“I want more women cycling, more older people cycling, more black and minority ethnic Londoners cycling, more cyclists of all social backgrounds – without which truly mass participation can never come.”
Sweet words from London’s Mayor. Bravo Boris. Not.
Aw come on. What’s not to like?
Bike advocacy in the UK has been the perfect pastime for depressed optimists. A cycle of cresting waves of possibility constantly dashed against rocks of, meh, disinterest. A match made in a manic hell.
…lived up to its billing on Saturday – the official estimate being 10,000+ people on bikes calling for the London mayoral candidates “to commit to continental-standard cycling infrastructure in the capital.” Or simply, “Love London – Go Dutch“.
It would’ve been more too, had it not rained all day. It didn’t once get to a point where I thought it was time to take my jacket off and display our Inclusive Cycling Forum T-Shirt. The Wheels for Wellbeing tabards are definitely the right all-weather solution!
Getting a kettle installed in the Palace of Westminster is a big ask of either the antiquated wiring, the modern procedures, or both. Whatever the reason, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson now appears to be in the home straight when it comes to getting a cup of tea into the office without running the risk of spilling it. Winner of 11 paralympic gold medals in successive games, Dame Tanni was appointed as a crossbench ‘People’s Peer’ in March last year.
We’re both early for the APPCG meeting entitled ‘Disablity cycling – how to increase participation’; Tanni’s the speaker. Resting on the green leather bench outside room five I’m glad of the chat, calming my nerves after having barged in on the Coastguard ten minutes earlier.
Westminster Palace is so popular with visitors this afternoon some of the attendees are stuck in a long queue for the security check. Luckily I’d been fast tracked and given a guide to pilot me round the circuitous step free route to the committee corridor – shortcuts for which Tanni, over several months, has now got memorised. Anyway, the rooms are in constant use so Co-Chair Julian Huppert, MP for cycle friendly Cambridge, makes a start and introduces the Baroness.
The concept of the cycle as a mobility aid is taken more seriously in some places than others. Graffiti aside, this sign outside a library in Denmark is the best icon I’ve seen to represent the cultural chasm running down the middle of the North Sea. I challenge anyone to post a picture of an equivalent sign denoting disabled cycle parking in the UK.
Thanks to Cycle Chic blogger, photographer and style guru Mikeal Coalville-Anderson for bringing this to our attention. You can read more about danish mobility aids here in his daily record of life in and around Copenhagen.
Compare that with this story of everyday life in our own cycling capital, where Ann Wright was prevented from cycling considerately along London’s South Bank by a PCSO.
By the time I had a decent mental map of what was where at the Cycle Show it was all over. Even using one of Barry’s handcycles to explore the stands at Earls Court, it took three days before I could unerringly find my way back to an interesting item. Not that I had too much time for browsing, I was there to help out on the Inclusive Cycling stand after all.
The WfW cycling sessions run twice weekly in Croydon Sports Arena, beside South Norwood Country Park, and weekly in Brockwell Park, Lambeth, giving people the chance to try cycling, have some fun and get some regular exercise.
The sessions take place in a safe environment providing people with the opportunity to try different types of cycles – two, three and four wheelers – to find which works for them. For some this builds a level of confidence which leads to purchasing a cycle and using it regularly. You’ll find just such an example along with more info here…
What a cracking day for a bike ride! Seven of us assembled at the front of the youth hostel on Saturday morning, five had arrived the day before, Mai Ling came out on the train to meet us, and Jim, ever the canny accountant, made the most of his travel card to get part way out of London by train, riding the rest of the way.
Only one trike out – Ruth’s new Mission Space Genie – Lee Valley Park proving to be a good traffic free area to get more familiar with it. Unfortunately, the ensuing logistics of an aborted camping trip the previous week left nobby and myself arriving by car with Brigitte and folders rather than by recumbent trike. Roger (not pictured – on another lap of the park!) also arrived on Friday afternoon having ridden all the way from central London.
To see how we managed taking our bikes through the London Underground take a look at the comments in the previous post. To see how we got on at the Youth Hostel and the Park read on…
We arrived by train at Cheshunt station, a long stone’s throw from the Youth Hostel. It took quite a bit longer than the flight of a stone to get there though, as nobby required fifteen minutes to reassemble his Dahon – much of it to do with mounting the Brompton bag on the rack – and we also had to wait at the level crossing for the Stantsted Express to pass.
The blurb on the YHA site describes the hostel thus… “Close to London, these six log cabins are situated on the shore of a lake in the 10,000 acres of Lee Valley Country Park. There are plenty of activities on offer nearby – take your pick from sailing, kayaking, caving, climbing and canoeing to name but a few.” And one of the activities not named – cycling.