y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Pete & Francis from Hackney

Name / age?
Pete (left in red jacket):  I'm Pete, I'm 29
Francis:  I'm Francis and I'm 28
Where do you both live / ride to?
Pete:  We both live in Hackney and I ride to Farringdon for work every day
Francis:  I ride all around London for fun and for work.

What do you both ride?
Francis: This is my Pashley Paramount
Pete:  And this is my... what is it? It's a '70's racer of some sort.
You couldn't be more different in terms of bikes!
Pete: Nope
How often do you ride?
Francis: I think we probably both ride every day.
Helmet or no helmet?
Pete:  No helmet.
Francis:  Sometimes a helmet if my Mother's conscience is on my shoulder, but othertimes no.
Any particular reason you don't wear one when your Mum isn't looking?
Francis:  Cycling isn't a dangerous extreme sport; it's just an ordinary way of getting about and you shouldn't have to wear protective padding just to go out on to the street.
I agree
Francis:  Sometimes you fear death more though on certain days and think "I'd better wear my helmet" because I wouldn't want someone to find my helmet after I'd died and thought "If only he'd worn that!"
Hanging up on your bedroom door at home you mean?
Francis:  That's right, or maybe on my desk in the office where I've dumped it, with my work colleagues standing around looking at it sadly.
So what's your primary reason for cycling?
Francis:  It's the only sensible way of getting around London.
Pete:  It's the quickest and most efficient way of getting around and the cheapest too.
What's your least favourite aspect of cycling?
Francis:  Almost being hit by cars on a constant basis isn't great.
Pete:  Yes. Seeing horrible situations just ahead of you, like a bus going up to the pavement where you might have been; just seeing these dangers and thinking "Oh, I could have been in that spot, it could have been me."
Francs:  The lack of traffic enforcement by Police against dangerous drivers on regulated roads.
More positively, what's your most favourite aspect of cycling?
Pete:  Probably just beating everyone else, whizzing past the buses, the taxis, everyone, and being the fastest on London's roads.  Beating the Tube - not having to inhale the breath of the people stuck on the Tube is nice.  Not having to stop at any point in your journey...
Francis:  And getting to actually see where you are going and all the bits in between too.
What do you never leave the house without when riding?
Pete: I do the whole "Wallet, keys, phone" pat-down thing as I'm walking out the door.
Francis:  3D glasses, liquourice root and a tire pump.
How many locks do you carry and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
Pete:  I've had a million bicycles stolen.
That's quite a lot!
Pete:  Yep, unlucky me. I now have a really decent D-lock having had a range of locks from wire through to cable locks.  I learnt the hard way.
Francis:  I have one cable lock, and I also have a huge sort of anchor chain that I leave at the office to lock the bike too everyday.
What advice would you give to an aspiring cycling thinking of riding in London for the first time?
Francis:  Just do it and don't be afraid.  Assert yourself.  Come to Critical Mass - it's a good way of discovering that you can own the roads and the cars can be secondary. 
Pete:  Pretend you are car?  Be confident I guess, but just own the streets - these are our streets too.
Lastly, if you were Mayor for the day - imagine yourself as Boris Johnson now...
Francis:  I do. At night.
Ha!  ...if you were Boris what would you do to improve the city for it's cyclists?  Would you build more infrastructure? Tame drivers? Tow the whole city to Florida?
Francis:  The Police need to make all drivers respect the rules of the road; get them out of the Advanced Stop Lines.  People go on about cyclists jumping red lights but drivers are just as bad, especially when it comes to stopping in yellow box junctions which I think is one of the most stupid things you can do.  It would be nice if we could curb the unpredictable and dangerous driving.
Pete:  One thing?! God!
Yep, only one, and then I'm afraid you don't get to be Mayor anymore...
Pete:  Okay, well, I really approve of the bike hire scheme and they should expand it 'cos the more bikes there are on the road the better.  Anything that makes things safer and easier to get on the bike.  Don't be afraid to make a little more congestion 'cos it gets more people on their bikes!

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Pete said...

Pete here - flip Fran and my helmet wearing comments around and you'll have it just right... wasn't there a photo of me smiling... I'm sure I smiled?

ibikelondon said...

Hi Pete, sorry I got the two of you the wrong way round for the helmet answers - you both sound surprisingly similar on tape!

You look just fine in this photo, don't worry! Attempts at smiling in the other pic came out more grimacy... I blame the liqourice root to be honest!

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

love these guys - need to visit london soon!! :D

Hermann said...

Funny AND interesting answers.
Riding in London must be great.
Greetings from Greece.