I have a dream. A dream that one day I could hop on my bike, nip up onto some elevated cycleway, get up to 20mph and just keep going, thusly reaching my aunt’s place in Leytonstone in less than an hour. Apparently, this dream isn’t quite as mad as it sounds, because someone’s looked at doing something similar in Toronto. Also, right now Ken Livingstone (in full uh-oh election year mode) has mooted a transformation of cycling here with 12 “cycling motorways”, which alas have been welcomed by Freight and motorist organisations as a way to clear cyclists out of the way.
Just imagine it, take all the money you’d spend on something like Crossrail (£12bn+?) and for maybe £1bn we could have a suspended cycleway running east to west – maybe even far enough to get people to beyond the M25. It would be revolutionary, it would be different and it would change London totally. The more I think about it the more I like the idea. After all, what surer way is there to get people to travel in a zero-carbon method?
The cycle motorways are bollocks. They’re just going to be cycle lanes with slightly shinier paint – the model is apparently the cycle lanes in Aylesbury, which are just that. Oh, and super innovative signage that tells you the distance in minutes instead of miles (using the speed of an average POB, i assume). Christ.
The bike skyway thing is an example of the reason we need fewer architects and more engineers. Real artists ship, or at least come up with ways to do the things they want to do – if you’re going to build castles in the air, you need to go into quite some detail about the foundations.
As for this grade-separated cycleway reaching beyond the M25 – dude, towpaths. They’re rudimentary at the moment, but they’re in the right place, at the right height. A bit of widening out over the canals and some proper surface, and we’re good.
By the way, did you see that Sheldon Brown has died?
A couple of weeks ago. Sad news.