101 reasons to love cycling in London #11 - the need for speed

Whilst I'm a great advocate of cycling as slowly as you like, it's undoubtable that cycling is the quickest way of getting around town, and well sometimes you just want to get somewhere fast.

I recently heard Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, talking about the effect the Congestion Charge has had on traffic levels in London.  Before the introduction the average speed of cars at rush hour was just 8mph - since the introduction of the charge it's gone up to 12mph; the same average speed of traffic during the reign of Queen Victoria...

But it seems almost impossible that bicycles - a 200 year old invention powered by nothing but our little legs - would be faster than say, the Underground or a car doesn't it?  Well, let's turn then to the most unlikely of sources of evidence; the BBC's "Top Gear" motoring show.  They set a race across London at rush hour from West London (Wandsworth) to London City Airport in the Docklands way out East.  One presenter went by bicycle, another by a very sexy speed boat down the river Thames, one in a car and another, armed with an Oyster card, via bus, tube and the DLR.  The winner?  The bicycle.  By a long shot.

Seeing the Top Gear team fail to justify their own existence?  Just another reason to love cycling in London!

1 comment:

gone said...

Sorry, have come to this somewhat late - but the Hamster had to cycle from a bit further than Wandsworth. It's Kew Bridge. I've cycled past there a couple of times since getting my new baby, and frequented the pub behind them on many a summer's afternoon.
Loving the blog, having found it in a quiet spell at work and watched the whole afternoon disappear in a contented haze.