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Master frame builders at Roberts Rendezvous 13th June, Guildhall Yard, City of London

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 19:57

Three legends at Roberts Rendezvous - 13 June,  Guildhall Yard

Three, award-winning,  frame building masters are coming to the Roberts Rendezvous cycle rally on Wednesday June 13th at Guildhall Yard ((EC2V 7HH) in the City of London (4pm -7.30pm). Roberts’ owners and fans are welcome at this free event.

Geoff Roberts, son of the Roberts founder Charlie Roberts, Winston Vaz and Adrian Parry all worked at Roberts Cycles for many years and built frames that not only looked exquisite but also won  frame building awards, bicycle races and world championship titles.

(Photo courtesy Geoff Roberts) Geoff Roberts started working wih his father as a teenager brazing racks in the basement of the family home (21 Trewsbury Road – as inscribed on original frame badges). He went on to build frames for top riders and club cyclists in the UK and the US for Roberts. He subsequently took over the workshop of another great south London builder, Ron Cooper, and they worked together building very fine custom frames.  He currently has his own workshop, Geoff Roberts Frames, and also teaches frame building.

Winston Vaz started his frame building career at Holdsworth in South London before moving to work for Roberts just as mountain biking was taking off. Winston built iconic off-road models like the White Spider, DOGSBOLX and the Rough Stuff marking most of them with his signature scalloped sleeve on the seat tube. His new workshop, Varohna, is based in Hither Green.

Adrian Parry worked alongside Winston Vaz in the Roberts workshop and displayed outstanding skills in building beautiful road frames out of the hard-to-work stainless steel tube sets from Columbus and Reynolds. Since the closure of Roberts he has worked for the Nerve workshop near Brighton.

We are expecting all three master builders to attend the Roberts Rendezvous to which all Roberts’ owners and fans, as well as riders of any bike built by the Roberts team (see below), are warmly invited. The event is free but please register by sending an email to info@lcc.org.uk with Roberts in the subject line.

Bikes made by Roberts’ builders  (aside from Roberts, Chas Roberts and Geoff Roberts)  include the brands Charles Davey, Claud Butler, Holdsworth, WH Holdsworth, Freddie Grubb, Geoffrey Butler, Phoenix, Pearson, Condor, Evans, Varohna and Nerve.

Categories: London

Sign up for Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle 2018!

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 16:44

Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle returns on Saturday 28 July 2018 and offers the chance for all the family to experience the fun and freedom of cycling on traffic-free roads in central London.

Riders of all ages and abilities are welcome and cyclists can join the route at any point, cycle round at any pace and as many times as they like.

The route will pass many of London’s most famous landmarks in Westminster and the City of London, including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England.

Along the way, there will be Festival Zones at different locations, packed with free bike-based entertainment for all the family.

Sign up now – it’s free! Everyone who registers before 15 June will be sent a free tabard.

Register to ride via Prudential Ride London 

LCC will be running guided rides from each borough into the Freecycle route. Watch this space for how to get involved either as a marshal or a participant!

Categories: London

London turns liveable

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 15:35
55% of council leaders pledged to create a high-quality “Liveable Neighbourhood in run-up to election

London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets members and supporters contacted main party leaders in each London borough ahead of the local election on 3rd May to ask for their support for a Liveable London.

Members and supporters of the two organisations asked potential council leaders to commit to making a high-quality Liveable Neighbourhood in their borough. By pledging to do so, party leaders were demonstrating their ambition to access TfL funding to transform an area in the borough into a place where people will choose to walk and cycle, and leave the car at home.  

Both organisations have heralded the success of the campaign, with the results announced so far meaning that:  

  • 55% of newly elected borough leaders committed to a high-quality Liveable Neighbourhood
  • 7 boroughs have cross-party support for a high-quality Liveable Neighbourhood
  • 54% of boroughs currently without funding for a Liveable Neighbourhood have committed to submitting a high-quality bid over the course of this term

London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets are looking forward to working with all newly elected council leaders across London. Together, we can build places all over London where the air is cleaner, children can roam and walk or cycle to school, there are relaxing places to sit and relax, and everyone can walk and cycle safely and happily.

Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of LCC said:

 

We’re delighted that so many council leaders have pledged to undertake transformational projects to make their boroughs more liveable, by reducing motor traffic and/or introducing protected cycle lanes. This will not only make walking and cycling a safe and enjoyable choice for everyday journeys, but will help clean up the air their residents breathe and make it easier for everyone lead healthier lives.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

Cities around the world are nowadays competing on liveability. We want to see liveable neighbourhoods right across London where everyone can walk and cycle safely and happily. We look forward to working with boroughs across London to transform the city together and make it a truly world-class city to live in. 

You can see a full break down of pledges by borough here: https://lcc.org.uk/pages/my-liveable-london-pledges

Join London Cycling Campaign

As a membership charity we rely on funds raised through subscriptions from individuals who share our vision of making London the best cycling city in the world. If you share our vision and want to help create Space for Cycling please join LCC today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: London

Retail Network Roundup: Bexley Bikes

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 15:54

Whether you’re a newcomer, commuter or a seasoned roadie, one thing every cyclist needs is a good LBS, or local bike shop. LCCs Retail Network brings together the best bike shops across London to give our members exclusive access to get great discounts on repairs, parts, accessories and more! With over 120 shops to choose from, our Retail Network Roundup series was started as a way to help you find your favourite LBS and get to know some of the faces behind the work stands.   

We're excited to welcome Bexley Bikes as our newest Retail Network recruit, and introduce all of our members (particularly those in the Bexleyheath area) to these guys! The boys at Bexley Bikes are a Giant preferred partner for their entire range, from e-bikes through to their award winning road range and everything in between. They also stock a hefty range of two wheelers, from commuters through to full suspension mountain bikes and children’s bikes to suit all ages.

We were lucky enough to catch Scott Wygell, General Manager of Bexley Bikes to talk shop, the lengths they'll go to keep their customers on two wheels and get to know a bit more about the bike shop of choice for Bexlonians over the last twenty odd years. 

What’s the story behind Bexley Bikes? How did you guys get started?

We grew from the owner’s lifelong passion for cycling and now that he has semi-retired I have taken over the reins to be the bike shop of choice for the local area. I have a mild obsession for everything road cycling and love nothing more than talking push bikes so come on in and let’s chat.

On your website it says that you are an official dealer of Giant bikes. Any noticeable standouts from their 2018 range that folks looking to upgrade (or get into cycling) should keep an eye out for?

The Giant TCR has just won 2018 Cycling Plus 'Bike of the Year' and is a fantastic road bike and available to view in the shop. The Giant Propel has also won the Aero Bike of the year and that is also available to view in the shop.

With over 40 years of combined experience of repairing bicycles, what's your best customer story or strangest repair question you’ve gotten in the shop?

We have repaired everything from go-karts to wheelbarrows to wheelchairs we just love a challenge. Just a couple of weeks ago I literally took the electronic battery from my own bike and gave it to a gentleman who was planning on cycling a 100 miles from the Kent coast to London and back again after his own battery had failed on him and he was stranded 40miles from home. That’s the next level service we offer here at the World Famous Bexley Bikes.

How did you get into bikes/cycling?

Personally I had worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and decided on a complete lifestyle change. Marc Anthony said it best, “If you do what you love you will never work a day in your life!” I’ve followed pro cycling all my life and the obsession is real.

What's your favourite thing about cycling in London?

The sights, the sounds and the smells are second to none and in just 10 miles you can be in the Kent Countryside with all your worries left far behind.

What tips would you give to anyone thinking about getting into cycling in London?

Come in to your Local Bike Shop and touch and feel the quality of the products and knowledge we have on offer it really will set you on the right path and you might even catch a little bit of our enthusiasm. 

How do you feel cycling in London has changed over the last decade?

The Olympic and professional success really has had an impact of the popularity of the sport in recent years. I think this has had a massive impact on the improvement of cycling infrastructure and its creditability as a form of transport. All Hail The Push Bike and its rider whatever their shape or size!

How important is it for cyclist to support their LBS and how do you think the future will look like in London for independent mechanics/retailers in the cycling industry?

“Support your local bike shop for you will miss us when we are gone!” We are the lifeblood of the local cycling community and a local centre of knowledge for all things cycling related. Like the record stores of old we could so easily be taken for granted then before you know it disappear for sight.

Do you run any workshops, events, or club rides that our readers should know about?

We are interested in getting involved with local clubs and cycling groups so get in touch. We are planning on starting midweek shop rides WHEN the English weather finally gives us a break. Find us on Facebook for upcoming details on future events.

Being a road cycling enthusiast, I’m guessing that you’ll be tuning in to Giro d’Italia on Friday. Where’s your favourite spot to catch the races?

First and foremost I’ll be keeping it British and closely following the Tour De Yorkshire from the Comfort of my front room, then I’ll be switching to The Giro with split loyalties between Team Sky and reigning champions Team Giant Sunweb.

Everyone loves their LBS, but why do people in Bexleyheath love Bexley Bikes?

With over 20 years experience and a team made up of passionate coffee loving cyclists we really are a RAY OF RETAIL SUNSHINE on Bexleyheaths Broadway so come and see us - we're sure you’ll feel the passion.

 

Visit Bexley Bikes

 

Find your Local Bike Shop

 

Categories: London

City Cycling Festival hosts Roberts Cycles rally 13 June 2018

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 19:40

City Cycling Festival hosts first ever Roberts Cycles rally on Wednesday 13th of June

Owners of cycles built by one of London’s most illustrious bike makers, Roberts Cycles, are invited to arrive on Roberts-built bikes at the elegant Guildhall Yard, Gresham St, EC2V 7HH, in the City of London on Wednesday the 13th of June from 4pm to 7pm for the Roberts Rendezvous -  a show and tell, and a prize giving for the oldest, best preserved and most unusual Roberts. Roberts Cycles builders and historians will be present for the first rever Roberts rally. See below for the post -7pm continuing rendezvous. 

Charlie Roberts, having worked for several South London cycle makers, including Holdsworth and Claud Butler, founded Roberts Cycles in the 1960s and introduced his sons Chas and Geoff  to the business. The Roberts workshop in Croydon , run by Chas , closed in 2015.   

The event is free but please let organisers know you are coming (or you can just register your interest in Roberts) by sending an email to info@lcc.org.uk with Roberts in the subject line (if possible please provide a frame number, model name and year of purchase to enable the creation of a Roberts register). Updates on the event will be published on the LCC newsletter  www.lcc.org.uk , on twitter @RobertsCycles and as additions to this blog page. After 7pm we anticipate continuing conversations next door to Guildhall at Davy's, 25 Basinghall St,  EC2V 5HA. 

The event is part of the City Cycling Festival run by the City of London in partnership with the London Cycling Campaign and the International Cycling History Conference from 13 – 15 June at the Guildhall. The ICHC event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the first British cycle patent. LCC is celebrating its 40th birthday. Robert Cycles was founded approximately 55 years ago.

Owners of bikes made by frame builders who worked at Roberts (they built for Charles Davey, Claud Butler, Holdsworth, Freddie Grubb, Geoff Butler, Phoenix, Condor, Evans, Pearson, Rocky Mountain, Geoff Roberts, Varohna, Nerve) are also invited to the event.  If you are unsure whether your cycle was built by one of the Roberts craftsmen you are welcome to come along and compare design features.

There is an ever growing history of Roberts Cycles on this LCC page.

 

 

Categories: London

How To: Plan your journeys by bike during the London Marathon

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 13:49

For anyone who wants to watch this weekend's London Marathon race, cycling it’s the obvious choice of transport, especially given the four-day DLR strike starting this Friday 20 April. 

The beauty of arriving by bike is that if your choice of vantage point is too crowded you can hop back on and find a better one. Once you find a suitable vantage point, cheer on your friends and then simply hop back on your bike, overtake them to do it all again. We're sure your friends and family members running will thank you for the support! Needless to say a bike means you can avoid crowded tubes, trains and congested roads. Note though that via bike, you won't have access to the E-W Cycle Superhighway from Tower London to the Mall as it's on the Marathon route. 

Make sure you plan ahead

If you are unfamiliar with central London you can select a route to your desired destination using our route planner or TfL’s Journey Planner (just make sure you edit your preference to show the cycling options).

LCC's route recommendations

There is a cycle track (Cycle Superhighway 3 or CS3), albeit a poor quality one at times, that runs along much of the DLR from Tower Gateway to Beckton so if DLR was going to be your choice of transport then we recommend using this route with your bike as a relatively convenient substitute.

Avoid Narrow St and Poplar High St on CS3 as they are part of the Marathon route along with the central bit of the E-W highway and will be closed to cyclists. 

During the Marathon, river crossings with a bike will be constrained because Tower Bridge is used for the Marathon. Your choices are the Greenwich foot – tunnel, which may be crowded; the Rotherhithe Tunnel, fume filled but cycling is permitted, and bridges to the West of Tower Bridge – Southwark and Blackfriars Bridges both have wide cycle tracks.

Also, don’t forget to take a sturdy lock and lock your bike to a solid object when watching the marathon.

The weather could be the hottest on record, so be sure to take a hat and plenty of water so you can comfortably enjoy the day. 

Inspired by the Marathon? Join us for this year's Prudential RideLondon event! 

Don’t forget that on July 28th/29th you'll have the opportunity to do the cycling equivalent(s)of the London Marathon:

First, London Freecycle, which takes place on the Saturday, is a family friendly leisure ride on streets closed to traffic in central London. LCC runs marshalled rides from all London boroughs to the central closed section. We'll be posting more information soon on how you can get involved, so stay tuned! 

·        And Ride London, taking place on the Sunday, is a 100k or 46k competitive ride that goes from the QE Olympic Park to Box Hill in Surrey and back which you can watch, or participate in. LCC still has a few places available in this year's ride, so click here to find out more and sign up to ride for Team LCC! Have your own place? Join Team LCC and you'll receive the same package of support, including access to our popular 8-week, Surrey Hills training program.

Categories: London

Summer Cycling in Lewisham

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 18:31

There's a lot going on in Lewisham this summer to help people take up cycling. The following activities are being run by LCC, our Lewisham locla group and Lewisham council

Lewisham Cycle Loan

Borrow a bike for 4 weeks to see how cycling can fit it your life

Categories: London

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 - last chance to take part!

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:04

LCC have a few RideLondon-Surrey 100 places remaining for this year's event - join Team LCC today and help support LCC’s work in improving cycling across the whole city, in every borough, for everyone.

Sign up now

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 returns on Sunday 29 July 2018. Starting from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, you'll head out through London towards Surrey's stunning countryside before returning to the capital to finish in spectacular style on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, greeted by thousands of cheering cycling fans.

Filled with challenging climbs, stunning scenery and a great atmosphere, it’s truly an amazing event.

Our former campaigner, Amy, completed the ride in 2016 and wrote this blog about her amazing experience. Would she do it again? “Of course I would!”

If you were lucky enough to get a ballot place we’d love you to ride for Team LCC and raise money to support the London Cycling Campaign.

I have my own place

Every rider gets a limited edition Team LCC jersey, access to our 8-week, Surrey Hills training program and dedicated support throughout.

Sign up now

Categories: London

City Cycling Festival: London celebrates 200 years of cycling

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 16:43

London Cycling Campaign (LCC), The International Cycling History Conference (ICHC) and the City of London, are coming together to celebrate 200 years of UK cycling. The celebration will be held in the City of London during Bike Week from 13-15 June 2018.

The City Cycling Festival will be a celebration of the modern bicycle, and is set to include events and exhibits displaying the best of London’s cycling culture, along with bikes through the ages and guided rides between three sites in the City of London, each focused on either the past, present or future of cycling. The festival will be centred around Bank Junction, where London’s first traffic-free scheme has had a successful first year.

Events will include:

·         Bike to the Future: a London Cycling Campaign celebration of the evolution of bicycles and liveable cities, including bicycle brands through the ages and tech to take us into the future. ofo, the world’s first dockless bike share operator, and the events’ first sponsorship partner, will lead a guided ride of the City’s best cycle routes.

·         The Future from the Past: a three-day International Cycle History Conference, bringing together experts on cycle history from all over the world. (link)

·         London Cycling Awards 2018 and LCC’s 40th Anniversary Party: London Cycling Campaign’s annual celebration of the best of cycling in London and this year celebrating the campaigning charity’s 40th birthday.

The Festival has seen great support so far, especially from The City of London Corporation and ofo UK and we’ll be ready to bring you more news about the festival soon!

Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of LCC, said: “The momentum for cycling continues apace. This three day celebration offers a great opportunity to reflect on the history of the bicycle and consider its journey towards the future. A future where ebikes and dockless bike share are helping shape the way forward.”

Phil Saunders for ICHC, said: “Historically, London, in particular the City, has played a key part in the development of the cycle industry. From the dawn of cycling, machines have been made in and around the City, which also provided advice and expertise on patent registration and business development for the new companies that sprang up in the UK.  London was the showroom for the cycle, motorcycle and early car manufacturers, with shops and manufacturers stretching from Cheapside through High Holborn, to Oxford Street.”

 

 

Categories: London

A grand event to mark two important cycling birthdays in 2018

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 16:30

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first British bicycle patent, as well as the 40th anniversary of the London Cycling Campaign. To celebrate both occasions the International Cycle History Conference has teamed up with LCC and the City of London to host five days of cycling festivities, exhibitions, rides and learned discussion.

Anniversaries 1818 and 1978

Denis Johnson, of 69-75 Long Acre in Covent Garden, created an improved version of the ‘Draisine’ the first hobby-horse type bicycle invented by Baron Karl von Drais in Germany. Johnson pated his invention in 1818.

The London Cycling Campaign was founded in 1978 by representatives of several local cycling groups in London. Its first successful campaign was to build a segregated cycle crossing at Albert Gate, which connected Knightsbridge to Hyde Park.

Register for the ICHC conference

The ICHC is an annual international event that takes place in different cities of the world. It has taken place every year since 1989 and the proceedings of each conference are published.

Anyone with an interest in cycling history is invited to register for the conference and participate in three days of presentations, social events, organised cycle rides, displays historical cycles as well as an elegant banquet.

Attendees who wish to submit papers for presentation must submit an abstract (approximately 200 words) by May 1st. Papers that are selected for the conference will be delivered as slide presentations lasting up to 20 minutes. The full text of papers (guide length - 10 pages double spaced) must then be submitted by August 15th.

Categories: London

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods briefings launch

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 17:24

Photo: Elaine Kramer

London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets have been working on a briefing document on "Low Traffic Neighbourhoods" for some time now. And we're proud to announce it's finally somewhat out of "draft". There's due to be a fancy designed-up brochure version coming out after the local elections, but for now, this pair of documents tell you everything you, your Councillors and officers need to know about what happens when you take the through traffic out of an area.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods - what, why, how?

Click here to access this document.

This "five minute guide" to low traffic neighbourhoods lays out the basics of what happens when you stop motor vehicle traffic cutting from one main road, straight through an area, to the next main road over. Hint: it's a big win for walking, cycling and local community.

This document shows the time-poor councillors the basics of the approach, seen in the award-winning in the Waltham Forest mini-Holland schemes, as well as for decades in Hackney (and Holland, Barcelona, and other major cities).

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods - the detail

Click here to access this document.

For officers, this longer document outlines many of the benefits, possible approaches and pitfalls to low traffic neighbourhoods and modal filter cells. It also lays out a potential engagement strategy to head off the dreaded "bikelash" and highlights how low traffic neighbourhoods can successfully be integrated with other walking and cycling schemes.

Both documents draw on interviews with and expertise from campaigners who have direct experience of such schemes in both organisations, but also councillors, engineers, planners, engagement specialists and other organisations involved in such schemes.

Categories: London

Retail Network Roundup: London Green Cycles

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 16:19

Whether you’re a newcomer, commuter or a seasoned roadie, one thing every cyclist needs is a good LBS, or local bike shop. LCCs Retail Network brings together the best bike shops across London to give our members exclusive access to get great discounts on repairs, parts, accessories and more! With over 120 shops to choose from, our Retail Network Roundup series was started as a way to help you find your favourite LBS and get to know some of the faces behind the work stands.   

Known as the cargo bike specialists, London Green Cycles offers the widest selection of family, box and cargo bikes in the UK. While you might not find their clientell clocking laps around the Outer Circle after a visit to their shop in Chester Court, their passion and knowledge for cargo bikes means they're the perfect place to help you make informed decisions about which bike will best suit your needs. 

We were able to catch up with Roman, the founder of London Green Cycles to discuss the changing landscape of cycling in London, tips on getting started in the world of cargo bikes and their recent partnership annoucement with TfL to promote the use of e-bikes across the city.  

How did London Green Cycles get started? 

When we first started in May 2013, our office was in the kitchen and workshop in the yard of Chandra’s house. Both of us were incredibly ambitious and enthusiastic. We really embraced the novelty element that surrounded cargo bikes at the time. 

For people who might be a bit nervous about using cargo bikes for transporting goods (or humans) versus using a car, what advice or tips would you give them to get them pedalling? 

Test ride a cargo bike. Even if you don’t need one. There is so many reasons why you should. Fun is one of them. If you are looking to buy one and hesitate for whatever reason try to hire one out. One week should be enough to answer most of your questions. We have 10 hire bikes of decent variety available. We encourage people to hire their chosen model for a longer period to try within the context of the intended use. 

Cargo bikes are as safe as it can be in the current environment. Could it be safer? Absolutely! Customers can testify however how much space other road users give them because they are unusual, larger, slower and often carry children on board. Drivers respond differently to them. Thumb up or a smile are a common response.

All cargo bikes have seatbelts adapted to the age group of children on board. Cargo bikes are used all over the world by tens of thousands of people and some bikes built 30 years ago are still on the road. It’s a testimony to their build quality. These bikes might be a novelty here in UK but are well tried and tested vehicles elsewhere. We provide training and advice and are always happy to help out however we can. 

What's your best customer story or strangest repair question you’ve gotten in the shop? 

Not sure which is the best one. I’ve dealt with lots of unusual requests over the years. The least we can do is to make it happen. I’ve built one custom box for a dog that was too overweight to walk. The box had a side opening for easy entry and a hole cut in the lid for its head. The result looked a bit like a toilet seat but looked great with the dog inside. The bike was branded “Slow + Sure”.

How did you get into bikes/cycling? 

I replied to a bicycle mechanic job advert in local newspaper back in 1999. Soon after I started my work in 1st and only bike courier company in my city. Riding from early morning and fixing bikes till late in the afternoon. I loved it!

What's your favourite thing about cycling in London? 

Freedom and independence. That is a true luxury in London. 

What tips would you give to anyone thinking about getting into cycling in London? 

Do not hesitate. London is a better city from a bike’s perspective. If it seems too scary, find yourself someone to ride with at first or do an adult bikeability course to boost your confidence initially. Start with a safer route avoiding big junctions and busy roads. You can shorten the route later when you feel more comfortable in the traffic. 

How do you feel cycling in London has changed over the last decade? 

Ironically I feel that it used to be safer in some ways. Drivers struggle to accept newcomers onto their roads and adjust to changes in the infrastructure. Sadly there is a lot of aggression on both sides at the moment, but I believe this is just a necessary transition period. I am optimistic about cycling in London.

The numbers have obviously increased dramatically which is important step forward. Now we are in the medium stage when there is the demand for cycling infrastructure but it takes time for such change to realise on a full scale. Some amazing good quality infrastructure has been built, a successful bicycle sharing scheme and I think we finally see a bit more diversity in people cycling. More families and women. Lots, lots more to do, though. 

You recently announced that you’re working with TfL to promote the use of e-bikes in London. How do you think the future of cycling in London will be impacted by the use of e-bikes? 

This is yet another great opportunity for cycling to be more inclusive. We regret that unlike other cities around the world, no incentives (from the government) are being offered to help people with the purchase cost. There is already such a scheme for electric cars but E-bikes are excluded. Given the potential of e-bikes in terms of relieving London’s traffic we don’t understand why they are not included in the whole EV raft of recently announced measures. 

However, we shouldn’t forget that the infrastructure is still the key to unlock the full potential of cycling in the city. 

Also, I know the scheme is still quite new, but how do you feel the initial response has been? 

So far rather quiet, but weather is the best promoter of cycling, so it should improve soon. Hopefully this is just a very humble start as TFL can do so much more. 

How important is it for cyclists to support their LBS and how do you think the future will look like in London for independent mechanics/retailers in the cycling industry? 

I think it is very important. People sometimes forget that they actually like that bike shop they pass every day. They should pop in more often and recommend the place to their friends if they like the shop. That is the single most effective support other than spending their £. 

Two nearby bike shops have closed recently, one of them was there for decades, I find it very sad as I knew owners of both places. 

That said I think that there will be plenty of new bike shops opening, hopefully independent and greater variety. 

Do you run any workshops or events that our readers should know about? 

Of course, usually over the summer months. We focus on cargobike specific repairs and we teach customers how to work on their own bikes. We also hold Show & Share sessions whereby the cargobike community can organise themselves and ask us to come along and we answer all their questions about the cargobike lifestyle and give practical advice. 

Everyone loves their LBS, but why do people in Camden love London Green Cycles? 

When it comes to our products we genuinely know what we are talking about. We are an eclectic team, and we all bring to the table a wide range of skills. The cycling industry is a tough one to be in, the reason we’re still in the cargobike business is that it’s ever changing. 

Our customer base is probably not representative of a regular bicycle shop but we want to make anyone walking through our door feel welcome. Most of our customers come a long way to visit us and keep coming back for as long as they have their bike. 

We love cycling and our customers love cycling so all relations start from that point. Everything else is secondary. 

Categories: London

London Assembly tells Mayor to beef up cycle track design, delivery

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 15:27

The London Assembly’s comprehensive report on cycling tells the Mayor to make the London Cycle Design Standards a required part of the planning process in the capital. It also wants him to publish timetables for infrastructure delivery. The report was released following an inquiry that heard evidence from a range of bodies including LCC.

The existing London Cycle Design Standards (published in 2014) should become part of formal Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) for the capital says the Assembly. This would give greater weight to the standards as boroughs would have to take them into account in creating their local plans and developers would have to acknowledge the official advice in their planning applications which would then be assessed by boroughs in the light of the SPG guidance.

The Assembly report also tells the Mayor to publish a timeline for the six new cycling routes announced in January 2018, produce a cycle parking plan, and question Network Rail on its lack of progress with cycle parking.

The full list of recommendations is:

  1. TfL should publish a timeline for the six new cycling routes announced by the Mayor in January 2018, setting out key design, consultation and construction milestones. We also ask TfL to set a date by which the detailed schedule for delivery of the 19 remaining routes will be published.
  2. The Mayor should change the name of Cycle Superhighways to something more inclusive. He should consider running a public engagement process to allow Londoners to choose a new name.
  3. The Mayor should develop Supplementary Planning Guidance for cycling following the publication of the final version of the new London Plan. This would turn the London Cycling Design Standards into formal guidance, so the Mayor can more effectively ensure that minimum standards are followed by boroughs and developers. This should include specific minimum requirements set for new cycle parking to ensure it is safe, secure and appropriately located. Liveable Neighbourhoods
  4. TfL should develop a framework to monitor and evaluate the Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, as well as encourage boroughs to collect and share data and establish a mechanism to allow boroughs to put forward Liveable Neighbourhoods plans on an ongoing basis.
  5. TfL should produce a cycle parking plan, setting out clear steps towards meeting the obvious demand that is currently not being met. TfL needs to set out how the demand for cycle parking will be met, which partners will play a role, and how this infrastructure will be funded. Train stations
  6. The Office of Rail and Road, as part of its periodic review (PR18) of Network Rail’s CP6 plans, should consider the need for more cycle parking at train stations and asks Network Rail to address this shortcoming in its business plan. Dockless bike hire services
  7. The Mayor’s Supplementary Planning Guidance for cycling should instruct boroughs to require that new developments have parking space for dockless bikes. He should also ask TfL to provide space in appropriate places on the TfL Road Network. We also urge the Mayor to implement our recommendation for a London-wide licensing scheme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: London

Mayor backs 20 mph limits on central London roads

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 13:28

As part of a programme to reduce road danger from vehicles London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan is backing 20 mph speed limits on red routes in central London as a priority, with plans to widen the programme across the rest of the capital.

The commitment, which includes making 20 mph part of all new traffic schemes on red routes, is contained in the final version of Mayor’s Transport Strategy(MTS) which has been approved by the London Assembly. It is an action that supports the Mayor’s “Vision Zero” target of no fatalities or serious injuries on London roads by 2041.

LCC has campaigned for more than a decade to reduce road danger by making 20 mph the default speed limit where people live, shop and work. We therefore strongly welcome Transport for London’s plans to implement 20 mph limits in all new schemes on its own (red route) roads and make them a priority in central London as a first step to widening the programme.

The full text in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is as follows:

“Introducing lower speed limits and improving compliance with speed limits through design, enforcement, technology, information and appropriate training. Twenty miles per hour limits will continue to be implemented on London’s streets, with 20mph considered as part of all new schemes on the Transport for London Road Network. TfL will look to implement 20mph limits on its streets in central London as a priority, with implementation being widened across inner and outer London as soon as is practicably possible. TfL will work with the boroughs to implement lower speed limits on their streets, prioritising designs that are self-enforcing and that do not place an additional burden on policing partners. TfL will provide data analysis, training and technical guidance to support this.”

 Junctions and lorries

 The MTS also addresses two other campaigning issues that were raised by LCC ahead of the Mayoral election in 2016: dangerous junctions and dangerous lorries. 

In both cases the Mayor undertakes to improve safety: reviewing all junctions and ensuring that lorries adhere to the highest safety standards such good direct vision which eliminates blind spots (as already standard on most refuse lorries). The statements from the MTS say:

 Mayor’s Transport Strategy on Junctions

 “Conducting a systematic review of all road junctions, introducing road danger reduction measures at locations that pose significant risk to vulnerable road users.”

 Mayor’s Transport Strategy on Lorries and buses

 “Working to ensure that vehicles driven on London’s streets adhere to the highest safety standards, starting with a new Direct Vision Standard for HGVs and including the introduction of new vehicle technologies such as Intelligent Speed Assistance and Automatic Emergency Braking. TfL will develop a new Bus Safety Standard which will be introduced across the city’s entire bus fleet featuring design and technological measures to protect passengers and other road users”

Categories: London

Thanks for your help! TfL consultations showcase LCC campaigning

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 17:49

A slew of the latest consultation results reports from TfL showcase how your help and LCC’s campaigning work have led to big wins for cycling in London…

Cycle Superhighway CS4

Over 3,000 people responded directly to the consultation, nearly 5,000 including campaign emails etc. And hugely positive they were - with 88% supporting the scheme including 1,350 London Cycling Campaign members and supporters. Some of the most common issues raised included the missing Lower Road section of the scheme, and wanting the scheme extended to Woolwich as soon as possible.

To read the full report, click here.

Cycle Superhighway CS9

Over 6,000 people responded to this scheme to run cycle tracks (as well as improve crossings) from OIympia to Brentford. 941 of you emailed TfL via our LCC response page, and over 65% of the responses supported the proposals, despite loud campaigning against the proposals, particularly in Chiswick High Road.

To read our blog on the consultation results (and/or click through to the full report), click here.

Canary Wharf – Rotherhithe Bridge

Support from LCC members and supporters meant a whopping 93% of the over 6,000 respondents supported the proposal to create a walking/cycling only bridge between the Isle of Dogs and Rotherhithe. On top of this, an overwhelming majority of responses allied themselves with LCC’s preferred option of a bridge (rather than tunnel or ferry) and the northern of three proposed alignments linking directly into Westferry Circus at Canary Wharf, enabling direct links to other planned cycle routes.

The bridge is now moving into detailed design phase, despite some local residents labelling it a potential “eyesore” and the London Assembly’s Conservative group saying (according to the TfL summary of their position) that there wasn’t a “strong enough business case for the bridge”, preferring instead to trial a ferry.

To read the full report, click here.

Highbury Corner

Thanks to our support, the Highbury Corner proposals have finally been announced to be moving forward into construction after the bridge replacement railway works are complete this spring.

Of nearly 3,000 respondents around 70% supported the scheme for improving conditions for those walking and/or cycling, and TfL have made improvements to the scheme in line with our response to extend some lanes away from the junction to reach a local school, and to improve links to Corsica Street.

To read the full report, click here.

Vauxhall Nine Elms

Thanks to you, nearly 80% of all responses opposed this scheme that suggested an area previous Mayor Boris Johnson said would be “better than Amsterdam” for cycling, yet featured cycling in part-time bus lanes and paint. As a result of our opposition, Walking & Cycling Commissioner Will Norman has said below-par sections of the scheme will be reworked to deliver “a continuous high-quality cycle route from CS8 to Vauxhall”. Of course, this does rather highlight the need to also go ahead and fix CS8 too.

Other stakeholders included London TravelWatch, who bizarrely suggested 4.5m bus lanes instead of separate cycle tracks would be fine for cycling in; and Wandsworth Council who wanted the hours of operation of the bus lanes cut so HGVs could get to New Covent Garden Market easier.

To read the full report, click here.

Croydon Fiveways

This horrific scheme is explicitly designed to improve motor vehicle capacity through this dangerous and difficult junction. This is most likely as a result of an impending Westfield shopping centre nearby, despite the fact that Westfield itself is ripping out car parking spaces at its Stratford centre to put in more shops, because it turns out most people don’t arrive by car there.

Action by LCC members and supports has meant that despite the scheme getting the go-ahead, TfL pledges to “improve the pedestrian environment and strengthen the cycling provision in support of the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the Healthy Streets approach.” Many of the comments respondents submitted highlighted our concerns over safe and protected space for north-south cycling through the scheme and hook risks for cyclists at several arms of the junctions.

To read the full report, click here.

Waterloo roundabout

A thousand respondents from LCC swelled the consultation numbers for this hated roundabout to nearly 2,000 total. The result is that this scheme is set to move forward, taming this hostile gyratory with cycle tracks all round. And of our biggest concerns, the turn on Waterloo Road into the bus area is set to be redesigned. However, concerns over lack of cycling provision on Waterloo Road generally and links from the scheme onto the surrounding roads and bridge remain unanswered for now.

To read the full report, click here.

Mayor’s Transport Strategy

Thanks to action from LCC and other campaigning organisations, the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) was finalised without any weakening of its key pledges to change the mode mix of journeys to being done 80% by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041, to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our transport network to zero by then, and to ensure 70% of Londoners live within 400m of a high-quality and safe cycle route by then too.

More surprising was how many boroughs, including such as Barnet, Bromley and even Kensington & Chelsea viewed the MTS positively. In contrast to its response to the bridge, above, the London Assembly Conservatives group supported the MTS, was “supportive of plans for cycling” and wanted bolder words on “road user charging” and “filtered permeability” (or low traffic neighbourhoods). A mere few boroughs wanted significant weakening of the MTS – primarily Bexley, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth. Oddest stakeholder response (as summarised by TfL) was Veolia, who suggested that encouraging walking might lead to overflowing street bins!

To read the full report, click here.

Still to come…

We’re waiting for results on Camberwell Green junction, Cycle Superhighway 4 and Lambeth Bridge among other major schemes that LCC has campaigned over.

Categories: London

Hackney Council aims to reduce construction site road risk and join CLOCS

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:05

Hackney Council is aiming to reduce road danger around construction sites by become a Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) champion. Writing in response to a letter from Dr Ashok Sinha, LCC’s CEO, recommending CLOCS membership, the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville said:

“We value the CLOCS scheme as a package of measures to implement best practice safety standards in the management of vehicles accessing construction sites, both on the sites themselves and on the journey to and from the sites. Hackney has a strong track record in promoting elements of this CLOCS standard.”

“We do recognise, however, that we need to go further by becoming CLOCS-compliant as a Council, and especially in the area of improving monitoring and enforcement of CLOCS standards both on local construction sites and in the Council’s supply chains. To this end, Hackney’s draft Local Plan seeks new developments to achieve CLOCS standards on local construction sites and we are reviewing other measures required to meet this standard.”

Hackney’s commitment to join CLOCS is in step with its neighbours, the boroughs of Islington and Tower Hamlets, which have also made a commitment to become CLOCS champions. The City of London another of the neighbouring local authorities, is already a CLOCS champion and requires all major developments in the City to follow the well-established safety standards laid out by CLOCS.

CLOCS is an industry-led standard for the construction sector whose requirements include:  construction lorries that meet specified safety standards (including side guards, alert systems and six mirrors); drivers completing the Safer Urban Driving (SUD) course that includes on-bike experience; site marshals guiding vehicles in and out of sites; and operators agreeing lorry routes with local authorities. 

Local authorities that become CLOCS champions, like Camden and City, incorporate the standards in the planning process so all major developments have to adhere to the same procedures and agree to periodic audits.

Categories: London

Construction Logistics Plans: safe working in a busy city

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 16:20
As part of its partnership work with TfL and the Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) community LCC is looking at some of the innovative approaches to reducing road danger and improving safety implemented by CLOCS members.  Engineering, design and consultancy firm Arup employs 13,000 people in 35 countries. It’s UK arm is a CLOCS champion and it runs the Construction Logistics Plan training scheme in association with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and Transport for London (TfL).    Construction Logistics Plans: does your borough require them? 

As military commanders well know logistics can win or lose battles. In construction, logistics serves a similar function, to deliver goods on time, but it can also help avoid conflicts that win the battle to save lives.

Getting materials to a work site at the right time on the right day is the conventional task for a logistics manager. What CLOCS champions, and developers,  are learning from a new Construction Logistics Planning course run by CLOCS champion Arups is how to not only keep a work site rolling but how to avoid injuring road users, piling up complaints from local residents, and meeting the requirements of a borough council.

A Construction Logistics Plan (CLP) is defined as “a management tool for developers and construction contractors to help mitigate the risks associated with construction activity. The CLP focuses specifically on construction supply chains and how impact on the road network can be reduced”

For any high or medium impact development a majority of London local authorities (though not all) are likely to require seeing and agreeing a CLP. Without an outline CLP, and then an agreed and more detailed CLP, planning permission may not be granted, or construction may be delayed.  

 

Neither a cycle user nor a pedestrian is likely to ever see a CLP unless they are commenting on a planning application (which can be worth the effort). But we are all impacted by the running of building sites. The difference between a site that has developed an approved and well-considered CLP and one that ignores such planning can be significant. Multiple lorries driving at speed past a school at drop-off time or obstructing the pavement on a school walking route, for example, can be highly hazardous. Getting tangled up in early morning school traffic can also waste a lot of time for the HGV driver and his employer and can lead to costly delays in the constriction programme.

Trainees in CLPs are not only expected to digest the steps required to produce a CLP that will pass muster with local authority but are also required to evaluate CLPs and work through a template CLP. Each CLP is expected to list what a contractor is committed to do to minimise impacts of their work as well as stating what has been proposed and considered. If, for example a site is within 100m of a navigable waterway or a rail siding they are expected to consider moving freight by water or rail. Re-timing deliveries out of peak is step developers usually consider to both avoid hazards and save time – in Southwark some sites have agreed the arrival of vehicles before site opening times (and waiting with engines switched off) to minimise movements of HGV during the morning peak.

Developers and council officers can apply  via the training website https://constructionlogistics.org.uk/clp-training/  to attend one of the CLP courses run by Arup in  conjunction with CILT and TfL. There is also a comprehensive manual called Construction Logistics plan Guidance on the web http://content.tfl.gov.uk/construction-logistics-plan-guidance-for-developers.pdf

Categories: London

Women & Cycling: Six women discuss the challenges and the push for change...

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 14:47

Last summer we spoke with six women about the challenges they face and the push for change to get more women into cycling. To celebrate International Women's Day this year, we wanted to re-share their their stories and invite the London cycling community to think more about how we can continue to press forward and progress gender parity, both in cycling and beyond...

 

 

Ruth-Anna McQueen, Hackney Cycling Campaigner with a focus on family cycling

The first thing people say when I tell them we have three young children and no car is usually: “How do you do it?” I work as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and my husband is a teacher; our children are 6 years, 4 years, and 7 months’ old. But here’s the thing — cycling is honestly the only way we can manage two parents with busy jobs, and getting three children to school and nursery on time.       

Not only is it perfectly possible to manage in London without a car, in many dense urban areas it’s much easier and quicker to do day-to-day journeys by bike. The perceived difficulty often comes when you add in children, but luckily there are plenty of options available nowadays to suit all budgets, ages and family sizes. From the common rear-mounted bike seats to trailers, front seats, tag-alongs, various parent-child bike coupling mechanisms, family tandems, and the most expensive, but arguably easiest option of a cargobike (both ‘boxbike’ and ‘longtail’ designs are now widely available in the UK).     

I am passionate about opening people’s eyes to the possibilities of family cycling as a solution to so many of the problems we have both individually and on a societal level. Locally, I’ve teamed up with Carry Me Bikes to run a Family Cycling Project, funded by Cycling Grants London. We are loaning out free family cycling equipment to families, organising social group rides for families and ‘tots and cargobikes’ sessions with qualified cycling instructors for parents wanting to start cycling with their children.       

Concern about sharing road space with motor vehicles is the biggest concern of many parents I speak to, especially as children grow and start cycling independently. While this can be mitigated to an extent by using parks, off-road cycle routes and quieter roads where possible, it remains a significant barrier, which is why I’m also an active member of my local LCC group, campaigning for safe space for cycling on main roads too.

Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee

The number of trips made by bike every day in London has increased by around 160,000 since 2007, but overall mode share is still only about 2%. Why is this figure not rising? And why are men far more likely to cycle than women in London? 18% of men are regular cyclists, compared to 9% of women.     

Cyclists are omnipresent on London roads but I really would like to see more women using their bikes to get around our city. For some, it is that perception of safety which affects whether they decide to take up cycling — which is why investment in safe routes is vital — both quieter routes and segregated Cycle Superhighways.     

When it comes to mode shift, the potential for safe cycling routes in outer London in particular is huge. If we could encourage many more people to make local trips by cycle, rather than car, the impact on health, air quality and wellbeing would be enormous.       

And if you want to try cycling — without splashing out lots of money — there is the bike hire scheme in parts of London, though interestingly, only a quarter of the scheme’s members are women.     

I have no doubt that over time we will see more Londoners and in particular more women across the capital using bikes. In the meantime, the London Assembly Transport Committee will continue to push in every way we can, for a friendlier cycling environment that works for everyone.

Nicola Hill, Operations Manager at The Bike Project

The Bike Project was set up in March 2013 to provide a solution to the lack of mobility faced by asylum seekers and refugees living in London. Put simply, when you’re receiving just £36.95 per week asylum support and a bus pass costs £21.20, you have little left to live on — so a bicycle can be a vital lifeline. More than 27,000 bikes are abandoned in London each year and over the past four years The Bike Project has collected, fixed up and donated over 2,700 of them.

Early on the majority of our beneficiaries were male and through speaking to women, we learned that many did not feel confident in their ability to ride the bikes that we offer. Women also tell us that they come from societies where women are not encouraged to cycle, or where doing so can be dangerous for them.  So learning to cycle through our Women’s Project is more than a practical necessity, it’s also a strong stance against deeply ingrained beliefs and cultural taboos.

Sarah, who is now our Lead Cycle Instructor,  came along as she wanted to get trained up to be able to teach other women to cycle, most for the very first time, in a female-only space.

Through participating in our lessons, women gain independence, get fit, save money and learn practical skills, which helps to improve physical and emotional wellbeing while getting to know their new city and each other in a fun, safe and welcoming environment.

The Bike Project runs two training sessions per week (Mondays in Croydon, Wednesdays in Wapping). Contact info@thebikeproject.co.uk to refer a woman for lessons or if you are a female NSI-qualified instructor and would like to teach.

Jools Walker, author of Back in the Frame and founder of VéloCityGirl

I recently spoke at the Women and Cycling Conference in Bradford. When large ‘conferences’ like this happen, two of the big topics often discussed are gender inequality in cycling and building (or improving) high(er) quality infrastructure when it comes to encouraging more women to ride. Don’t get me wrong, of course these are important topics that should always be covered (still, we work towards the day when working towards solving these are a thing of the past), but in among this, we need to talk more about the topics that intersect these — such as the lack of representation and diversity within the cycling industry. Just as in everyday life, not all women are the same.     

The conference theme was to ‘inspire more women to cycle more often, to more places’ — and one of my strongest beliefs in how to do this is to share the stories of women and groups that are never ‘normally’ represented in mainstream cycling. Everyday women are extraordinary women, and the importance of celebrating this and seeing someone ‘just like you’ can be the key to getting more young girls and women on a bike. I’ve learned in my seven years of being back on the saddle the power of seeing someone you can identify with, and totally believe this is something that should never be underestimated.

Amy Foster, Southwark Healthy Schools Champion, chair of the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School forum and Vice Chair of the LCC board of trustees

I talk to lots of families who tell me that the roads around their schools are not safe enough for their children, and that they don’t see the pavements outside their schools as safe. Considering that the biggest killer of children aged 10-18 in the UK is road traffic incidents, parental fears around road safety are not unfounded.     

If it isn’t safe for children to get to school independently, parents’ lives end up revolving around school pick-up and drop-off times, adding to stress levels in already busy lives.       

Schools need to do all they can to work with their communities to make their local areas safer for cycling. I work supporting schools in Southwark; we have a fantastic school travel team, a supportive LCC borough group and a council that is looking to develop its cycling infrastructure. As chair of the Safe Routes forum we are pushing for new zebra crossings and a lower speed limit that will make big differences for the families in our network.     

We also look to replicate great work happening elsewhere in London, such as ‘Healthy School Streets’ where the road outside the school gate is closed during the school run, encouraging families to choose to walk, cycle or scoot to school, reducing road danger for the kids and cutting air pollution from idling cars at the school gates.       

We are more fortunate than many schools in London. We have a fantastic traffic-free cycling route passing within a few metres of our school, which many of our families use. However, it is terrifying that a ‘healthy’ school run remains a matter of luck and we must do all we can to work together to ensure safe, connected cycle routes exist across the capital.

Amy is also a Southwark Healthy Schools Champion and chair of the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School forum.

Lucy Garner, Wiggle High5 Professional Racer 

You live in the Netherlands, what do you think of riding around London?

It’s certainly extremely busy, but you can see that there is obviously progress. There are substantial bike lanes now, which I’ve only briefly sampled — I didn’t expect them to be that big and wide, that’s a major improvement.

Do you think having events like the Women’s Tour in London will inspire more women to cycle?

Yes, I think it definitely helps having women’s races, just to show the general public what women’s cycling is about and how we race. We put on really aggressive racing, and having the Women’s Tour come to London on the last day is really important and shows how much it’s growing and how much bigger it’s becoming.

Why do you think women are under-represented in professional cycling?

Several reasons. But I’ve been cycling for over 10 years and it’s progressed so much in that time. I’m in a really fortunate place to be a professional female cyclist now — and like a lot of the women in the peloton, we’re not having to work alongside cycling commitments. That’s important, because it raises the whole level of cycling, and women’s professional sport generally, as we can just concentrate on our cycling.

How can we encourage more women to get into sport cycling?

I started cycling because it was such a social sport, there are so many clubs and group rides you don’t have to go out on your own. I have so many more friends now! A lot of people think of cycling as being just for men, but there’s loads of bikes and kits which look great for women, and they’re attractive, interesting designs too. 

Wiggle.com are sponsors of the Wiggle High5 professional cycling team which competes on the Women’s Tour and other professional races.


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This article was originally published in the Autum 2017 issue of the London Cyclist

Categories: London

LCC Campaigns Coordinator Fran Graham weighs in on women & cycling

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 13:43

International Women's Day is an annual event and this year, Thursday 8th March sees various groups around the world celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

2018's theme is #PressforProgress, and whilst much progress has been made in relation to women's equality, the world is still unequal and this day calls upon everyone to encourage advocacy for women's advancement everywhere, in every way. This topic resonated with us at LCC and not just on the subject of women, but in relation to all our campaign objectives.

In relation to women and cycling, Campaigns Coordinator Fran Graham spoke with six women about the challenges and push for change, which you can read here. She also weighed in herself to try and answer the question: 

How can we get more women into cycling? 

I have been cycling in London for about seven years and I cycle for many of the same reasons that many others do: it’s healthy, cheaper, quicker and way more fun than the tube at rush hour. In the last seven years I’ve seen the number of people riding alongside me increasing.

I still get a kick out of sitting at the lights, surrounded by loads of others going about their daily lives by bike. I especially like spotting fellow female cyclists.

There have been more and more of us women on bikes in recent years, and I love it. However, we are still the odd ones out on the city’s streets. Cycling trips have boomed in London — according to TfL stats, there are now more than 670,000 trips a day, an increase of over 130% since 2000. But the number of men cycling is growing faster than the number of women.

Overall, women are around half as likely as men to have cycled in the past month. But nowhere is gender equal; broken down borough by borough, there are some clear leaders and laggers. Enfield brings up the rear with women 29% as likely as men to have cycled in the past month (although that might all change as the mini-Holland settles in). Barking and Hillingdon join them at the bottom, with 33% and 35%. Hammersmith is top, but still only at 70%, with Kingston and Richmond on 69% and 68%.

If you compare that with the cycling nirvana that is the Netherlands, where over half of all cycling trips are made by women, then you know that London is dragging its feet when it comes to enabling more of us to dust off our bikes. 

Safety issues

A large part of this comes down to feeling safe on the roads. The majority of people prefer cycling when they are separated from traffic in high quality segregated cycle lanes, or on roads that are quieter, where the traffic moves slowly. This is especially true for women thinking about cycling. It’s why women are often referred to as the ‘indicator species’ of a safe cycling environment — if you have a gender balance on bikes (or more women than men cycling), it’s a sign that the area has great cycling infrastructure.

LCC lobbies so hard for good quality cycling infrastructure for just this reason. It’s not just about the people who already get about by bike; it’s about creating space in London that everyone who wants to cycle feels happy doing so. Cycle Superhighways, Quietways, the existing mini-Hollands and upcoming Liveable Neighbourhoods all have a part to play in this.

We have to make sure that when we build cycling infrastructure, it works for everyone. That means segregated cycle lanes must be wide enough to accommodate all types of bikes that make trickier trips simpler; adapted bikes, cargo bikes, bikes with tag-along trailers all make carrying home the shopping or taking the kids to school much simpler. Making these everyday trips easier, especially the ones included in care-giving tasks (because the bulk of care-giving does still fall to women in this country) helps boost the number of women choosing bikes for their journeys. 

Route choices

Additionally, planners need to listen to concerns about routes. Not only do they need to go where people want to go, like shops and schools, but there could be concerns about routes through parks, quiet streets and estates, particularly after dark. My commute takes me through a lovely park, meaning I can avoid traffic entirely. However, once the sun sets, that unlit park doesn’t feel quite like the haven it is during the day, and I end up cycling home on a busy, aggressive stretch of road I can normally skip. There hasn’t been much research on this, but anecdotally it’s an issue that needs a lot more consideration.

We also need to tackle behaviours that discourage women from cycling. The Near Miss Project — a piece of research by LCC Trustee Rachel Aldred — found that women experience twice as many ‘close passes’ as men. Having a motorist speed by, way too close for comfort, is incredibly off-putting, sometimes to the extent that people stop cycling.

It is why it’s so encouraging to see police forces beginning to take it so seriously. West Midlands launched their Close Pass Initative last year, where a plain clothes officer cycles along the road, and if a motorist passes too close, they are pulled over by colleagues further down the road and given a warning. It was highly praised by cyclists across the country, and since then many other police forces have been lining up to roll it out on their roads, including here in London.

Gearing up

The range and quality of bike gear on the shelves is better than ever before. Biking brands have recognised that the growing numbers of women cycling presents a huge market for them and are stepping up to the plate. They’ve come a long way from the ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach (y’know, make it smaller and stick some flowers and pink accents and there you go, a ‘ladies’ bike). It’s easier than ever to find the perfect bike, and if you’re not into the full Lycra look, you don’t have to look hard for stylish panniers, waterproofs, even reflective knitwear.

Bike shops have joined in on the self-reflection, and realised that sometimes it can be quite intimidating walking into a workshop. Wandering into a very male environment, worried you’re going to get sneered at for not knowing how to fix a puncture, can be so off-putting that sometimes the puncture doesn’t get fixed. The bike returns to the spiders in the shed, and its owner to the tube. A non-judgmental atmosphere can go a long way, and shops are picking up on this fast.

And it’s not just about making the shops less scary places to pop into, they are working to provide safe spaces for everyone who wants to learn how to maintain their bike — Women and Gender Variant workshops are popping up in a number of places.

Representation across the board

It’s also incredibly important to see women getting involved in everything to do with cycling. There are a number of powerful women in City Hall now, advocating for the cycling community, from Caroline Pidgeon and Caroline Russell on the London Assembly Transport Committee to Val Shawcross as Deputy Mayor for Transport.

Professional women’s cycling is becoming more visible too, with women like Laura Trott and Dame Sarah Storey leading the medal tables at last year’s Olympics and Paralympics, and events such as the Women’s Tour, RideLondon and Tour de Yorkshire putting women’s races on our screens. Many tracks are trying to encourage more female racing, with Herne Hill Velodrome and Lee Valley VeloPark both running women-only training sessions.

Greater inclusiveness

And it’s not just about gender — all under-represented groups need to be visible in cycling. Wheels for Wellbeing campaigns for inclusive cycling, supporting, enabling and campaigning for disabled cyclists. They’ve recently challenged councils and TfL to use more diverse images in their cycle and transport strategies.

If you’ve not heard of her already, look up Ayesha McGowan. She’s on a mission to become the first female African-American professional road cyclist, and flying the banner that representation matters the whole way.

What’s LCC doing?

Alongside our infrastructure campaigning and road danger reduction work, LCC is running projects to reach out to under-represented groups in cycling. Our Urban Cycle Loan scheme is running in five boroughs. People can borrow a bike, lock, helmet and hi-vis vest for a month for £10, and are given the opportunity to take up free cycle training at the beginning of the month. If they like the bike at the end of the loan, they can buy it at a discounted price. While not specifically targeted at women, we are finding that the majority of people taking advantage of the scheme are female, and they are highly likely to keep riding once the month is up. 

We’re also proud to have some incredible women as part of our family, such as our 2016 Campaigner of the Year Clare Rogers, coordinator of Enfield Cycling Campaign. She has tirelessly built support for the Enfield mini-Holland scheme, which has faced considerable ‘bikelash’, by engaging with the wider community in an intelligent and positive way, even organising a builders’ breakfast for the workers constructing the cycle tracks on the A105. And she’s often seen practising what she advocates on the school run with her kids on her tandem.

We have a Women and Cycling working group that is actively looking at how we improve the gender balance on the roads and within LCC. We recognise that having women role models at all levels of leadership - from ride leader to Board member- is critically important if we want to improve participation by women. If you’d like to find out more about this group and what they are currently working on, please email Fran (fran@lcc.org.uk).  

LCC will keep campaigning to create the environment on our roads that welcomes everyone who wants to cycle. We’ll keep listening to women (and BME, older, disabled people, and other under-represented groups) and amplify their voices. We’ll keep championing the amazing work that is happening around London: the projects, schemes and events that showcase and support women who want to cycle. And I’ll keep cheering anytime I see a fellow lady on a bike at the lights. 

 

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This article was originally published in the Autum 2017 issue of the London Cyclist

Categories: London

Huge public support for Cycle Superhighway CS9

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:25

The numbers are in, and nearly 60% of the 5,388 responses to the Cycle Superhighway 9 (CS9) consultation supported the proposals.

The plan is to put cycle tracks from the edge of Brentford to Olympia, a route that will be the first of its kind in West London, creating much needed protected space for cycling.

Fran Graham, Campaign Coordinator, LCC, said: “It’s fantastic to see huge public support for Cycle Superhighway 9. Alongside tackling several dangerous junctions, CS9 will take the Mayor another step towards fulfilling the commitment made to LCC members and all Londoners to triple the amount of protected space for cycling on our dangerous main roads.”

Although the formal decisions to approve CS9 is unlikely to be made before the local elections on 3rd May, this consultation results is a clear indication that CS9 is likely to go ahead. Designers at TfL will now be working on amendments to the scheme based on the detailed feedback received at consultation – and hopefully fixing some of the concerns about pedestrian space and a few of the junctions that LCC and others raised.

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “It’s great news that our plans to improve walking and cycling in west London have been backed by Londoners. Cycle Superhighway 9 will improve safety for cyclists and make the area more attractive for pedestrians, providing real benefits to the whole community. I look forward to working closely with the borough councils to consider all of the responses and develop our plans further.”

Bikelash kicks off

Conservative London Assembly members immediately criticised the consultation announcement and plans for CS9, with Tony Devenish suggesting that Mayor Sadiq Khan must listen to the “wishes of local residents” and Tony Arbour saying the consultation had been “undermined by people who live nowhere near the areas affected.”

However, TfL has revealed the response rates to the scheme and demonstrated that 75% of respondents were local residents, compared to just 17% who commuted through it, 14% who visited and 13% who were employed locally. And TfL separated out 941 responses from our supporters who emailed in a form letter, so those numbers don’t reflect the London wide support and interest in the plans.

The scheme has clearly divided the local community, however. Most local community groups who sent in a response opposed the scheme (with common responses for CS9 to be rerouted onto the  A4 and worrying about speeding commuter cyclists). However, of the respondents, 65% of those who did respond said they cycled in the area. Which shows that, despite what the residents associations think, there are clearly a lot of local people who cycle and want CS9 to become a reality!

Chiswick High Road – the area which was most controversial during the consultation process – unsurprisingly received the lowest overall approval – 59% (but the highest number of people strongly supporting). Every other individual section of the scheme saw support and strongly support responses totalling 60% or over.

The scheme was supported by LCC of course, but also Ealing Council, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, Middlesex Association for the Blind, Wheels for Wellbeing, Living Streets, Holy Trinity Hounslow, St Paul’s Church (Ealing), Hammersmith London BID, West London Business and businesses including Glaxo-SmithKline, Heathrow Airport, L&Q Housing Association, Olympia, Sky.

It was opposed by some of the usual suspects (Alliance of British Drivers, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Road Haulage Association etc.), and there were some unusual concerns amongst the responses.

Turnham Green ward councillors, according to TfL, claimed CS9 would cause an “increase local crime (cycles used for snatch thefts and for planned heists from high-value retailers such as jewellers)” while Red Routemaster, according to TfL, said “Cycle Superhighways were the sole cause of slower motor traffic journeys in London … objected to reducing bus lanes to provide space for cyclists, as cyclists do not pay to use the road… called for cycling to be banned on roads away from CS9…”.

The full consultation report is available here.

Categories: London

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