Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #24. Bespoke versions of the map.

#24. BESPOKE VERSIONS OF THE MAP. This is one of my favourite reasons of all. Let me explain.

The versions of the London Cycle Map which Parker has created so far, in collaboration with various illustrators, could be called ‘standard’ versions. They show Parker’s routes in relation to London’s Tube stations and major landmarks, to give a sense of the overall geography of the terrain.

If Parker’s plan were implemented, the streets would feature road signs and markings leading cyclists along the coloured routes depicted on the London Cycle Map. But cyclists would still need to plan their entry and exit points on the network, just like you would when using the Tube.

Over time, grey routes could be added which lead from the network towards the popular landmarks displayed on the map, but until then you’d have to establish for yourself how to exit the network to reach those landmarks. And when it comes to your own miscellaneous destinations, you’d have to plan how to reach them too.

But not indefinitely. Bespoke versions of the map could soon be made available, on which a person’s own destinations are included as well as, or instead of, the landmarks on the standard versions. For instance, you could use a computer programme to print off a London Cycle Map with all your friends’ and relatives’ houses marked on it, plus any other places you might want to visit.

On the back of the map would be a list of instructions for how to reach those landmarks from the network. You would then have, at your disposal, a bespoke guide showing you how to ride to virtually anywhere you wanted to go to in London, on quieter, safer, easy-to-follow coloured routes plus a few turn-rights and turn-lefts at the end to reach your destination.

Another option would be bespoke versions of the map featuring every example of a particular type of destination. These maps would save individuals the trouble of inputting the data themselves. For example, fans of theatre could buy a version of the map showing the locations of every single theatre in the capital, plus, on the rear, instructions as to how to reach the venues from the network.

The same could be done for cycle shops, museums, cinemas, concert venues, real ale pubs, swimming pools, you name it. This would not only make it easy for people to go on fantastic ‘culture crawls’ by bike, but could also provide a lucrative merchandising opportunity for the authorities, who would be able to create sponsored versions of the map in partnership with businesses.

Personally, I would love to own a London Cycle Map showing how to reach every football ground in the capital via the safer, quieter, colour-coded streets of the London Cycle Network. I could cycle to see every Spurs fixture in the capital, simply and pleasantly.

What bespoke version of the London Cycle Map would you like to see?


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