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Is London cycling dangerous?
 
This is something I typed on the train on the way home
 

So what's this all about then?

I had a new job and was expected to visit an office in Bristol. This meant I had to get a train into London, cycle across London and get a train out the other side. I was worried about this as I had gained the impression from what I'd read that London was a dangerous place for cyclists.
 
I asked for help on the Cycling Plus forum, both for the experiences of the London riders as well as suggestions for a route and timings.
 
I was amazed not only by the help I got, but also by how easy and fun the cycling was. It's much better than my normal commute into Southend! I'm now happy to repeat this journey whenever needed.
 
As a way of thanks to the Forum contributers I penned this silly note on the train on the way home. Here it is for your perusal. Sorry about the ending, my station was approaching. (The Zebra comment refers to an in-joke on the forum regarding a Bath based contributor who wears Zebra stripes whilst riding.)

 

Nuttycyclists big adventure.

Nuttycyclist was worried. Nuttycyclist had to go to the big city and he hadn't cycled there before. He'd heard that it wasn't very nice.

So Nuttycyclist worked out a plan. He asked all his nice friends at cyclingplus for a route. They were very helpful. Nuttycyclist got his colouring pencils and a map, and he carefully drew the route on it. There were several good routes. He put them all on the map and numbered them. He called this his "cycling by numbers" plan.

The big day arrived and the alarm went off very early in the morning. It was still dark. Nuttycyclist got on his bike and wobbled off to the station. He was very pleased with himself because his poor injured shoulder was not hurting anymore.

When little Nuttycyclist got to London he was very excited. He managed to find the right exit from the big station that was full of lots of people. He unfolded his little red bike and trundled off down the road that went to the river.

When he got to the river he realised he'd missed the turning he should have taken. This didn't matter though because his little red bicycle was an expert in getting him out of trouble. He got off and walked down some stairs. lots of stairs. At the bottom was the road that he should have been on. He got back on his little red bicycle and carried on on his way.

Further along the road it went into a tunnel. A dark tunnel and it was a bit scary. There were lots of cars going past and it was very dark and noisy in the tunnel. Nuttycyclist pedalled faster and his little red bike sped up and shot up the road out of the tunnel and past another bicycle. That bicycle had big wheels, but it wasn't going as fast as Nuttycyclist's little red bicycle.

Nuttycyclist carried on on his adventure. He went past Trafalgar Square where Nelson was standing high up in the sky on his column. Nuttycyclist waved at him, but Nelson didn't wave back. When He got to the Queens house he knew she was at home because she had left her flag on the flagpole. The queen didn't wave at Nuttyclist either. In fact everybody in London seemed really grumpy and wouldn't wave or smile, even those that were riding the same little folding bike as Nuttycyclist's red bike.

Then, after finding his way along easy long straight roads Nuttycyclist realised that he was approaching Hyde Park Corner. He'd been told this was the worst and most difficult bit of cycling in London. He was worried. When he got to the roundabout he realised that other cyclists were going across the middle, but he couldn't work out where to go to join them. Nuttycyclist then stopped worrying and just rode around the roundabout as he usually would. There was nothing to worry about. It was easy. This was followed by a cycle in the park.

Nuttyclist managed to get his connecting train on time, and went to Bristol where he didn't get too lost. He looked out of the windows all the way there. When he went through Bath he looked really really hard for a Zebra on a bike, but didn't see him. When he'd finished in Bristol he went to the train station and his train was already waiting for him at the platform. He got on the train and got out his maps so he wouldn't get lost when he got back to London.

When Nuttycyclist got back to London he got lost. It wasn't his fault, he knew where he was and where he wanted to go; it was the roads that were in the wrong place. All of a sudden Hyde Park Corner arrived in front of him and he knew where he was again. He got confused by the fire engine using the cycle path across the centre island; but probably not as confused as the driver of the ladder unit heading the other way. Nuttyclist and his little red bike wanted to ask them where the fire was but thought they may not appreciate it.

After passing Buckingham Palace (no the queen didn't wave this time either) Nuttycyclist and his little red bike proved how good they were at getting through London. They went down between the lanes of traffic, and when those lanes got too narrow Nuttycyclist got off and walked down the pavement, still passing the traffic. This was good anyway as it let them turn right where they shouldn't.

Then came the highlight of the day. Nuttycyclist and his little red bike overtook a motorcycle courier. They were going SO fast.

Another road was missed, but a quick walking U-Turn onto the pavement got them out of trouble and to the train on time. Nuttyclist and his little red bike got home safely later that night. It had been a good adventure but they were now really really tired. It was time for bed.

 

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