Serene cycling, more variety and new lanes: my Bike Blog hopes for 2017
A late list of new year resolutions include a return to mountain biking and a position in the commuting slow lane
Friday 6 January 2017 07.00 GMT
Last modified on Friday 6 January 2017 07.03 GMT
New year resolutions are, of course, traditionally made before 1 January, not nearly a week into 2017. But I shall disregard convention – below are my cycling-related hopes for the current year.
Some are personal, some more general. I should also stress that these aren’t my sole hopes for humanity, just some specific Bike Blog-based ones. New bike lanes would be great, but I’m more keen overall on peace for all and a continued avoidance of a nuclear holocaust.
So with that remit in mind, do add your thoughts below, however everyday or outlandish.
1. Do more cycling
This might seem obvious, but here I mean more cycling for fun, rather than just my daily ride to and from work. Even this is, of course, largely enjoyable – not many non-cyclists get to say that about their commute – but after a vastly busy 2016 I’d prefer some more variety.
This will hopefully include more long treks into the countryside, but also family rides. My son is now six, so theoretically old enough for some gentle bike touring this summer. Not that I’ve broken the news to him yet.
2. Get back on the mountain bike
As a more specific variant on the above, I’m planning to dust down and fettle my slightly elderly mountain bike (not the borrowed one pictured below), which has spent a few years mothballed in a garage. I’m one of many Britons to have neglected the joys of off-road riding recently in favour of road bikes, and I’ve missed it.
Mountain biking comes in various forms. My preference is less the teeth-clattering 40mph technical bounce
3. Commute serenely, and in style
As of six months ago I have a new and shorter commute (to parliament rather than the Guardian offices), and one where the shower and changing facilities are notably less good.
So, rather than sprinting on a speedy bike while dressed in cycling clothes, I now ride more gently dressed in office garb, my possessions stowed in a huge basket at the front of my more everyday, hub-geared. chaincase-protected bike.
4. Watch politicians across the UK be more bold about cycling
For all the media focus on London (see below), it’s arguable that the more significant moves this year could be happening elsewhere.
Thanks in part to the success of London’s new properly-designed cycle superhighways, some other cities are moving away from marking bike routes with nothing more than paint, and instead designing them with kerbs and other proper infrastructure.
Cities making or mooting such plans include Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and others.
Will they end up being built? Will they be any good if they are? Who knows. But I have my fingers crossed.
5. See Sadiq Khan make bold choices on cycling
As we’ve discussed on this blog before, London’s new-ish mayor has so far talked a good game in boosting bike numbers for his increasingly congested and smog-choked city, but has seemed a bit nervy when it comes to taking decisions. This is his crunch year. He can’t delay much longer.
London is, of course, just one city. But it’s important, and something of a test bed for elsewhere in the UK, not least as MPs from around the country see the effects first hand.
Where good bike routes have been installed, the results have been amazing. If Khan backs down amid the protests from small if noisy groups of nimbys and taxi drivers, the effect could be felt nationwide.