London: a city of worldwide fame, with culture, history and a million and one things to see. Yet, while the city’s skyline becomes increasingly modern with the Shard and soon the Walkie-Talkie too, the streets below are getting left behind.
There are many reasons why people say cycling in London isn’t fun, and today I’m going to rant about just one of them:
Or bumps, if you will. Basically, anything that makes the road surface rough, bumpy, and a pain in the saddle to ride along.
Three roads that I travel on are particularly bad, and really do make you wonder whether London really is a western city. If I get a little angry, please don’t take it personally… perhaps instead join me in my frustration, and use the comments to have your own mini-rant about the state of the roads on your commute. Pictures would be welcomed.
Deptford Church Street
There is no one road on my commute to work that is a pleasure to cycle down, either because of the surface, the traffic or the illogical bike lanes. Deptford Church Street is often one of the quieter streets, which means there is plenty of room to avoid the divots.
Believe, me it’s impossible to capture the state of the street with one photograph.
Jamaica Road (eastbound)
Perhaps I’m being unfair. Jamaica Road sees a hell of a lot of traffic (often at a standstill) and is a long road, so maybe it’s unreasonable to think that the road be anything more than a Siberian gravel track. Southwark council have clearly tried to make amends at various points in the road’s history, but what is the point of resurfacing a road if you’re left with varying patches, at different heights?
Tower Bridge Road
Ah, Tower Bridge Road. Home to arguably the world’s most famous bridge and a sign of England’s glorious past. Perhaps everyone is too busy looking up at the towers to notice the state of the roads below. Oddly, the northbound road is in a much better state than the southbound stretch (some will say that’s symbolic of the north/south divide, but I don’t go in for all that). What you do get, when travelling south, is ludicrously sized gaps in the tarmac which reveal the bridge’s paved past.
Again, I’m afraid the photo doesn’t do the state of the road justice.
I feel a lot better for getting all that off my chest. But I think it says a great deal that I know when on my commute to watch out for divots and bumps.
Sometimes I think that us London cyclists love to moan about everything, and maybe I’ve just proved us right. I believe that when you’re sharing roads with heavy beasts such as cars, buses and lorries, and the traffic is at the level that it is in London, there are always going to be a few bumps along the commute.
But if the authorities could please just sort out one of the roads, I’d be a very happy cyclist. Anyone?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.