Watch some new videos from my UK trip to London & Cambridge!
I just got back from a whirlwind one week visit to see London and Cambridge. There was lots of cycling to be had and I had to get used to cycling on the opposite side of the road. But I was really not prepared for the numbers of bikes on the streets of London during rush hour, so I strung together a montage so you could see what I witnessed.
I had a number of missions during my first visit ever to the United Kingdom. The first was to check in with the folks at 20's Plenty for Us to see just how much success they have had in lowering speed limits across the city. The answer is...plenty! So sometime later in the month, check back here and you'll see a great Streetfilm on their progress and future goals. Much thanks to Rod King, Anna Semlyen, and especially Jeremy Leach, who was so kind with his time showing me around the city.
The short video above is one really cool cycle tack treatment Jeremy insisted I check out. I couldn't find any information for it online anywhere, but it is College Street NW, a one-way street in London which features a separated bike lane on one side and a contra-flow, parking-protected lane on the other. Both of them done much in the style of tactical urbanism that you would find from leaders Mike Lydon and Jason Roberts. The wonderful planters and armadillos bolted into the pavement remind drivers to stay out.
After a short stay it was off to see Cambridge via an invitation from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. Cambridge is a wonderful bicycling city north of London. The vibe was wholly different with (mostly) slower streets and a comfortable pace, with cyclists buzzing about all over. The city's official bike mode share here is 22%, but easily admits it could be higher, quite possibly up to 50% in the city's core - which is off limits to cars thanks to a ring of strategically placed rising bollards. Only taxis, buses, and limited delivery vehicles are allowed to get thru with a special transponder.
As I was graciously shown about the city by Robin Heydon, Jim Chisholm, and Roxanne De Beaux, I shot ample amounts of video to assemble about a ten minute Streetfilm I am currently working on. It should be very inspirational and informative. But there have been a few bits I have put together. Above is something I never knew about, the Cambridge Guided Busway, a sort of BRT with bioswales, as there is no sewer drainage, just green between the tracks. As you will see there is also a wide bike and pedestrian trail which runs for almost all of its length!
While in Cambridge I was also able to do something you might find humorous, but it is something I have wanted to do at a bike counter since visiting Copenhagen in 2010 - be the first counted rider of the day! As you'll see I was successful.
On my return trip back to London for my final two days, I was able to jump on a "Boris Satander Bike" and see much more of the city. As a complete coincidence, who do I run into moments into cycling in Central London but Mayor Boris Johnson! Yeah, there's proof!
I got to see much of the construction underway for London's segregated cycle superhighways and Quietways. I even got to see some really short, completed sections (if you watch the top video again, you'll see a very short open superhighway segment - CB2). The ambitious plans look fabulous to this guy from "across the pond". However, in talking to many riders and advocates there, they still need to do far more and some of the quietways need addiitonal improvements to really be successful in getting new riders out cycling. I will continue to investigate and monitor.
I have lots of footage to share, but did not get all the interviews I really needed to put out a successful video just yet of the plans. Perhaps I will need to return in 2016 when most of the infrastructure is planned to be in the ground. Or perhaps I can do some interviews remotely. We shall see.
And finally, I will attach my streetfilm for London's first Open Streets event. Organizers were quite happy with their initial foray into the ciclovia world!