I spent Saturday in the saddle of a Boris Bike, rotating through the Cities of Westminster and London along with thousands of others. I saw one accident and didn’t hear one angry voice. Though we reduced in numbers as the rain set in, the good humour and behaviour persisted throughout the day. The Ladies Classique, though sparsely attended, crowned a day on a bike.
Organisation – thanks to all who helped
This thing was massively organised and it needed to be. Many of the riders were young, we needed to be herded through pinch points and we were, thanks to all who organised, especially the volunteers who got wet.
Cyclists sticking to the road
We cycled, pedestrians walked and the cars stayed away. I hardly saw a bike on a pavement, certainly not ridden. Respecting pedestrians is as much a part of cycling in London as respecting cars and lights. It’s great to see a new generation of young cyclists learning that roads are for riding.
Cyclists respecting the lights
It’s taken me 55 years to learn this, but I’m finally getting there, if we all plan to spend time waiting for others instead of winging it, we all move better. Even when it is slow, and there were a few bottlenecks on the course, nobody minded.
It’s not always a race!
By far the most scary thing about cycling in London (if you are as slow as me) is other cyclists. These new super-highways seem to be encouraging a new breed of super-cyclist keen to beat the 20mph limits that apply to motorised vehicles. I hear the bus and taxi-drivers complain and they are right to, but high speed hi-jinks in cycle lanes need to be confined to uncongested areas. I did see a few lycra maniacs yesterday but they soon calmed down!
London cycling- a triumph
The growth of cycling in the past 20 years, has been a triumph for London. We now have safer roads, proper cycle-lanes and a growing respect between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
I first took to the streets in 1998 so I am getting to the point where I can fitter start looking back. I am so pleased that the numbers of cyclists have increased as they have. Not only do they take pressure off our public transport system but they encourage a greener and Londoner!
Many of my northern colleagues laugh at me when I turn up on a Boris Bike- worse luck for them, my cycle key costs me £90 a year and that is pretty well my only commuting cost in Central London.
The celebration sponsored by the Pru and others, continues today. I am on my way down to my boat and will miss it, but I passed the keen arrivals at Waterloo, dressed and ready to go at 5.45 am! Of course the die-hards are off in the Surrey Hills on the Sportif, but the heart of the matter will be round the closed streets of the City and – if you’re doing nothing else, I’d advise you to come down with your bike or hire a Boris Bike – it will be another great day!