London: Cycling’s Steel City

There is a boom in cycling and there is no finer expression this than in London at the moment. A couple of hours free with the old Canon Ixus 70 and time for a bit of bike spotting.

These bikes come in all shapes and sizes: delivery bikes, tricycles maybe the odd bit of carbon fibre. By and large though this isn’t about hi-tec machinery it is about steel and old steel at that. It is about the bikes that people like me wanted as a child, bikes that were superseded by better, lighter and stronger stuff, but bikes that have now found a new lease of life.

These bikes have been stripped down, many turned into London Fixies: no gears, little in the way of brakes, some almost devoid of handlebars. For the most part they have become vivd expressions of their current keeper. Some are off the peg: made to look like bikes used to but of course never actually did. Of course there are also Boris’s bikes bringing a bit of Barcelona to London, well not really but you get the idea.

A friend recently told me that she sold her motorbike when she returned to London, there is apparently little space to park one. Unlike Exeter where I can put my motorbike pretty much where I want London is no longer motorbike-freindly.

So the trusty old peddle-iron is the functional expression, taken to work then left to sulk all day tied up to a lamppost occasionally throwing a sulk by lying down on the pavement and sometimes totally disappearing (well almost anyway).