Cycling on the pavement

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Friday 7 July 2006 8.29pm
I won a bicycle and helmet in an Evening Standard competition and it was delivered at 7pm tonight. I haven't ridden a bike for years and just went for a ride round the block and it scared the s*** out of me. Every time a bus went past I thought I was going to be run over. I can now understand why people ride on the pavement. I'll never complain about them again.
Thank goodness it's the weekend so I can get some practice quietly along the river!
Saturday 8 July 2006 12.30am
Congratulations and Good luck phoney. I have been cycling in London for a year now and find it the best way to get around. How else could I have got back from waterloo to Bermondsey in 5 mins? Start on the quiet roads and gradually build up to the busy roads, be assertive but not agressive and dont hug the gutter, you have as much right to be on the road as anyone else. It is scary at first but Hopefuly you will find it a great way to get around.
Saturday 8 July 2006 12.32am
GOSH, people actually WIN those competitions! We're proud of you Phoney. But please be careful, those bikes can be death traps. Just think how fit you'll be!
Saturday 8 July 2006 1.15am
I've just ordered a bike and am waiting for it to be delivered. I've literally not cycled since i was about 10 years old, so I'm a little apprehensive about going on busy roads.

Ideally I'd like to be able to cycle from home (Elephant) to work (Marylebone High Street) and back, without getting run over, but I'm finding it difficult to sort out a route where I won't get run over. Westminster bridge, and through the parks to Green Park Station, then up through Marfair sounds my best bet I think ... but I'm a little nervous about Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square. Any recommendations?

Where am I allowed to chain my bike to? Will any railing do (as long as there are no "No Cycles" signs)?
Saturday 8 July 2006 8.35am
so how old are you, magoot, eleven? There is a leaflet issued by TFL "London Cycle Routes" which is probably (I dont know, I've only seen it, not used it) helpful.
Saturday 8 July 2006 10.22am
Try to get hold of some of the free TfL cycle maps - there's a series covering the whole of London. 'On Your Bike' on Tooley Street had a good selection last time I was in there.

Useful cycle journey planner using London Cycle Network routes and minor roads:

Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square aren't too bad once you have a bit of confidence. I cycle that way quite often. The worst bit is southbound over the bridge with pedestrians stepping out in the the road without looking...

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Sunday 9 July 2006 9.21am
Cycling on the southbank of the river was a joy a few years ago (1997). I used to teach in Battersea and cycled on the river from the Belfast to Vauxhall Bridge. In those days it was relatively quiet and you did have to hump the bike over the roadway at Southwark Bridge and again at Westminster Bridge.

Things are different these days with the post Millenium discovery of the southbank by the great unwashed. Sadly a significant component of these pedestrians seem to think that cycles are not allowed and one such nasty piece of work actually made a real effort to have me off the bike.

Now no-one could call me a 'militant cyclist', I cycle slowly near and around pedestrians, use my bell in a respectful manner and generally do what I can to avoid those elbows that have probably been sharpened at the Horrids sale. But these days I cycle with caution. At least with cars and car drivers you know what to expect.

Regards from the yellow jersey

Sunday 9 July 2006 9.43am
Oh dear Niall, I do know what you mean. Cyclists are getting a bad name, because a lot of them ARE agressive and scary and seem to think their space-man helmets make them monarchs of all they survey. And actually the South Bank run should really have a cycle lane thingy's become such a seething mass of people - which is all to the good on the one hand but on the other.....
Sunday 9 July 2006 12.26pm
Niall Connolly wrote:
Things are different these days with the post Millenium discovery of the southbank by the great unwashed.

I have recently decided to walk to and from work from Tower Bridge to Fleet Street rather than get the bus/tube/train and use the Southbank route by the river up to Blackfriars Bridge. Am I part of your 'great unwashed'? Are the other commuters who decide to walk?

I hope your attitude to other users of the path does not translate in to your cycling...
Sunday 9 July 2006 1.08pm
Whoops - seemed to have touched a raw nerve there. Sorry if I offended any mild-mannered pedestrians with my memories from a better time but the sad fact is that the southbank isn't a good place to cycle anymore. There isn't any sort of 'get along together' attitude unlike my experience in Amsterdam where cyclists and pedestrians seem to respect one another and get along without friction or rancour.

The sad fact is that pedestrians can be just as aggressive as the worst car, truck or cycle rider or driver. Cyclists don't have the exclusive franchise on being aggressive or ill-mannered, no matter how they are attired.

Regarding 'the great unwashed', they are defined as being, 'the common people generally' and I guess that 'the common people generally' have discovered the southbank since the Millenium, some have even discovered it more recently than that.

Phew, glad thats over. Time to go back to the garden. Where's that Monty Don book.


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