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Cycling increase - London phenomenon?

wildmoustachewildmoustache Posts: 4,010
edited October 2008 in Campaign
My friends in the provinces tell me that cycling is not taking off there in the way it is here down in the big smoke ... and indeed when visiting these places that does seem to be the case.

Is it true? Are there other cities where it's really taking off. If not, why? Why does London stand out here?

IN short, what the devil is going on?

Posts

  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    It's the only way to get a seat during your commute, London Transport is the most expensive in the world but offers third rate service and for a while people numbers jumped after the tube and bus bombings. Above all, it's quick, easy, fun at times, healthy, cheap and reliable.
  • wildmoustachewildmoustache Posts: 4,010
    Kléber wrote:
    It's the only way to get a seat during your commute, London Transport is the most expensive in the world but offers third rate service and for a while people numbers jumped after the tube and bus bombings. Above all, it's quick, easy, fun at times, healthy, cheap and reliable.

    yes you are no doubt right that the alternatives in london are relatively grim ... compared to most other cities ... but ... the alternatives have always been pretty grim ... so what was the catalyst?
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    There was a massive leap in the number of cycle communters after the July '05 bombings as well.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    On a bike in London you can actually get somewhere in a consistently reasonable time.

    Buses are mind-numbingly slow, cars get held up in the heavy traffic (average speed of traffic 100 years ago was the same), trains are prone to all kinds of failure complete with excuses, the tube is a crush and can be slow enough as well.

    Just glad to be out of it myself....
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • wildmoustachewildmoustache Posts: 4,010
    chuckcork wrote:
    On a bike in London you can actually get somewhere in a consistently reasonable time.

    Buses are mind-numbingly slow, cars get held up in the heavy traffic (average speed of traffic 100 years ago was the same), trains are prone to all kinds of failure complete with excuses, the tube is a crush and can be slow enough as well.

    Just glad to be out of it myself....

    ok ... but these factors were there 10 years ago as well. so what's changed?
  • MrBlondMrBlond Posts: 161
    You get stabbed on buses and trains as well these days
  • 18921892 Posts: 1,592
    It's the fasted form of transport, there's more people in London and the weather is usually better, that probably explains why more people cycle to work in london
    Justice for the 96
  • drewfromriscadrewfromrisca Posts: 1,165
    Weather better in London??? Since When??? :shock:

    My girlfriend has recently started commuting to work after a normal 20-25 minute bus journey started to take almost 45 for no sudden reason. And your right about being stabbed. She has to go in the direction of Shepherds Bush and she was always seeing fights on the bus, causing driver to stop, try throwing kids off etc etc further delaying the journey.

    I totally agree with your friend wildmoustache, it's not taking off as some people make out. Back in Newport and Cardiff whenever I visit I hardly see any 'commuters' and traffic is always at a standstill.

    My sister travels 5 miles each way everyday and it takes her almost an hour. Then she has to find a parking space which is near a local housing est (Pill if anyone knows it!) that can take 20 mins plus. She's always moaning about it so I told her to ride to work on the local canal path and cycle lanes. Her reply - "no it would take too long and I'll be sweaty at work". Needless to say I walked off as she's not the easiest person to get across to.

    But my point being, if that's the attitude of a sister of a family who were always into cycling then what hope do you have with the average/overweight/lazy/chav joe?
    There is never redemption, any fool can regret yesterday...

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  • overmarsovermars Posts: 430
    Yep. Cycling is up in London. But it's summer!!

    ...just wait 'till winter.
    :wink:
  • cakewalkcakewalk Posts: 220
    My friends in the provinces tell me that cycling is not taking off there in the way it is here down in the big smoke ... and indeed when visiting these places that does seem to be the case.

    Is it true? Are there other cities where it's really taking off. If not, why? Why does London stand out here?

    IN short, what the devil is going on?

    I think it's up somewhat in Birmingham - but from a very low base - over the last year.

    Roll on 2 pounds a litre!
    "I thought of it while riding my bicycle."
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    chuckcork wrote:
    On a bike in London you can actually get somewhere in a consistently reasonable time.

    Buses are mind-numbingly slow, cars get held up in the heavy traffic (average speed of traffic 100 years ago was the same), trains are prone to all kinds of failure complete with excuses, the tube is a crush and can be slow enough as well.

    Just glad to be out of it myself....

    ok ... but these factors were there 10 years ago as well. so what's changed?

    I could also add in annual well above inflation fare increases on Public Transport, the extortionate cost of a Travelcard before 9.30 am being an example.

    Probably the most obvious point though is the tube bombings, if half of those who switched to bikes decided to keep using them (as first preference anyway) then that would account for a lrge increase by itself.

    But there will always be those who will find a reason not to cycle. A guy I worked with in London had the option of a 9 mile cycle to work, or around 90 minutes by public transport at some expense. I could probably do that distance in 45 minutes in traffic, but he simply wouldn't (though he had a bike) citing the dangerous route and heavy traffic. He wouldn't invesitigate other routes of course, even though I could show him maps to find them; in the end I gave up in the face of his ability to generate excuses.

    It was the "all right for you, but its not the same for everyone else" one that mosty irked me in its patheticness, probably because as a copout I've heard it so often.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • NWLondonerNWLondoner Posts: 2,047
    chuckcork wrote:


    Probably the most obvious point though is the tube bombings, if half of those who switched to bikes decided to keep using them (as first preference anyway) then that would account for a lrge increase by itself.

    .

    To be honest if people started cycling into work JUST because the bombings they are not thinking it through. You are MUCH more likely to be injured or killed riding in London's rush hour than being blown up in a bombing attack.
  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    NWLondoner wrote:
    chuckcork wrote:


    Probably the most obvious point though is the tube bombings, if half of those who switched to bikes decided to keep using them (as first preference anyway) then that would account for a lrge increase by itself.

    .

    To be honest if people started cycling into work JUST because the bombings they are not thinking it through. You are MUCH more likely to be injured or killed riding in London's rush hour than being blown up in a bombing attack.
    True - but us humans are well known for having a strange way of evaluating risk...
  • NWLondonerNWLondoner Posts: 2,047
    Nuggs wrote:
    NWLondoner wrote:
    chuckcork wrote:


    Probably the most obvious point though is the tube bombings, if half of those who switched to bikes decided to keep using them (as first preference anyway) then that would account for a lrge increase by itself.

    .

    To be honest if people started cycling into work JUST because the bombings they are not thinking it through. You are MUCH more likely to be injured or killed riding in London's rush hour than being blown up in a bombing attack.
    True - but us humans are well known for having a strange way of evaluating risk...

    Too true.

    God help us if we get suicide cyclists
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    NWLondoner wrote:
    Nuggs wrote:
    NWLondoner wrote:
    chuckcork wrote:


    Probably the most obvious point though is the tube bombings, if half of those who switched to bikes decided to keep using them (as first preference anyway) then that would account for a lrge increase by itself.

    .

    To be honest if people started cycling into work JUST because the bombings they are not thinking it through. You are MUCH more likely to be injured or killed riding in London's rush hour than being blown up in a bombing attack.
    True - but us humans are well known for having a strange way of evaluating risk...

    Too true.

    God help us if we get suicide cyclists

    There are quite a few on the route in from Lewisham. Fortunately, few of them suceed. Though they'll undoubtedly cause my death one day.
  • Ste_SSte_S Posts: 1,173
    The car is king in the rest of the uk, and is seen as a status symbol.

    London has never really had that, and most people tend to commute on bus, train or tube. The bombings, the over crowding and unreliability of the public transport have all pushed people to seek other forms of transport. London is flat, and people in central london generally have to travel less to work then people outside it, so traveling by bike is a bit of no brainer.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    NWLondoner wrote:


    God help us if we get suicide cyclists

    I believe you're too late, there have already been cases of suicide cyclists in Bagdad.

    Might encourage motorists to give us a bit more room if they thought we were liable to explode on contact, though the increased risk of being shot by the more trigger happy officers of the Met might make it not worth it....
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • wildmoustachewildmoustache Posts: 4,010
    the bombings did have an impact, though the numbers were on a strong upward trend before then.

    It's an interesting that one part of the UK has such a strong trend while the rest doesn't.

    I'd add to the reasons given:

    >More bus lanes
    >Encouragement from TLC ... e.g. more publicity, faciliities of some sort (inadequate I know)
    >Relatively more young people in London than elsewhere in the UK
    >Relatievely more Antipodeans in London than elsewhere in the UK
    >Increased awareness and value placed on good health and being slim/fit
  • cchapmancchapman Posts: 545
    Interesting thread, I think one of the reasons is the idea that people, in general, are comfortable when conforming to the patterns of the herd, and this is especially so for the younger , fitter, more health conscious.
  • felgenfelgen Posts: 829
    all the reasons I cycle have been cited already... for me it was either:

    a) live in London and pay more rent, then save on travel
    or
    b) live in Reading, pay less rent then spend the difference on travel (3600 quid for a annual travelcard - I mean WTF!?) Not to mention the journey time and hassle.

    Hence even allowing for a bike on cyclescheme I am saving a packet (though my appetite has gone through the roof, so the food bill has gone up slightly)

    On my relatively short commute I average 18mph- ok so I give it some, but then I arrive at work earlier and have more time to chill out, have a coffee and take a shower before starting work. Its very relaxing, and I can control the time that I get there. I have not been late in over 6 weeks yet, come rain or shine. When I used to PT it, you could wait for ages for a train/bus, not get a seat, or it would be roasting hot and you would be smelling someones armpit (though I am tall and people therefore end up smelling my armpit!). Either way you are going to be sweating when you get to you destination, but its better to be on a high having just won the Putney Bridge Grand Prix than tired as you just stood up for 1 hour. In a way I am almost annoyed that it took me 6 years to get back into cycling.

    I have lost 6 kgs in 7 weeks - I have more energy and feel more alert at work.

    If others feel like I do I am not surprised they keep cycling.
    Steeds:
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    2)Nelson Pista Singlespeed
    3)Giant Cadex MTB
    4)BeOne Karma MTB
  • MoonCircuitMoonCircuit Posts: 93
    edited November 2008
    bikepv8.jpg
    Cycling, it has it's ups and downs.
  • AmosAmos Posts: 438
    Did the congestion charge make anyone stop driving?
  • Big Red SBig Red S Posts: 26,890
    There was a definite increase in the number of bikes (both pedal and petrol) after it was introduced.

    Personally, I think one major contributing factor to the rise in cycling in London, certainly recently, has been everyone talking about this phenomenal rise in cycling in London.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    Amos wrote:
    Did the congestion charge make anyone stop driving?

    It certainly did reduce the motor traffic on my commute into the centre of London.
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  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    Purely a personal, non-statistical, impression but I THINK a few more cyclists around at commute time in Nottingham than say 5 years ago. Surprising given what is a pretty good bus (and tram!) service - major routes evary 10 minutes and modern vehicles.
    d.j.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
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