24 March 2012

Public bike pumps? I'll drink to that

A public bicycle pump has been installed near Waterloo station, on Kennington Road outside the Three Stags Pub, my old south London stomping ground.

This exciting news, and picture, comes from the SE1 website.

It's another inventive cycle-parking initiative from Anthony Lau. Other works of Anthony's I've blogged about before include the Cyclehoop (which converts lamp-posts and street signs into cycle parking) and a car-shaped bike rack (which has been doing the rounds of south London, sometimes taking locked bikes with it when it gets moved).

Putting the bike pump outside a pub is an excellent idea. If your tyres are a bit flat you can top them up easily, and enjoy a beer while you do so.

If only London's outrageously short-measure pub pints were as easily seen to. Living in York does have its advantages.

17 March 2012

Gormless to Gormley: Biking the Angel of the North, and other statues

I was in Newcastle this week, with bike, obviously. I like Newcastle, and the way it makes me feel so over-dressed and under-tattooed.

More about the Toon soon, but first, the Angel of the North (right). Antony Gormley's iconic statue is three miles or so south of the Tyne bridges, a straight cycle down the A167 Durham Road through Gateshead to Low Fell.

The cycle route is barely adequate - a mishmash of on- and off-road lanes and tracks - so it's quite a bit better than the rest of Newcastletynesagegateshead or whatever the marketeers call it these days.

There's a path up to the base of the Angel (right), and a splendid thing it is too. Heavier than you think, good-looking in a lumpy kind of way, and ageing gently in the northern rain, it reminds me a lot of me.

But it's not my favourite Gormley. At least, not for its bike-interactive possibilities.

I was very fond of the temporary statues - simulacra of the artist himself - that stood naked on and around Waterloo Bridge a few years ago.

We were very excited by their potential use as cycle parking (right).

But the top Gormley statue for cyclists, or non-cyclists, has to be Another Place (right) at Crosby (just off the Trans Pennine Trail).

I think it looks rather better with a bike in hand. It helps me relate to the statue that bit more. Especially as it's standing in a puddle looking lost.

10 March 2012

Water carry-on: Rum roadworks in York

Yorkshire Water are busy digging up York's bike lanes at the moment.

The Planets Trail is up somewhere between Mars and Jupiter (right), necessitating a five-sides-of-a-hexagon detour through the asteroid belt, also known as Bishopthorpe housing estate.

As I discovered yesterday en route to a job yesterday. It made me arrive five minutes late, despite travelling at six times the speed of light, according to the scale.

More worrying is this operation on Malton Road, the A1036, between Monks Cross and the Toby Carvery, where hungry cyclists can refuel on limitless hearty vegetables.

Not only is the cycle lane (but only the cycle lane) closed off on a fast, busy road where some cars pass too close anyway.

First breath of wind and some of the plastic barriers do their impression of a Saturday night stag party in Stonegate, collapsing chaotically.

This forces cyclists out even further into the territory too many drivers think belongs exclusively to them (above right). The carvery must be quite an attraction, because most of the drivers can't wait to get there.