Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #28. Great for folding bikes.

#28. GREAT FOR FOLDING BIKES. If James Bond wasn’t so obsessed with cars, he’d ride a bicycle that folds up to the size of a suitcase. There are fewer cooler contraptions.

Folding bikes are really useful in a city like London, where commutes often involve different stages with multiple modes of transport. For people who want to get a bit of exercise but not get too knackered, or just avoid central London, a folding bike makes it easy to cycle one or more stages of a journey. During busy periods it’s often not possible to take a conventional bike on public transport, and fitting one in a car is a bit of a hassle all the time, but a folder can be carried more or less anywhere without fuss.

Perhaps those who benefit most from folders are people who commute long distances into London. Compared to rural settings, the capital can be a loud and intimidating place. What a relief it is to be able to travel across it in the open air on a bike which can be so easily transported to the city outskirts.

I receive loads of emails from prospective visitors to London asking me “what are the safest cycle routes” from one part of the capital to another. I sigh and tell them to use a cycle route planner, or order a bunch of TfL maps, then I just hope they’re not going to be put off by having to remember hundreds of directions.

It would be so much better if I could say to these people, “just follow a route or two on the London Cycle Map: the coloured signs and road markings make it as easy as catching the Tube”.

A London Cycle Map would be the perfect complement to the convenience of a folding bike. In just a few simple steps – unfold bike frame, raise seat post, click pedals into place, ride to nearest point on network, check London Cycle Map, follow routes, change routes if necessary, leave network at nearest point to destination – an owner of a folding bike could travel from anywhere to anywhere in the capital, free of hassle, free of charge.

London: a vast metropolis that can be folded into a bike the size of a suitcase, and a map the size of your hand.


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