Thursday, 15 November 2012

Higher Fares - Some Further Comments

Last week it was reported that Boris bike access charges will double from January 2013. There is some further useful comment on the folly of this decision on the Two Wheels Good blog.

I was contacted by the Evening Standard to get my view on funding and charges for the bikes. My suspicion is that when the edict came from City Hall to install the scheme across London they believed that the funding secured from Barclays plus the charges would cover the costs to finance the scheme. Now that this has not been the case, charges are rising to cover losses.

Some might argue that Boris should renegotiate a better deal with Barclays. I think it might be too late for that now, and actually it somewhat misses the point. Why should a major transport initiative be relyng on private sponsorship to make it viable? Exactly the same point can be made incidentally, for the Emirates Airline.

If TfL and the mayor are serious about introducing bikes across London to enable as many Londoners as possible to use them to get about cheaply, then they need to be properly financed from a central transport budget. Let's be clear - Boris bikes cost peanuts compared to Crossrail, or the reconstruction of London Bridge Station, or a new Northern Line to Battersea. Their initially low cost made them instruments of potential social transformation. But at £2 a go, why not take a bus, it'll be cheaper, or a tube, hardly more expensive. When the borough of Tower Hamlets, one of London's most deprived, agreed to put funds towards the bikes, did they realise a year later prices would be rising to rob local users of the cheap transport they had been promised?

If Boris biking is to have a future it should be funded centrally from a London-wide transport budget, not by dubious deals with commercial sponsors. Fare increases should be kept in line with other modes of transport, and the scheme affordable to less affluent Londoners. If not, I fear our love affair with the Boris bike might be over.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday

Today we fell silent to remember all who have died in service of their countries in war, and all wars' innocent victims.

We should remember too cyclists who have been been killed because of our unsafe streets, and pledge ourselves to work for a future of peace and security for all.

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Boris Bike Charges to Double

TfL has announced that from the new year, cycle hire charges will increase from £1 to £2 for daily access, from £5 to £10 for a week, and from £45 to £90 for a year.

There are reports in various newspapers including the Telegraph and Metro.

A doubling of fares for cycle hire users is bad news for cycling in London. Much of the success of the scheme has owed to its value for money in comparison to other modes of transport, and by making these increases the Mayor risks losing the support Boris bikes have enjoyed since their introduction. Perhaps if we were assured that the extra income generated from the fare rises would be used solely for improving and expanding the network of bikes and docking stations, it might be justified, but what seems more likely is that users will end up paying for the bad deal Boris did with Barclays, which has failed to provide the necessary funds to make cycle hire financially viable. I would urge the Mayor to reconsider - Boris bikes are a sustainable and healthy way for Londoners to travel, these charge increases will simply discourage the revolution in cycling which the Mayor himself has claimed to support. There are already so many barriers to cycling in London - higher fares simply create one more.

I will be writing to my Assembly Member to ask for this decision to be reviewed. The funding of the Boris bike scheme needs a thorough review if the scheme is to remain popular, affordable and an encouragement towards London becoming a cycling city.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Wandsworth wants more Boris Bikes

As part of the 2013/14 expansion, TfL has announced a major expansion of the scheme southwards and westwards. Only parts of Wandsworth borough are covered however, and campaigners, especially in the south of the borough, are pushing for bikes across the entire borough. They also urge the bikes to be installed at Clapham Junction.

If you have views you can email them to transportation@wandsworth.

I wholeheardedly support the Clapham proposal. It seems idiotic to leave it out, when bikes close to stations (think of Waterloo) are among the most popular. In my own response to the plans for the borough, I also identified Battersea Park as a major omission, as leisure cycling would benefit from a station there, and help new users build confidence before they head out onto London's busy streets.

The campaign for bikes in the rest of Wandsworth also has merit, but with so many other boroughs actively campaigning for the bikes, it's a matter of allocation of resources. Southwark, another central London borough, has been woefully neglected so far. In Lambeth, Brixton will remain a Boris bike desert.

All this makes me wonder why the mayor is bringing forward plans for a new road tunnel in east London for cars and lorries. At the cost of millions of pounds, we will get increased congestion and more pollution, when if the money were instead invested in cycling, everyone would benefit from cleaner and greener streets - a real cycling revolution for London. I've responded to TfL's consultation opposing the plans and calling for investment in sustainable transport - maybe you can too.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Boris Bikes and Bad Politics

Controversy in Hammersmith and Fulham as it is reported that Labour councillors are seeking to block the expansion of Boris bikes into the borough.

The views expressed are irritating on many levels. In Brixton for example, Labour councillors are leading the way in calling for Boris bikes to come to the area. It seems to me that these H&F Labour councillors are driven by nothing more than politics in opposing the bikes. Is £2m really a lot to spend on a sustainable transport option available across the borough? Are the bikes unpalatable simply because they originate from a Tory administration in City Hall?

Cycle hire should transcend politics - parties should be working together to make our city cleaner, greener and healthier. I hope these Labour councillors will see the light and vote to invest in cycling in their borough.


See here the report in Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle

And a good commentary on the ConservativeHome website

Friday, 5 October 2012

Western Extension - the Roadshow

Yesterday I went to the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith to view TfL's plans for the future of Boris bikes, namely the extensions into Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham, plus some new areas of Kensington and Chelsea and Lambeth.

The exhibition wasn't at all high tech - in fact it consisted mainly of one map showng new possible docking locations - but the staff were friendly and I had some excellent discussions.

The extension is ambitious, and will put about 200 new docking stations around London. Most should contain 25 or more docks - TfL now concede the smaller ones put in as part of phase 1 are difficult to manage in terms of bike flow. Of these 60-70 will be in each of Wandsworth and H&F. There will also be new docks in the rest of K&C taking in North Kensington, and Lambeth through Nine Elms and Stockwell - not quite as far as Brixton sadly.

In the central area, new docks will be constructed on sites where permission has already been given. This will include docks near St Thomas' Hospital, Blackfriars station, Cannon Street and Westminster Central Hall. The redistribution problems at King's Cross remain an issue, and a new site there is being investigated. It is a little alarming that further new sites are not being sought centrally; increasing commuter flow continues to cause problems with availability which can only be eased in the long term by new and extended docking stations.

I queried why no dock is proposed within Battersea Park, as parks are a good place for novice cyclists to start off. Also, Battersea has good tracks for cycling. I still have no satisfactory answer - the need for 24hr access is not a reason as there are docks within Kensington Gardens which are not available at night.

Issues remain with the relationship between TfL and the Royal Parks - the latter being broadly negative in their attitude towards new docks. If you haven't already, sign our petition for a new dock on the Mall in St James's Park, to push for a new dock in this poorly served area.

I think the staff who look after the cycle hire programme are genuinely enthusiastic and committed to the scheme. But they are hampered by a lack of joined up thinking on cycling in London. The need for a body to devise and implement a London-wide cycling strategy is greater than ever. Otherwise the potential good of new Boris bikes will simply be negated by poor road safety, lack of high quality routes, and dock locations being blocked by competing agencies such as Royal Parks or obstructive councillors.

If you have a chance to go to the roadshow - it's running at several further locations this week.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Mall - Time to Act

I wrote in a recent post about the need for a docking station on the Mall, to increase cycle hire access for tourists and workers in Westminster, to plug a gap in an area whch has too few docks, and to improve the provision of sustainable transport in a historic part of Westminster.

Today I received a reply from TfL to my query - the Mall is indeed being considered as a possible location for a dock. So this is the moment to make the voice of Boris bikers heard - please sign a petition (supported by this blog and Two Wheels Good) calling on TfL and Royal Parks to work towards a Mall docking station. In my previous post I gave details of how to write in support of a dock here. If you have 5 minutes, please do.

In other news ...

The proposed docking locations in Wandsworth have been revealed, to a mixed reception. A series of roadshows will be held in the coming weeks. Go if you can, and support the docks.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Bring Boris bikes to NW5

Here's the latest petition from locals in NW5 to get Boris bikes to their area. I've signed, hope you will too. It's great to see local communities taking the initiative to get the bikes on their patch.

Time Out have an article on the southwest extension of the scheme. Nothing new in it, but great to see an article in a magazine which quite a few people will be reading.

UPDATE: Here's a news report on the NW5 petition.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Two snippets of BB news

I have been alerted to this very interesting visualisation of Boris bike journeys by TWG George. It shows that the most popular routes for Boris biking are to and from Kings Cross / St Pancras and Waterloo stations, and also across Hyde Park. What interests me is that fewer journeys seem to be made through Westminster. One can only guess reasons, but is it because the density of docks is insufficient, or perhaps because the cycling routes aren't as good? Comments welcome.

The residents of Lille Road have got in a fluster about Boris bikes coming to Normand Park. 'Nimbyism' in action, or a genuine concern? There is a wider question here about how much influence residents should have to block the expansion of cycle hire. It is just a guess, but I imagine the lack of docks in historic Limehouse stems from resident pressure against a docking station - they have already fought the presence of CS3 in their neighbourhood.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Mall - Time for the Bikes?

Boris bike on the Mall - no docks here
I have written extensively on this blog, and others have elsewhere, about the Cycle Hire scheme. But never in all that time have Boris bikers been approached by TfL to ask us where we would like to see a dock situated. Having commented on the Royal Parks, it is time to make a case, that being for a docking station on the Mall.

Back in 2009 Boris bikes were still in the planning stage. TfL submitted an application for a docking station on the Mall. It would have been quite big. But it was rejected. You can view the paperwork here. Remember that this all happened before the scheme was up and running. Since then a lot has changed, but the Mall still has no docking station. In fact, a quick look at a map of docking stations shows that the Mall is part of a really quite large area of London with no docks at all. This is despite it being an area popular with tourists and workers alike.

The arguments made against the docking station centred around the 'special character' of the area. Now, having worked in an office overlooking the Mall for nearly 8 years, I understand the Mall's character very well. On a normal working day, it is a dual carriageway, ferrying huge numbers of motor vehicles, mainly taxis in fact, through central London. It is noisy and polluted. Many cyclists also use the Mall, but it is not a tale of equals; motor traffic moves quickly and aggressively. On Sundays only the Mall excludes cars, and pedestrians and cyclists rule; it is, comparatively, a haven.

Considering the unpleasant state of the Mall at present, with its noisy and polluting traffic, what possible reasons might prevent installsation of a docking station for cycle hire? One reason advanced is that it may clutter the 'special character' of the Mall. But, as the Palace rightly points out in its submission (which supported a dock) as long as these can be removed on ceremonial occasions (which they can), there is no objection. This has happened seamlessly for Olympic events this summer in fact. The docks themselves are less than a metre high. The tallest part of the set-up is the terminal, but as this incorporates maps, it would actually benefit those using the area. In short, the docking station would clutter the Mall far less than the current noise and pollution of constantly moving traffic.

Now that the objections to a Mall dock have been set aside, let us turn to the benefits of a cycle hire dock, and the reasons why the Mall in particular is an appropriate location:

- there is ample space for a docking station.
- a docking station at this location will have very high levels of useage from local workers and tourists alike. Visitors to the Mall, St James's Park and the Palace neeed a dock which is in clear view.
- more BCH cyclists will help reduce motor traffic through the Mall area by getting more people on bikes. Therefore the whole area will be safer for pedestrians, have cleaner air, have less noise pollution, and be less congested with motor traffic.
- There is no docking station convenient for the Mall at present, restricting use. The nearest are towards Wellington Arch (at some distance) and in Waterloo Place (try carrying your bike up all those steps).

In the years since the original application was submitted, there has been a shift in perceptions of the economic and environmental benefits of cycling. Cycle hire has been embraced, and almost 40,000 journeys are made each day. The Olympic and Paralympic Games have inspired us to lead more active lives, and created a positive vibe for cycling. With expansion of the Boris bike scheme due in 2013, this is the moment to seize to bring the bikes to a key part of historic and cultural Westminster.

Please support the call for a Boris bike dock on the Mall - 'Two Wheels Good' is calling for the same. Write to the Royal Parks (, TfL ( and also your local London Assembly representative. If you're in Westminster, let your MP and councillors know your views. Together we can make a change.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Boris bikes going south and west

TfL has today released further details of the next phase of expansion of the Boris bikes scheme. Read all about it here. Late 2013/early 2014 is a little later than I think most people were anticipating, but it is still good news.


A map of the expansion area is available here

A map of proposed locations in Hammersmith and Fulham is available here

If anyone has further details, please post a comment

Around the Royal Parks on a Boris bike - part 3

Endangered species - docks at London Zoo
We've only waited a year since part 2, but off we cycle to the Regent's Park for our final instalment. And we're in for a disappointment.

I started my trip around the park by entering through Hanover Gate and turning left onto Outer Circle. This large road runs right round the park. It is wide and doesn't carry too much traffic. However, the cars on it are quite fast-moving, and there is no continuous cycle lane. You'd think, being the main route round the park, there would be many docking stations. In fact the only one is in the carpark of London Zoo, with another a little off the Circle in Gloucester Slips carpark.
The Broad Walk

Regent's Park contains one cycle route. Yes, just one. It's a shared pedestrian/cycle route running north-south, the Broad Walk. So I took it, and a few minutes later you're done. What should I do now, go back again? To give it a bit of credit, Broad Walk is very pleasant, but it hardly represents a network of cycle routes through the park. I turn right onto Chester Road then left onto Inner Circle, which is like Outer Circle, only smaller. There are no docking stations on Inner Circle.

To avoid circling endlessly, I turned south towards the only docking station which is actually fairly centrally located, in the carpark of the Tennis Centre. The entrance to this carpark is quite hidden, so many a Boris biker I'm sure has sailed past the dock. Continuing past the tennis courts and over York Bridge, we're back onto Outer Circle. I turned left and exited the park.

The cycling infrastructure for Boris bikers in the Regent's Park is dreadful. The Royal Parks website tells you that 4.5 miles of park roads are available for cycling. Yes indeed, but these aren't really in the park, they are roads bordered by hedges, and are mainly two large circles.

I would like to see at least one more cycle route through the park, probably across the large open green area of sports pitches to the north of the boating lake. Outer Circle deserves at least two large docking stations, and one on Inner Circle, probably close to the Broad Walk cycling route, would be useful.

Since I wrote about the other parks back in 2011 the Royal Parks have done almost nothing to improve conditions for cyclists. No new docks, no new routes. The crossing from Wellington Arch into Hyde Park has been remodelled so that the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians is possibly worse than before. Triangle carpark dock in Hyde Park has been removed for the Olympics for most of the year, I believe it will be back by next month. There is a new docking station at Green Park station, but you cannot access the park itself from here because there is no cycle route in.

Political will is needed to make the Royal Parks better for cycling. If you're bringing your family or friends to London to cycle, take them to Hyde Park, the other parks have a long way to go before they're fit for cycling.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Preparing for the Bikes to Go West

On Sunday I met up with fellow blogger George (Two Wheels Good) and we took Boris bikes from Notting Hill down to the Fulham Road via Brompton Cemetery, then back through The Boltons and Kensington Gardens, eventually docking on Campden Hill. It was a warm afternoon, and cyclists were out in force.

"I love Boris Bikes": George of 'Two Wheels Good'
This area is right on the border of the current cycle hire area (some of it part of the mini western expansion to Westfield back in April). The 2013 expansion will, all being well, take in the rest of Kensington and Chelsea and push out to Hammemsith and Fulham. It is a beautiful part of London, and has some good streets for cycling. I have no doubt Boris bikes will prove popular in this part of west London.

K&C borough are currently consulting on increasing the permeability of more streets. Often it's as simple as adding an 'except cyclists' sign under an existing no entry sign. Bigger streets require a little more work, but it can be done. To maximise the benefits of cycle hire in K&C and elsewhere, this is an important development, allowing access to docks from both directions, and maximising the journeys which can be made by Boris bike, both in terms of shortening routes and avoiding busier roads.

It's easy to get your view to the borough, simply email

Iconic west London: St George's on Campden Hill
You could suggest individual streets, but I suggested a bolder set of principles: all smaller streets to be two-way by use of the 'except cyclists' sign; an ongoing programme of opening up larger streets starting with those most used by cyclists; all roads containing docking stations to be earmarked for immediate two-way access.

The expansion of cycle hire in K&C and beyond is good news, but we need infrastructure on the streets to allow as many people as possible, both experienced and novice cyclists, to get the most out of it.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Isle of Docks

Continuing my, very occasional, series of posts on Boris biking around town, I headed to the Isle of Dogs on Thursday to sample the cycle culture in a part of London where long-establishd communities rub shoulders with big business at Canary Wharf.

Plenty space here - docks on Manchester Road
Getting to the Isle is easy by bike - Superhighway 3 whizzes you out from the City through Shadwell and Limehouse and before you know it, you're at Westferry, ready to go south onto the island. To the east lie the big businesses of Canary Wharf, including the headquarters of Barclays, sponsors of our blue friends. It's here in the Wharf that the greatest density of docking stations is to be found, presumably because this is a prime location for commuting. Compared to the City, the docks seem bigger and more carefully planned to meet demand. My only real worry is the awkwardness of accessing the area - CS3 actually skirts round to the north and signed bike lanes into the heart of the business district seem non-existent.

At this point I cheated because I docked and took the DLR to Mudchute, which has an impressive docking station right outside the station. Shame it was inoperative. I walked across Millwall Park (a worthwhile visit in itelf) to Stebondale Road, and picked up a bike. Here on the east side of the island, there are numerous large docking stations. Manchester Road isn't too busy with traffic, and biking is fun. A useful station is positioned right next to Island Gardens, where you can grab a coffee. I took a walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel - the lifts have been refurbished, so it's now easier to cross with your bike. Don't take your Boris though, there are no docking stations in Greenwich yet.

By the Thames - Napier Avenue
Back on the island, I undocked again and headed east to Napier Avenue, in a beautiful riverside location. You have to know where it is though, it's so far from any other dock it doesn't appear on the '5 minute walking' maps on any of the terminals. Westferry Road is to the west of the island what Manchester Road is on the east, but narrower and with more traffic. Cycle lanes don't exist, nor it seems do any docks. Alpha Grove is a bit off the beaten track in a rather run-down estate - for the more modern riverside developments on this side of the island, there are no docks at all north of Napier Avenue. The other location where a dock is needed, but missing, is at South Quay - it would seem natural to install one here close to the DLR station. I finished my ride by heading south off Marsh Wall into the Crossharbour area, and finally docked at Millharbour.

I'm not sure whether Boris bikes get used much on the Isle of Dogs. It's not 'on the way' to anywhere, and apart from the business area at the north there isn't much to bring you onto the island unless you live there. The streets are quieter than a lot of London, which makes cycling pleasant, apart from Westferry Road, but with various docks (the watery kind!) and parks, it can be a bit awkward finding the best routes round the area. It's also an area still in transition, plenty new offices and flats are still going in. I hope more docks are built on the west side of the island, and at South Quay, but otherwise I think the bikes are a positive presence in this part of Tower Hamlets, and I'd recommend a ride out there.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hammersmith and Fulham - the Bikes are Coming

At last, some news from the west, where locations are at last being revealed for new docks in H&F borough. Read all about it here.

It's great news that all the stations will be of a minimum size of 25 docks. 60-70 stations overall doesn't sound a lot, but if they're well located, it should be good.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Boris Bikes grow up

The not-so-humble Boris bike is now just over two years old. It's come a long way - from an initial 300 or so docks to 568 today, taking in all of central London and a big patch of the east. Okay, so it never made the Olympics, but during our Jubilee/Olympic summer its useage has soared to around 40,000 trips per week, shared almost equally by members and casual users. And already plans are afoot for a western extension, also taking in some new areas south of the river. Long forgotten are the early teething problems - the largest problem now is that so many people use the bikes that docks are often either empty or full, particularly at commuter times. Communities like Brixton and Islington are clamouring for bikes in their areas. You can't spend long in central London without seeing a Boris bike, or even a family of them, gliding serenely past.

Boris bikes - agents of social change?
Boris bikes have changed the face of cycling in London. No special clothes or helmets are required; the bikes are reassuringly robust; even novices can have a try in the parks. With London's transport network struggling to take the strain, and with the urgent need to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions, the Boris bike is a knight in shining armour. In bright blue hues it invites us: 'try me, you can cycle too'.

Cycling campaigners (and I am one) will tell you that to maximise the potential of cycling in London, we need more protected cycle lanes and road design which prioritises people on bikes or on foot ahead of cars and lorries. This is right. And where the Boris bike clinches the argument is that it shows ordinary Londoners, and our international visitors, do want to cycle in our beautiful city. Every extra Boris biker is one more reason for politicians to listen to those who want to cycle, or perhaps have taken their first step. Cycle hire is bringing us to a tipping point, where the major user of roads will no longer be the car, but the bicycle. It's an exciting prospect.

Recently I've read two excellent articles, one from the relatively new Two Wheels Good blog, which I recommend, and an older one the author has flagged up at Bike Biz. Both say similar things to what I'm trying to say here.

We have an interesting year ahead. Cycle hire is extending, and to keep working needs a quite aggressive intensification in the central area as well as new docks to the south and west. Boris has promsied the first Dutch-style projects for cyclists in London, and perhaps Dutch-style design will characterise the four new Superhighways opening in 2013. We need to keep up the pressure on our elected representatives, but there are reasons to be hopeful.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Boris Bikes to Islington

The latest petition I've come across from local people wanting cycle hire in their area is in Islington - sign up today. I'm encouraged that so many local communities want to see the bikes coming their way, and Islington makes great sense as the bikes already cover some southern parts of the borough.

Unlike phase 2, when plans were revealed quite quickly, TfL are being very secretive about exactly which areas will be covered in next year's 'western' extension to the scheme. It would be great if northern and southern areas of London could benefit too.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Boris Bikes for Steele's Village

Following in the footsteps of Bikes2Brixton, the people of Steele's Village have started a petition to get docking stations installed in their area. I've supported them and hope you can too.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Boris bikes - more to come

And the winner was ... Boris.

So the next 4 years will no doubt see further battles over road design and the totemic policy of 'smoothing traffic flow'; but on a brighter note, the Boris bike is here to stay, and by 2016 (and he apparently won't run for a third term) who knows how widespread they'll be? There are few details of the western extension yet, hopefully these will follow later this year.

Dock construction seems to be taking a pause. A new one has opened in John Islip Street, and Monument Street went live a couple of weeks ago, but I'm not aware of any others under construction which are not now open. It will be interesting to see how the scheme copes during the Olympic months. It's already quite worrying that on a fine evening, most of central London is empty of the bikes by mid-evening, making them useless for evening entertainment. Initially we were promised that more docks and a better understanding of the patterns of use would help Serco solve these problems. It seems the patterns of use are now well-established, and simply accepted.

A very interesting, and encouraging, article appeared recently in Bike Biz. It's an old argument that sheer volume of cyclists will help improve road safety because other vehicles can't help but take greater care. This seems to be happening now in some of the busiest areas of London, such as the City. There's a way to go though before this effect will calm some of our busier routes, and the removal of cycle lanes in favour of narrower streets (take St Paul's Churchyard as an example) can only increase the conflict between cyclists and other traffic.

Boris bikes are coming to New York too, in a scheme which will eclipse our own. 600 docking stations and 10,000 bikes should be in place by this summer, using the Bixi system, originally developed in Canada and used for our own beloved  Boris bikes. The prices are higher than London, but the omens look good for America's most ambitious bike hire scheme to date. Take a look at their website.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Big Ride review, and election preview

Boris bikes in Big Ride
So, 10,000 cyclists did indeed take to London's streets, in the rain, to highlight cycle safety ahead of the mayoral and assembly elections this coming Thursday. And I hope you like my picture of some Boris bikes in the protest - there weren't many of us (maybe because it took more than 30 minutes? maybe because it rained and we're fair-weather folk?) but we were a reminder that cycle hire is now firmly a part of London's cycling culture.

Despite his belated conversion to LCC's 'Go Dutch' strategy, I'm going to agree with Londoners on Bikes that Jenny Jones has the best cycling policies for London. She has consistently supported lower speed limits, priority for pedestrians and cyclists on our streets, and street design which builds in safety for cyclists. What is certain is that cycling is now on the agenda in London politics. Whoever wins on Thursday (realistically Ken or Boris) will need to be held to their promises on cycling.

If you think I've not posted much news recently, it's because there hasn't been much. April has been a wash-out and I've cycled less than usual, I assume I'm not alone. Useage statistics for March (it was sunny then, remember?) show a big boost following the eastern extension, up to just under 40,000 hires each day from about 20,000 during the winter months before the extension.

A few new docks have opened in the Haggerston/Hoxton area, also Mudchute DLR (at last) and the Queen Street extension. Still no change at Monument Street, but it's ready for action.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

On yer Boris for The Big Ride - 28 April

On the morning of Saturday 28 April a coalition of cycle groups have joined together to organise the Big Ride - a fun cycling day out in London to highlight the need for better and safer facilities for cyclists in London.

Full details are on the LCC website, but you can join a number of feeder rides, and about 10,000 cyclists are expected on the streets of central London, which for one day only will be traffic free.

I'll be at the ride, not only because it'll be great fun, but also I want cycling in London to be available to all Londoners, from children going to school through to older people who could explore London by Boris bike in their retirement. Thank you Boris for the bikes - but whoever the next mayor is needs to deliver streets which we can cycle on, to make cycling an inclusive activity for people of all ages and abilities.

I hope to see you on 28 April, on your Boris bike of course!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Boris bikes for Kingston?

A few weeks ago I wrote about a possible extension to Surbiton. And now it seems Boris has said the same focusing this time on nearby Kingston. Exactly the same caveats apply, and the article itself, if you read past the headline, more or less says 'nice idea but won't happen'.

Despite the beautiful blue bikes, Sustrans gives Mayor Johnson the thumbs down in its assessment of the candidates' transport manifestos.

New docks have opened recently in Limerston Street and Drayton Gardens, extending the zone west along the Fulham Road. Kingsway southbound is also open, as is the long-awaited Abingdon Street Gardens. Strata is fixed at last.

Monument Street has a new dock, not yet active. John Islip Street (Pimlico) has a dock under construction.

I was in Hyde Park yesterday, couldn't get moved for the Boris bikes. Also plenty bikes down on Victoria Embankment, taking advantage of a part-closure for resurfacing.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mayoral Election - candidates reveal policies on Boris bikes

Cycling is becoming a major issue in the mayoral election, largely thanks to the Times 'Cities Fit for Cycling' campaign. Ken Livingstone is the latest to reveal his priorities (in an article which also helpfully compares the policies f the 4 leading candidates). On Boris bikes, he wants to widen access, extend the bikes to new parts of London, and get better value for money. These are all laudable aims, but I think tough to deliver. There have been a number of articles recently lamenting the fact that councils are having to chip in to fund the bikes. But I'd argue in the opposite direction - cycle hire is a new form of sustainable public transport in London, available at a low price to Londoners. I would actively encourage TfL and the boroughs to invest in the scheme, which will help to relieve congestion and pollution in the capital. Compared to major schemes like Thameslink and Crossrail (both of which are also worth investing in) cycle hire costs a tiny sum. So my message to Ken - yes, extend the bikes to new areas, and of course they need more users, but a good scheme costs money, and is worth investing in.

Plenty more information on cycling and the mayoral eelction is available from Londoners on Bikes.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

City cyclists

Just a brief post to flag up the new dock on Monument Street (22 docking points) which is not live yet, but is ready to go soon. With new docks already live on Fore Street and King Edward Street, there has been a welcome increase in capacity in the City of London. Queen Street's expansion is underway, and a new dock should appear on Houndsditch according to plans (though I've not been up there in a while). Still a lack of capacity close to Cannon Street and Blackfriars stations, but things are moving in the right direction.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Bikes to Surbiton?

A local news report suggests that Boris Johnson, if re-elected, would like to bring Boris bikes to Kingston and Surbiton towards the end of his next term (i.e. 2016). Now a quick look at a map is enough to show that Surbiton is quite a long way from the existing zone. To reach Surbiton the bikes would have to be installed across all of Richmond borough too (remember that so far they haven't even reached Wandsworth). So I'm sceptical, but if true it could indicate a very ambitious phase of expansion to come. Yet as of today there is no commitment even to include Brixton in next year's planned extension - as championed by the Bikes2Brixton campaign. Not to mention the lack of bikes in Camberwell and Bermondsey, both closer to central London than Surbiton. Do I sense a bit of party politics here, as Boris probably has more natural allies in southwest London than in Lambeth and Southwark?

As the mayoral election hots up, an interesting online dicussion on cycling took place on the BBC's blog.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Eastern Extension - not over yet

If you have been as excited as I by the new bikes in east London (and to a lesser extent towards Westfield in the west) it seems more is to come. I don't know for certain, but it may be a second wave of docks could go live soon, whether individually or as a block.

New docks I know of are:

Mudchute Station
Kingsway (Aldwych end, 32 docks)
Queen Street (an extension of the existing dock)
Limerston Street, Chelsea (18 docks)
Mile End Road

There is also the mystery of the Victoria and Albert Museum, where the groundwork was done for docks months ago, but nothing has ever appeared since. Might this dock finally be built?

The good weather certainly encourages cycling. I've got a ride on Isle of Dogs organised with friends for Monday, so I hope to report back from there.

UPDATE - I forgot of course College Green (properly known as Abingdon Street Gardens I think) with 21 new docking points.

UPDATE 2 - Bad news that Green Park dock, having been in service only about a month, has been taken out of use again temporarily. And can TfL please fix the dock at Strata, E&C??

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Archbishop and Boris bikers support sustainable transport

This morning Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, joined Boris bikers and other cyclists at Lambeth Palace to press the case for cycling as part of the Church's 'Shrinking the Footprint' campaign. The initiative shows that Boris bikes can be part of a sustainable and green future for our planet. See the full press release here.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

New dock for Embankment

A really quite large dock, named Somerset House, has opened on Embankment, right under Waterloo Bridge, on the Thames side of the road (unusually). By my count it had 41 docking points. I docked there this afternoon. It adds much needed capacity to a busy part of the riverside.

Go West - part 2

Last night I cycled the western extension with a friend from the Boris Bikes forum. And we took pictures!

Westfield Southern Terrace

Our starting point was Notting Hill Gate, recently expanded to take more bikes. The streets of Notting Hill are far from easy to navigate, but we passed the new Ladbroke Grove dock and made our way towards the shopping centre. Getting to Westfield on a bike isn't easy - a shared-use facility to help cross towards the Shepherds Bush tube is so cleverly disguised as a pavement, it's not very suitable for bikes. Eventually however we docked at Southern Terrrace. It's a sizeable dock (like all the docks at Westfield in fact) but it's not especially easy to find. Good for those who will use it regularly, but probably hard to locate for casual users and tourists. We then walked round the estate to locate the other docks.

Eastern Access Road -
where Boris bikes go to die?
Right at the back of the centre is the Eastern Access Road dock. Its unglamorous name says it all really. It's near a small industrial estate, not near any of the main entrances to the shops, and not a dock you would ever stumble over. Most of the bikes there look like they were put in last Thursday and haven't been used yet. I pity the Boris bikes which end up in this godforsaken location.

Much better are Ariel Way and, most glitzy of all, Library Corner, which is right by a main entrance to the complex. These docks will make far more sense once the western extension of the scheme comes to fruition in 2013 and can be approached from the west, rather than the current rather circuitous route from the east or south. A fifth dock which appears on the map, close to Ariel Way, has not yet been constructed.

Westfield glamour - Library Corner
There are a lot of cycle paths around Westfield itself, though they seem underused. Making Westfield a more cycle-friendly area would really involve sorting out better routes into and out of the complex. The addition of the cycle hire stations looks a bit too much like an afterthought, stuck in on the periphery.

Our western odyssey concluded with a trip back east out of Westfield, this time via an underpass, then a meander around the residential streets west of Holland Park. Finally we passed the new Russell Gardens dock and docked in Hansard Mews (one end of which is no entry - I look forward to the 'except cycles' sign being added).

Today Abbotsbury Road dock seems to be live on the map, so that's another for the western area, but as my earlier post suggested, there probaby aren't enough docks in this area yet. Also someone needs to sort out the cycling infrastructure in this part of London to make it more appealing to a wider cycling public. The one-way streets and speeding traffic are a barrier to all but the most experienced and determined Boris bikers.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Boris Bikes go east (and west) and more to come

Since my last post the new eastern zone has gone live, adding just over 100 docking stations to the total (548 stations are live tonight). Nine of these were in the west, and a handful of central docks went live, so that means that just under 90 docks are so far available in Tower Hamlets.

No big meltdown happened, partly because the new docks aren't getting much use yet. It'll be interesting to see what pattern of use develops, but if central London is a good model, bikes should move in and out of the Canary Wharf area according to the rush hours.

I also understand the saddles of the new bikes have been redesigned so you don't slide forward quite so much. I was on one today, it takes a bit of faith to believe it, but quite possibly. I won't be drawn on bells :)

Of course, the extension / intensification is not complete. The dock at Mudchute is yet to go live. A large dock west of Stepney Green on CS2 is complete but not live. The expansion of Queen Street is not complete. The long-awaited dock at Parliament (at the west edge of College Green) is under construction, and looks to have 20 docking points.

 If anyone was given a map of the docking points, it is unfortunately not to be trusted! A number of docks are wrongly sited (e.g. Cheapside), some which do exist are not shown (both stations on Bishop's Bridge Road), and some which do not exist are marked (anyone seen docks on Houndsditch or Holland Villas Road?). Nil points to TfL for this particular product, and I think it shows that, apart from internet-based resources, it's difficult to get accurate information about dock locations. Even the maps on the terminals are not always accurate.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Happy E-Day

Tonight their are 444 live docks. By tomorrow I hope there will be over 600. No more comment for now, but hope you enjoy tomorrow if you're cycling. I'll be out in the east.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

'I love Boris bikes' - Queen

Okay, maybe not her exact words, but it is reported that the Queen has given her seal of approval to the bikes during a conversation with Mayor Johnson. We know Will and Kate have used the bikes; if anyone sees an elderly but well-dressed lady cycling in the area of the Mall, please report back.

I'm sure it's going to be a week full of BoBi news - more anon.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Go West

While the main focus next week will be on the eastern extension, don't forget Boris bikes will be rolling out in the direction of the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush. After a tip-off from Ruzzi on the Boris bikes forum I headed off on my Boris around Holland Park and Notting Hill to see what's coming. Here's the docking stations I identified:

Abbotsbury Road (terminal installed, no docks yet)
Hansard Mews (17 docks)
Ladbroke Grove (21)
Lansdowne Walk (21)
Russell Gardens (24)
Walmer Road (24)

None are yet active. Obviously, unlike Camden, they will all be switched on next week.

In addition Notting Hill Gate has already been extended, and there are (I'm told) four docking stations actually at the shopping centre, some quite large.

So that's at least 10 new docking stations going west. We wait till 2013 of course for the real push west.

I have a few reservations of course! The density of docking stations (in the Holland Park residential areas) is quite low, so I can easily see them simply emptying in the morning like so many other areas. A number of streets earmarked for docks seem not to have got them (local objections maybe?) I hope Boris biking in this area will really take off, and new docks will continue to go in. From next week, we'll begin to see.

Extra news: a few other docks now seem to be live on the map - New Fetter Lane (Holborn Circus), Fore Street (near Guildhall), Arlington Road (in Camden Town). Keep them coming ...

LATE NEWS: an interesting feature on the IanVisits blog about a new map of docking station locations on Isle of Dogs

Thursday, 1 March 2012

E minus 7

Happy St David's Day, marking of course just one week to go until the eastern extension of cycle hire goes live. And not only east london will benefit, I've recently seen a new dock on Ladbroke Grove, and also on Bishop's Bridge Road in Bayswater.

Maybe it's the good weather, but I'm sure I'm seeing more Boris bikes on the streets these days. The opening of the extension could mark a real 'coming of age' of cycling in London, pushing it from a minority pleasure to the mainstream. LCC and others are organising the biggest bike ride ever seen in London on 28 April, another great day to celebrate and put pressure on politicians for safer roads better designed for cyclists.

A rather odd argument seems to have sprung in a few papers about the fact that councils are contributing to the funding of cycle hire. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think this is exactly what my council should be doing - investing in public transport infrastructure which is safe and sustainable. Tower Hamlets will be putting this to the test next week. Let's hope the sun is shining.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Camden loves Boris Bikes

On Friday I toured the new docks in Camden Town. I started by docking in Albany Street to the east of Regents Park, a dock of around 20 docking points. Chatted to an elderly Irish lady who used to be a cyclist there and explained how to use the bikes, hoping she'll get a key soon!

While Albany Street is okay, there aren't many docks connecting the existing zone to Camden Town. Outer Circle would be a perfect site for a big dock, but nothing yet.

I headed up to Camden Town and arrived at Gloucteser Avenue. A Serco guy was stripping the 'coming soon' sign from the dock. 'Can I dock?' I asked. 'Yeah, should be working,' he said, so my bike was the first to go in. Walked from there to Arlington Road, the dock is ready to go but not active yet. On to Hawley Crescent but no sign of a new dock there yet. Bikes were available on Bonny Street next to the Overground station, so I cycled down to Greenland Road, where the dock is under construction. Castlehaven Road was the one I missed out, but it's live on the map.

The really positive thing is the density of docks in Camden. And they're generally big docks. But navigating the busy one-way system isn't easy, and there aren't enough docks connecting this area to the King's Cross area to the south yet. More docks are definitely needed in Somerstown.

Saturday update - from a totally different area, but construction is underway to extend the dock at Queen Street in the City.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Three bits of news

I enjoyed the Flashride at Parliament yesterday, many thanks to the organisers, and let's hope the MPs listen during their debate today. Good number of Boris bikes in the ride, at one point there were six of us riding together.

Ken Livingstone's latest comment on Boris bikes proposes making them free for the elderly. I have no objection in principle but - BBs are very good value already so the OAPs wouldn't save much; how would the scheme be administered, it would be very expensive to upgrade the terminals to accept OAP freedom passes; what about other deserving groups, such as children or the unemployed? I think the idea needs more work. And the real issue for the mayoral election will be cycle safety, we can't put thousands of elderly Londoners onto streets which remain perilous even to experienced cyclists.

More and more docks are opening ahead of E-Day. Green Park Station and Wren Street are live today on the map, I think there are others too. And Camden Town now has docks not only on Parkway, but at Bonny Street and Castlehaven Road. I really ought to invest in a camera - this blog would look so much better with pictures!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Flashride to Parliament - 6.15pm, Wednesday 22 February

This Wednesday (which is Ash Wednesday) at 6.15pm cyclists are gathering on the Mall at the Duke of York steps, to ride to Parliament ahead of the parliamentary debate on cycle safety, sparked by the Times campaign.

Over the past few weeks MPs have been receiving letters from constituents asking them to make better safety for cyclists a priority. There have been too many cycling deaths, and I support this campaign because as Boris bikes roll out across London, bikers need to have the safety they deserve on our streets.

Do write to your MP if you haven't already. And, if you're free, please join the Flashride, on your Boris bike of course! See you there.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

LCC puts Boris bikes in the picture

I'm always thrilled when my copy of London Cyclist drops through my letterbox, but the latest issue is exceptional. Before going any further sign their Going Dutch petition to call for more safe routes for cyclists in London. Then read the excellent interview with Janette Sadik-Khan, transport commissioner in New York, which includes her plans for a 10,000 bike cycle hire scheme in the Big Apple (not sure it's online yet, maybe you should become a member to get the magazine?).

But perhaps best of all are LCC's proposals for what Dutch-style cycling might look like in London. Consider Parliament Square - a beautiful public square closed to traffic on two sides, with a new fountain and cycle lanes all round. And yes, at the centre of this scheme, a cycle hire dock! It makes sense of course - who needs to dock in parliament? - civil servants, tourists, MPs, Mr Cameron maybe. Seriously a lot of people, not all experienced cyclists, the ideal location for cycle hire. And then see the plan for the Olympic Park post-2012: Stratford High Street calmed with fewer traffic lanes and cycle lanes installed, and at the entrance to the park itself, a cycle hire station of course!

What LCC can see, and I wonder if Boris can't quite yet, is that cycle hire is socially inclusive in a way the traditional lycra-clad London cycling isn't. I'm not against that, but Boris bikes attract tourists, commuters, the curious, families, and more. They need the bikes in the right places, and they need cycle lanes which make them feel confident even if they're new to cycling. I for one give the thumbs up to LCC's plans.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

E-Day update

Yes, it's 8 March, according to TfL's press release, and reported by London 24 among others.

So a lot of work to get all those docks in within the next month! My guess is that, like the original scheme, not every dock will be in by 8 March and more will be constructed in the months to come. In the existing area, for example, intensification seems to be slow to get going.

So, look for me on 8 March cycling round the Isle of Dogs!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


We all know that the eastern extension is under construction. And we're wondering when it'll go live.

Talk on the Boris Bikes Forum is that the mayor's transport advisor Kulveer Ranger has tweeted that there will be an announcement tomorrow morning. Will it be 8 March as has been suggested? We'll know tomorrow I hope!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Boris bikes: Ken speaks

With the mayoral election only months away, Ken Livingstone has spoken out on cycling as part of an interview with the Guardian. On cycling in London, he proposes bringing in the Green Party's Jenny Jones as a special advisor. This is good news - Jenny is someone who clearly 'gets' cycling in a way Boris never will. Ken also suggests Labour AM Val Shawcross will chair TfL, again great news as Val has a proven record on speaking in favour of safety for cyclists, and has also supporetd the Bikes2Brixton campaign.

Ken's comments on Boris bikes are interesting and could do with some clarification. His preferred scheme would have been to bring Paris's Velib scheme to London, and thinks the alternative operator Boris has worked with doesn't give value for money. Basically he wants Boris bikes, but cheaper ones, and possibly thinks the operator might bring the price down if threatened with losing the contract. Ken doesn't comment on Barclays sponsorship.

For me this raises two questions. If Ken becomes mayor, over 600 docking stations and 7000 bikes will already be on the streets: starting again won't really be an option, so how will he renegotiate a better value deal while maintaining the current system? Secondly, I personally think you get what you pay for, and the bikes and docks are quality products. And cost of course is relative, Boris bikes are a bargain compared to, say, Crossrail or the Thameslink upgrade. I'd personally like to challenge Ken to commit to keeping and expanding a high-quality scheme, even if he does renegotiate the price.

Possibly deserving its own thread, but I'll put it here for now, is the new 'Cities fit for cycling' campaign launched by the Times. This is a real landmark campaign - a major newspaper running a high profile campaign to get a better deal on the roads for cyclists. I suggest you sign up today, and write to your MP as the paper suggests - there's plenty more information on the Times website.

As E-day approaches (when the eastern extension will go live) there's more evidence of intensification in the central area. A new dock is under construction on King Edward Street in the City, close to the junction with Angel Street. At Holborn Circus a dock is going in at the top of Fetter Lane, close to the Sainsbury building. And as part of the Westfield extension, a dock is being built at the north end of Holland Road, west side. No news yet when E-day will be ...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bikes to Wandsworth

Plans are advancing for 80 new docking stations in Wandsworth borough, it is reported.

Meanwhile docks are springing up all over the place in Tower Hamlets ahead of a switch on of the eastern extension probably in March. Docking stations are also under construction westwards through Holland Park towards Westfield, and north into Camden Town. 'Intensification' of the central zone is also promised, but only a modest number of new docks have appeared so far: Oval, Crinan Street and Killick Street are already active, Red Lion Street, Kennington Station and Grays Inn Road are installed but not yet operational - I'd be interested to hear if any others are under construction.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Coming soon to Clapham Junction - Boris Bikes!

News from Wandsworth is that plans are underway for a docking station at Clapham Junction as part of the expansion into Wandsworth borough, expected by 2013. With a new dock planned for Parliament, and pressure on for expansion into Brixton and Highgate and Hampstead, it looks like the scheme is set to grow and grow.

I'm cycling up to Camden later today, where I believe the new Parkway dock is now in service.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Liberal Democrats: Boris bikes are failing Londoners

Caroline Pidgeon AM, writing for the Liberal Democrats in London, has highlighted a number of the unsatisfactory elements of the scheme, particularly problems with redistribution. There is certainly no 'coalition' on the London Assembly and Caroline has criticised the mayor several times over cycling, notably TfL's refusal to compromise on cycle safety for the new layout on Blackfriars Bridge.

I think her criticisms are largely fair with reference to bike redistribution and especially the tortuous process of casual use. Personally I think improvements to the system since the survey she cites was carried out have greatly improved the reliability of the bike keys. The most obviously missing criticism is to do with dock location - they are often built where boroughs allow them to be situated rather than where users actually want them.

A lot more could be said about this - but hats off to Westminster (for once!) who rejected recommendations and have given the go-ahead for a dock on Abingdon Street, close to the Houses of Parliament, contrary to my expectations.

There's a lot more Boris bike news at the moment, I assume because of the imminence of the Eastern Extension (to be switched on as a whole probably in March I am led to believe from a conversation with some TfL press people). Highlights include: calls for Boris bikes in Highgate and Hampstead; might a new docking station in Camden be unsafe; has the novelty of Boris bikes worn off.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Boris Bikes at Parliament

Another delay has been reported to plans for a docking station close to the Houses of Parliament.

There are notoriously few docking stations in this area, and shows how the planning procedure for docking stations is seriously compromised by the interference of council officials. Let's hope for pressure from MPs and peers for a change of heart.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cycle safety in London

A recent article about cycle safety close to a new dock in King's Cross (Crinan Street) has got me thinking about cycle safety. I can't track down the article any longer, but it points out just how truly dreadful cycling infrastructure is around King's Cross. It was here of course that student Deep Lee was knocked from her bike and killed, which became the focus of a recent cyle protest.

TfL, it seems to me, are caught in a paradoxical position. They're investing a lot in Boris bikes, and expanding it across London starting soon with the eastern extension. But at the same time, as protests at Bow, King's Cross and Blackfriars show, there is still no political will to make streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians. The issues are well covered in some detail on the Cyclists in the City blog. The biggest barriers to cycling in London are safety fears, but TfL are doing too little to address the issue. How many more deaths will it take before someone wakes up to the idea that human lives are more important than squeezing as much traffic as possible through London's streets?

I got an email today from TfL telling me how I could stay safe on my bike. Some of the same points are reiterated in their most recent press release. I replied that TfL had to take seriously their responsibilities to make us safe - by lowering speed limits, providing separated cycle lanes, and by eliminating the clash between cycling space and car parking. It's not rocket science really.

Boris bikes will only ever really take over the streets of London when those same streets provide a calm and safe environment for people of all ages and abilities to cycle. I'd urge everyone who cares about cycling in London to let TfL know that.

UPDATE - the article about Crinan Street is here

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Bring the Bikes to Brixton

An online petition has been started to bring Boris bikes to Brixton (and across Lambeth borough generally). Do sign it - it rightly points out that the vast proportion of docking stations are north of the river.

Always on the lookout for new docks, the Red Lion Street and Grays Inn Road docks are there but not yet active, and also a new one is being installed next to King's Place in Crinan Street.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012 - a new year of Boris biking

Boris biking is not sadly an Olympic sport. Nor indeed will Boris bikes be seen inside the Olympic park, of which Barclays is not a sponsor. But 2012 will be an exciting year for Boris bikers nonetheless.

I haven't updated the blog for a while, though it's been a time of consolidation rather than expansion for the scheme. A few docks (like Leman Street) have got bigger, the Exhibition Road docks are now active, and two new ones have sprung up on Red Lion Street and Grays Inn Road. Contributors to the Boris bikes forum have reported the foundations of docking stations as part of the phase 2 eastern extension being laid, and TfL's most recent press release celebrates the boost for Boris bikes with increased useage on Christmas Day, and the forthcoming extensions, not only to east London but also towards the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush. 2011's main achievement has to be the improved reliability of the technology, which may still not be 100 percent but is greatly improved over what it was at the turn of 2010/11.

There's no doubt that the big expansion in the spring, together with the return of longer days and warmer weather, will give the scheme a big boost. For me a big question is whether the docks are being placed in the best locations - there are still a lot of central London landmarks and transport interchanges without them (St James's Park and St Pancras Station to mention just two). 2012 will also be the year of the London mayoral election. There are huge questions hanging over Boris Johnson's handling of cycle safety and his seeming preference for traffic flow rather than making space for cycles and pedestrians. But does Ken (as probably the only other possible winner of the election) have the vision to do better?

I'm sad that the Queen has chosen to celebrate her Jubilee with a river procession rather than a Boris bike ride down the Mall, but that aside 2012 is an opportunity to show off London as a cycling city to the world. Let's try to grasp that opportunity.