03 June 2009
Fair weather cycling
My friends at the puncture repair outfit factory tell me three things. One, bike sales are either (a) up or (b) down since the recession started, depending on who you talk to. Two, sales of repair and maintenance gear are slightly, but definitely, up over the same period. Three, they sell more puncture repair kits in good weather, and are keeping an eye on the mid-range forecast in case they need to call in reinforcements from the town's casual labour pool.
Is the sunny weather bringing out more cyclists in London? It feels that way, with the additions less likely to be wearing helmets or reflective tops, and more likely to pedalling in jeans or skirts. Yesterday evening I was particularly pleased to see, in the space of 20 minutes en route home through central London, three of those cycle-wheelbarrow jobs each containing one or two kids, piloted by smiley bare-headed adults in sunglasses evidently out for a jaunt. I was too intent on my appointment at the No. 1 Off Licence in Kennington to research Kronenbourg's quality control to take any photos.
And this morning, a quick straw poll at the north end of Waterloo Bridge (right; it's not Beijing, but then, where is?) over a few pulses of traffic lights suggested that, around 9am, cyclists outnumber private cars by at least 50 per cent. If the promised drizzle comes tomorrow I'll do another count to see how many fair-weather cyclists get the bus instead.
(Added 23 Jun: The Grauniad's new bike blog links to this post saying it's a complaint about "unsuitably attired" cyclists. Uh? No it isn't - it's exactly the opposite, a celebration of normal people cycling in normal clothes. What this blog is all about, in fact. Note to Graun hacks: try reading the full post, or at least the title of the blog, before inserting a knee-jerk link to the result of a Google search. Thanks guys.)