Sunday 17 July 2022

London Calling

outside Purley hospital

A training day at work could have meant a Saturday off the bike. But James suggested we ride in, a second Moof IT CC event.

My only reservation was the route, if we followed the one I would have driven it didn't appeal. Congested main roads and junctions could have made the journey a bit of an ordeal. But James had  ridden in before and said it wasn't that bad.

I meet him outside Purley hospital at just after eight in the morning. It started as expected; a painted line to indicate a cycle lane, not a safe solution. Going through central Croydon was better, bollard protection and a shared use path on North End. Although on the return journey this was a little tricky due to the number of people. We just slowed considerably and it was still much better than the Wellesley Road. The council have closed a lot of side streets to motor traffic to prevent rat-running. I'm not sure if they have affected the West Croydon section of London Road. It was much quieter than I expected, the 20 mph limit that most seemed to accept helped a lot. As we rode on there were more bollards, quiet back roads, cycle paths and fully protected lanes across the bridges. I had a rough idea where we were as we got closer to Moof IT's westend office. It still surprised me when we popped out onto a road I knew and I realised a busy, potentially dangerous road or junction had been bypassed. The pace was relaxed but we still made it to Trafalgar Square quickly, so much so that we had time to stop at the Rapha store on Glasshouse Street.

Rapha store on Glasshouse Street

You can take your bike in whilst you shop or drink coffee. It was just ten minutes from here to the completion of my first bike commute. I'm not sure I'd want to do it, as James has done, during the week though. 

My thoughts:

I saved money by not using public transport.

The journey was quicker than the aforementioned public transport. I don't think it would have been affected by much if it had been a busier weekday.

Why would anyone drive into London? Public transport or a coat would have been fine if the weather hadn't been so good.

Generally the provision of bike infrastructure is good or brilliant. Especially as you leave Surrey and get closer to central London.

I know my home county is more rural, but there is still plenty that could be done in our villages and towns. And making the many A roads that join them safer to use on a bike would insentivise more active travel. Instead most councillors and MP's either do nothing or work to block any improvement.