18 June 2010
Free breakfast starts Bike Week... early
Bike Week 2010 officially begins tomorrow. As I discuss in my Real Cycling column this month in Cycling Plus magazine, Bike Week is all about something very important to all cyclists: a free breakfast.
There are at least six on offer this year, the first - rather confusingly - being this morning, before the official start of Bike Week, at a sizeable event at St Paul's.
As well as the gratis morning pitstop itself (muffins, croissants, Starbucks coffee, orange juice, banana) there was other entertainment provided by the City Police.
Officers were on hand to give advice on security (right). They gave amusing demonstrations of how a pair of bolt cutters the size of giraffe legs, along with some circus-trick standing and jumping, could shear through a top-rated D-lock in one go.
Alas, the best advice for security seems to remain the underhand trick of locking your bike up next to a much more expensive one, hoping they'll just nick that one instead.
And there was the now-familiar HGV Experience (right). Here, cyclists are invited to go up in the cab of a lorry while police cyclists (in this case, the City's only two women cycle officers) sneak up on the inside so you can clearly see that they're invisible.
So, if those cyclists go on to become HGV drivers, this will definitely help save lives.
Many of the cyclists participating in the role play (where's the Yorkie? the Sun? the England flags?) had been nicked earlier for some traffic offence - busting red lights, pavement riding etc. They were here this morning on the promise of having their fine rescinded if they attended this training session.
Fortunately, I'd done the in-cab visit before (no, not as a consequence of a cycling offence, just out of interest) and had no desire to do it again, so I didn't have to crash a red signal or terrorise an old lady on the footway in order to get a ticket in order to get it rescinded by clambering up the cockpit.
There was a feelgood item there too, in the shape of a chap writing down on a board what people said in response to the question 'I [heart] cycling because'.
As well as the standard, and perfectly valid, reasons (fast, free, hate tube, exercise, predictable journey time, great views) there were few more inventive ones: 'dog ate my oyster card'; 'I get to shout'; 'so I don't sniff someone's armpit on the tube'; and the intriguing 'can do fun stuff that I can't on a bus'.
Those other upcoming free breakfasts in full...
Tue 22 Jun
7.30am-9.30am Narrow St near Grapes pub (Tower Hamlets Wheelers)
7.30am-9.30am Colebrook Row / City Rd (Islington Cycle Action Group, ICAG)
Wed 23 Jun
7am-9am London Fields (Hackney Cyclists)
8am-10am Ossulston St (Camden Cyclists)
Fri 25 Jun
8am-10am 42 Amwell St, Lloyds Dairy (Unpackaged / ICAG)