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That cycling thing in London yesterday

Guess which mayor thought it was a great idea to close off a sizeable chunk of London yesterday, in order that cyclists could run, or rather pedal, riot?

I had been meaning to blog about it in advance, as every time I saw a poster advertising this event I was filled with foreboding, but somehow it slipped down my agenda.

Anyway, some 38,000 supposedly showed up yesterday, and I'm sure it was entertaining enough for them. However, on the downside, trains to and from the centre were filled with bikes which blameless travellers like humble narrator and his better half had to scramble over. And as ever, with no assistance from said cyclists, who seem to revel in the level of inconvenience etc that they are able to cause other travellers.

So far not much worse than a small irritation, and not much different from the daily delights of fighting one's way past idiots with suitcases the size of wardrobes, always jammed in the middle of the carriage doorways, or taking up seats with the bally things. Next indignity is having great swathes of central London cut off from normal traffic, thus necessitating lengthy detours and so forth. I was not best pleased about that either.

However, Croydonian curmudgeonliness to one side, there is a more serious point to be had. If the people whizzing around town in various fluorescent shades of fire hazard material were expert urban cyclists, then why privilege them over other road users? If they were amateurs not used to negotiating Hyde Park Corner et al, then the ostensible point of the exercise - to encourage folk to ride bikes in London (rather than the secondary point of annoying drivers) - is actively dangerous. Anyone who raced up and down the Mall, or pottered along the Embankment yesterday is going to find things very, very different today. There will be an awful lot of unforgiving traffic, and - I will wager the usual Lombard Street to a rotten orange - an awful lot of accidents and trips to casualty with split heads, broken limbs and the like. I would also expect that there will be more cyclists than usual thinking themselves entitled to cycle on the pavement and transfer the risk to pedestrians. Which they do, with great enthusiasm. My usual mutter of 'maybe you need stabilisers too' never seems to have any impact....

I have a friend who is a serious urban cyclist, and he reckons the odds are for a London cyclist to be knocked down at least once a year. And those who do dare to cycle in the centre have doubtless built up expertise cycling in more out of the way places. And remember what happened to the Trojans when they did not listen to Cassandra.

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Blogger Justin Hinchcliffe said... 1:21 pm

Did you know that Boris was one of them?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 1:25 pm

I did not, no. But I will forgive Boris most things.  



Anonymous nomad said... 1:43 pm

Another stupid idea. Why can't these people cycle out of the way on Hampstead Heath or Streatham Common - or, dare I say it, along the seafront at Bournemouth! How many were tested for "performance enhancing" drugs?  



Blogger Ed said... 2:01 pm

I love cycling in London. There is an element of risk-thrill. One has to be bold and sure of oneself. I agree that encouraging people to try it out on a quiet day is a terrible idea. There are enough bad cyclists in town already!  



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