Standing on bicycles is something I see everyday at London’s intersections where bicycle couriers impress the rest of us, the ‘lame’ cycling crowd, with not having to touch the ground as they ‘wait’ for the lights to change. Today though I found slow racing, which I guess is no new idea. Definitely going to try this.
CycleStreets is a UK-wide cycle journey planner system, which lets you plan cycling routes around from start to finish. It is designed by cyclists, for cyclists, and caters for the needs of less both confident and less confident cyclists.
Ask it for a route, by entering two postcodes or addresses, or clicking two points on the map, and it will think for a while and then deliver three sets of results in tabs: a ‘fastest’ route, a ‘quietest’ route and a ‘shortest’ route.
The service is still in beta and is hungry for recommendations, edits and input from fellow cyclist, so if you want to make the 2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad revolution happen a bit more, help them out.
For close to 2 years now I’ve been in falling in and out of love with several bicycles and progressively choosing those that allow better speeding on the road. The culture of messengers has intrigued me for a long while now for several reasons ranging from their traffic-dodgery, fashion, outsider status and underground squatting/raving/dreads-wearing underground community. Their trends have influenced the entire cycling community in London and particularly East London, which is now crawling with single speed fixed gear bikes.
The conceptual separation of ‘work’ and ‘life’, as distinct elements of social activity, has become established as shorthand for the social and psychological dislocation felt by being at work and not being at work.There is a literature on the work/life balance driven by governmental rhetoric, based on the idea of flexible working.This article suggests that distinctions between ‘work’ and ‘life’, implying a dichotomy in adult life, are overstated. Using material from a study of bicycle messengers this article presents a rich account of a group of workers for whom the binary distinction between work and life is meaningless.The account of this world of work is more closely aligned with those of the jazz musicians described by Becker or the boxers of Weinberg and Arond, where the occupation, identity and culture are not confined to hours of work
Although academic, the paper is highly readable and entertaining. Fincham takes the reader through the cultural backround, fashion and events surrounding the messenger phenomenon. If you’d like me to send it to you, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.
Keep on riding.
Finally it seems like London is catching up with being more bicycle-friendly! Apparently by May next year London will have 6,000 bicycles and 10,500 docking points, but akhem, as most things in London, it won’t be entirely free. So far the plans include Zone 1 only, but further expansion will hopefully follow.
One of the less joyful aspects of cycling in a city is thinking about getting hit by a car, especially when cycling at night without all the bells and whistles the ninja-looking cyclists wear to remain visible at night and during the day. However, even bike lights and reflective jackets are often not enough to ward off distracted or careless drivers, as the lights often become visible only at short distance and mark only a fraction of the cyclists’ road presence. London along with many other cities lacks sufficient bike lanes, which tend to provide the most distinct and visible protection for urban cyclists. With installation costs of $5,000 to $50,000 per mile, we shouldn’t expect to find bike lanes everywhere soon either.
Light Lane, a product by Altitude created somewhat of an answer to the problem of lacking bike lanes. The system projects a crisply defined virtual bike lane onto pavement, using a laser, providing drivers with a familiar boundary to avoid. This seems like an excellent design for cyclist safety issues, though I’d like to know more about how the system will be powered and how costly it’ll be.
[Image courtesy of Altitude]
This Sunday 9 miles around the river will be closed to traffic and open to the two-wheel community! There will be a big festival going on in St. James’ Park, food, open air, and happy cyclists, what else could you ask for? I’m organising a group to join the festivities around London Bridge. Email if you’re interested!
More details at: