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This Week in London Cycling (March 12. - 18.)

Anytime a video of cycling in London goes viral, and it's not a helmet cam footage of a road rage incident, it’s a good week.

Here’s everything that happened in London cycling this week:

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In a Youtube video that racked up almost 300k views in less than a week, comedian and musician Jay Foreman asks: ‘Why isn’t cycling normal in London?’

He posits: ‘Is it to do with the way the streets were built? Or is it something embedded in our culture? Or is it the complicated and nuanced mixture of the two, combined with several other interesting factors?’

Yep, you guessed it, it’s that last one.

Jay briefly explores the history of London cycling, from the very first segregated bike lanes back in 1930’s to present-day Cycle Superhighways, with several interpretative dances in between. It’s well worth the watch.

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In an effort to compete with Google and it’s omni-present Maps, Apple Maps will now include bike-sharing locations in 179 cities in 36 countries.

The feature was initially made available to a select few cities - including London - back in last April, but Apple says its newly-minted partnership with Ito World “greatly expands the amount of available bike-sharing data.“

That said, the app still doesn’t seem to include any information on dockless services in London.

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Aiming to promote the use of e-bikes in London, TfL has teamed up with the Association of Cycle Traders and other advocate groups to launch a dedicated e-bike website, which offers free test rides in 120 shops, exclusive discounts and information on whether an e-bike could be right for you.

The site will apparently also include a number of short ‘eBike Stories’ in the future, exploring why riders opted for an e-bike.

And while an attempt to get more people cycling should certainly be lauded, one has to be the designated party pooper here and point out that most of the underlying concerns that people have with cycling in London remain unaddressed. I am looking forward to the short stories tho!

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In what the Islington Gazette is calling ‘one of Islington’s most important ever road revamps’, the Highbury Corner, a junction with one of the poorest safety records in the capital, will receive a full overhaul.

Much of the area outside Highbury and Islington station is to become pedestrianised and turned into a public space, with work scheduled to begin this summer. Here’s what the end result should look like.

According to the Gazette, the roundabout is to be removed entirely and replaced with two-way roads, with the installation of segregated cycle lanes on all three remaining sides of the roundabout. During rush hour, cyclists already make up a quarter of Highbury Corner’s traffic.

The bottom of Corsica Street will also be closed to traffic and pedestrianised.

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On Tuesday, Lambeth Council published what it calls a ‘Sustainability Update’, outlining the council’s dedication to cycling and clean air promotion over the last four years.

In that time, according to the report, the council has invested £55.5m in cycling and air quality improvements, “from green screens, handing out diffusion tubes, bike hangars, cycle routes and safety improvements to innovative, award winning projects to make sure the whole community can reap the benefits of cycling”

And while the report doesn’t include an actual breakdown of exactly how/where that money was spent, it does make for an interesting read nonetheless. What are the odds of seeing similar reports from other councils in the near future?

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The Evening Standard raised some eyebrows on Friday, claiming that Boris bikes were 'under review', and might slowly be phased out in the future.

According to the article, it was TfL chief Mike Brown that raised such prospects, in case that Boris bikes had ‘fulfilled its primary role of getting more Londoners cycling’.

The idea prompted a quick rebuke from London's Walking & Cycling Commissioner Will Norman on Twitter, saying: “There are categorically no plans to phase out the@santandercycles – they are a great success and last year saw a record amount of journeys.”

Mr. Norman says Mike Brown was merely suggesting the need to ‘work with partners to incorporate the lasted innovations’ to the current bike hire scheme. Exactly what that means remains unclear though.

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The deadline for comments on the future of Wandsworth Common has been extended for three more days to March 19th, i.e. tomorrow.

According to the initial announcement, the goal of the consultation commissioned by the borough is to determine ‘how the common will be cared for and managed, and how the council can ensure local people continue to benefit from it’.

If you live in the area and want to express your support for walking/cycling initiatives in the burrough, now’s your chance. You can take the survey here.

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On Twitter, Mark Treasure shared a photo of one of the digital counters recently installed along the North-South Cycle Superhighway.

At the time it was taken, the counter’s tally for the year was 68,213 cyclists, which is made even more impressive by the fact that the counter was only installed on February 19th, and so has only been active for less than a month.

Quick number crunching says that comes out to about 2842 cyclists/day, meaning the counter is well on its way to break the 1 million mark by the end of the year. Especially considering the weather so far has been, shall we say, less than forthcoming to London cyclists.

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And finally this week, if you’re in the market for a short and quirky retro-art illustration book exploring the history of competitive cycling, do I got a treat for you.

David Sparshott, a London-based artist and cycling enthusiast announced the “Anatomy of Cycling”, a book of ‘22 bike culture postcards’ which takes a peek into some of the sport’s most memorable moments.

The book illustrates “a host of retro cycling gear, from iconic racing bicycles and Campagnolo crank arms to leather cycling gloves and bike-hauling jalopies.”

If that sounds exactly like what you bookshelf has been missing, you can order the book here.

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That’s it! Did I miss anything else that happened in London cycling this week? Do let me know in the comments.

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