This is such an easy target it’s almost tedious to blog about. Still, as regular readers will know, I have never let tedium be a barrier to anything in the past, so here goes… (to keep it painless, I’ll make it quick).
We went down to Canterbury today, for the finish of the Tour’s first proper stage. Much has been made, during this Grand Depart, of using the event to encourage everyone to get on their bike. There were cycle parks all over town yesterday and the official site for the Canterbury finish suggests getting around by bike will be the best option. Sadly, SouthEastern Trains didn’t get the memo. They put on extra trains, they had a special ticket offer for the Tour, they even had helpful people handing out timetables and maps on the platform – but bikes? Well, fearing that lots of people might want to bring them onto their trains, they banned them. Or almost. A dismantled bike in a ‘specially provided bag’ was allowed. Fortunately the clever chaps at the London Cycling Campaign were onto them. Taking your front wheel off was considered ‘dismantled’ and they were specially providing large clear plastic bags and some sticky tape to put them in. It’s probably not entirely what the good people of SouthEastern Trains had in mind, but there are times when the spirit of the law is just there to be flouted.
Some of you may be wondering why cyclists wanted to bring their bikes to the race in the first place. It’s not as though the bikes wanted to watch the race – it’s well known that bikes prefer to watch snooker – it’s before and after the race that the bikes come into their own. Yesterday, despite an extra million people on the streets, central London was practically silent. The reason? No cars. All those closed off roads. To a cyclist, they’re tempting, more than tempting. It’s like being first on the beach in the morning – just your footprints on the virgin sand. And we need more of it. There doesn’t have to be a big bike race or anything like that. Just a day – a morning – an hour when the city is free from the internal combustion engine and the rest of us can roam free. How about the first Sunday of every month – is that too much to ask? Come on, Ken, you know it makes sense.
It’s that or bring back guard’s vans.