The biggest barrier to cycling for those who do not cycle is usually road safety. From the sheer weight of London traffic, potholes all over the road and too many cyclists choosing to ignore the rules of the roads, casualties on London roads are now unfortunately all too frequent.
The London Assembly's recent transport committee has said cycling casualties have risen by 50% and you can see the BBCs report today into this by clicking here.
We can bleat on about how London is not cut out for cycling with small roads and no real cycling culture, unlike places like Holland, Denmark or France. However, that argument only carries so much weight now as cycling continues to explode in popularity, and it's only going to get bigger as green, carbon neutral transport solutions are sought.
From our point of view, 2 major changes need to occur.
We need proper investment in London's cycling infrastructure. Less than 1% of TFL's budget is spent on cycling. This is simply not enough when you consider the other areas that TFL spends it's money. Cycling has become a viable commute to work and we need this to grow. The major barrier for entry is cycle safety so we call upon TFL to increase its cycling budget and allocate much of this to cycle safety.
High traffic speed and the heavy weight of traffic in heavily populated areas are a major reason why we have so many casualties. We need dedicated cycle lanes and safe junction layouts in our city. And please, councils, we need regular repair of the ever increasing potholes.
2. Self Awareness
The second major change comes from within our own community. It is harder for many cyclists to accept but until we cycle safer, cycling deaths and serious injuries will continue to rise. That means, stopping at red lights, stopping at stop junctions and using your ears. A man with a great deal of cycling nous recently said it should be compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets and for them to leave their ipods at home. That man was Bradley Wiggins. We couldn't agree more.
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Every now and again, you see something that is so clever, so groundbreaking, that you wonder whether it can actually change the world you live in. And today is one of those days.
Step forward, Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni, creator of the cardboard bike. Yes, cardboard!
The bike frame is made from cardboard, the chain is made from a car belt and the tyres which can not be punctured are made from recycled car tyres. In fact, you won't find a single piece of metal on this incredible invention.
Gafni believes that this could solve major transport problems in cities, provide cheap transportation for urban areas and revolutionise transport issues for the world's poorest nations. At just $20 a bike, and with no maintenance or adjustment required, it's difficult to see how this wouldn't appeal. In fact it is so cheap that Gafni believes that government rebates for using green materials would allow production to be taken to $0, meaning the bikes could even be given away.
As Gafni says, "This is a real game-changer." We couldn't agree more.
To see a video of this amazing invention, click on the video below.
As the fireworks exploded over the Olympic Park on Sunday night, we had a melancholic feeling, similar to that experienced by Bradley Wiggins after winning the Tour de France 2012 and Olympic time time trial within weeks of each other. As Bradley stood atop of the podium, he remarked that his career can't ever get any better than that moment. And as London 2012 drew to a close, we too felt that no sporting event could ever exceed the Olympics that we had just witnessed on home soil.
From Jess Ennis & Mo Farrah to Katherine Grainger and everyone in between, they made the summer of 2012 unlike any other, topping even the European football Championships in 1996, aka Euro 1996, the last time we can recall a UK feel good factor like this.
But, for us, the summer will always be associated with Box Hill, Hampton Court, and the beautiful pringle shaped building in the north of the Olympic Park, the Velodrome. Here are just a few of the memories we took from the games.
Saturday 28th July we were lucky enough to be at the men's race atop Box Hill mingling with Team GB. One of Team GB's coaches told us the plan was to be 3 and a half minutes back coming off of Box Hill. So when Cav & co were well under that time, we hoped to see another beautifully executed sprint finish. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out quite that way but being in the thick of the action in the glorious sunshine will love long in the memory.
And so it was the following rainy day when the ladies set off in their road race. The miles were clocked up, the crashes were numerous and finally three riders broke from the pack. And as the rain lashed down, Lizzie Armistead gallantly fought off Zabelinskaya to finish in silver medal position behind Vos. This time we were watching from the sofa but the joy in Lizzie's face, and her epic lost for words interview was a highlight of week 1.
Wednesday 1st August and it was the men's time trial at Hampton Court. There could only be one winner. The fastest man on two wheels this year simply tore up the course and decimated the opposition. Bradley Wiggins, time trial extraordinaire, added to his Tour de France triumph in style. We felt every moment of this stood just 100m from the finish in what was undoubtedly the most incredible achievement of any British road cyclist.
It was then on to the track. Could Team GB emulate their cycling successes of Beijing? You bet they could, taking seven out of the 10 available gold medals available on the track.
We took our seats in the Velodrome on 3rd August and witnessed cycling history…..
To then watch Laura Trott win two medals, Jason Kenny beat the man mountain that is Gregory Bauge, the women's team pursuit smash the Americans and see Chris Hoy become a 6 time gold medallist, well there is only one way to describe it:
This was our time. This was our Olympics. This was our glorious summer.
Every year, we do a Tour de France on the blog round up but this year, we've been inspired to do something different.
We came across "Tour de France Images" on Facebook from a guy who was capturing the most fantastic cycling images over the course of the Tour. He captured the likes of Bradley Wiggins in time trial mode, Thomas Voeckler as he rode up the Col du Tourmalet and various other cycling shots including a fantastic photo of the Eiffel Tower providing a backdrop for the peloton.
He has kindly sent us some of his imagery and we must say, these really are fantastic.