#37. TURNING CYCLING IN LONDON INSIDE OUT. Something I’ve noticed from email correspondence, and from London Cycle Map Campaign petition signatories and facebook group members, is that the campaign seems to be more popular outside of the capital than inside, including overseas.
For example, I recently received an email from John Colligan (pictured below) from New York City, who has created a London Cycle Map Campaign T-shirt. Nice one, John!
One obvious reason for this wide-ranging popularity is that visitors cycling in the capital might need more help with navigation than Londoners do. But I suspect that this is not the whole story.
One of the hallmarks of successful problem solving is the ability to ‘step outside of the box’. As Einstein noted, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.
The same applies to the ability to appreciate the contribution of creative thinkers – it takes one to know one. People who can step outside of the box are in a better position to evaluate the contributions of others who’ve stepped out and come up with creative solutions.
I think this is part of the reason why the London Cycle Map Campaign is so popular outside of the capital. With a bit of distance between them and the debates raging among various cycling advocates, politicians and other lobby groups here, non-Londoners can see the wood for the trees.
They can see the marvelous solution that Simon Parker has come up with. His London Cycle Map re-imagines the safer cycling streets of the London Cycle Network as a collection of long, straight routes dissecting the capital in all directions. With road markings and signs in place corresponding to Parker’s map, cyclists could get from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following a few coloured routes, like on the Tube.
Parker is an outsider. He was just a regular cyclist who was frustrated by getting lost on the LCN when the penny dropped and he came up with the idea of a cycling Tube map. He has spent the past decade trying to persuade cycle advocacy groups and politicians to back his plan.
At Cycle Lifestyle, we’re outsiders too. I started this magazine because I didn’t even realize any other organizations were lobbying for cycling in the capital! The lack of a decent cycle network convinced me that someone needed to speak out for those would-be cyclists who would cycle if only they had a safe and simple enough network to cycle on.
Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map is promising to turn cycling in London inside out. Which side are you on?