y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Janie from Clapham High Street

Name and age?
Janie, and I'm 40
Where do you live / ride to?
I live in Clapham High Street and I ride everywhere.
What do you ride?
A crappy bike that I don't mind getting stolen.  It's a Dawes Aluminium Discovery.
How often do you ride?
Every day.
Helmet or no helmet?
I'd say about 70% with a helmet, but it depends... on what hair-do I have. It's important... how does that make me sound?! Haha, it's important, honest... 70% of the time I have a helmet.
What's your primary reason for riding?
Because it's the most enjoyable method for getting around.
What's your least favourite aspect of cycling?
My least favourite, I'd have to say, are certain really really rude drivers.  Specifically, drivers who don't know how to drive, drivers who are so angry whilst they are behind the wheel that they have absolute rage and then have no regard for safety whatsover, either for themselves or anyone else.  There's quite a few of them in south London. They need to get a massage or something.
What's your most favourite aspect of cycling?
My most favourite aspect of cycling is feeling the wind in my hair, and just knowing where I can go wherever I want, to the door, you know, right up to the door, park your bike anywhere and straight in.
What do you never leave the house without?
Lock, phone, change of shoes - I like to cycle in particular shoes, that I know I can cycle in, and then change into boots when I get to my destination.
How many locks do you carry and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
I have had five bikes stolen all together.
Five?! That's shocking!
I'm okay with that, it's just how it is.  That's why I just buy crappy bikes so it doesn't really matter.  I've been cycling a very long time and it just is what it is, I'm totally over it.  For a day it's distressing, then you move on. It's a fact of life and besides, cycling has still saved me thousands and thousands of pounds in getting around London.
It's an acceptable risk?
Yeah, exactly.
How many locks?
At the moment I've got a D lock, and a cable lock and a couple of small locks for attaching paniers and things like that.
What advice would you give an aspiring cyclist thinking of riding in London for the very first time?
It's hard that, because it's not easy starting out, you have to work at it.  Work out your route, look at a map and work out the best route away from the main roads that is nicer - still direct - but work your way around the back streets and keep to those back streets rather than those main roads.
Lastly, what could be done to improve the lot of the London cyclist?
OK, right, where do I start..? Quite a lot!  The first one is to devise a cycle superhighway from my house, along the Thames and into Soho where I work, that would be nice.  Generally, having designated cycle routes along the South Bank and along the river would imrove things, at the moment it's hard and everyone is dodging each other when it could be how it's like in Europe.

5 comments:

Andy in Germany said...

Great interview. I'm not sure I'd like to cycle in the UK any more, let alone in a massive city like London. I also think I'd be quite upset to lose my Xtracycle- I frequently leave it unlocked in the village...

Anne said...

That photograph is strong evidence that cycling keeps a person young!

Great interview.

Mark said...

@Andy you'd loose your bike if you did that here. Most of us carry two or more locks (if we don't want our bikes to be stolen)

@Anne I totally agree and was shocked when I interviewed Janie and she told me her age. I thought she was pulling my leg. All the more reason to cycle!

m e l i g r o s a said...

these are awesome! im enjoying all the interviews, here in SF we got a series of women who bike :D

great work mark, im glad ive found your blog
cheers + go world cup :D
xxo.m

Mark said...

Welcome Meli, I'm glad you found us too! Keep up the great work, I love reading your blog and hearing all about life on 2 wheels in San Fran