Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #9. A makeover for cycling.

#9. A MAKEOVER FOR CYCLING. “Everyone hates cyclists. Even cyclists hate cyclists.” Malcolm Tucker, the offensive spin doctor from comedy The Thick of It, has a habit of telling it like it is.

It’s peculiar that cycling is so unpopular. You’d think that the public would celebrate an affordable vehicle which reduces congestion on roads and public transport, lowers pollution (noise and air), and hardly ever harms pedestrians.

Clearly, cycling needs a spin doctor. Not one like Malcolm Tucker. Not one who knows what the truth looks like yet uses his insight to make lies sound plausible. Cycling needs the anti-Tucker: someone who knows what the truth looks like and knows how to convey it to people.

The truth is, cycling is the biggest shot in the arm a city can receive, so how do we make Londoners aware of this?

A London Cycle Map would be a wonderful makeover for cycling in the capital. This is putting it quite literally.

Parker’s map is a makeover of the current London Cycle Network, portraying it as a beautiful series of long, straight, parallel, coloured routes, rather than a bewildering squiggle.

In turn, the map is a blueprint for a makeover of the streets on the network, showing how to furnish them with signs and trails of road markings to enable cyclists to ride from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following just a few coloured routes, like on the Tube.

Of course, the result would be so much more than a makeover. Non-cyclists who are worried about navigation and safety would know that they could ride throughout the capital, conveniently and confidently, on the generally quieter streets of the London Cycle Network. This could catalyse a surge in cycling in London.

That’s the thing about anti-spin. When you make the truth compelling, you make the world a better place.



This Saturday's Times has the

This Saturday's Times has the following text under a picture of two cyclists riding their bikes near the new Olympic Stadium: "Has the Olympic dream been undermined by official hostility to cycling in London?"

Cycling: the way ahead suggests that "the worst enemies of the bicycle in urban areas are not cars, but longheld prejudices." This is why they suggest "some simple, inexpensive and popular measures, which could be implemented immediately." The idea is to create a virtuous circle.

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