What with BoJo’s ominous warnings on the Tube, cycling has never been so in. I am not the greatest fan of the Games, but I love that cycling is being inadvertently promoted. It’s speedy, cheap, a green way to travel that is easy to incorporate into your busy schedule, and it’s fun to boot. What’s not to love?
Well, actually, lots. It can be quite daunting at first. I’ll admit when I first started out, at the tender age of 21, I was absolutely terrified. It sounded great on paper, but once I unleashed myself on the roads, I realised that cycling can be pretty scary stuff. My friends didn’t help; they mocked me as I struggled to keep up with them, wheezing as I frantically pedalled in the wrong gear, flinching at all the drivers beeping at me, so I really feel the pain of a new cyclist. We need to encourage people to cycle, not be mean to them once they give it a go. Thankfully, Transport for London are onto this and have provided a fancy guide to cycling around London, a city daunting even to the most seasoned cyclist. Google Maps have also got in on the game, recently adding a handy cycling route option to their website.
…I’ve dabbled in unicycle hockey…
Another incentive to get your leg over (the crossbar, that is) is that cycling is really cool. Everyone looks instantly hotter on a bike. Unfortunately, for some, wearing a helmet is distinctly uncool, but this is all about to change with London Cycle Chic’s ‘Hot in a Helmet’ campaign. Mercy! Look at those hotties!
But why stop at cycling merely being a means of getting from A to B? In true sporting Olympic spirit, some savvy Londoners have started incorporating bikes (and unicycles!) into sports. Bike Polo anyone? I personally have never tried bike polo, but I’ve dabbled in unicycle hockey, which isn’t as hard as it sounds. In fact, it’s a surprisingly popular sport, with clubs popping up all in and out of the capital. Another fun activity is Critical Mass, which is a leisurely cycle around London on the last Friday of every month. Or if you’re feeling daring, you could try London’s annual Naked Cycle.
…more funding for cycle paths and raise awareness for cyclists…
Seriously though, it looks like cycling is here to stay in London. Some have criticised the Olympics for not making the city more bicycle-friendly, but I reckon London is on its way. BoJo has promised a that the Olympic Park’s first post-Olympics event will be a two day cycling festival and Transport for London is aiming for a 400% increase in cyclists by 2026 compared to 2001.
Sadly, London is not yet a cycling haven like Denmark or the Netherlands, but this will only change if more people get on their bikes. More cyclists on the roads will ensure more funding for cycle paths and raise awareness for cyclists, which will ultimately make cycling safer. There is no reason not to give it a go, so grab your bike and get outside!