Quad bike gritters deployed to keep London’s cycle routes ice free


Transport for London will keep cycle routes in London ice-free this winter by using quad bikes equipped with gritters.

The responsibility for clearing ice from cycle routes in the British capital is split between TfL and individual London Boroughs – including Cycle Superhighways.

“When a Cycle Superhighway sits on a borough road the council maintains and grits it,” a TfL spokesperson said. “When it’s on one of our roads, we grit it. Most of the Cycle Superhighways are on our roads.”

While the majority of the road network can be treated using conventional lorry gritters, the narrower lanes used for cycles are inaccessible to large vehicles. At 1.2 metres wide, the motorised quad bikes can fit into a bike lane and the majority of footways with ease.

Rather than using salt and grit, a substance called Pathway KA is used, which contains potassium acetate to melt ice. The quad bikes can carry up to 500kg of ice-melting chemicals.

A TFL statement said:

“Although there hasn’t been significant snow falls for three winters now, TfL and London Councils develop coordinated plans every year, alongside the emergency services, to keep the rail and road networks open and running in case of any severe weather”.

“This includes key arterial roads, cycle routes and footways around bus and railway stations, hospitals and police, fire and ambulance stations across London.”

“TfL and London’s boroughs will also ensure that the Cycle Superhighways and other cycling routes remain safe to use during the winter months.”


Jeremy Vine shares video of road rage

BBC presenter Jeremy Vine has shared a video of a road rage incident he was involved in last Friday while cycling through London.

In the clip below, filmed on cameras attached to Vine’s helmet and the rear of his bike, a woman blares her horn while driving behind Vine on a narrow street in Kensington, London. Vine stops his bike to tell her he needs to be cycling a safe distance away from the parked cars, at which point she gets out of her own car and confronts him.

There’s quite a lot of shouting, swearing and angry confusion before Vine rides off again. Later in the clip, the woman gets out of her car while stopped at a red light and confronts Vine once more.

Vine has passed the footage on to London’s Metropolitan Police.

Transforming disused Tube tunnels into underground cycle routes


The answer to making London safer and less congested for cyclists could lie underground, according to a leading design firm.

Gensler has come up with an award-winning plan to convert disused London Underground routes into subterranean cycleways and pedestrian routes.

The scheme, dubbed the London Underline project, has now been recognised at the London Planning Awards where it was named Best Conceptual Project.

Its designers say it would transform tunnels beneath the capital into vibrant subterranean streets, with shopping facilities, cafes and pedestrian paths running parallel with cycle routes.

The tunnels would be accessed via Tube stations and would be surfaced by kinetic paving at stations, which would use use footfall to generate energy, according to Gensler.

The designers say this would remove the need for the tunnels to be linked directly to ground level.

Ian Mulcahey, co-director of designers Gensler London, said:

“Now that London has reached the highest level of population in its history we need to think creatively about how to maximize the potential of our infrastructure.

“The adaptation of surplus and underutilized tube and rail tunnels could provide a quick and simple addition to our infrastructure network.”

Key routes covered by the tunnels would include the disused Piccadilly Line branch from Holborn to the abandoned Aldwych station.

It would also link Green Park and Charing Cross along what was previously a Jubilee Line tunnel.

If the scheme were successful it could also make use of empty stretches of tunnel at Stockwell in south London and Goodge Street in central London.

The designers added:

“With current pressures on London to cope with future transport capacity for pedestrians, cyclists and tube users, London is in desperate need for new types of public and community space, as well as affordable retail, commerce and entertainment spaces. Subterranean spaces present an excellent option for new uses.”


The annual cost of cycling

Cost of cycling

How much do you spend each year on cycling? Experian Experts have calculated the annual cost of the activity to be £917.

The survey though seems to be more based around Year 1 costs – and even those seem a little back to front.  Out of the £917 a year, £750 is spent on a bicycle – I don’t know many who actually buy a new bike each year.  My last bike was bought in 2004.


Other items included in the cost – helmets, a lock, shorts, helmet, jersey and lights – would also last more than a year in most cases. Also I would spend more on a bike lock and lights than they suggest, but then purchase much cheaper cycle clothing.

Experian say they used the average cost of a road bike provided by Evans Cycles combined with information from CTC to make their calculations. However, many people were quick to point out that cycling effectively saves them money as it reduces, or even completely negates, mileage in the car.

Spanish bike commute ad mocks drivers’ daily grind

Spanish bike commute ad mocks drivers’ daily grind

Generally, when we try to get people out of their cars to walk, cycle, or take public transport to work, we acknowledge that there are people who will never leave their cars at home. No matter how much petrol and car insurance cost, not matter what traffic and parking hassles face them daily, they will keep driving their commute. (Even if it’s driving them crazy!)

This advert is not for them:

This fun video, by The Spanish Government’s Dirección General de Tráfico (Directorate General of Traffic) is titled “El mismo día.” Translation sites tell me that means “the same day,” but from the context I gather it implies more, “it’s the same day, over and over” to communicate the driver’s frustration.

Three-quarters of Britons support more spending on bike use

Cycle funding

There is significant public demand for increased government spending to make cycling safer and more accessible, according to the biggest UK-wide survey on the subject, with three-quarters of people saying they supported such a move.

The study for Sustrans of 11,000 people in seven cities found 75% wanted more money to be spent on cycling measures. On average, people supported an annual spend per person of about £26 on cycling, against the current £4 figure for England.

The charity’s research found significant backing even among those who never ride a bike, with 71% saying they would support more bike-based spending. For frequent cyclists this figure rose to 87%.

Currently, about 1% to 2% of all trips in the UK are made by bike, as against figures of 25% or more in some nations, such as the Netherlands. Activists argue that more bike use would greatly help combat the ongoing health crisis caused by physical inactivity, as well as reducing vehicle pollution, among other benefits.

Jason Torrance, policy director at Sustrans said:

“The message from the public couldn’t be clearer: there’s a desire to cycle more, but that a lack of safe places to ride bikes is off ­putting.

“People want governments to spend more, and say that they would cycle more if it were safer. Now governments must close this gap between current spending and public demand.

“Physical inactivity, congestion and declining air quality cost our economy billions. Governments must act to secure a greater share of current transport investment for cycling and walking.”

The ICM research, which covered Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle, found people believed that of the £300 or so currently spent annually per person on transport, £26 should go to cycling.

Almost three quarters of people said they believed more cycling would benefit the nation overall, while two-thirds said it would make their local area a better place to live and work.

Sustrans’ research, called the Bike Life Survey, is intended to mirror a long-term study in Denmark, the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, which helps identify areas where new cycle cycle infrastructure is most in demand. Currently 45% of all school and work trips in the city are made by bike.

Bike Share Infographic

Ever since VelibBarclaysbCycleCitiBike the bike share concept seems to be booming.  City Lab breaks them down in a visual story that started with free bikes in Amsterdam…

Does it feel like suddenly, bike-share programs are everywhere? The seemingly simple concept has indeed swept across the globe in a matter of just a few years. This is the story of just how quickly a great idea can spread when combined with the right technology—and a few fateful bumps along the way.