuck Off' at us.

So, this is a request to all the companies recruiting drivers. Please positively discriminate in favour of women, preferably mothers who would like their kids to cycle but don't let them at the moment.

It may turn out it makes not a jot of difference to the road use culture in this country. But it's got to be worth a try.

Friday 22 June 2012

A Bus Strike in Bike Week - Perfect!

If ever there's an event that should become annual it's this one.

What a perfect motivator to get school children cycling to school.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Sensible developments in Lambeth

Those coming on the 'Alphabetical Adventure in North Lambeth' ride I'm leading this Wednesday will have a chance to see these fine examples of cycle parking for themselves (in amongst the interesting stuff). It's good to see the Fiethangars in use and good advice given to cyclists on the sheffield stands.

Saturday 9 June 2012

A most unusual wedding photo

 Cycling around London I often see south-east Asians being photographed against London landmarks in their wedding attire. I suggested to a couple being photographed in front of Tower Bridge at 6.30pm today that they hung around for a further fifteen minutes to get a very special London wedding photo.

They did, and were rewarded with two helicopters flying through Tower Bridge behind them.

Thanks to IanVisits for the tip off about the helicopter fly through. I assumed the filming was for the new Bond movie, Skyfall, but a bystander with a large camera told me the helicopters were from the BBC, filming their intro to the Olympic Games coverage. Whatever the reason it was a fabulous sight on a fabulous  day.

Friday 8 June 2012

An Alphabetical Adventure in North Lambeth - Free led ride

The Jubilee has passed, the Olympics are a little way off, and in the meantime we have Bike Week from Saturday 16th to Sunday 24th June. Lambeth Cyclists are organising and supporting a number of free events (detailed below) that all are invited to join. I'm leading this ride:

An Alphabetical Adventure in North Lambeth
Wednesday 20th June, meet at 6.45pm for a 7pm departure to end around 9.30pm
RIDE REPEATED Wed 4th July - same time and place, as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

Playfully riding from A through to Z, this ride introduces you to 26 (and a few more) curious places, famous people and odd facts from the Mesolithic era to the present day between Vauxhall and Waterloo. Discoveries along the way will include circus and music-hall, pleasure gardens and drugs, gin and the underground, the true centre of London and, if fortune smiles upon us, the fastest creature in the world.

We'll gently twist and turn our way to cover a dozen flat miles, taking two to three hours, to work up a thirst for a lager at the end of the ride.

Meeting point: outside Lassco, Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG (on Vauxhall Gyratory by the start of Nine Elms Lane - don't worry we're not cycling on the road there). Free, just turn up.

Other Lambeth Cyclists events that week are:
19 June Bike Breakfast: Croissants, coffee and Dr Bike 7:30-9:30am
We will be handing out leaflets, offering coffee and other refreshments and the services of Dr Bike to passing cyclists on the forecourt of the Lambeth Accord Building on Brixton Road – come along and find out more. Volunteers are also wanted for the stall – contact Chris James if you would like to volunteer.
Call in 7:30-9:30am Lambeth Accord Building 336 Brixton Road, SW9
Tuesday 19 June Lambeth Cyclists meeting 7:30pm Our regular meeting followed by drinks (8:30ish onwards) downstairs in the bar – call in for the meeting or just come to social bit!
Priory Arms, Lansdowne Way, Stockwell

Thursday 21 June Barbecue in Ruskin Park, SE5
Join other cyclists from across Lambeth and Southwark to celebrate bike week with a barbecue in Ruskin Park, SE5. The barbecue will run 6-8pm
Come along to the park or we will be running a feeder ride: meet outside the National Theatre, Southbank SE1 at 6pm for leisurely ride to Ruskin Park.
Sunday 24 June Bike and Hike the Borough
We are working with Lambeth on this now annual event. Find out more about your local area: cycle and walk around a route covering the length of the borough – pick up a passport in Archbishop's Park, Clapham Common, Streatham Common or Brockwell Park.
Cycle as much of the 18.5 mile dedicated route as you like collecting stamps at each of the hubs. Free Dr Bike available at the hubs. A great event for all the family.
Further information at

Carnage in Wincott Street

Yesterday a driver in this quiet residential back street somehow managed to crash into this tree on one side of the road AND seemingly into the wall on the other side!

The tree is outside the entrance to Archbishop Sumner's Primary School so it's probably as well this happened during half-term. This is how the car looked afterwards.

I'm intrigued to know how such a massive collision was achieved here. Did a speedy driver have a stroke? Did a juvenile joy rider who can't drive nick a car and recklessly head up this road. Or was it careless and anti-social driving by an adult with a driving licence?

If anyone knows more about this, and what action the police are taking, please let me know.

Friday 1 June 2012

Book now for Lambeth Cyclists Maintenance Course

Last few places available on the Lambeth Cyclists maintenance classes starting on 26 June

Sign up now for the Lambeth Cyclists cycle maintenance classes - last few places available 

Prepare your bike for summer cycling by learning how to do the basic maintenance to keep your bike on the road. Save money, develop your skills!

Cycle maintenance on
Lambeth Cyclists are organising more cycle maintenance classes: the next set of five classes will start on 26 June 2012.

Feedback from earlier classes shows they have been very well received. As one participant put it:

"Simon is a fantastic, patient teacher who makes sure everyone "gets it". I found the course to be great value, having paid for itself several times over in savings on shop servicing. Couldn't recommend it enough."

The Classes
The classes will run for five consecutive Tuesdays:

26 June 2012
3 July 2012
10 July 2012
17 July 2012
24 July 2012

Each class will start at 18.30 and last for 2 hours. The trainer, Simon Bendel, works at Brixton Cycles

The classes cover

1st week: general introduction
2nd week: brakes
3rd week: gears
4th week: wheels/ tyres
5th week: fix any particular problems you have, follow up from previous weeks.

You will get a handout at the end of each week.

Each class will consist of 8 participants, working in pairs on their own bikes. Tools and workstands will be provided. Some spares can be bought at the classes.

The classes will be held at

Lambeth Accord Building
336 Brixton Rd
London SW9 7AA

Preference will be given to London Cycling Campaign members who live or work in Lambeth. Join LCC now

The cost is £55 per person. Concessions are available for those on income related benefits - email us for details.

If you are interested:
Please send an email  to with your address details and LCC membership number (if applicable) to sign up. We will then confirm your place and give payment details. If there are no places left we will put you on a waiting list for the next set of classes - we run them several times a year.