Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #15. A metropolis in your pocket.

#15. A METROPOLIS IN YOUR POCKET. Look at the picture below. London is absolutely huge: a sprawling mass of people, cars, businesses, roads, buses, parks and attractions, too big for most of us to see it all in a lifetime. So big that it takes many years of dedication for cabbies to get to know their way around.

Yet Simon Parker has managed to fit London onto a cycle map that fits in your pocket! (As opposed to the twelve TfL paper maps currently available, which you could wallpaper a room with; or a smart phone browser, which cannot display the whole cycle network – only local areas – in a useful format).

Just as Harry Beck did for the London Underground network, Parker has ingeniously mapped the London Cycle Network, which extends throughout the capital and comprises around 2000 kilometres of safer, quieter streets.

Just as the authorities equipped the London Underground with signs corresponding to Beck’s coloured routes, the authorities today should equip the capital's streets with signs and trails of road markings corresponding to Parker’s coloured cycle routes.

Then, just as users of the Tube can get from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following a few routes (and identifying where to get on and off the network), users of the London Cycle Map would be able to get from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following a few cycle routes (and identifying where to get on and off the network).

And just as the Tube promotes expansiveness and exploration, a city teeming with connections, the London Cycle Map would bring people and places together.

If we’re serious about promoting cycling in London, we need to acknowledge how big our city is. Only then can we appreciate Parker’s achievement of fitting it onto such a compact map.


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