y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Alina from Balham

Name / age?
Alina, and I am 26.
Where do you live / ride to?
I live in Balham and cycle to work in Croydon or into town to meet friends and go out.
What do you ride?
A Specialized Hardrock Sport. I know it might not make the most sense to ride a mountain bike around London but I love my bike.
How often do you ride?
As often as possible. I like going on trips and during the week cycle to work whenever I can.
What's your primary reason for cycling?
Quicker, cheaper, healthier. I am not dependent on the last tube home plus I don’t have to feel guilty about adding to London’s congestion and air pollution.
What's your least favourite aspect of cycling?
Road users that don’t look out for each other, that includes cars and buses that drive up your backside, cut you off or simply think as a cyclist you are not part of the main traffic and pedestrians that just step out into the road – I did that once, was hit by a bike and thrown quite a way into the road. I deserved it.
What's your most favourite aspect of cycling?
Freedom. Plus you get to know places much better by bike and you can discover areas you might not get to see otherwise.
How many locks do you carry and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
I have a D-lock and a cable that I use to secure the front wheel. My saddle is also attached to the frame with a small cable to prevent opportunistic theft – I got the cable after I had to cycle home without a saddle after a night out – luckily most of it was downhill. I have had two bikes stolen – that taught me to get insurance.
What advice would you give an aspiring cycling thinking of riding in London for the first time?
Be confident and don’t let cars behind you that can’t overtake bother you. You have just as much right to be there as they do.
If you were Mayor for the day what would you do to improve the lot of the London cyclist?
Create more ‘shared space’ areas. People tend to be quite reluctant towards these but evidence from the Netherlands and Germany for example shows that they are safer because different road users learn to look out for each other. I work as a transport planner with an emphasis on sustainable transport and smarter travel so I am already working on a number of projects which aim to change the mindset of people encouraging them to leave the car at home and walk and cycle. I think anything that will increase the number of cyclists on the road will make conditions safer.

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1 comment:

neil said...

very good take on cycling around london, particularly the advice to newbies!