• London Cycle Map poster - on show!

    Rebecca and I attended the trade day of the Cycle Show on Thursday and saw our London Cycle Map poster on display. It looked great, and the campaign attracted a lot of attention as we walked around the show chatting to all the exhibitors and attendees about Cycle Lifestyle magazine.

    Literally everyone we spoke to loved the London Cycle Map, apart from one guy who shuffled over to us and said "you're wasting your time". I don't think he appreciated the irony of his comment.

  • Back on the saddle

    The affordability, the exercise, the mood-enhancement, the convenience - there are many reasons why people take up cycling again after a lengthy break. 'Training for a triathlon' is not usually one of them. But that's how Alice Archer - who originates from the Blackpool area and moved to London after university - got back on the saddle, and rediscovered cycling's many benefits...

    You get a whole different perspective on London when you're contemplating it while perched on top of two rotating wheels.

    Over the past few months I've learnt many new things about my beloved adopted city. Firstly, it has a lot of canals. Secondly, people do sometimes give you that Lake District-style, “hail-fellow-traveller” nod of acknowledgement. And, thirdly, it can actually be quite a relaxing place to get around, even in rush hour.

    It all started two months ago when, inspired by the battling Brownlee brothers and the need to rectify some post-wedding overeating, I signed up to do a triathlon.

    It was a bold move, as I had neither a bike nor the inclination to run. But I have since embraced the challenge wholeheartedly, and have developed a smug expertise on the technical things that only us triathletes know about – like open water performance swimming goggles, tri-bars, energy gels and Camelbaks.

    Most importantly, though, I have been re-acquainted with an old friend of mine – the bicycle.

    I'd dabbled in cycling before. At university it was the standard way to get around. And it was cheap. Then, during a short stint living in a cycle-friendly part of London, I would ride my way through the quiet, narrow streets of Islington, on my way to and from town where I work. But since moving east, having the Bow Flyover and the A12 to contend with has meant that – and I am ashamed to say this – the bike has been left to rust in the shed.

    Until now! I borrowed a shiny, cared-for bike from my mother-in-law (it's a mountain bike, but it does the trick) and have spent the last few months discovering new places, new routes and a surprising number of friends who are up for a weekend ride.

    And it's great. Canals have become a regular feature. They're not as scary as roads, and fewer stops and starts mean they're great for training. They can also be quite beautiful, in that industrial kind of way, especially when experienced in the mornings. On Regent's Canal, you feel a sort of solidarity with the other cyclists, as though you're all part of a secret club, watching the city as it stirs and wakes up. There's something very calming about seeing smoke rising from canal boats as someone makes a cup of tea to start their day.

    I've also learnt that cycling can easily be slotted into your day without too much disruption, and can actually be extremely sociable. Just a few weekends ago, I enjoyed a day out on the bikes for a friend's birthday. We met up in Angel for a coffee, then hired 'Boris Bikes' to ride around North and East London, stopping off anywhere we thought looked nice in the sun. We docked in at Broadway Market for a picnic and Prosecco in London Fields, before hopping back on and heading up to Hoxton Square for more of the same.

    Eventually we had to be sensible and leave the bikes behind, but the whole day's hire had only cost us a mere quid each, and we felt much better for having interspersed the eating, lying in the sun, and the sparkling wine with a bit of exercise.

    So, as the big race approaches, I will fit in a few more rides, get the energy gels stocked up and pray for nice weather on the day. After that, who knows? I might even buy myself a new bike.

     

  • Sixth-formers lead the way with cycling poster campaign.

    I received an email this week which caught my eye, from Keith Ellis, the Sustainability Coordinator for the Sixth Form College Colchester. A group of students there have produced a tremendous set of posters (below) promoting cycling. With great slogans like 'You don't have to be a cyclist to ride a bike' and 'Cycle yourself happy' the posters really resonate with Cycle Lifestyle's own message. I hope they find a wide audience. Here's more information about the project, in the words of James Bowles, one of the students involved...

    The Colchester Sixth Form College Try Cycling group first formed in December 2011 as a result of our local Sustrans Bike It officer contacting the college with the hope of promoting cycling within Sixth Form colleges. As a group of students we were given the task of designing a marketing strategy to promote cycling among the student population of the college. After researching we concluded that the most effective way of encouraging cycling would be via posters. The group designed and produced a set of posters, some highlighting the financial and physical benefits to cycling, whilst others breaking down the image of the stereotypical cyclist. The posters are soon to be displayed around the College and if the campaign proves successful it may go nationwide.

     

  • Giant London Cycle Map poster at the Cycle Show!

    I’m excited to announce that this year’s Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham will feature a giant London Cycle Map poster!

    As well as showing Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map, the poster will explain why installing corresponding road signs and markings in the capital would make navigating by bike as easy as using the Tube network.

    The Cycle Show is taking place from Friday 28 – Sunday 30 September (Thursday 27 is for trade and press only).

    Cycle Lifestyle readers can get advance tickets at a discounted price of £11.50 by inputting the code LCM here.

  • Love Britain, Love Cycling!

    Sooooo many people have told us that we "should publish Cycle Lifestyle outside of London", we’ve decided to go for it!

    For issue 8, publishing in late November, we’ll be seeking partners – boroughs and other organisations – from all over Britain.

    If you would like your organisation to acquire a bespoke version of Cycle Lifestyle magazine with a specially amended front cover and a section of local news, then please get in touch with us on 07545 471 633, or info@cyclelifestyle.co.uk.

  • Skyway Blues

    Dear oh dear. Apparently (and that is the key word here) Boris Johnson has described a proposal to build elevated cycling ‘skyways’ across the city as ‘very interesting’.

    Let’s be blunt about it – it’s not the solution to London’s cycling problems. Although there’s nothing wrong with making walking or cycling routes out of old elevated railways (as New York has done), or even creating occasional elevated sections of cycle routes where there are no other alternatives (i.e. new cycle bridges), the estimate for building a whole network of cycling skyways (size not specified, but surely tiny) is ‘tens of millions of pounds’ and cyclists would be charged £1 to use the routes, which you could exit only at specific disembarkation points.

    The real story here is the appalling state of our modern media and social discourse. The Daily Mail’s article about the skyways plays straight into the hands of people who simply cannot think properly. Maybe they spend hours watching TV or playing on an Xbox or surfing the web or drinking wine every evening. Whatever the reason, glib people who can’t think properly will probably think cycling skyways are a radical and creative way to solve the alleged problem of London’s streets being too dangerous for cycling.

    Meanwhile, a genuinely brilliant idea like Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map waits in the wings, ignored because it requires slightly more than a momentary act of concentration to understand in principle.

    Of course, in practice Simon Parker’s map would be wonderfully simple to use. But in order to get it implemented we need a culture that can see slightly further than a silly Daily Mail article.

    An artists impression for SkyCycle, a proposed scheme that could see a raised cycle network above the streets of London

  • Latest Simon Parker blog

    In Simon's latest blog,  posted here, he discusses various (unfounded) criticisms of his London Cycle Map proposal, and challenges the LCC to clarify their strategy for cycle development in the capital.

    It's a good read, which confirms that those in favour of Parker's network-and-signage approach are winning the arguments about how to take cycling in the capital to the next level.

  • On a roll: our best ever three months, issue 8 on the way, contributors wanted.

    The last three months have been the best ever for cyclelifestyle.co.uk, following the launch of Cycle Lifestyle magazine issue 7, and our recent countdown of ‘100 reasons for a London Cycle Map’.

    So I’m delighted to announce that we’re now gearing up for issue 8, to be published in late November.

    It’s an especially exciting time for me, because my first book Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling: Achieving Balance in the Modern World (Ivy Press)is publishing in October, and my new personal website, www.benirvine.co.uk, launched recently.

    The upcoming issue of Cycle Lifestyle will feature the usual favourites – including the Peddler, New Bike on the Block, and Give it a Go – plus tips on winter cycling and getting started.

    We’re inviting contributions to the magazine – from advertisers who want to reach new cyclists, and illustrators, writers and poets seeking a new forum for their work.

    In particular, we’re looking for an artwork for the front cover of issue 8. Can you help us out?

    Thanks to all our readers and contributors for their continuing support for Cycle Lifestyle.

    Best wishes,

    Ben Irvine, Cycle Lifestyle editor

     

  • The red tape issue

    David Arditti has written a fascinating blog about the problems the authorities face (and arguably are responsible for causing) when planning and implementing new cycle developments. He writes:

    "A mad system of red tape, legalism, and excessive emphasis on expensive public consultation over small matters currently strangles attempts to provide for cycling in our cities."

    There is much in David's blog which is relevant to the problems Simon Parker has encountered in getting his London Cycle Map proposal adopted. But red tape isn't Simon's only problem. HIs biggest problem is that the cycling community is currently not united behind him.

    I suspect, however, that the mindset which causes 'red tape, legalism, and excessive emphasis on expensive public consultation' is one and the same mindset which shuns a wonderful proposal like Parker's.

    It is a mindset, both inside and outside of the state, that's too focused on the ideological basis of the state to focus on actually - workably, affordably - getting things done. 

  • LCC comments on Parker's article

    Anyone interested in hearing the LCC's views about the London Cycle Map and the London Cycle Network will enjoy the debate currently taking place here.

    The link is to a great article by Simon Parker that's attracting some constructive attention.

Pages

User login

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.