Lining the pavements on Holborn last new year.
Lots more photos were taken by zefrog.
There are “no cycling” signs at both ends of this route through Smithfield Market, presumably because in the early morning big trucks come through here with the deliveries of meat. But that doesn’t stop people using it as part of a north-south alternative to the Farringdon Road — in places seven whole lanes of through racetrack, turning lanes, parked cars, and taxi ranks. Several quiet streets with cycling permeability join Ludgate Hill to Clerkenwell Road and beyond.
On a trip down to that London, Other Aberdeen also noticed these bicycling paramedics, and in particular, the brand of their bicycles. These are not any bicycle shaped object. These are Smith and Wesson re-branded bicycle shaped objects. “Oooh,” thought the emergency services. “Smith and Wesson. They must be good bicycles.”
That will be why Lambeth police quickly switched to Treks after they got the repair bill from Brixton Bikes.
Those who went to Bristol Carnivelo last weekend will have encountered a much better constructed police bike, chasing down the pedicabs with sirens blaring, in a park full of very jealous children.
The friday photo theme is just an excuse to plug my photography site.
Friday photo: shared-use facility
Sorry pedestrians and cyclists, you’ll have to share. There just isn’t enough space on these streets…
The Friday photo column is just an excuse to plug my photography.
Friday photo: social transport
Three* stone circles that are way better than Stonehenge
And now for some light diversion. David Hembrow describes the travels and travails of a Dutch family trying to get to Stonehenge by bicycle, faced with south east England’s network of motorways and motorways-in-all-but-name. I think I have solution to the Stonehenge cycle tour problem: don’t go to Stonehenge. It’s a bit crap. Stonehenge fell apart over the millennia, but the stones were stuck back upright at various times in the early 20th century. They were still concreting it back together right up into the 1960s. Stonehenge just looks weird, neither ruin nor full restoration. If you go there you’ll be behind a rope on a concrete footpath, next to thousands of vehicles each hour squeezing through the bottleneck on the A303.
Any alternative to Stonehenge is going to be blighted to some extent by Britain’s poor cycling conditions, but at least when you get to them it will have been worth it.
The obvious alternative is Avebury, a couple of dozen miles north of Stonehenge. Larger, more complicated, enigmatic and interesting than the famous neighbour. And sat on a confluence of Sustrans routes.
But you know Sustrans routes. I wouldn’t trust them to get me to Avebury. Better not risk it. Instead go for Castlerigg. More beautiful and breathtaking than the soft southern stone circles, set high on a hill yet dwarfed by the massive landscape of the Cumbrian Fells. And on NCN 71 from Penrith station, a generally delightful, if not perfectly direct, set of lanes and rail trails.
But at Castlerigg you’ll still be sharing with tourists. You’ll hear the distant traffic on the trunk road, and pass the car park on your way in. If you want something proper special, head for Machrie Moor. Machrie Moor is not a stone circle but a collection of them, all different designs and styles. I lost count of how many. To get there you’ll be needing a ferry, a half day’s ride, and a half hour walk up a winding track to a tumble-down old barn and the circles beyond.
Of course, as Kim illustrates, you’ll be sharing the roads with idiots, but at least it won’t have all been for the sake of Stonehenge.
Bonus friday photo: Blackfriars Bridge
I mentioned in the first of these that all of my photos are licensed under the Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial-sharealike license, meaning that if you run, for example, a non-commercial blog or a not-for-profit club or campaign, you’re welcome to use them.
M’coblogger Dawn mentioned the other day that she has never seen Blackfriars Bridge without the builder’s hoardings. Indeed, they’ve been up for two years now — originally, if I recall correctly (and of that I am hardly confident), unplanned, but put up with little consultation or announcement after the builders realised at the last minute that pedestrians would wander up the pavement only to discover that it simply ends at the northern junction with no crossing (and they couldn’t possibly put in a crossing for a few years during the work — think what it would do to the traffic flow!). So they simply shut off the pavement, and to the newer members of London’s ever changing population, Blackfriars Bridge just doesn’t have a pavement on the eastern side. There is no view of St Paul’s over the remains of the old railway bridge, no winter moonrises over Tate Modern.
So I thought I better share this one sooner rather than later, for anybody who doesn’t know what lurks behind the MDF. And it just happens to show that cyclists infinitely outnumber cars here, at 2-0.
Friday photo: bloody motorists…
Even after all this time, I still find it so bizarre that in any mainstream media discussion of cycling and related policy, somebody inevitably tries to de-rail the discussion by shouting about how cyclists are all selfish lawless hooligans who cycle on the pavement.
As a pedestrian, I’m obviously no fan of other road users invading our space.
But, to the sort of person who doesn’t get out much and doesn’t think that they’ve ever even met somebody who rides a bicycle, it’s difficult to communicate the fact that “cyclists” and “cycling” describes an extremely diverse set of people and activities that can not be generalised. One type of “cyclist” might be unable to identify with another type of “cyclist”, and there’s no reason why we should expect them to — they are strangers from different cultures and demographics, united only by their ownership some sort of a bicycle.
Indeed, what are the chances that the lawless hooligan on the pavement is riding a bicycle whose cruel loss some other cyclist is still mourning?
So perhaps the closest analogous scenario that the complainant might understand is to berate motorists for all these ugly burnt-out cars that they leave lying around, spoiling the footpaths on the hills. You motorists…
(Similarly, I hate all you bloody bus passengers: if you want to listen to some awful pseudo-R&B pop crap, get some bloody headphones. And you assholes who use trains, yes, you, all of you: get your dirty shoes off the seats. You disgust me, every last one of you.)
More photography and prints for sale at my photography site.