Monday, 3 January 2011

Back in the saddle

The cost of fuel has gone up by 5 pence since I last filled up my car before the snow hit in December. Train fares, bus and tube fares will reach eye watering prices this week too. Government policy on getting us out of our cars and onto public transport seems to be crazy. The idea is to increase the cost to the fare paying public and reduce the cost to the tax payer which is why government subsidies to public transport is on the decline. But the last time I checked I was a tax payer as well as a user of public transport and having decent public transport is a fundamental as the health service. I want to use my car even less this year but high fares and reduced government interest in a good cycling infrastructure means that this will be an ongoing battle for those of us who love our bikes and just want to get from A to B safely. Still I am up for the challenge and I will be registering for the TFL hire bike scheme as soon as I am properly back on line.

It was good to get back on the bike today; very little traffic on the roads because it was a Bank Holiday and the snow has finally cleared. Cycle lanes are full of tiny holes, grit and debris so it will be tricky going until street cleaning starts up again.


J said...

Well I fell for the bait. How exactly did you get that final knot at the top of your shoe laces?

cycling on brompton said...

Are those camper shoes you're wearing?

Here in Israel it's even worse - the train company has shut down the line I'm using for 3 weeks minimum, because they had a fire in a train last week – so they suspended all the train from the same model.

Leslie said...

Happy New Year. I was out myself today for the first time in 2011. There was a lovely moment of sun across Victoria Park, and I was not too cold to enjoy the scene. Spent New Year in France. It really is a more bike-friendly place. There were road-signs urging cars to share the road with cyclists, and on New Year's Day, it was -2C, but people were still out on their practice bikes. Mind you, it still wasn't quite like this:

Cycling in Heels said...

I've been caught. Yes they are Camper shoes. New ones but I can't upload the pictures yet. The laces are elastic but there are zips on the side so they are for decoration only.

Happy New Year to you too L. France and Vicky Park what a contrast.

Gareth said...

I've just been reading a book by Robert Penn called 'It's All About the Bike'. He visits Portland which has developed into a hugely bike-centric city. You can take bikes on all buses, all rails systems, car parking spaces are capped, and there are bike racks everywhere. The ethos is 'If you make it safe, people will ride'. Companies offer emloyees incentives to ride, eg free food in the canteen if you cycle in, and accruing a day's leave if you cycle in every day for 4 weeks etc.
I had a very pleasant ride from Forest Hill to Canary Wharf early on New Years Day including my first traverse of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Definitely one of the quietest times of the year to ride.
Happy New Year all.

Cycling in Heels said...

Penn did a great documentary for BBC 4 about building his dream bike which as you know is the subject of the book. I haven't read it but I saw the doc and I envy the residents of Portland.

I confess that I have never used the Foot Tunnel. I keep hearing that it is closed or about to be closed for renovations and I prefer the ferry. I agree that the two best days to cycle around London are Christmas Day and New Years Day early in the morning.

She Rides a Bike said...

Gareth, Portland really is a cyclist's dream (at least to an American like me who may never get to Copenhagen). Drivers actually anticipate cyclists being on the road and are far more courteous than any place I've ever pedaled.

Cycling in Heels, American public transit is so, so backwards, as well. At a time when many people can't pay their rent or mortgage (let alone a maintain a car) transit systems are eliminating route, reducing circulation times and raising ticket prices! I would be fine to pay a hirer fair if I had to but eliminating routes and reducing will effectively prevent many people from getting to or finding employment. Sorry, for my brief rant . . . my country is out of it's mind. Oh, well, gas prices are going up so I expect our local bike shops will again see a surge in sales of bikes and commuting accessories.