Follow, follow, follow, follow…

CS7 - no more than a strip of blue paint, and sometimes not even that

CS7 – no more than a strip of blue paint, and sometimes not even that

…Follow the painted blue line.

Now, obviously, the big news over the past week has been the announcement that the long-awaited ‘Crossrail for bikes’ will go ahead. But here at Cycling with Heels, I like to keep things old school. So, while everyone else has been getting excited over the promise of being able to ride across London in a fully segregated cycle lane, I’ve been getting my first real experience of the original cycle superhighways. Continue reading

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How do I keep finding myself here?

From this evening's protest (photo credit: London Cycling Campaign)

From this evening’s protest (photo credit: London Cycling Campaign)

Two years ago, when the news broke that a female cyclist in her 30s had been killed at Bow roundabout, my dad says his first thought was that it was me.

My parents tend to keep their fears to themselves, so I didn’t actually find this out until it had been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was alive and well – in other words, after I’d phoned them. Equally, while I’m sure the news this past week has had my mum lying awake at night worrying about me, I haven’t heard a peep out of them.

Because, let’s face it, for the parent of a cyclist in London, this has not been a good week.
Continue reading

CS2: Lane of the Brave?

Cycle superhighway 2

Cycle superhighway 2 (By Felix O (Barclays cycle superhighway no 2, Mile end. e1) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

“God you’re so brave, cycling in London. I could never do that. I’d be afraid I’d get myself knocked off, or killed.”

I can’t tell you how many times people have said that to me, or words to that effect. Tens. Hundreds, maybe.

I used to get mildly annoyed when someone tried to tell me I was a hero for doing something as ordinary as riding a bike. I used to think if they could stop being such scaredy cats, they’d see it was really quite simple: you just get on the bike and pedal. OK, you have to pay attention to the traffic around you, but you learn to do that quickly enough. I mean, if I can do it, then anyone can.

These days, though, I’m starting to think they may have a point. Continue reading

Blue paint is not enough

2013-07-12 18.36.53

Call this a cycle lane?

Picture the scene. It’s a little after 11pm; you’ve spent the evening with friends down on the South Bank and now you’re on your way home. You follow, as you normally do when you’re heading home from central London, the cycle path that skirts past Angel. It’s unusually busy for this time of the night, but it’s been a warm evening so it’s perhaps not surprising that so many people are still out on their bikes.

As you approach the next set of lights, where the path crosses Goswell Road, you realise there’s something very familiar about one of your fellow cyclists. That mop of unruly blond hair, sticking out at all angles from underneath the rider’s helmet…it’s not…is it? You pull level with them, and glance to your right. Your suspicions are confirmed. It’s Boris Johnson. Continue reading