Judi just returned from 3 weeks in London, UK visiting her son. She didn’t have the chance to cycle there but her son does about 1-2 times a week. She was surprised to see so many commuters take to the road in such a busy city. They do have the advantage of being able to use the bus lanes which are prohibited to cars. However the number of buses means there is regular traffic behind or in front of every group of cyclists in the mornings and evenings. And some roads don’t have the specially marked bus lanes.
Everywhere she went there was evidence of cycling: on the roads in the city; along the canals on designated shared paths (walking and cycling); on some of the highways; and on cycle paths directly alongside many of the highways. Throughout London there was also plenty of evidence that it was a bike-friendly city by the number of bicycle racks everywhere, especially at major sites. Rumor has it that the new Mayor cycles – so there may be even more improvements in the cycling infrastructure.
She saw lots of people with folding bikes for convenience, but she did not see even one recumbent in the 19 days that she traveled.
If you are planning to travel in London, you may want to check out the new cycle-hire system which was just being installed. It’s a great way to see the city and is intended for short trips between subway stations. While it has been designed for locals, it can also be used by tourists. And it’s easy to use with a credit card. This site gives you information about cycling in London, including the new bike hire system.
If planning a trip to UK and you do take your bike over and/or have access to a cycle while there, you should pick up a copy of the book: Britain’s Favourite Pub Walks and Cycle Rides.
Judi bought it for her son because it had the word “pub” in the title. It was very informative with a four-page description of each route and pub including photos and maps, of which there were sixty in total. It provided start and end points, routes, minimum time to do it, length, level of difficulty or danger, why you would want to do it. About the pub they told you directions, parking facilities, food and they even told if it was a free-house and what kind of beer was sold. Each town/pub had a charming historical story as well.
If you go, let us know if you see any recumbents while you are there…