Thursday, 23 June 2011

British Broadcasting for Cyclists

Curious.  On Monday the London SE News that tags onto the end of the 6 o'clock news did a feature on cycling outnumbering other vehicles on Cheapside, in the City of London.  They even sent a TV journalist over to stand on the pavement and talk about it.

And I, in turn, started a forum thread about it here: and cycled up to Cheapside the following day armed with a camera.  Unfortunately, it was well after the rush hour when I got there so cycle commuters were thin on the ground and there was nothing relevant worth photographing. 

Anyhow, it was from the thread I'd kicked off that I discovered, courtesy of ''EC2boy'' from Cyclists in the City that the information seemed to have been published on 19 June in the Sunday Times.  Cyclists in the City quote the ST as saying

"On Cheapside, a street in the City of London, cycles make up more than 50% of the commuter traffic, according to official data, and account for up to 42% of traffic on Southwark Bridge across the Thames. In one Bristol suburb more than one in four people cycle to work....Since Bristol was designated a “cycling city” in 2008 under a government scheme the proportion of cyclists on some of its roads has trebled. In the suburb of Ashley a quarter of people now bike to work."

So, all in all, congratulations to the British Bicyclists on Cheapside and also to the other BBC for actually covering the story on TV.

And yet....

...3 days later, Tom Edwards, ''Transport Correspondent, London,'' produces a blog entitled ''Cyclists outnumbering motorists: Strength in numbers?''  stating, amongst other things, that  ''A story has been doing the rounds about how on some roads cyclists outnumber motorists.'' but pooh-poohing such an absurd idea with this:

Having looked at the figures, one thing stood out. The figures seem to be measured only on bridges, in some cases where the cycling superhighways cross the Thames.
Now, I was a little confused as to how the BBC's ''Transport Correspondent, London'' could have been unaware of the transport item broadcast only 3 days earlier by his colleagues, the article in the Sunday Times 4 days earlier, yet attempt to assert that there was nothing to substantiate the claims of these cycling mythologists anywhere else but on the bridges, and preferably those bridges where there are occasional splashings of blue paint on the carriageway.

The  only explanation I could come up with boiled down to ''Man on Bridge with phone camera decides it's all about the bridge''

Oops, his photo is on a bus lane, not a''cycle superhighway'' anyway, so that doesn't really illustrate his thesis.

Anyhow, I thought that a little further information posted onto the comments on his blog might be useful for other readers.  So here's what I wrote:

Er, the regional programme that follows the 6pm BBC News (20/6/10) did an item on cyclists outnumbering other forms of transport on Cheapside in the City of London.  Cheapside doesn't cross the Thames.    The item appears to have been in response to a Sunday Times article on the 19th. More info here:
However, that comment was never published.  It  spent a while in ''pre-moderation'' before it was rejected.  Why?

Your comment was considered to have broken the following House Rule:

"We reserve the right to fail comments which...

Are considered to be off-topic for the discussion."
So, let's get this straight.  BBC does story.  BBC bloke on a good wage does blog contradicting said story  ''doing the rounds''.  Commenter cites BBC to contradict Blog.  Blog rejects comment as off-topic.

If you want something that breaks the ''house rules,'' here goes:

Tom Edwards, and whoever rejects comments on your blog if it's not you, read the papers, watch the BBC - you know, those guys that pay you on the public's behalf - if you say something and a commenter says ''er, that's not true'' it's not off-topic.  It simply shows that you are a useless journalist and suppressing information from other people to stop you looking like a twat does nothing at all to stop you being a twat.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

What's cooking?

Nice to see Doctor Who back on TV but by far the most unsettling image I saw was when it had finished.  I put the recording on hold, did a few potter-aboutish things and returned to the room.  There in front of me was this....

What on earth was she cooking?  Those TV chefs frighten me...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Forest Hill Beers

I should have got some work done today but it was such a fine morning that I thought I'd take advantage of the quieter roads on my ''ride every road'' travels.  Just passing Tintern Street, off Ferndale Street, SW4 I noticed a very faded sign on the side road so, as I had a camera on me, I stopped to take a photo.  Nothing spectacular


However, it was only when I looked 90 degrees to the right that I saw this...

I didn't know that there had ever been such a company but, apparently, they were swallowed up by Whitbread in the 60s.  I wonder whether they ever made a Perryv Ale.  Looking back at Google's street view, it's clear that the sign has been recently and carefully restored.  This is how it looked before:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Meet Crunchy the Credit Crunch Monster

I celebrated the warmer weather today with another of my radial rides - this one took me over near Old Street and Liverpool Street.  It was there that I met Crunchy.  Actually, I wouldn't have known that it was Crunchy if it hadn't been for the blue plaque underneath:

Alongside the plaque there's a motto for our crowded and crunchy urban existences...and even the tube trains seem to have run out of space underground.
(Great Eastern Street, EC2)
Just around the corner in Leonard Street, Masker has been at work:
And these road signs did actually make me stop.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


It feels like it was the first time this year, and it was welcome.  My alarmingly  clunky bottom bracket managed to get me to the Wolds of Woolwich and back.  Here's a well-preserved bit of shop front that has far outlasted the shop itself.  It's on the corner of Eglinton Road and Herbert Road, SE18.  I'm trying to figure out whether it once had an entrance on both sides of the tile work.

Here it is a bit closer up, looking a bit like a big tin of peas:


After cycling just over 3000 miles last year, I've set myself a 4000 target for this year.  And I'm already behind the 10.92 miles a day schedule.  But only by about 3 miles.  Most of this cycling will probably take place in and around the area as I continue my impossible ''ride every road'' project.  This is where I've got to so far.  (The red radials mark where I need to go next to keep expanding the circle).  It's only an area of just over 50 square miles, which would have taken no time to cover in open countryside.  In London, there are an awful lot of roads between Walworth and Woolwich, Borough and Bexley, Beckton and Beckenham, Bromley  I've now forgotten more roads than the average Londoner has ever known.


You can't put a bus lane there!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

A festive Boxing Day ditty....

As I have never ever seen such a spectacular night's day of cricket, I thought a  mightily contrived Christmas song might be appropriately catchy....

On the first day at Melbourne my true love sent to me

12 balls for Watson

11 Aussies cussing

10 runs for Ponting with...

9 working fingers

8 for 77!

7 for 77!?

6 for 77!!!

5 no balls....

4 each for the swingers

3 stumps still standing

2 batting sessions

And they still couldn't knock up a ton...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Union Cycle Works

I noticed this sign back in September but the workshop, behind the Deptford Project CafĂ©, under the arches of the old horse ramp up to Deptford railway station, was closed.  Then, about a month later, Deptford Dame did this post with a link to an article about it on the East London Lines blog. 

Having recently spotted that Union Cycle Works were holding 'Open Tool' sessions on the 1st Saturday of the month, I eventually got down there to have a look around this morning.  Union Cycle Works is run as a community project that gives work skills training to disadvantaged people and, as a bonus, have started their 'Open Tool' sessions for people who don't have the room or the necessary tools at home.

I walked in as a complete stranger and got a warm welcome from Joe (though East London Lines names him as Jo Harrington) who was very happy to take the time and explain to me what they were doing and when they were doing it. 

So, if you need to get any fettling done and you don't have the room or tools at home, this might be just the place to bring your bike and, for a voluntary contribution, get a bit of advice and the use of their tools.  This place could prove to be a very useful little resource that not many people seem to know about yet.  So shush, don't tell everybody!. 

And you can also get a good meal and coffee in the railway carriage while you're at it.