The idea was to cycle the length of the Cycle Superhighway around my #hyperlocal patch of South London, and then write a cynical, sneering blog post about how Boris’ bicycling solution is little more than lip service to the cycling lobby.
But for all the faults of CS7 [PDF], I would rather be given the opportunity to freewheel along the big blue bicycle lane, than to be left at the mercy of the free for all that is the traditional car haven that is the Clap’ham Road.
Yes – parked cars tend to clog up CS7; busses are no better. The stop / start random nature of the big blue experiment seems slightly confusing as well. Plus the paint is already starting to peel off around my #hyperlocal patch, less than a month since it was first put down, and before the official opening as well.
But never mind the length – feel the thickness. There is a certain feeling of elevated safety gained from cycling in a dedicated blue lane that warns away any non-pedal power modes of transport. There is also the safety in numbers element, as the pelaton hurtles down my #hyperlocal patch each morning and early evening.
The visual element of the Cycle Superhighway will be what defines it as a success. You simply can’t miss the great big blue swathes currently cutting through the main routes of the city. Cyclists are attracted towards it, creating a genuine critical mass of cyclists.
It is difficult to imagine just how dire cycling was in London less than a decade ago. Anyone seen around town on two wheels was viewed even lower down the social scale than a Bus Stop Johnny. Cycling wasn’t cool – it was the form of transport for the have nots, the losers, the weirdoes.
I’m pleased that I’ve stuck with cycling, and although I may not have fully escaped from this demographic, cycling down the Cycle Superhighway with the Bright Young Things of SW8, now no longer means having insults, or even objects, thrown at you.