19 June 2009

Carbon copy: More free bike week eating

Another Bike Week day, another barrage of free meals. Breakfast in Soho Square (right) was courtesy of new organisation BikeShed.

How things change. When I was at school, 'bike shed' suggested a lunchbreak sett for louche teenagers mouth-painting with cigarettes, swopping urban myths, and trying to get off with each other. Now it implies showers with jungle-fruit gel, skinny-latte cafes, and vibrant young professionals swopping urban myths and trying to get off with each other.

In the evening there was a well-patronised cyclists' barbecue in Ruskin Park, between Camberwell and Brixton (other pics). It supplied free food and bike checks, both much in demand, to posses of Southwark and Lambeth cyclists, and lots of locals. I enjoyed my complimentary burger smug in the knowledge that by cycling up the road from my house I almost compensated for the CO2 produced by shipping it from Argentina.

(There was some US-based research published in New Scientist a few months ago that said a beefburger had the carbon footprint of driving a 4x4 ten miles, or some such statoid. However, built into that carbon footprint calculation was the assumption that somebody had driven a 4x4 ten miles to the supermarket to buy it, so I'd take that with a pinch of salt. Except that desalination plants have a massive carbon footprint.)

It was a very sociable evening. Energetic kids pedalled a bike-powered loudspeaker, which proved just how much effort is needed to run even the simplest three-chord pop song. Someone did BMX tricks in the tennis court, which may be a clue why we never win Wimbledon. And we all chatted and swopped a few urban myths... and then cycled home.

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