Cyclist rant: London’s potholes

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:

Divots.

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.

Deptford Church St

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?

Jamaica Road

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.

Tower Bridge Road

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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71 Responses to Cyclist rant: London’s potholes

  1. slb 14/06/2013 at 8:07 am #

    London is a luxury for me compared to my home town of Glasgow as far as potholes are concerned. Yes there are some bad streets but overall…

  2. Ben Brown 14/06/2013 at 9:18 am #

    your route could do with some refining, i also travel via deptford to tower bridge and I go via surrey canal rd through the back streets of Bermondsey, slightly better for potholes but it has 2 sets of lights the entire journey. Surely that’s better than Jamaica Rd?

    My pothole solution is a surly cross check with 50mm fat franks and a sprung velo orange saddle. Sure is comfy. Apologies for smug post

    • Jack 14/06/2013 at 10:57 am #

      I wrote this post, and I’m not sure – I start on Blackheath Hill and cruise down to Creek Road/Evelyn St. To be honest, I used to go through the foot tunnel to the Isle of Dogs and then along CS3 – which was pleasant, and very smooth, but not as quick. When I changed from that, I wanted a route that didn’t require me to have to remember too many turns, and now I’m fairly stuck in my ways.

  3. Alex 14/06/2013 at 9:22 am #

    Try Westbourne Grove – not great for any transport – tiny pavements and single lanes but the road surface is terrible quality.

    In particular there is a pothole near the bus stop on the westbound lane outside Arancina pizzeria. Worse than the pics in the article, IMO – given recent weather it has become more like a little pond.

    It has been reported on FillThatHole.org for some time. Will try to get pic.

  4. Hugh 14/06/2013 at 9:27 am #

    I can confirm the roads in Glasgow are very potholed –

    however

    Glasgow City Council have an app, a freephone line, a website, a web version of the app – mycouncilservices.com, where you can report, and where appropriate upload a picture – this seems to focus their attention, so there is plenty of ways to report them and they’re pretty good a repairing them quickly – not perfectly, but better than they were.

    I always give approx measurments, and have found that potholes greater than 10cm seem to get repaired faster

  5. Jimniod 14/06/2013 at 9:28 am #

    I’m all too familiar with cycling into the city from the SE of London. New Cross, all the way up through Old Kent Rd, has a similar obstacle course of exposed manhole covers and metalwork.

    I was just thinking this morning that I should take a picture of one westbound stretch on the OKR. It’s a proper hazard.

    Will probably take a cyclist coming off and getting injured (and suing the council) before entire lanes get properly resurfaced tho.

    • Mark 24/06/2013 at 1:48 pm #

      every day that i make it from one end to the other of OKR is an accomplishment. dodging HUGE (deeper than 15cm, with sharp sudden edges) potholes is taking your life in your hands.
      it has taught me one thing though, constantly checking behind me, that way i can confidently move 1.5m from the edge of the kerb to the centre of the lane to dodge the awful road condition.
      i actually find myself riding in the cenre of the lane for most of the ride now. its either that or ride with my tyres between the double red lines!
      you get the occasional beep from a motorist, but next time it happens i will ask them if they have ever cycled it themselves!

  6. Nico (@nfanget) 14/06/2013 at 9:40 am #

    The condition of the streets in London is a disgrace. Not only that, but there seems to be no attempt at coordinating the efforts of the road maintenance crews and the utilities companies. The A5 was resurfaced through Cricklewood and Kilburn, only for openings to be made weeks later by Thames Water, then EDF, then BT. Now, only a couple of years later, it is back to having massive holes everywhere. The amount wasted effort and money and congestion created by the works, plus the danger posed to cyclists, is just ridiculous. Incompetence and indifference all round.

  7. Adam 14/06/2013 at 9:47 am #

    I reported a couple of big potholes on http://www.fixmystreet.com/ recently and was pretty impressed they were fixed in about 2 weeks.

    • Rossi 22/06/2013 at 11:45 am #

      I reported a road defect to Tower Hamlets in early August 2012.

      I’ve since had email exchanges with the head of highways for the borough. It still isn’t fixed. I shall bake it a cake on its first birthday!

  8. Ben Brown 14/06/2013 at 9:54 am #

    Jimniod and Andreas consider something similar to this route, so much more pleasant than Old Kent Rd and Jamaica Rd http://www.cyclestreets.net/journey/31500194/

    • Jimniod 14/06/2013 at 10:12 am #

      Might take a look at that route again next week. I’ve ridden a similar one before but end up late for work and hit the main roads….

  9. Andrew Gosling 14/06/2013 at 10:05 am #

    Funny isn’t it, in the name of progress, they’ve covered up the paving that originally covered the bridge, and yet I bet that paving is about 100 times as durable as the covering they put on it. If they removed the tarmac, I imagine they would have to do a lot fewer repairs.
    You see it everywhere here in Oxford, they dig up paving, to carry out repairs, then replace the area with tarmac. The tarmac is a wreck within months, but the surrounding paving that has been in place for decades remains fine. Turns out the contractors they use to do the repairs don’t pay to hire qualified paver’s to make the repairs, so the good looking, durable, iconic paving is slowly being replaced with a less durable, worse looking covering that needs replacing on an almost annual basis, in the name of cost savings. Typical short term thinking that means you get repairs on top of repairs rather than resurfacing with something of quality that will last.

    • Phil Russell 13/07/2013 at 5:51 pm #

      [[[[[ ANDREW “Keyboards” GOSLING is quite right! And who says so? Phil “MEANFEET” Russell, that’s who…..and no-one needs to feel apologetic when whingeing. Authorities are playing ducks’n’drakes with the lives of cyclists. We are the commuters who do least damage to the roads, yet are the most likely to be injured due to the sloppy attitude of local councils. If you want a good larf, check out the craters on ACRE LANE, outside Tesco’s along the bus lane going down towards BRIXTON central…..I reported five large holes, and so far two have been patched up—-but by far the worst crevasse remains!
      P.R.

  10. Flic_stix 14/06/2013 at 10:31 am #

    I’m so pleased that you wrote this post. Pot holes are one of my biggest bugbears! I spend more time checking the road to make sure that I’m not about to be flung over my handlebars by a huge hole appearing before me than I do watching for cars.

    There are some terrible ones on Acre lane and I dread going down Manor Place to cross the Walworth road every morning. The road is really quiet but the surface is so awful I feel that I’m going to jar my brain.

    Also, there is probably some very simple reason, but why don’t they put manhole covers and access panels in the pavement rather than the road? The next mayor I’m voting for is one that promises to do something about the state of the roads.

  11. Gary Barker 14/06/2013 at 10:32 am #

    Hi Andreas

    I’m afraid that it’s not just London’s roads that require rebuilding. Our whole road system is something to be ashamed of. We are on par with 4th world countries now and I know that in my life time, that nothing will be done to improve the situation.
    Regards

    Gary Barker.

  12. Rachel B 14/06/2013 at 10:35 am #

    Westferry Road – Isle of Dogs, E14. This is the peaceful traffic respite before I hit the City/Shoreditch/A40 traffic hell or the end of my long day final stretch before home – yet its made so unpleasant by the huge pot holes. Some so large you have to swing out into the right hand side of the lane to avoid them. To add insult to injury as its the marathon route – each April somebody comes round and fills them in (without leveling them off) with a material which resembles tar mixed with butterscotch cake icing. This turns the huge holes into peaked dooms which then over the next 12 months break-up, slump and degrade ready for next year’s inadequate pre-marathon repairs. Seems like 20,000 runners for 1 day get road repair privileges not the thousands of daily cyclists who use this main East-West down to SE London quiet link.

    • Jack 14/06/2013 at 10:55 am #

      I take that road if I go through the Greenwich foot tunnel (rarely), and I don’t think it’s as bad as you make out – plus the lack of traffic is an absolute joy!

    • Rachel B 25/06/2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Andreas – you must have friends in the right places as just last week they have begun resurfacing Westferry Road and the worst section outside the Barkentine Clinic. Thank you!

    • Phil Russell 13/07/2013 at 5:57 pm #

      [[[[[[ RACHEL B.—–good point! You could forward your comments to your local council, for what that’s worth….
      P.R.

  13. Andrew 14/06/2013 at 10:36 am #

    I’ll give another vote for CTC’s Fill That Hole website (http://www.fillthathole.org.uk) and associated iOS app, which gets you a GPS fix and lets you take a photo to submit – takes just a few seconds to file a report.

    Here in Guildford, I’ve seen a number of pot holes fix after reporting them through Fill That Hole.

  14. Rachel B 14/06/2013 at 10:38 am #

    I meant “domes” not “dooms” – but that description is apt too!

  15. Rupert 14/06/2013 at 10:44 am #

    Chambers Wharf is a good example of a very poor road surface, it is a good option to afford Jamaica Road, however if you choose to avoid divots watch out for cars who will find any way possible to get past acyclist, see video http://youtu.be/1Zm9Qc3UWmg

  16. Matt B 14/06/2013 at 10:49 am #

    If we are ranting – I give you Bishopsgate. The only worse road I can think of was one I ended up on when I got lost in rural Sicily. And the reason Bishopsgate is so bad is that it’s churned up by all the mega truck bombing along it to supply the multitude of mega towers going up in the City. My understanding is that the degradation a vehicle does to a road is cubic function of its axel weight – why are the culprits not forced to pay for the repair costs and congestion costs of said repairs?

  17. chris 14/06/2013 at 11:04 am #

    Not only potholes but drain covers that are not flush with the road, that in themselves are a major hazard.

    For me, Artillery Row is a death trap, especially with these drain covers on this corner: http://goo.gl/maps/eUW3v They dont look too bad on StreetView but have deteriorated a lot since.

    Another that is absolutely horrible and dangerous, which for its location is a complete surprise is Haymarket. You would think that its a neglected road in Hackney with the state of the road condition.

  18. MARK REYNOLDS 14/06/2013 at 11:10 am #

    Hello Andreas

    My first post, although I’ve subscribed for sometime now.

    My route from home to work (Hertford to Woolwich) is only ridden once or twice a month and as you can guess is varied to say the least. However, I too ride along some of the roads mentioned, namely Jamaica Road & Tower Bridge Road. Believe me, there’s been many occasions I’ve sworn and cursed as I’ve banged along over a poor road surface!

    I totally agree with everything said. Some of these lengths of highway are in an appalling state, especially when you consider their importance and functional hierarchy status. The factors that contribute to the poor condition of the roads tend to be common to most of London and beyond. In the first instance the highway infrastructure is not sufficiently maintained and invariably utility companies and their appointed contractors don’t reinstate to an acceptable standard, as your photo of Jamaica Road clearly illustrates. Ultimately, the responsibility of highway maintenance is down to each of London’s 33 boroughs and it’s those authorities who should be held accountable for the rather sorry state of our roads.

    It’s commendable that there’s an ongoing positive push to improve our lot as cyclists (the LCN, Superhighway etc. etc.), but so much of this is reliant on the maintenance of what we already have…

    Regards

    MARK R

    • Andreas 14/06/2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Hey Mark – thanks for following the site and great to read your first comment here :)

  19. david 14/06/2013 at 11:17 am #

    have you ever been to Malta?….btw we classified last as a country for cycling

  20. Jimniod 14/06/2013 at 11:25 am #

    Don’t know if anyone else has ridden in New York but I’ve ridden there are few times and the big metal slabs they use to cover holes/in the road on the avenues are ******* scary

    http://www.transalt.org/files/newsroom/magazine/011Winter/images/skidplate.jpg

    • chris 14/06/2013 at 7:57 pm #

      I can imagine that the slightest bit of moisture turns them into skid patches.

      I have a bad enough time in London with drains in the middle of the road, let alone have those about the place!

  21. Chris B 14/06/2013 at 11:28 am #

    By coincidence I read your rant just after a meeting with the Network Manager, Ringway Hounslow Highway about the roads in my area of Hounslow – Chiswick. Hounslow have just PFI’d the whole road network with a promise to redo all roads, lighting and footways within 5 years. There are set intervention levels for potholes in roads and footways; these are Hounslow’s: http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/index/transport_and_streets/roads_and_highways/highwaysmaintenance/report_highway_defect.htm.
    He also said to me that the intervention level for potholes on cycle lanes only is 20mm. This does not apply to roads in general!!
    The roads we were looking at today are awful from a cyclist’s point of view, but it’s clear that decisions are made with the car in mind!

    • Fasih 14/06/2013 at 1:40 pm #

      Hounslow has some really bad roads. I have seen the posters for this initiative – but they seem to be really lapse about it. Other councils are really good with dealing with bad surfaces and potholes.

      Hammersmith for one – they resurface Putney Bridge and High Street every six months, they redone the lower Kings Road yesterday.

      I commute from Fulham to Bedfont down the A315. The Hounslow part of the A315 is really bad around Hounslow one way system leading up to the common. Bedfont and Feltham have some really bad stretches too. Funnily enough the Chiswick section of the A315 from the roundabout to the top of the high street was just resurfaced last week and is now perfect again. Same council – but perhaps because its Chiswick they prioritised it over other roads. I don’t know.

  22. Pawel Chalacis 14/06/2013 at 11:30 am #

    OH man, I cycle through Jamaica road and Tower bridge. I don’t even remember how many snake bites I got last year. One of the biggest downside of cycling in London.

    • Kie7077 14/06/2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Get a track pump with a gauge, I’ve never had a snake bite and I’m mean to my bike – the cause is under-inflated tyres.

      • MARK REYNOLDS 14/06/2013 at 2:42 pm #

        As a life-long cyclist, agree that pumping up tyres to the max. goes someway to avoiding ‘snake-bite’ punctures, but it doesn’t completely stop the problem. You must have got lucky so far. Word of warning; never say never…

  23. Alan Moore 14/06/2013 at 11:32 am #

    The other problem with potholes is that you need to plan well in advance if you want to go round them, because nobody leaves you the required swerving space.

    • Phil Russell 13/07/2013 at 6:13 pm #

      [[[[[ ALAN MOORE—-you’re not kidding. Pothole ahead? I stick my arm out wide—and then move out to avoid it I’m thinking of attaching a big sign to me bonk-bag: “BEWARE—-POTHOLE DODGER!”
      P.R.

  24. fern 14/06/2013 at 1:13 pm #

    using the southbound rail underpass/tunnel to get into kennington lane coming off Vauxhall bridge is absolutely deadly. Huge portholes in the shadows just as you enter, on a small wheel bike you could easily get thrown off into the very fast moving traffic even if you are paying attention on a large wheel bike you have a bit more of chance but could still easily loses it.

  25. RUSSELL 14/06/2013 at 1:45 pm #

    You be be surprised there is one stretch of road in London at least over 1km long without a single pothole, in fact not one single blemish in either direction.

    The Mall – funny that…I wonder why!

  26. Soapbox Badger 14/06/2013 at 2:11 pm #

    It’s amazing there haven’t apparently been any deaths due to swerving to avoid potholes & then getting run over!

    The A4 near Bath on the hill up from Box doesn’t have many potholes but the tarmac has been eroded from the larger stones set into it…lethal, particularly when coach drivers brush past you at 50mph!

    Until both drivers and cyclists start suing councils for damage caused to cars and bikes by poor roads nothing will be done…

    • Phil 03/07/2013 at 11:49 pm #

      That is a horrible stretch of road; I usually go as far as Broadlands farm shop ( cider mmm ) but it’s a really bad surface to cycle over, plus everything with a motor speeding as fast as they can get away with because the filth never go that way adds to the danger.

  27. Nick 14/06/2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I do feel sympathy for riders of small wheeled bikes, and lycra commuters looking for a pb on their way to the office, but when we’re struggling to even find the cash to keep our libraries open you just know there certainly won’t be any improvement to the pothole situation anytime soon, possibly ever.
    But, out here in the wilds of Buckinghamshire, I’m starting to notice an interesting change. Drivers are noticably slowing down on unfamiliar country lanes, particularly the ones where the local authority has completely given up any form of maintenance and resorted to erecting “failed road surface” signs instead.
    If, as is likely, Britain’s motoring mileage continues to fall as driving costs become increasingly prohibitive for families on average incomes, we are likely to adapt to the use of poorer road surfaces, still good enough to cycle on but not so great for cars.

  28. Simon 14/06/2013 at 2:34 pm #

    My main problem on a regular commute is that of course I learn what to avoid, and swerve around – leading to movements that a car driver would see as being erratic… so busy/selfish/ignorant drivers end up forcing me, at speed, through the potholes I know all too well to be there…

    • Phil Russell 13/07/2013 at 6:30 pm #

      [[[[[ SIMON—-Stick your right arm out—assertively—before you dodge. Do it every time. That’s what I do.
      It also occurs to me that our super-light alloy and carbon road irons, shod with skinny slick race tyres, are going to have to be replaced with—-wait for it—-balloon-tyred mountain bikes again! (perish the thought).
      P.R.

    • Mark 16/07/2013 at 12:51 pm #

      simon, take the lane. dont keep swerving in and out you put yourself at danger! stay center of the lane and then u can swerve and doge all you want – that way motor vehicles have to slow down behind you and wait until they can safely pass

  29. Christine 14/06/2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Another vote for Old Kent Road, especially that bit around the Toys R Us where ‘Massive Craters of Doom’ is more appropriate a term than ‘potholes’. One of them had been temporarily filled in by someone placing a large rock inside it a while ago. Although in optimistic honesty, I’ve been off the bike due to injury for 2 months and theoretically they could have been improved by now!

    Also I’ve regularly felt a mountain bike would be more appropriate down Haymarket ;)

  30. Victoria 14/06/2013 at 7:40 pm #

    The Uxbridge Road from Shepherd’s Bush to Acton is dreadful.

  31. k8 14/06/2013 at 10:33 pm #

    The worst road and cycle lane in the whole of London, nay, the world, was the eastbound stretch of Romford Road from the Princess Alice to Forest Gate Police Station. It was so bent, patched and holed it was terrifying for a light person to cycle over.

    About a month ago a fairy came and transformed that stretch into a beautiful, uniform pitch black, smooth, unpocked surface. Stunning.

    I breathe a sigh of relief when I reach it… my bike ceases to clank and judder ….sadly it only goes for about 100 metres and then we’re back to pothole hell.

    Thanks, Newham, for that little taste of paradise.

    We can put people on the moon, why can’t we have all our roads like that?

  32. Over 40 Cyclist 15/06/2013 at 5:15 am #

    Wow, and I thought that this was only a problem that occurs around where I live (eastern Victoria in country Australia).

    We’re told it’s because the local council doesn’t have enough money to keep repairing the roads as they should be repaired. And if we want it done better we’ll have to pay more in rates!

    Yet our rates go up every year anyway.

    And some of the holes around us are extremely dangerous. Often we can be doing 40 kph + on a country road, in a group, and find a hole around a corner. We’ve had falls from people on the front of the group going into holes, particularly in the dark!

  33. Cas Burke 15/06/2013 at 7:34 am #

    King William Street – Lombard Street northbound between Cannon St and Cornhill is particularly atrocious. Potholes, uneven road surface, manhole covers, and a pathetically inadequate narrow bike lane. Add pedestrians in rush hour and it’s a nightmare.

  34. David 15/06/2013 at 8:48 am #

    Putney hill going down hill. Words cannot describe.

  35. Frank 15/06/2013 at 11:07 am #

    I cycle from North London to Marble Arch and back about 4 times a week. I’ve only been on my bike for a little over a year, but I have to say the roads are getting worse (including the one I live in). My journey takes me along Kentish Town road and Camden – the roads here are suffering from lack of maintenance.
    Then it’s down to Regents Park, which, surprise, surprise, is beautifully maintained, although why are there no cycle paths in the park itself???!!! But the worst street is Crawford Street in Westminster, a disgrace, given what they rake in in parking charges and fines. Oh. I forgot, they spend that money to keep council tax low….how silly to expect them to pave a road.

  36. Gareth 15/06/2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Croxted Road, from Herne Hill up to the foot of Gipsy Hill, contains one of London’s finest collections of potholes. All shapes and sizes, varying depths and beautifully arranged, for the most part, about a door’s width from parked cars. Bravo to whichever council is curating this collection – some of them are developing and merging now to the point where they could be considered trenches!

  37. michael 15/06/2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I think they should be called ‘austerity craters’.

    I now think perhaps I should carry a step-ladder with me, in case my bike plunges into a particularly bad one and I am unable to climb out again.

  38. michael 15/06/2013 at 2:57 pm #

    What I really don’t get is why the privatised utility companies that are responsible for a good proportion of them aren’t legally obliged to property restore the road surface after they dig it up.

  39. Soapbox Badger 15/06/2013 at 8:22 pm #

    I would gladly pay £20/yr more on utility/cable/etc bills to have some sort of law passed where whoever digs up the road has to resurface the entire width of the section rather than do a shoddy job that erodes in rain/ice/under pressure/heavy traffic…

  40. MennaCycles 16/06/2013 at 8:52 am #

    I have just recently started cycling more regularly up and down bishopshgate, and it’s terrifying! As well as potholes and unevenly patched roads, there are trenches carved in by the buses, which are hard to see and difficulty I get out of in heavy traffic! I recently noticed this on tower bridge too, not great.

    • Alan Moore 17/06/2013 at 10:41 am #

      Tower Bridge is infamous for those ripples in the tarmac, MennaCycles.

      They dug up Tooley Street recently. After several months they removed the barriers to reveal.. absolutely no improvement to the surface at all. They’d laid a pipe and just covered it back up again. And this is a TfL road directly outside the mayor’s office. Tch.

  41. Hugo 17/06/2013 at 2:57 pm #

    I lived in London for a number of years and am now living in São Paulo, Brazil. You have absolutely no idea how lucky you are even to have a network of dedicated cycle ways and cycle lanes.

    The potholes here are not so much potholes – think more unfinished exploratory mining efforts.

    Manholes are 3-5 inches below the level of the endlessly resurfaced tarmac – and believe me when I say you do not want to hit one of those going down one of the 15% gradient hills.

    We have dedicated cycle ways that end abruptly in the middle of a giant avenue, with no way of rejoining the traffic without risking your life.

    Traffic itself is another problem – nobody uses their indicators and will overtake you just to cut you up at the next right hand turn.

    You have it easy, stop complaining.

    • MARK REYNOLDS 17/06/2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Contributors’ on ‘London Cyclist’ have a valid message to get across and are not, I believe, complaining. There’s no relevance in comparing the roads in London with São Paulo or any other city around the world.

      I for one don’t think that we have it easy, it’s never easy cycling in any urban area. Simply saying ‘this’ city is better/worse than ‘that’ city will not ultimately achieve an improved quality of life for cyclists. We shouldn’t stop striving for improvements.

      I wish you well with your cycling over there…

      • Hugo 18/06/2013 at 3:53 pm #

        On the contrary, I think it is perfectly relevant. The point being that road surfaces are poor in most older cities that have a lot of traffic.

        Have you ever heard the expression “there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing?”.

        Same applies here, if the road surface is not good for your bike, change your bike. At least change the wheels/tyres and get a springy saddle (as mentioned in a previous post), failing that get some suspension on your front forks to ease the ride.

        • Jimniod 18/06/2013 at 4:05 pm #

          Perhaps all roads should be allowed to decay to rutted, muddy tracks and we’ll all just get 4x4s?

          Why should we have to ride certain types of bikes purely because councils don’t maintain the roads to a decent standard for all users?

          I’d happily pay a tax on my bike, proportional to emissions, size and weight if other vehicles did too. Then the big heavy lorries and coach operators could actually foot the bill for the wear they cause to roads.

          I don’t expect the council to pay for all of it, but cyclists shouldn’t get the sh**ty end of the stick either.

        • Phil Russell 13/07/2013 at 7:04 pm #

          [[[[[ HUGO—–If roads here get any worse, cycling might eventually become impossible, on any sort of bike. I imagine your advice would then be: “Stop complaining—it’s worse in Outer Mongolia, so put the bike away and walk.”
          We already have motorists in “chelsea tanks”….and, our pavements and walkways are also deteriorating rapidly too. Fell-walking boots and helmets for older pedestrians? No—-I’ll keep pushing for improvements, thanks.
          P.R.

        • Mark 16/07/2013 at 1:05 pm #

          hugo,
          pretty sure that your comparison of countries/cities is a pretty poor argument to “stop complaining”.
          for a start, development of the two continents/countries/cities is vastly different. as are the laws, funding, and social factors.
          completely pointless statement u made really….

  42. Akos Szilvasi 19/06/2013 at 3:38 pm #

    London? Huh! Has anyone visited the Boston area (Massachusetts)? We offer Third World travel experiences where the quality of the roads matches the drivers’ culture. Some streets (unfortunately one of those happens to be mine) are unpassable by non four wheel drive cars.

  43. VR46 19/06/2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Hi everyone,
    my first post here even though I am a regular reader.
    I am frequent cycling commuter (Wandsworth – Fitzroy Sq) and I can say that road conditions are getting worse week after week.
    I understand that Wandsworth Council have surveyed the Borough roads, identified and marked 500 pothole circa that require urgent repair, and hopefully they will start repairing them.
    I would say that 500 potholes represent about 10% of all road fixings throughout the Borough but, at least, it’s a beginning.
    I am sure my tyres, inner tubes and my a*se will be extremely grateful.
    Finally, I agree with those above who would pay a fair amount as cycling road users provided that repairs are then carried out.

  44. Nick 20/06/2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Although I don’t live in London, my town seems to have more than its fair share of potholes, and some of the lanes round here now have “failed road” signs where they’ve completely given up repairing them at all!
    But recently, I’ve found myself on an old “sit up and beg”, large wheeled, fat tyred, shallow angled, long wheelbase, steel framed steed – you get the picture.
    All but the deepest of potholes can be ridden over with barely a hint of disturbance to a hitherto magic carpet ride. I was so astonished at the plush ride, after years of riding road bikes and MTBs, that I used it recently for a monster 150 mile canal towpath ride, rather than my more modern machine.
    We’re not going to see the pothole situation improve any time soon, but leaving the road bike at home, and using an old three speed from the fifties, is, quite frankly, a revelation in town.

  45. Jonathan 21/06/2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Fill That Hole seems to work most of the time (eventually), but does anyone know how to get TFL to repair red route roads?

    The local authority are apparently not responsible for these roads and TFL just seem to ignore reports of bad roads like the junction at Grove End Road and St Johns Wood Road near Regents Park

  46. Henri 24/06/2013 at 11:58 am #

    He he, that sounds awful. I know of a country in Africa where nearly all the roads are in excellent condition. Cycling on them is like cycling on satin – it feels so smooth. A real pleasure.

    The difference is that these roads don’t see ice expanding the holes every year. They were in poor condition years ago, as you’d expect in Africa, but once they were asphalted 15 – 20 years ago, they kept their good condition.

    The roads in the UK are abysmal and they will only get worse. I simply cycle in the middle or where there are no holes and block the cars behind me.

  47. Diana 25/06/2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Kentish Town Road is pretty hideous for pot holes, it’s like cycling over cattle grids, you feel like your bike wheels are going to judder off the bike! It seems to get progressively worse as you cycle up towards the tube, so many holes!

  48. Dont Be Furious 04/07/2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I am hoping to see if we can organise a LCC seminar on a Highways Maintenance Seminar covering specific cycling issues. From what I have researched, there are no cycling specific “invention” levels for Authorities on main Highways outside of “a” pothole, where the critical depth is 4cm for the highest priority action. Please can someone correct me if I am wrong.

    Cycling specific hazards, like short sections of road with dangerous “surface irregularities” and “trenches” (in direction if the line of traffic) I believe need specifically scoped intervention criteria levels for repairs that Authorities must abide by… yet I cannot find such guidelines/Policy/Regulations in practice.

    I also cannot find Policy or regulation that on very busy TfL red routes, or by schools, or where there are known to be high number of cyclists on very busy streets, that such “Cycle Sensitive Streets” do indeed get priority for maintenance for their standard road surface (due to risk/threat/volume of cyclists).

    Noted above is Croxted Road. I initiated an incident to that section of road on 4th May, and is now subject to formal complaint due to length of time to get it fixed. Temporary fixes have now been made following direct actions and excellent assistance by local Ward Cllrs for this road. By coincident, this extended delay in making Temporary Fixes for months on this road, happens when this section of road is due to be resurfaced (maybe later this Summer).

    Out of interest, how many cyclists get damage wrists from Pot Holes? Do cyclists make third party claims to Authorities for cycling injury due to poor Highways road surfaces? Car drivers sometimes get their car suspension repaired and paid for my Authorities.

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