Ride to the London Stone, 18 June 2011

I’ve agreed to step in to lead the annual Southwark Cyclists’ ride to the London Stone at Yantlet Creek in Kent. In bygone times, several stones marked the city’s geographical limits. We’ll be riding to the stone on the south bank of the downstream Thames.

The London Stone at Yantlet Creek

It’s an 80 mile round trip from the start at 9am on 18 June 2011 at Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich. Fairly fast roads to Gravesend then more of a wayfaring feel to the ride to the Stone itself, maybe taking in some unsurfaced tracks. It’s estuary country, natural and spoiled in equal measure, wild and strange. Distant echoes of Conrad’s seafarers’ tales and Wilko Johnson’s guitar from across the water on Canvey Island. Here’s Iain Sinclair. We’ll have a coffee on the promenade at Gravesend and stop for lunch at a pub in Cooling.

There is an option for train back from Gravesend for those who find 60 miles is enough for one day.

This is a ride that would have been led by Barry Mason had it not been for his untimely death last week. More details on the Southwark Cyclists website.

Cyclosportives are the glamping of amateur cycling – but there is an alternative

One of the highlights of the last season of the show was Kieron Yates’s feature Up the ‘Uts, looking at the historic 32nd Association of cycling clubs, whose membership is dwindling even at a time when cycling is booming. In the discussion that followed both Kieron and Nigel Wood, chairman of the Dulwich Paragon club, expressed concerns that the voluntarism of traditional clubs is being supplanted by a profit-driven motivation as cycling becomes ever more commercialised. Continue reading

Up the ‘Uts: The Slow Death (and Rebirth?) of the British Cycling Club

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Kieron Yates‘s documentary feature on the countryside huts of the 32nd Association of North London cycle clubs sparks a discussion on the demise of the traditional cycling club and the possibilities for renaissance. With Nigel Wood, Chairman of the Dulwich Paragon club, who tells the story of how this 75 year old south London club’s fortunes were turned around.

Un Tour de France de Londres with Stephen Bayley

DSC_0560As part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, Stephen Bayley leads a ride around the best of French architecture, art and design to be found on the streets of London. Stephen Bayley is the Observer’s architecture and design critic, the founding director of the Design Museum and in 1989 was a made a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s top artistic honour.

If you’re interested in my drinking guide for this year’s Tour De France, it’s here.

Photo credit: Rebecca Stephens

Lorries/HGVs/LGVs killing cyclists: an appeal to London listeners

Last Thursday, on what felt like a warm, sunny first day of Spring, I was witness to the immediate aftermath of a collision involving a cyclist and a 32 tonne articulated lorry. It was a truly horrible, chilling sight. The lorry was stopped in the middle of the road and the crushed remains of a bicycle were clearly visible under its wheels. The cyclist, a woman in her twenties, was on a stretcher, receiving treatment from the fantastic and heroic paramedics of the London Ambulance Service. I gather than woman was was taken to the Royal London Hospital with serious leg injuries. I don’t know the extent of her injuries and whether she’ll be able to make a full recovery, but while she was desperately unlucky to be hit, she was probably very lucky to have survived.

Too many cyclists are being killed each year by lorries on the streets of London. Something has got to be done.

The Bike Show has been campaigning on this issue for years and this year I’m planning to crank up the volume. As a first step I’m encouraging everyone who can make it to come along to Critical Mass this Friday to join a mass ride that is going to show London’s cyclists making a united stand on the issue. I’m not the greatest fan of Critical Mass, but this month, with spate of deaths caused by lorries, I’m making an exception. This is a call not just from me but from a united platform of London bike campaigners and bike bloggers (including the London Cycling Campaign, Southwark Cyclists, ibikelondon, Bike Tart, Moving Target, Cycle Chic, Cyclodelic, VeLo City and Real Cycling).

If you come along on Friday, you’ll be among friends, you’ll be able to put a few faces to familiar Bike Show voices. Meet from 6.30pm on Friday 26th March on the South Bank, right under Waterloo Bridge.

To hear the appeal in full, click on the links below.

Do It Yourself

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David Kitchen, aka Velocio, set up the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum almost three years ago. In a short time it has spawned an active and inventive cycling community and in the process the forum has grown to become the world’s eleventh most visited cycling website. David talks about the success of the forum and gives pointers for anyone thinking of using the web to bring cyclists together including how to bridge the online and offline worlds.

The Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra combine music, theatre, sculpture and bicycles with a sometimes chaotic and often subversive DIY ethic. Their debut album Nine Doors is out next month as a free/flexible price digital download. Band members David Birchall, Zeke Clough, Josh Kopecek, Huw Wahl talk about the sonic potential of the bicycle, improvisation and creating culture out of nothing. Read a review onEast London Lines of the Orchestra’s performance last week at Barden’s Boudoir. Upcoming live dates are on the Orchestra’s MySpace page.

This is the last show of the current season. The Bike Show returns to the airwaves on 5 May 2010.

Montreal-New York City by bicycle (part two)

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The cycle camping tour continues into the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, through Vermont and into Massachusetts. Struggles with thunderstorms and flying insects and a visit to the Crane paper mill where US dollar bills are made. Picture above shows the view back down the road from the summit of Whiteface Mountain.

Play on links below. There is an online map of the route here.