What a year! For London cyclists, 2017 saw warnings of toxic air pollution levels, an Oxford Street transformation that rather rudely excludes bikes and slow progress from the city’s first Walking and Cycling Commissioner. But there’s always an abundance of positive stories to be shared about cycling in our incredible capital city. We’ve rounded up a handful from 2017 to remind you of, along with some of our own personal highlights to celebrate.
5 things that happened in 2017
1. The annual London Bike Show took place in February at the ExCel Centre. The UK’s largest cycling exhibition is an exciting opportunity to check out the latest products and technology, while listening to experts and watching demonstrations. You can see what happened there then book your ticket to see Chris Hoy open the 2018 show here.
2. London hosted the final leg of the Women’s Tour for the first time in June. The event included a parade of female London cyclists, the Pink Ribbon Tour fundraiser for Breast Cancer Care, and the 6km race around the city’s most iconic landmarks. Jolien D’hoore was first to sprint over the finish line, but it was Katarynza Niewiadoma who claimed overall victory.
3. The fourth RideLondon cycling festival took place in July with around 100,000 amateur and professional cyclist participants. Alexandar Kristoff won the sprint to the line of the RideLondon-Surrey Classic in just over four hours. Those taking a more leisurely pace, took part in the fun FreeCycle, with a route that guided cyclists past Buckingham Palace, Waterloo Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. Sign up to take part in one of the RideLondon 2018 events.
4. In September, plans for the segregated Cycle Superhighway 4 were unveiled. It will link Tower Bridge and Greenwich over a 4km track, which is the first superhighway route linking to south-east London. This announcement by Sadiq Khan was made a few weeks after he confirmed plans to add nearly 6km of track to the Cycle Superhighway 9, between Kensington Olympia and Brentford.
5. The next generation of London bikes-for-hire were launched in October, and they will be rolled out across the city over the next few years. The bikes have been designed and built by England’s longest established manufacturer, Pashley Cycles. Features include inbuilt Bluetooth and the capacity of GPS technology, comfortable saddle gel-pads, smaller wheels for speed and upgraded Shimano brakes for safety.
Our writers’ highlights
Andreas, London Cyclist Founder & Editor
“This is going to sound silly but one of my highlights this year was finally getting my bike frame restored! About half way through the year, the weather had really taken its toll on my bike. I was getting worried that without some attention, the rust would worsen to the point it might be beyond restoration. Frame restorations are expensive business and the price so far is just over £600.
That’s an incredible amount of money to spend, but you quickly get sentimental after you’ve been happily riding a bike for a couple of years. I definitely didn’t want it to end up in the skip. There’s still more work to be done and I’m looking forward to posting about the finished result on the blog.”
Anna, London Cyclist Writer
“The emergence of cycle sharing, not just in London but in other parts of the world, has been promising. I really hope it boosts cycling in cities where it’s not so popular. As for London, I’m keen to see how the introduction of Ofo will affect the bike sharing scene. Boris Bikes/ Santander Cycles hasn’t had any competition since they were introduced seven years ago – and with the recent upgrades to the bikes, it might be starting to feel the heat.
I was also excited to hear about the introduction of the Skunklock, a bike lock that releases a noxious chemical when bike thieves cut into them, making them vomit and run away. It’s such an interesting (and imaginably effective!) way to keep bikes safe.
A personal highlight for me is writing for London Cyclist. I’ve only been contributing since September, but I’ve already learned so much and had some fun cycling adventures along the way. I’d like to thank our ed Andreas for giving me this fantastic opportunity. Oh, and I got to ride the Olympic velodrome earlier this year too. You rack up so much speed on the track and being up high is exhilarating. It was nuts.”
Duncan, London Cyclist Writer
“London is and will continue to be one of the best cities in the world to be a cyclist in. 2017 has been a fantastic year – for me the highlight has been seeing the continued support from local borough’s and the city itself, through infrastructure such as the cycle highways, better road formats for all road users including pedestrians, and the availability of free or subsidised cycling education. I think this has had a real impact on the safety of cyclists but also helping people to get out and use the healthiest mode of transport. In my daily commute and in my local neighbourhood, I’ve noticed the number of cyclists increasing constantly. It means more people are getting out and enjoying more of what London has to offer.”
Hollie, London Cyclist Writer
“It’s only now, when I sit and reflect, that I realise how much cycling has helped me navigate a turbulent, big year. I broke my arms and used cycling in my recovery, to help me feel happy and healthy again. I left a bad job and sobbed tears of sweet relief on the last commute home. I became a freelancer and kept a daily(ish) routine by cycling to the gym, cafes and libraries. I started writing for London Cyclist, using a lifelong hobby to explore my new one. I took part in the Women’s Tour Parade, where I departed past Sadiq Khan and felt flushed with pride. I was recorded for a cycling documentary, ticking a bucket list box for ‘become a TV star’.
But my highlight was the two cycling lessons I had with Lucia, through Southwark Council’s Cycle Confident programme. I just think it’s so wonderful that anyone can sign up to these sessions for free to gain confidence on the saddle. And Lucia was a wonderful instructor to cycle around London with.”
Thank you for riding through 2017 with us, we can’t wait to see what will happen in our community next year.
What’s your London cycling highlight of 2017? Did you take part in any of the events we mentioned? What are your thoughts on recent developments in the city? Let us know in the comments box below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.