11 August 2009

All tide up: London's quirkiest cycle parking

The most curious bike park in the capital is at the Moorings, a little-known boat-dwelling community just east of Tower Bridge.

Around 70 people, plus various children and pets, have lived in this floating hamlet since the 1980s. Their 40-odd bikes nestle on the roof of one of the barges.

The community - a mixed bunch of artists, professionals and families - have their own covered outdoor centre on one of the barges. It offers residents all the things you need for civilised living: sofas and tables for dinner, table tennis, cinema, grand piano, and incomparable views of the river and Tower Bridge.

The boats are decorated with lush gardens. They're open to the public once a year in summer, the occasion of our visit

Getting there can be precarious in windy weather, through a locked gate on the riverside path and across a gangway over the Thames, or more usually, mud.

Outside that annual open day, access to the boats, and bike park, is only for residents... unless, that is, you work at MPA or Axis Mason, two architects based in the building overlooking the Moorings. Their employees are allowed to use the community's unique tidal cycle parking.

Which, we reckon, is about as swell as you can get, without being sea-sick.

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