Monthly Archives: July 2008

Transport for London want your Hidden Gems


This is from the Westminister Cycling Campaign News:-

As part of Transport for London’s summer cycling campaign, they will be running a photo competition to find London’s hidden gems that you can uncover when exploring the city by bike. TfL are planning to issue a story to launch the competition saying that they have surveyed London’s cyclists through the London Cycling Campaign to find London’s hidden gems, featuring photos of the top ‘finds’. The idea is to inspire other Londoners to get on their bikes this summer and send in photos of their own discoveries for the chance to win Evans vouchers (EVANS, WHAT IS THE POINT?!)

Therefore, they would like to ask for your help as seasoned cyclists to let them know what sights you’ve discovered when out on your bike. This can be anything from an interesting building to a ‘secret’ park or garden to a great shop or even a whole street.

Please send your ideas (and if possible photos) to betteroffbybike@fishburn-hedges.co.uk asap. Note that this will not exclude you from entering the competition once it is launched.

Helsinki.. and That Bicycle Taxi


Finnish artist, Mimosa Pale, feels the world is too man-parts-centric and has been cruising in a bike decked out in women’s gentalia. Considering this is a bike blog and if there are any odd bicycles round the world, well, it kind of gets my attention. However, as kids could be reading this I let you google this bike taxi, otherwise I may get tons of complaints from irate readers! I am not sure how to just stick this on Mature Post anyway.

I would agree that parts can be very male orientated. I mean, as a woman cyclists, all we get is a ‘different sized bike’ and ‘it is pink’, and that’s about it.  Bikes tend to look very dull otherwise and it is a job to find skirt guards (good ol’ Evans! ‘what’s a skirt guard?!) unless you trawl through ebay or pootle off to Europe.

I would also say that sometimes, if you are woman, and you have ‘fancy nails’, it is a job to get the bolts (I had to rephrase this!) off and our nails get completely wrecked. I would prefer bike parts to be made easier to get off, particularly if you are trying to fix a puncture. Should all women cyclists have short nails then?! It is a bit boring and why should we?

I have had to bling my bike to make it ‘more femalecentric’ but cycling shops still churn out these plain bikes because ‘they’re easier to sell’. Well, that is their excuse.

As for Mimosa, I am not really sure this is the best way to go show her protest really. I mean, I think ‘boobs’ would have been a better choice. Now she should just expect smutty comments which is distracting from her protest.

I’ve filled in the LCC survey


According to their website, if you fill it in, you could win  £200 to spend in a bicycle shop (though no point going to Evans as they will say they haven’t got it!). I think it is good that the mag has a survey as it helps stop magazines from going stale and often readers have some good ideas.

Here are few ideas I have chucked in for the hell of it:-

1) LCC could do a podcast to tie in with their mag perhaps, with cycling news snippets etc

2) More info on personal safety for cyclists and how to deal with Road Rage

3) Bicycle goodies on membership perhaps (UV pen, stickers, key ring with address book on it etc)

4) Bicycle art/photography gallery, and readers can send in their own stuff for fun

5) More links and links on cycling blogs

6) For London Cyclist to come out more often to ward off withdrawal symptoms

Fuel Prices


Fuel prices have always been expensive.

In the old ‘uncivilised’ days, when I was a motorist (now car free & happy), it felt like it was going up every week. For me, it wasn’t so much the petrol costs, as I could cut this down by not going out so much or taking the train instead, it was the gigantic MOT & servicing costs. They would hit you with a whopping price and if you didn’t pay, you wouldn’t get your car back and of course, you had to pay for them as they were ‘essentials’ like brakes.

With fuel prices, we always knew it was going to go UP! That’s all part of being a motorist –  I remember being held to ransom even then. I honestly dread to think how the fuel prices would affect me now, if I had a car.  I’m glad I got out when I did. I think the fuel prices are simply ‘silly now’ but like I say, this was inevitable.

All those days are over. I just see other cars queuing up at petrol stations with drivers looking fed up.  It is such a relief I don’t have to work out how much money I had for the petrol and whether I could cut back more.

I haven’t really looked back since and if the the fuel crisis encourages more people to cycle, particularly on short journeys and getting them fit, this can be  a good thing. Oh, and it is a lot more fun. Who wants to look at the motorway all the time? All that ‘orrible tarmac for miles on end?

My only regret is not commuting on the bike sooner 🙂

Today’s commute


Today I cycled along the Bow Flyover, which according to the London Cycling Campaign, is a cycling accident blackspot.  However, I cycled on the left part of the road towards Bow and then got off and walked  to the pedestrian crossing.

Round this area there are no cycle paths and the pedestrian crossing isn”t very good either as one of them is a ‘take a risk and go’ type one but the other has some buttons the pedestrian can press.

I wonder what the powers-that-be are doing about the lack of cycle paths here. Some cyclists do use the pavement there as often there is no space for them to cycle on as the motorist don’t even leave them any space! Maybe I will take a canopener with me next time.

One white van let me over a overtake a slow moving vehicle which was nice. They’re aren’t all bad (other than the fact they are polluting).  I saw two cyclists go past red traffic lights and one nearly knocked me over, ironically, at Aldgate East, another cycling blackspot, as I was walking along the pedestrian crossing. I wasn’t too happy and if I would manage  to catch up with him, I would, and risk the wrath! Maybe I ought to hand out Stupid Cyclists Award stickers in a pretty red card! I just don’t have much sympathy for cyclists who let the side down. Oh, if they want to be run over because they’ve jumped red traffic lights, that’s up to them, but don’t let them take others with them!

Otherwise it was pretty uneventful. A wonderful sunny day too, and not all the roads were that busy.

Le Tour de Hackney 17 August


This somes from the London Cycling Campaign:-

Take to two wheels this summer and join Hackney’s first borough-wide free cycling event at this year’s Shoreditch Festival.

Taking place on Sunday 17 August the Tour de Hackney, jointly funded by Hackney Council and Shoreditch Trust, will guide riders through historic Hackney, taking in green spaces and routes past the Olympic Park site. There will be rides to suit beginners and those with more experience as well as a whole day of activities promoting the health benefits and environmental sustainability of cycling.

There will be prizes to be won, goodies to collect and lots of bike-related entertainment and stalls in Shoreditch Park. Find out how you can keep fit, have fun with bikes and have all your questions answered about bike safety and training.

www.lcc.org.uk for details

Boris shelves pedestrianisation at Parliament Square


This is from the London Cycling Campaign (www.lcc.org.uk):-

Plans to transform Parliament Square into a pedestrianised piazza in time for the Olympics have been shelved by Boris Johnson.

The Mayor’s office said he was reviewing the proposals amid concern that closing off streets would cause jams.

Under the plans, the road in front of Westminster Abbey would be closed to cars and the lawn at the centre replaced with stone paving and benches. The new design was predicted to attract 30 million visitors a year.

Mr Johnson suggested to Building Design magazine that Parliament Square was unlikely to be the only major public space scheme to go back to the drawing board or be scrapped.

“The butterflies and the trees and architects’ plans – I love all that and I think that people will, you know, generally like them very much,” he said.

“There are some differences about some of the proposals currently on the drawing board and I don’t want to get dragged into a discussion – because a lot of them are under review now. But I’m strongly attracted personally to things which give people a sense of ownership over public space, particularly cyclists.”