In 2000 I started this file on why bicycling was due for a comeback
June 7th 2006, I am happy to see it is on the way.


In London, trips by bike have increased by 50 per cent in five years to 450,000 per day while figures obtained by The Independent show use of the National Cycle Network, covering 10,000 miles of urban and rural pathways, rose last year by 15 per cent to 232 million journeys.

October 8th 2009 - LONDON HAS HIRE BIKES

Christmas 2000

In spite of the increasing traffic congestion, fewer adolescents are hoping for bikes this Christmas than ever, and fewer adults using them. While some new towns have excellent cycle tracks, most of the UK is a difficult environment for cyclists.

Yet the efficiency of travelling by bike is undeniable and it is a way of keeping fit and trim. The more you do, the easier it is, and with modern gears you can take it easy till the muscles get tuned up.
With lights, reflectors and fluorescent straps, motorists are not going to fail to see you in poor light.
My generation abandoned bikes for journeys of even a mile as soon as they could afford a car because of (i) the puncture repair problem - takes too long, you get too dirty and (ii) not enough carrying capacity if you are shopping or taking a large briefcase.

But now we have SLIME ! a viscous liquid which can be squeezed into the inner tube to seal most punctures 'on the fly' or after they happen, and shopping can be split between large volume infrequent (car/bus/train) and small or top-up (bike). Light but quite bulky plastic bags can be hung from the handlebars. ITC technology has made the large attache case redundant.

The strange thing is the colours don't come through when I photograph my flat LCD screen in spite of all my efforts to cheat and fact the picture looks monochrome here, doesn't it?

I think it's all to do with what they call 'colour temperature' and somehow the camera can't sense the correct setting for the liquid crystal screen.

The pictures above show THE LAST BSA - made, I regret, in distant China.
My first BSA was made in Birmingham in the 1940s.

But now (August 2009) we have a new horizon. In a world where we can't manage to fit a waggon on British trains for commuter's bikes, British inventors ride to the a price!


NOVEMBER 6th 2009
The article from The Independent below shows how inevitably the increase in cyclists brings a toll in casualties. This is of course inevitable - it requires both skill and luck to survive in the busy streets and roads of our modern world, and so it should. The efforts of Health and Safety addicts to replace individual effort and skills by a set of rules to help those with a disregard for the value of these skills, efforts, practice and intelligence to survive regardless are of course counterproductive, resulting in the unnecessary death of women who obey the rules at traffic lights. I have marked in bold the relevant paragraph.

More cyclists killed or hurt on the roads

By Chris Green

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The number of people killed or seriously injured when cycling on Britain’s roads rose dramatically over the spring, new figures have revealed, with the demand for cheap transport during the recession likely to be a key factor.

Statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) today showed that 820 cyclists either died or were seriously injured between April and June this year, a 19 per cent rise on the same period in 2008. The number of less severe injuries also rose by almost 10 per cent.

Road safety groups said that the recession had sparked an increased interest in cycling, as rising numbers of people – many of them inexperienced cyclists – sought to save money by commuting to and from work on a bike instead of using public transport.

Duncan Vernon, road safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said the rising number of casualties “might be indicative of a longer-term trend, reflecting for instance a recession-influenced shift in modes of transport.” But he added that it was difficult to draw conclusions from quarterly figures.

In 2007, a Transport for London report said that female cyclists were more likely to be killed by lorries because, unlike men, they tended to obey red lights and wait at junctions in the driver’s blind spot, putting them in danger. In the first half of this year, six women were killed after being hit by lorries in London, an unusually high proportion.

Today's figures also showed a rise in the number of motorcyclist casualties, with those killed or seriously injured rising by 5 per cent and lesser injuries increasing by 2 per cent. But overall, the number of people who died on the roads in the second quarter of 2009 was 580, a slight reduction on last year’s total of 586.

The biggest fall in casualties was among child pedestrians, with the number of people killed or seriously injured falling by 8 per cent and total casualties by 9 per cent. The total number of pedestrian casualties including adults also fell by 5 per cent.

Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety, said the rise in cyclist and motorcyclist casualties could be put down to “the effects of the recession and differences in the weather”.

But he added: “It is clear that there are some new patterns in accidents occurring – for example, the six lady cyclists killed in London in collisions with goods vehicles in the first half of the year – and that the road safety world needs to make sure that it identifies and acts to remedy these emerging patterns quickly.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “Provisional estimates for a single three-month period should not be taken in isolation, and the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads each year has fallen by 31 per cent since the mid-1990s.

“However, we take road safety extremely seriously and are working to improve safety for cyclists in a number of ways, including investing in the provision of cycle training and planning to encourage local authorities to introduce more 20mph zones in residential areas and around schools.”

Charlie Lloyd of the London Cycling Campaign, which promotes cycling in the capital, said the sudden rise in the number of cycling deaths merely reflected the fact that many more people are now using bikes to get around.

“In London, we’ve seen a massive increase in cycling over the last seven or eight years, and we’re absolutely certain it’s taking off across the country too,” he said. “The recession could well be a factor in that – we know that bike sales are booming. We think that if these figures were measured against the rising numbers of people cycling on the roads, you might actually see an improvement in accidents per cyclist.”

The DfT also published provisional road traffic figures yesterday, which showed a very slight increase in the amount of vehicles on the country’s roads compared with last year. Car traffic increased by 1 per cent compared with summer 2008, light van traffic rose by 3 per cent and heavy goods vehicle traffic fell by 7 per cent. Traffic on motorways increased by 1 per cent, as did the traffic levels on rural and urban A-roads.

JULY 26th 2010
At last, a decent bike hire scheme for London.