The weeks’ events started on Saturday with James Brander running a Dr. Bike in West Hampstead, assisted by Helen Vecht. They report that they were very busy with fixing bikes and advising people as to cycling matters.
Feeder Ride to TfL festival
On Sunday, David Arditti led us on a ride to the TfL festival in Trafalgar Square. This was a joint ride with Barnet Cyclists. I told David I had enjoyed meeting the Barnet Group who seem to me to be very different from CCC and he replied:
“They certainly are. I took them back via Regents Park to Hampstead Heath later, as they like to stick together.” One of the Barnet group said to me that there’s not much use in campaigning in Barnet as they have Brian Coleman on the council actively removing cycle lanes (and road humps).
We were not that enthusiastic about the event in Trafalgar Square, apart from the kids with their stunts in the half pipe. Stuart Dennison told me that he just had tourists viewing the BikeFix bikes. And although Sustrans and LCC had a presence, they really wanted to talk to the unconverted. As to the official bike parking – seven floors below ground in a multi–storey car park – who could ever have though of anything so inappropriate? So, to sum up, there was not much for committed cyclists and there did not appear to be many potential cyclists present. A pity – the festival was a good idea.
Talk by Herminone Brightwell of Sustrans
This Monday was well attended by our members. Hermione started by asking us what we already think Sustrans does and then outlined recent work in London. She gave us leaflets for the Wandle trail, the London Docklands and Lea Valley route and the London Thames Cycle route. She then talked about active travel plans and school travel plans. Sustrans London office is currently attempting to clarify Sustrans’ role in the context of LCC and TfL.
We then joined her in a discussion of the differences between Sustrans and LCN routes. The former have more emphasis on being pleasant and not so much emphasis on the most direct route from A to B. People felt that there should be better linkage between the two networks, for example, Sustrans route 12 is not connected to London at all. Hyde Park’s lack of connection was also mentioned.
Someone mentioned that London to Oxford by Sustrans is 100 mils (by road 60 miles) – ie rather indirect. But then we argued that less direct routes may not be so much slower than direct ones as they often avoid traffic lights.
Sustrans policy is to have good quality surfaces, but we argued that tarmac is poor for shared use (with pedestrians) as they can’t hear cycles coming – gravel might be better. As to shared use, Sustrans policy is to make the paths wide enough. We discussed the implementation of anti-car barriers which sometimes make it hard for loaded cycles to get through – Hermione said the Disability Discrimination Act had helped with that.
CCC asked whether Sustrans can be called in as experts – e.g. to help us over cycle routes on Hampstead Heath. Hermione confirmed that they do.
Bob Spellar’s childrens ride from Swiss Cottage to Hampstead schools
According to all reports, this event appears to have been the highlight of bike week in Camden. Primary school children with their parents rode up Fitzjohns Avenue to school. James Brander and Clare provided breakfast and Stefano Casalotti joined the ride with his son. The ride was covered in both local newspapers – the CNJ report is reproduced below. I have not included the CNJ’s two excellent photographs, but you can see plenty of our own (taken by Andrew Conway and Stefano) on the above webpage.
Mini Mass to Town Hall – SSL east passes the environment group
A group of CCC committee members led by Daniel Glaser put on yellow CCC tabards and cycled from Fitzroy Square to Camden Town Hall for the meeting of the environment group. We locked up our bikes very securely and removed our tabards, not wishing to appear too conspicuous. Then five of us, led by Paul Gannon went into the Council Chamber to hear the environment group pronounce on the fate of SSL east.
As readers of this list already know, the outcome was that they agreed that this last section of the SSL can go ahead.
As it turned out, CCC’s was the only deputation – no locals opposing the cycle route.
Dave Stewart presented his report on the benefits for pedestrians and the details of the cycle route plans.
Paul Gannon made a challenging presentation to the committee which was followed by some grumbling against cyclists from Cllr. Brian Woodrow and a few words more from Cllr. Sue Vincent. Then Cllr Gerry Harrison presented the case for the cycle route. Finally Cllr. John Thane pronounced that the scheme should be allowed to go ahead, whereupon we left in joy.
Free cyclists breakfast
Once again, on Wednesday, Jane Boardman organised this event, which was held as usual outside the British Library in Ossulston Street. We had our usual spread of croissants, muesli bars and cold drinks. Stuart Dennison was there providing free air and some repairs. The area round the table was pretty crowded from about 8 am until 10 am and we were pleased to see quite a few parents carrying children on their bikes. Our celebrity visitors included Jon Snow and Richard Ballantine.
Cyclists tea at Swiss Cottage
Meade McCloughan organised this new event which was held by the Avenue Road toucan crossing. We were interested in the large numbers of school children who stopped for chocolate bars and drinks, the smaller ones being with parents. This gave us the chance to discuss the pros and cons of cycling vs the school run. Stefano who brought in all the heavy objects in his cycle trailer, wondered whether a future tea outside a school might be a good idea. Considering the small scale and that we were competing with a Euro 2004 football match, we were pleased to be able to recruit two new (adult) members on the spot.
More photos available at: www.aoce13.dsl.pipex.com/ccc/bikeweek04