Cycling sounds like the perfect way to get to venues when all other modes of transport are going to be bursting at the seams. But just how easy is it going to be for those of us who want to take to two wheels?
Let’s start with the good news. The Olympic Delivery Authority has invested £11 million in cycle route upgrades. At the venues there will be free cycle parking made available along with free cycle maintenance services.
Authorities expect that on peak days 4,400 cyclists will converge on the Olympic Park and River Zone Venues. The plan is to provide 5,000 secure cycle spaces. Victoria park, which is only around a 10 minute walk away from the stadium will have 3,000 spaces.
So what is the bad news? For a start, strict train travel restrictions on bicycles will be extended. You won’t be able to take your bike on the Overground nor will you be able to on the Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express and Heathrow Connect services. That will extend from the 27th of July to the 9th of September 2012. The rest of the rush hour bicycle restrictions will continue.
They’ll also be some closures along the canal routes. From the Eastway ramp to the Bow Flyover. The will effect not just those cycling to the Olympic games but also those who regularly use the routes. This restriction is being put in place as it is seen as a security risk.
Perhaps the most raved about inconvenience is the Games Lanes. An example of which being the Euston Road. This will have the westbound offside lane closed from 6am to midnight from the 25th of July until the 14th of August. However, disruptions to cyclists should be minimum as 95% of closures will be on the far side as opposed to the bus lane.
How to cycle to the Olympic games
As I mention in my little cameo in the above TfL Get Ahead of the Games video, it’s a good idea to use route planning tools. In particular, I recommend Cycle Streets. However, it’s worth also planning your cycling route to the Olympic games using the London 2012 travel tool. The reason why this tool has the edge is that it can inform you how to get to specific venues.
You could also use the Cycle Hire Scheme. However, there is a danger that docking stations will be busy, full or, depending on your location, completely empty. The nearest docking stations are around 15-20 minutes walk away from the Olympic ground.
What some cyclists may do as an alternative is ride to a nearby station and complete their journey on public transport. With the inclusion of travel passes in the price of tickets, financially it makes sense. However, buses and tubes may well be overcrowded so, if you can, it would be worth cycling the entire way and using the secure cycle park.
I’m often told this is the most positive cycling blog people read. Therefore, I’m going to end with three positives.
The first is that if you feel your cycling will be disrupted, imagine how much other peoples tube journeys will be disrupted. Cycling will be the least effected mode of transport.
The second is that the Olympic Delivery Authority claims that 12% of their 10,000 strong Olympic workforce cycle to work. That’s far higher than London’s average and proves where there’s a will, there’s a way to get people cycling.
Finally, I personally am excited to see people from all over the world coming to London to enjoy the Olympic games and, despite the traffic inconveniences, think it’s going to be a great time to be in London.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.