Monday, 28 November 2011


I am pleased to be able to tell you about a new website,, which I hope you will be interested to visit.

The purpose of this website is to facilitate the study of a revitalised London Cycling Network. Primarily we are seeking to establish which sections of this network are functional and which are not, and from here we should be able to build up a complete picture of the current cycling environment. It is hoped that, in turn, this would help to inform the debate about where future investments in cycling would be best placed.

The website is aimed mainly at people who have an interest in developing an amenable cycling environment in the capital, but recognising that many hands make light work, if you do happen to have any photos of the London streetscape that are just sitting on your hard drive doing not very much, then please upload them onto the photomap.

Bikemapper was made possible because of a number of people, beginning with Ben Irvine from Cycle Lifestyle, who is responsible for the London Cycle Map Campaign, and who, together with his girlfriend Becks, took us through to the finals of the Geovation Challenge. My sincere thanks to them, and also to Chris Parker at Ordnance Survey, whose excellent idea it was to support innovation in geography.

My thanks also to Martin Lubikowski from ML Design, who has worked with me since 2005 (check out the map tour). Also to Jon Haste from KOLB and Stuart France from Stuff Animated for their inspirational work. To Josh Coleman and James Nash from Bike Dock Solutions for their generous sponsorship of £500, and to Willy and Guy Pearson from Pearson Cycles, who let me have a bike. (Not a Pearson bicycle, unfortunately, just an off-the-shelf number. Drat.)

I would like to thank Oph, who very kindly allowed me to stay in his house for the period of the streetscape study, and also Chris and Saffron. They organised a bit of a party for everyone some time before I left, and it was here that I had the enormous good fortune to meet a talented young man named Fela, who very patiently and competently has worked with me since then to develop the website.

But mostly I would like to thank my family, who have been my rock. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Hackney High Street

A couple of weeks ago, the police were out on Hackney High Street (properly, the top end of Mare Street), warning cyclists that if they were caught cycling the 'wrong way' up the street again (i.e. the following week), they would either be fined or have to attend safety training.

Hackney High Street

The police are pointing people to a parallel route, which adds an extra quarter mile, just under, to your journey (nearly sixty miles a year). Click here for the details. Cyclists who, not unreasonably, are disinclined to go out of their way just in order to stay on the right side of the law are, said the police, 'just being lazy'. Cyclists! Lazy! Whatever next!

Of all the one-way streets in London that form part of a revitalised London Cycling Network, this one is probably the toughest nut to crack. Complaints about cyclists going the wrong way up Hackney High Street come from three groups: bus drivers, shop-keepers and pedestrians.

As a 'London cyclist', I routinely ignore the 'No entry' signs on one-way streets. What I will not do, however, is ride on the pavement.

In order to go up Hackney High Street, then, I use the parking bays, like stepping-stones. Sometimes I have to wait for a break in the traffic - it's buses, mostly - but I prefer to do this than go a quarter-of-a-mile out of my way.