y o u b i k e l o n d o n; Becky from Blackheath

Name / age?
Becky, 29.
Where do you live / ride to?
I live in Blackheath. I ride to and from work in Tower Hill every day, use my bike to get around central London and ride around Blackheath and Greenwich on a weekend.
What do you ride?
Harry, an old mixte bike reconditioned by Lunar Cycles in Kentish Town. The frame is old, but the paintwork and all the fittings are new. I also have a Brompton called George.

How often do you ride?
Every week day, and most weekends.
Helmet or no helmet?
Always a helmet. Anything I can do to make cycling on London’s streets safer.
What's your primary reason for cycling?
Because I love it! It’s nice that it saves me money and keeps me fit, but even if it didn’t I’d cycle anyway. There’s no better way to get around London.
Least favourite aspect of cycling?
Living in fear of an accident. I had a collision with a white van a couple of years ago and smashed my wrist, and now I find it hard to trust other road users.
Most favourite aspect of cycling?
That getting around is a pleasure, not a hassle. It’s lovely to enjoy my commute. I get to work feeling fresh and awake, and my ride home helps me wind down at the end of the day. I never felt like that when I took the train.
What do you never leave the house without?
Two locks, lights, my helmet and gloves.
How many locks do you carry, and have you ever had a bicycle stolen?
Two locks – a chain and padlock and a D lock. They’re heavy, but I haven’t had a bike stolen. I also have my saddle chained to the bike frame and put a plastic bag over it whenever I leave my bike – a tip from Lunar Cycles to hide Brooks saddles from thieves!
What advice would you give to an aspiring cyclist thinking of cycling in London for the first time?
1. Just do it! It’s not as hard or as scary as you think.
2. Buy a bike you love and want to ride every day.
3. Cycle like no one can see you. Make yourself nice and visible and don’t hug the curb.
If you were Mayor of London for the day, what would you do to improve the lot of the London cyclist?
I grew up in the Netherlands where cycling was just the way everyone got around. Every road, even major ones, had a separate cycle path tucked along by the side of it. And they worked. I went everywhere by bike; everyone did. Cycling wasn’t an afterthought but an integrated and important mode of transport. If the Mayor of London really wants to make a difference to London for cyclists, this is how he needs to think. He has to stop shoehorning cycling into what already exists. Make proper cycle lanes. Put decent bike parking everywhere. Make it easy for people. I’d also like to see more normal, comfortable cycling clothes for women, but the Mayor probably can’t do much about that!

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