The growth in cycling in recent years has helped make London more humane: the more bikes there are on the capital’s roads, the fewer cars and the less strain on the public transport system.
The new segregated cycle paths are making a difference to the experience of cycling in London and are likely to get even more people to take to two wheels, but it’s important to remember that it’s not just the physical environment that encourages people onto their bikes. Here David Showell of Cycle Confident explains how his company trains new and ‘returning’ cyclists.
23 million journeys a year are made by bike on London’s roads, according to TfL. This is an all-time high, but the increase shows no sign of slowing down.
On the bike is where London really opens up. When you cycle, the capital becomes your own and you can really be in control, choosing your route, gauging your time, discovering your city as you move across it. It’s a simple equation: the more people we can get cycling safely, the better London is for all of us who inhabit it.
Lots of factors have contributed to the growth in cycling, and with significant infrastructure improvements under way, as well as new legislation around HGVs in central London experience of cycling in the city will continue to improve. But while the introduction of segregated cycle lanes undoubtedly increases cyclists’ sense of safety, there’s nothing like being properly informed.
was set up in 2007, when its founder, David Showell, decided that the best thing about his job in the city was the cycle commute to and from work. He thought everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy riding their bike every day. Since then, the company has grown into London’s leading cycle training provider, with a mission is to educate and empower as many people as possible to take to the roads on their bikes more confidently, more safely and more often. It works with a range of users including children, adults, commuters, beginners, (even lorry drivers): in fact anyone who feels they would benefit from an awareness course, or wants to become a bike mechanic or train to be a cycling instructor.
Whatever one’s current standard and confidence level, there is always knowledge to be gained. Many of the people who come on Cycle Confident courses cycled as children but have never taken their bikes onto London’s roads as an adult. After training, most report that, with the road skills and knowledge they have learned, they have discovered the freedom that comes with using their bike as their principal means of getting around the city.
The benefits of cycling are well documented. For the individual, it’s about that sense of freedom, saving money, looking after fitness of body and mind. And for society in general, it’s about relieving the burden on the environment and public transport systems. The benefits of cycle training are that, out of awareness grows confidence, which encourages people to use their bikes more often and for a different range of journeys.