02 April 2009

Blowing the trumpet for Cambridge

The latest issue of Cambridge Cycle Campaign's newsletter is available as a PDF.

Cambridge (right top and middle) is the best place for real cycling in Britain. A quarter of the residents cycle to work, compared to the national average of, oh, something rubbish.

Cycling there is a fabulously enjoyable and leisurely experience if you're used to the gladiatorial combat of London. (There's a chapter in my book about how best to experience the Cambridge Thing.)

And the CCycC has an outstanding website, full of crisply-written, authoritative and well-illustrated resources on campaigning and everyday cycle stuff (including how to mend a puncture). In beta, there's also an extremely promising open-source route planning guide and photomap of cycle facilities, not just in Cambridge but nationally and internationally.

Many of the articles and issues are, of course, local to Cambridge. But the way in which they handle their campaigning and publicity – well-researched, persuasively argued, realistic but assertive – is a model to us all.

And I haven't just said that because their newsletter plugs this blog, or because of that excellent New Year's party we had at David and Jane's. But such things obviously help.

Anyway, I was taken with the newsletter's 'photo of the month' (right). You know how annoying it is to be hooted by a driver when you're right and they're wrong; this chap appears able to fight back.

I'd love to have had this yesterday for the taxis at the narrow Waterloo roadworks who thought that if they hooted enough I might vanish from in front of them.


  1. Thanks!
    Tim (the Uruguayan correspondent)

  2. It's interesting that you have the perception that Cambridge is nicer to cycle in than London, when at least some of my friends (in Cambridge) think the reverse. I get the impression that some drivers here find cyclists such a nuisance that they get more and irritated by them, and others are so used to bikes being around that they don't always give them enough consideration. I personally don't find it a problem unless I have the cheek to try and cycle on a road when there's a "perfectly good" bike path on the pavement. I've not cycled enough in London to make the comparison myself.

  3. Yes, interesting, @lnr... Cambridge always feels easier than London to me. Reasons are probably (a) fewer buses - in central London they're a major menace (b) I'm used to London's psychological traffic-bruising, and come to Cambridge unintimidated and with big-city arrogance ("Don't think you can bully ME with your crappy fenland horn, bog-boy!") (c) even more cyclists around, which makes me feel even more justified than usual.

    That said, I have a soft spot for Cambridge car drivers. It's a marsh in Wicken Fen.

  4. London drivers have that edge of paranoid aggression that isn't usually found in Cambridge. Cambridge WVMs just block cycle lanes etc, relatively benign stuff. That said, I get a buzz from London cycling...

  5. Agree, @Tim. I'd say the vast majority of London drivers are OK; it's only that 1 per cent that are drooling psychopaths whose main conduit of world knowledge is evidently men in pubs. But unfortunately you encounter several hundred drivers in the course of a typical commute, so the numbers aren't good...

    But yes, I get a buzz from London cycling too, and rather enjoy the cut and thrust of it all. Especially because, if things get too congested or stressful, I don't have to sit and stew in a car - I can just get off my bike and walk. A controllable sort of high.

  6. What's your problem with men in pubs? You sometimes are one yourself, and I believe every word you say there....
    And indeed, talking of controllable highs, the ability to stop for a pint is another advantage of cycling.