Why I want the tube strike to continue…

tube strike poster by secretlondon123The latest tube strike, which is due to last 48 hours, is causing delays to London commuters’ routine journeys.

Businesses are losing out on trade, Maritime and Transport union is getting much flack and in general people are not too happy.

However, there is more to this than the predictable chance for newspapers to throw around the word: “Chaos”.

I mentioned at the start of the article that delays were been caused to “routine journeys”. This hints at the heart of the problem of why London bike adoption trails that of other major cities. People, myself included, fall into routines and do not question the way of doing things. When was the last time one of those daily tube users, stopped, took a breather (which is hard to do on the tube) and asked themselves: Could I possibly do this journey in a different way?

During the tube strike people are asking themselves this question. The London Cycling Campaign has the answer ready: Go by bike! 

bike the strikeMarketing materials, organised groups of cyclists following the routes of the tube lines (bike tubes) and a tube strike website where all part of the arsenal that London Cycling Campaign had prepared. Whilst bloggers have reported varying degrees of success for the bike tubes themselves, the success of biketube.org.uk is undeniable and it reportedly received over 30,000 hits in the run up to the strike. More importantly this experience may have been an eye opener for many commuters.

However, one day is not really enough. For real change to happen people need to continue to ask themselves this question. Then we may see real changes on the road. This is why I want the tube strike to continue.

From those that tried cycling for the first time there has been much positive response. Yesterday evening looking at the Facebook statuses of many of my contacts, people were saying how much they enjoyed cycling into work and how they had not considered it before. Many of my non-cycling friends spoke about how they feel fresher and more awake from cycling. The Times has a good article on people that took part and saw it as a positive experience that would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the strike. I believe this is the push that people need to adopt cycling. 

Sure there will be backlash against cycling with people tweeting about the danger of too many inexperienced cyclists but the overwhelming evidence is that more cyclists means more road safety. Therefore the existing cyclist community should embrace beginners. It can be scary out there for people when they first take up cycling but there are many benefits to be enjoyed.

Only time will tell if this experience will have a lasting effect on the London transportation scene. To those on strike I say go ahead and strike for a few more days it may end up doing a lot of good for London. For the regular cyclists out there, ask your colleagues – why are they stuck on the tube day after day doing a journey they don’t enjoy?

Some useful links:


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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

3 Responses to Why I want the tube strike to continue…

  1. balint hamvas 11/06/2009 at 12:58 pm #

    You’re absolutely right. My only problem with this tube strike is that my ankle is injured and I cannot cycle for weeks thus I’m forced to use the bus which is painfully sloooooow.

  2. Electric Bikes Experts 13/03/2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Not forgetting the amount of money people unconspicuously save by not taking the tube!


  1. London: Sod the Tube « Biking Paige - 11/06/2009

    […] the Tube strike had caused thousands of workers to try commuting by bike for the first time.   The London Cyclist hypothesized that in London, people are pretty complacant about falling into routines, and it takes […]

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