Improvements to London Cyclist

As you can see London Cyclist has a new theme. I would liken the transition to when you finally switch from that £150 bike your dad bought you from Halfords to the new £800 road bike you have always wanted!

gravatars-now-on-london-cyclistOne of my favourite new improvements is the comment area. This now displays everyone’s Gravatar (i.e. the little icon besides each comment). This adds a bit more personality to the site and the commenters. If you haven’t already set up your Gravatar then you can do so at:

http://en.gravatar.com/

Look forward to seeing what images everyone chooses!

new-london-cyclist-themeOther improvements include the sidebar that displays popular posts, the latest posts and the latest comments.

Also on the sidebar is a nice clear new description of why you might want to join the newsletter.

There are also big improvements in readability. The previous design was far too narrow so you ended up having to scroll constantly to read all the content. Now the content has room to breathe! Also the narrower sidebar makes the site look a lot less cluttered and it is easier to focus on the articles that matter.

On the homepage you will see each post has a small image associated with it. This small improvement makes the site more interesting to look at when you first arrive and hopefully helps you pick out the good content you want to read.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be making various additions to the theme. I definitely want to play around with the fonts to see if something else is more suitable. I want to add a rotating header image at the top to showcase some of the best cycling spots in London. I also want to get Google search working again so you can search through content easily. After all there are nearly 200 articles now on London Cyclist! The biggest addition is a new section I want to include called “Getting Started”. I want this to exist to help anyone who is curious abound cycling but is completely unsure about where to begin.

I’m sure you guys have friends that are at that stage so this page will be a good place you can send anyone new to cycling to.

The theme I am using is called Canvas which I purchased from WooThemes.

If you spot anything that doesn’t work or any content that looks like it has been distorted due to the new theme then let me know!

Hope you enjoy using the newly improved London Cyclist!

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8 Responses to Improvements to London Cyclist

  1. Rylan 26/03/2010 at 10:37 am #

    Nice new layout! Great blog too. Keeps me enthused about cycling in London.

    One thing I’d like to ask is – do you think its starting to get too dangerous to cycle in London?

    I cycle from Canada water to Bond Street on my commute – and am becoming more scared everyday – which is bizarre – as usually the fear leaves you after a few rides.

    I have cycled in London for 3 years now but the sheer amount of pot holes and roadworks on every corner of London is becoming overwhelming. I end up swerving into the next lane to avoid potholes – then end up taking diversions which I don’t expect – then get squeezed onto small single lanes next to bendy buses on waterloo bridge.

    I’m seriously thinking about stopping for a while until these roadworks stop. Its just a nightmare.

    Articles all talk about how bad it is for cars (http://bit.ly/d9iyp7) but seem to forget about cyclists.

    Sorry for venting on your blog – just seems like the best place to do it!!

    • Andreas 26/03/2010 at 2:08 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback :) I’m happy I encourage more cycling!

      You don’t have an easy cycle through central London. I would try claiming more of the lane so that if you have to swerve to avoid a pothole you can swerve to avoid it towards the curve. Otherwise try looking for potentially different routes. A quick look on Google maps is a good start or using opencyclemap.org to see what cycle paths exist. If the fear still doesn’t subside then some cycle training wouldn’t be a bad call. I’ve heard absolutely everyone come out of it very positive and very happy they did it. It gives loads of confidence for cycling in London. Let me know if you want any more details on this.

  2. MarkA 26/03/2010 at 10:59 am #

    Hey Rylan, this time of year is famous for roadworks: fixing potholes after the winter and borough Councils using up any cash left in the kitty before financial year end, which is this week. Hopefully it should get better from this week on!

    Hold on in there, and just take it slow in the interim; I think we’re all holding out for the summer.

    Regarding whether it is **too** dangerous to cycle in london, there are some issues regarding safety that need to be smoothed out for sure, but according to the stats it’s safer to cycle in London than to walk down the road. But of course feeling safe is just as important as *being* safe. Take it easy, Mark

  3. Rylan 26/03/2010 at 11:10 am #

    Thanks Mark

    Much needed words of encouragement! And yes – it looks like I’ll be forcing myself to use lower gears for a while..

  4. Paul 26/03/2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Looking good!

    • Andreas 26/03/2010 at 5:03 pm #

      Thanks very much Paul! I’m pleased with the outcome too :)

  5. Cafewanda 27/03/2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Thumbs up for the new look!

    • Andreas 27/03/2010 at 12:47 pm #

      Thank you and like the avatar!

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