City & Commuting

Bike commuters in London – a view from the outside

0 Comments 06 November 2010

Unlike Finland, London still had leaves in the trees

We arrived in London on Wednesday the 3rd of November, still having a few hours of travel ahead of us and the first thing we hear is the constant yells of “there’s a tube strike today, the underground is not running at all”. Which means our plans were foiled a bit, but luckily London is also known for its city bicycles. Luckily for someone else though, as you actually need to register to use them and we had no idea where the closest ones were. And it also came into my mind when we had been 15 minutes in the taxi.

The locals did know about the strike and there were a lot of people walking, running and of course – biking. There were bikes of every single kind imaginable, but I was still surprised on the quantity of Bromptons and other folding bikes. The thing that really surprised me was the courage of the London commuters riding in very thick traffic and navigating their way through very complicated junctions full of cars.

I am no more anyway surprised that people wear helmet cameras daily on their rides, since it felt amazingly dangerous. I guess being a bike blogger in London is much easier as you’re defying death daily.

These bike stands were very pretty and functional - Notice the local BMX flavor

The temperature was very nice, allowing people to ride wearing shorts and it was nice to see bikes everywhere: in trains, villages, cities, suburbs, they were also ridden by young and old people, men and women – but still the infrastructure really wasn’t there. While flying back today, I read in a magazine about a London cyclist who was mauled by an electric vehicle. The irony is that that particular vehicle was towing the bike sharing program bikes to another location.

So, with that trip behind us, we’re back to our regular programming and regular cycling patterns. Thanks for reading!

Ps. If you’re a commuter from London or England in general, we’d like to hear from you for a quick chat!

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- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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About Comingthru

Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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