• Boneshaker 7

    No, it's not the most succesful movie franchise since Police Academy; it's the excellent Boneshaker Magazine, which is now into its seventh issue. The mag is a celebration of cycling and the people who do it, and is full of articles and anecdotes from around the globe. Congratulations to the Boneshaker editorial team on the launch of issue 7, which comes recommended by Cycle Lifestyle.



  • Cycling's the Thing (Not Anti-Capitalism)

    I’ve just returned from two thoroughly enjoyable days at Play’s The Thing, a conference exploring creative aspects to well-being. Congratulations and thanks to the host Pat Kane and his team; what a great group of people you assembled for a unique and wonderful occasion.

    At the conference I gave a talk on cycling. Part of what I wanted to convey was that cycling is a canny way of injecting playfulness into our daily lives. Most people commute, and so twice a day could be bringing out their inner child and getting healthier, happier and fitter on two wheels.

    But part of my brief was also to talk about social enterprise; and for this I wanted to champion some of the overlooked good things about modern life and capitalist economies. Here’s a good thing: whenever any two people trade they are basically trusting each other to perform a favour; so as trade has become global, so has trust. This has the knock-on effect of making trading countries less likely to go to war; a phenomenon known as ‘gentle commerce’. Trade also associates positively with democracy and longer life expectancy – all of which should be a cause for great celebration.

    By raising these points, I wanted to highlight the commonly committed logical fallacy of confusing the statement “capitalism has some things wrong with it” with “capitalism has everything wrong with it”. The first is correct, the second is ludicrous. Indeed, it can arguably be a little hypocritical; often people who advocate the second statement are so busy denouncing the system, they’re not actually doing anything to improve peoples’ lives within it. Have I missed the point? Should I be sitting in a tent rather than running Cycle Lifestyle? Instead of picking up the phone, writing emails, attending meetings, packaging up and posting magazines, writing articles and lobbying politicians, should I be sipping on a Starbucks coffee and denouncing the modern world? Bringing out our inner child doesn’t have to make us childish.

    I’d also include a certain kind of "socialist" in this category of people who ‘denounce rather than do’. I'm not talking about all leftists - just the ones who make you wonder whether their insisting repeatedly that the state "should" do something is actually a mask for them saying “I can’t personally be bothered to do anything”. This is why I offered a defence of the Big Society at the conference. Strong communities are absolutely crucial to the well-being of a society, and so a culture of voluntarism, local enterprise and togetherness is a worthy cause – whether it’s advocated by David Cameron or, indeed, Neil Kinnock, whose passionate keynote speech in Blackpool in 1988 seems to have been forgotten by Guardian readers.

    Isn’t this a bit of a digression from cycling? Far from it. Cycle Lifestyle’s London Cycle Map Campaign is calling for a properly signed and mapped network of safer, quieter routes (mostly comprising the 2,000 kilometres of London Cycle Network). This would enable new cyclists to navigate confidently in the capital. Rather than channelling bikes onto main roads, where there is a heavier concentration of dangerous trucks and other fast moving vehicles, a London Cycle Map would make cycling on the backstreets as easy as catching the Tube.

    The point is: this, too, is a classic social enterprise approach. It combines realism about the economy with a real desire to fix aspects of it that aren’t working properly. The realism accepts that Londoners are going to need busy main roads and trucks for the foreseeable future. (How else are 10 million mouths going to get fed every day? How else will businesses and tradesmen transport goods and equipment?) The real desire I'm talking about means championing a solution that really could work. If you want to get to the moon on a bicycle, you don’t really want to get to the moon.

    Likewise, if you want to get more people cycling but you don’t have a sensible proposal for doing it, your desire can’t be taken as seriously. Regretfully this is an apt description of the London Cycling Campaign’s adversarial but ineffective approach. By campaigning for more cycle routes on main roads (and against lorries) they are picking an unnecessary and unwinnable fight with capitalism. Despite (ironically) having a huge budget and massive resource base, in their hands the bicycle is in danger of becoming a naively regressive symbol (like a tent) rather than a symbol of hope and progress like Parker’s glorious London Cycle Map design.

  • Flying Bicycles!

    Yes, you read that right. Here's a magnificent article describing the fascinating 50-year history of pedal-powered flight. Check out the videos: it's pretty breathtaking when you see these machines in the air. Makes you realise that there are still some heroes out there, pushing human and scientific limits.

    Who knows, maybe they'll make a discovery as important as the invention of the bicycle itself, and one day we'll all be pedalling our way through the skies of London. Until then, just flying down Spring Hill towards the canal is good enough for me and my bike.


  • Cycling to greener football clubs

    An interesting short blog on the Guardian website asks which are the greenest football clubs in the country. The piece focuses on fans travelling to away games and the potential for car sharing, as well as other green initiatives clubs have been involved in (Ipswich Town, for instance, commendably passing on food waste generated during the game to a nearby bio-energy plant).

    But one obvious avenue to greener football clubs was overlooked by the blog: the potential for fans to cycle to games, especially home games. Gareth Jenkins and myself rode to see Tottenham Hotspur in action at White Hart Lane, and had a glorious time. The thing we noticed most was how much more exciting the build up to the game was when we were on our bikes, soaking up the atmosphere around the ground.

    It seems to me that football clubs, Spurs included, could be doing a lot more to promote cycling to the tens of thousands of fans who attend home games. How about players doing a lap of the pitch on bikes as a PR stunt? Or the club director swapping the 4x4 for a bicycle? Or clubs just installing more bike parking, and promoting cycling in the matchday programme? What if the premier league incentivised cycling among fans with a 'green league', which could give clubs extra prize money based on their positions at the end of the season?

    With lots of football clubs in London, fans in the capital could even cycle to away games as well. It's something that football has overlooked, and perhaps the cycling community has too. There is a lot of focus on commuting, but matchday also sees a mass migration of people - and perhaps because those supporters are inherently attracted by sport and physical exercise there's more scope for getting them interested in cycling?

    What do you think can be done to encourage more football fans to cycle?

    Do you cycle to see your favourite football team in action?

  • 1,500 petition signatures!

    Heading in the right direction; we're getting there; the signs of the times. If there's one thing editing Cycle Lifestyle does to you it's fill your head with puns.

    So let me tell it like it is: over 1,500 people have now signed the London Cycle Map Campaign petition! If we keep going like this then surely it's only a matter of time before the authorities wake up to the transformative potential of Simon Parker's glorious London Cycle Map.

    If you haven't done so already, please tell your friends, colleagues, MPs, kids and neighbours about our campaign. The public gets what the public wants, so we have to ensure that we collectively demand a London Cycle Map - and therefore a capital city that's connected by a safe, comprehensive, well-signed and easily navigable network of cycle routes - just like the underground, but overground!

    By the way, to put that figure of 1,500 into perspective, here's an image of how many people that is (or so I am reliably informed by some website or other). If every one of these people persuaded one friend to sign the petition, there'd be 3,000 signatures, and if those new signatories did the same there'd be 4,500 - and so on.

    Anyway, back to the puns: pedal power to the people; mapping the future; the social cycle network. Etcetera. 

  • TfL cycling website updated for winter

    Transport for London's cycling website has been updated with useful information about riding in winter - including tips on safety equipment, cycle maintenance, clothing and accessories.

    Registration for training sessions is also available, if you wish to gain confidence for cycling in the dark.


  • Persuading your boss about cycle parking

    How do you persuade your boss that cycle parking is really important? Bosses have a tendency to prioritise profits, so a good place to start is by pointing out that better cycle parking makes business sense.

    For a start, it encourages employees to cycle to work. And this means a workforce that’s more motivated, calm, alert, confident, happy and above all productive. Cycling to work also improves employee health, recruitment and loyalty: all important assets to a company. Finally, employees who cycle can save the company money in travel expenses, such as Tube fares, parking fees and congestion charges.

    But just as important is the effect that good cycle parking can have on customers and clients. For all of the above reasons, other people will want to do business with you if they can park their bikes outside your premises. Cycle parking makes your business more accessible.

    One of the best reasons to install cycle parking is because it enhances your company’s reputation. The marketplace is increasingly valuing businesses who care for people and planet. There’s no better statement that yours does than installing cycle parking outside your premises.

    And there are few better cycle parking facilities than those offered by Cyclepods. They are the only carbon neutral cycle storage company in the world, with all their products manufactured from 100% recycled or recyclable materials. And their products look great too, with a range of bicycle parking solutions which are stylish as well as space-saving, sustainable and secure.

    By providing an individual track for each bike, Cyclepods products prevent overcrowding and bike damage. Furthermore, all their products can be installed cheaply and easily, without the need for ground works.

    Their fastest selling product is the innovative Streetpod, which has been tested by the National Police Standards (Secured By Design) and passed Level 2, making it the most secure cycle parking unit on the public highway. The Streetpod can be seen all over Britain, from Edinburgh to Brighton. Cyclists can secure their bike and both wheels using just one lock, fastened through a 20mm solid steel loop around the rear wheel and bike frame.

    To find out more, visit www.cyclepods.co.uk. Or contact Lionel O’Hara at lionel@cyclepods.co.uk or on 0845 094 0490

    And then get talking to your boss about why better cycle parking makes good business sense.

  • Tackle road danger to free our children, says Sustrans

    Charity Sustrans reports that as many as 580 deaths and serious injuries among children could be prevented in Britain each year with the introduction of 20mph into urban areas where 30mph is the current limit.

    Indeed, as the clocks go back and children make their winter journeys to and from school in darker conditions, the need for safer roads is more urgent.

    Miranda Krestovnikoff, Ambassador for Sustrans’ Free Range Kids Campaign, says; ‘Dressing our children in high-visibility clothes from head to toe does not tackle the source of the danger. What we need is to reduce traffic speeds in residential and urban areas to 20mph, and invest far more in creating safe walking and cycling routes, to school and beyond.

    ‘If we don’t then our children will be denied the freedom we so enjoyed, and miss out on so much that makes childhood special.’

    Thirty years ago 80 per cent of seven and eight year olds walked or cycled to school on their own. Now that figure is reversed and 80 per cent of children of a similar age are accompanied by an adult, increasingly in a car.

    As a result, children are less independent, less physically active (and getting fatter), and having less fun and freedom than they would like.

    Sustrans launched its Free Range Kids campaign this summer to help change that and give children more opportunities to be active and independent. Support the campaign at www.sustrans.org.uk/freerangekids or urge your local MP to sign the Free Range Kids Early Day Motion.

    Cycle Lifestyle enthusiastically supports this campaign.

  • Bike Love

    "There are three of us in this marriage", Lady Diana once said of her relationship with Prince Charles. She was of course referring to Camilla Parker Bowles, but I wonder how many disgruntled boyfriends or girlfriends can say the same thing about a bicycle occupying their partner's attention?

    People do tend to become rather smitten with their bikes. It's partly a loyalty thing, I suppose. You'll often hear the bicycle referred to as a 'trusty steed' - and it makes sense because a bike hardly ever ever lets you down and will carry you wherever you could realistically want to go in your daily life. And of course you'll always experience that bit of magic on the way.

    That's why, indeed, it's so heartbreaking when a bike is stolen. It's not just an object that is lost, but a bond, complete with memories and an intimate understanding of those little things - the tension of the brakes, the hieght of the seat, the position of the drinks holder - which enable you to get the best out of your bike and yourself.

    If your partner is in love with their bike, then I suggest a simple remedy: James Hewitt. No, I don't literally mean the cavalry officer Diana had a fling with, but simply that you need a fourth party in your relationship. You need to fall in love with cycling too!

    Gareth Jenkins, the New Bike on the Block, had the right idea when he managed to persuade his wife to cycle all the way to Wales with him. Even falling in a river didn't stop her from falling in love with her bike. It's just a shame for Gareth that he has to sleep on the couch now.


  • Issue 6 of Cycle Lifestyle is here!

    This week Londoners can get their hands on one of 10,000 copies of issue 6 of Cycle Lifestyle, the only free cycling magazine in the UK that's for potential as well as regular cyclists.

    All the familiar favourites are back. New Bike on the Block, Gareth Jenkins, rides from London to Wales with his cycling rookie wife, armed only with a basic map and a plan to ask locals for directions. The Best Cycling Streets’ Liz Hunter heads to glorious Waterloo Bridge to capture its splendour in her beautifully descriptive writing. The Peddler, Adam Copeland, has a taste of cycling (and numerous wines) in France; not a black cab in sight apparently (when you’re horizontal in a field). And Milly Skervin shows that you can learn to cycle and Give it a Go at any time in your life.

    There’s also a delightful poem from celebrated poet Kate Potts, as well all the usual tips and advice on getting started, planning a route and staying safe – with a special Winter Cycling feature by Ry Morgan from PleaseCycle.

    Finally, on pages 8-9 we show what the streets might look like if Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map proposal is adopted in the capital. We suggest what kinds of signs and road markings might be needed for directing cyclists around on his Tube-style network of cycle routes. This could make cycling from anywhere to anywhere in London as simple as following a few signs and a trail of breadcrumbs – dots on the road – rather than remembering hundreds of turn-rights and turn-lefts.

    People love to hype things these days (One Direction: the New Beatles?), but Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map is genuinely a ground-breaking proposal. So please help our campaign, and help London become a world-leading cycling city, by signing the petition at www.petition.co.uk/london-cycle-map-campaign.

    Special thanks to Sam Motherwell, whose brilliant linocut was used for this issue’s striking cover art, and Hannah Lewis, who produced the wonderfully wintry artwork on pages 4 and 14. It’s only through generous creative contributions like these that Cycle Lifestyle magazine is possible.


User login

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.