y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Brian from Dalston

Meet another one of my Twitter followers who has volunteered their thoughts and feelings on their everyday experience of cycling in London and what they might do to improve it...

Name / age?
I am Brian Jones and I'm 42 years old.
Where do you live / ride to?
I live in Dalston and I cycle to get wherever I need to be for meetings, photo shoots, to do the shopping, or meet a friend for a coffee. Because I have a folding bike it's easy to take my bike on the Tube or a bus for those long trips across London when there is no time to cycle all the way.
What do you ride?
I ride a two-speed Brompton.
How often do you ride?
As often as I need to, generally several times a day.


Helmet or no helmet?
Generally, I don't wear a helmet.
What's your primary reason for cycling?
Because it's a fast, convenient and enjoyable way to get around this great metropolis.
What's your least favourite aspect of cycling?
My least favourite aspect of cycling is that London’s road and transport infrastructure generally ignores bicycles and favours motor vehicles.
What's your most favourite aspect of cycling?
It's the freedom it gives me to be outside and get around the city very quickly and easily.
How many locks do you carry and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
I don't need to carry any locks because I can fold up my bike and take it inside with me. A lot of venues like the Royal Festival Hall and Barbican allow you to leave your Brompton in the cloak room.
In my 20 years of urban cycling I've had only two bikes stolen. One was taken when my flat was broken into and the other was taken because I was using a Kryptonite lock that was able to be opened using a Biro penIf we create a cycling environment that is comfortable and secure bikes will become ubiquitous and commonplace and the current need for hyper security will be lessened.
What advice would you give an aspiring cyclist thinking of ridng in London for the first time?
Seek out a friend who is an experienced urban cyclist and have them show you the ropes.  Go out and cycle as often as you can at times and places where you feel comfortable; Sundays are usually quite free of motor vehicle traffic giving you a nicer way to get a feel for the roads and gain the confidence to ride amongst busier traffic. Seek out routes that take you away from the faster and busier main roads. There's often a more calm alternative route away from the busier roads. Study the A to Z and TFL cycle maps to find these quieter and slower streets.
If you were Mayor for the day what would you do to improve the lot of the London cyclist?
In a massive city like London cycling is just one part of the general transportation mix. If we address problems in other parts of the landscape we will improve the lot of the London cyclist, so as Mayor I would take a heavy handed approach and do the following:
• Give all schoolchildren cycle training.
• Lobby to include cycling proficiency as part of driver training and licensing. (So if you want to drive a car, and are able to ride a bike, you must also demonstrate you can follow the rules of the road while riding a bike. I am not advocating licensing for cyclists.)
• Set aside certain routes and roads solely for bicycle use.
• Remove private cars from bus and cycle routes.
• Mandate that accommodation be made for carrying cycles on all forms of rail transport.
• Mandate that copious cycle parking be available at all mass transit stations and hubs.
• Expand the Boris Bike scheme to Zone 3 and other hubs further out.
• Reintroduce trams and implement dedicated bus lanes to take the pressure off the Tube.
• Introduce a road pricing scheme within the M25 so car drivers pay more the more they use their cars.
• Remove all car parking from Red Routes, bus lanes, and cycle routes.
• Implement even more stringent parking rules and parking charges for motor vehicles and enforce those parking rules in a more strict fashion.
• Ban all other motor vehicles from bus lanes 24 hours a day 7 days a week
• Restrict most HGV traffic and deliveries to after 10pm and before 7am.
• Commission a design for an HGV for use in central london that is lower to the ground and cycle safe.
• Create depots all around the city where goods can be transferred from vans and lorries to cargo bikes for delivery to shops and homes.
• Reduce speeds limits to 20 mph on all street that pass through residential areas.
• Use limiting technology on builders' white vans so they can not exceed 20mph in residential areas.

...by which time I think Brian would deserve a good holiay! It's always interesting to hear what different people would do to improve the lot of the London cyclist.  What would you do if you were Mayor of London?


WestfieldWanderer said...

Yup! I'd vote for Brian.

Mark W. said...

Wow, is Brian really 42... he sure looks a lot younger! Oh wait... he has been cycling the city almost every day in the last 20 years. That makes sense then ;-)

MELI. said...

hi brian! good looking =)
like the rolling stone in modern time

Anonymous said...

In addition, I would make more residential streets no through roads to prevent the scourge of Rat Running and create safer routes away from the pollution and frustration of motorists going nowhere quickly. One day they'll get the hint.

Other than that, Brian would get my vote. Maybe the two of you could form a Coalition (with Freewheeler as Mayor and Overlord of Outer London!)