31 August 2010

Plane speaking: Bike to London City Airport

Cycling to visit an airport is usually about as enticing a prospect as dental work with a hangover, but London City Airport is an exception. It's only a few miles from Tower Bridge, and a pleasant run: you can go alongside the Ornamental and Thames much of the way, then through Canary Wharf and over the Lea bridge.

The airport is next to Victoria Dock, a cityscape built by robots for an offworld colony. With ExCel, a strange almost-transporter bridge, clean-cut alien buildings and a curious hidden beach, it offers a city-of-the-future vision from a 1960s boys' annual.

At its eastern end you cross an all-metal footbridge and duck under planes (above right). They abseil down and belay their way up the sky at unusually steep angles, thanks to the cramped runway.

You can park your bike almost opposite the terminal entrance, under cover of the concrete aqueduct that carries the DLR. The modest racks almost give you enough space to lock your bike comfortably, and look more patronised by staff than by citybreakers.

If you're travelling light and flying from London City Airport, bike is a fine way to get there - not that you'd know it from their website. Still, the bike sign is pleasingly Netherlandish.

We didn't actually go in the terminal on our visit yesterday - the coffee costs more than most Ryanair flights - but there's an excellent cafe nearby. Just to the west of here, across the main road, is Thames Barrier Park (right) which has a stylish, inexpensive cafe and coffee shop in the pavilion by the lawns.

So for a budget citybreak, cycle out to the airport, then turn back and stay in London. All the buzz of the airport, the cheapness of a staycation, and the excitement of finding your way round where nobody speaks English.

30 August 2010

TfL promo vids: Bare-headed, or thin film on top?

We spotted this TfL film crew at work yesterday, filming a lass on a hire bike trundling up and down Cycle Superhighway 3 on Narrow St.

The British film industry may be worried by budget cuts at the moment, but TfL is doing its best to rescue things single-handed, with their five lively new films promoting cycling.

Each features a different type of London cyclist, covering the whole range of Londoners that matter: two TV celebrities, two more attractive young white women, and a diversity-box-ticking young chap called Mohamed. No older, or otherwise ugly, people, obviously. Not in the target demographic, no doubt.

Still, to my mind it's good to see that only two of the protagonists are wearing helmets. This lack of lids worried BBC Tranport Correspondent Tom Edwards in his recent blog, though.

Evidently the Beeb guys are a nervous lot when it comes to headgear - and their impartiality snaps faster than a non-Snell standard helmet. For example, the BBC Radio 4 programme More or Less last Friday (listenable again until Friday 3 September) 'covered' the helmet debate.

(It surely didn't make best use of researcher Ian Walker, and then allowed the pro-helmet Angela Lee to assert opinions backed by no statistics whatever - which seems curious for a programme on statistics. Overall it was flimsy, full of holes, and gave little worthwhile coverage. Which is probably appropriate for an item on helmets.)

But the presenter couldn't help but sign off saying how he wears a helmet. (Tock, tock, as he taps his helmet, ooh, that's good use of the radio medium you see, they're trained professionals, you know.) The Beeb hackette writing the BBC website article about the same programme couldn't resist putting her oar in too, saying she always wears a helmet.

Of course, it's very unlikely that a BBC programme is likely to cause damage to your laptop or radio, when you lash out in anger at them during another superficial item on cycle helmets that uses anecdote and opinion as 'evidence'. But just in case, it's a good idea to take precautions. Protect the laptop or radio with some sort of cover. Can't do any harm, can it? I think that's the point the programme was making anyway.

So I'm pleased to see TfL is not capitulating to the helmet correctness lobby.

If they could broaden out from their emphasis on bright young people though I'd be even pleaseder. An attractive young woman on a bike is a pleasant sight. But a healthy cycling culture needs more than flowing-haired models pedalling small dogs in baskets. It needs schoolkids, and pensioners, and business suits, and dumpy tired-looking middle-aged people too.

Speaking of which, if TfL needs another extra, I've a bit of time available right now.

29 August 2010

The cream of cricket: What a mess at Lord's

Sooner or later, every pannier I have ends up smelling of sour milk.

Because sooner or later, despite the lessons of history, I'm tempted to transport a pot of cream. And sooner or later, trapped under something heavy - a bottle of water, say, or a folder full of job rejections - said container explodes, transforming the pannier in a white-out instant into a milky Chernobyl. Ortlieb becomes Prypiat.

My lactose-emulsive cataclysm came yesterday, cycling to see the final England-Pakistan test at Lord's. (No cycle parking at all, but some handy hire-bike docking stations.)

Possibly under the weight of my picnic lunch, possibly following an over-enthusiastic baggage search, the tub of Tesco's double lavishly self-destructed.

'Suitable for pouring, whipping and cooking', it says on the tub. It should add 'unsuitable for carting around in over-stuffed bike panniers'.

I spent the first hour of play mopping up fugitive lagoons of cream from me, from the concrete floor, from fellow spectators. It was like a bomb in a Dulux factory, a new shade in the Exxon Valdez range, snowdrift with a hint of stale Camembert.

I flushed out the pannier in the gents with an OCD rigour but it still reeks, inevitably, of baby sick.

What a terrible, sad, needless, sticky mess; a mess that can never be properly cleaned up; a day that will be grimly remembered by all those involved. And that's just Pakistan's batting.

Remember, when transporting hazardous foodstuffs by bicycle, there is a line you shouldn't cross, a mark you shouldn't overstep. Same goes for Pakistan's bowling.

28 August 2010

More tall stories from Critical Mass

Another Critical Mass briefly reclaimed London's roads last night.

There was the usual ceremonial flypast of major landmarks, the now-standard handful of people on hire scheme bikes, the affable chitchat and catchup with bikey people you know - and the usual range of entertainment.

The guy with the dogs (?spaniels) in the cargo bike was there, for example.

Perhaps it could set a trend, with other people taking along pit bulls to defend themselves against taxi driver attack, or collies to round up stray cyclists.

They weren't the only livestock represented. There was also a selection of zebras: eight or nine, courtesy of the Hackney lot.

I never did find out what it was about, but it was a shame there weren't lion bikes too, chasing them and picking off the slowest.

And, thrillingly, there was the crazy guy on the double-decker bike. Glad to see he's wearing a helmet, which shows he is safety-conscious.

Obviously, stopping in mid-traffic on such unbalance is a bit of a problem, so he was thrusting his way through some very hairy-looking gaps. Don't try this at home.

27 August 2010

Cambridge, cycling paradise? Rubbish!

Cambridge may be touted as England's so-called 'real cycling capital'.

But in fact its modal share of bike journeys is still low, as this photo proves. Despite the expensive riverside cycle path, only ONE person-journey is being made by bicycle, compared to TWO on a boat, FOUR in a narrowboat, and two cows occupying valuable space but carrying NO passengers.

Anyone trying to convince you that the town is some sort of 'cycling paradise' is clearly deluded.

And take this valuable Brompton, left outside the Co-op in Newnham.

It's not locked. Obviously the place is so full of thieves, bandits, brigands and cutpurses that locks are useless.

Instead, the owner has had to leave it with not one but TWO guard dogs, who viciously wagged their tails and tried to lick us when we approached.

Things are so bad there they've had to create a new website, Cycling Sorted, to cope with everyone's suggestions for improvements to the cycling infrastructure.

So, cyclists, avoid Cambridge at all costs. I'm grateful to be back in London, I can tell you.

26 August 2010

Centre stage: New blog from City Cyclists

Cyclists in the City is a new blog dealing with the idiosyncrasies of bikes in the Square Mile. It promises to be strong on practical campaigning and on data interpretation.

The first major post is about the City's contraflow cycle lane experiments, and how to make them work better.

More signs of Cambridge's cycling culture

A fine array of roadworks signs here. In amongst them you'll find a sign helpfully explaining that cyclists, unlike motorists, have through access as usual.

You have to be a voracious reader to fully appreciate the signs, but then this is Mill Road, in Cambridge, so perhaps drivers are more studious here.

Sadly my camera lens wasn't wide angle enough to include the other signs with the bibliography and footnotes.

25 August 2010

Cambridge milky way: Starlit bike path

We were rather taken by this starry bike path. It leads east out of Cambridge towards Newmarket.

By day (right) it's your average roadside cycle track. But by night, lighting units (below right) set in the tarmac twinkle into action.

They're labelled 'Astucia'. The website says it supplies intelligent road studs, which sounds more like someone's fantasy than traffic illumination equipment.

They've only been here a couple of weeks and we're told they're not solar - like similar units installed in other cycle paths in Cambridge - but luminous, whatever that means.

It seems to us a very good lighting solution (right). We much prefer this to floodlighting, whose shadows create more problems than the lights solve. But these twinkly lights form an easily followed constellation (with Mars-like red versions to show stop lines at junctions) and don't intrude outside the range of the bike path itself.

And they're clearly better than nothing (right).

They're also rather romantic. If you find the Hubble Space Telescope romantic.

Still, anything that can make Stow-cum-Quy and the A14 a must-visit romantic destination on a dark night is OK by us.

24 August 2010

Cambridge overtakes London in safe-cycling signage

Cambridge can claim to be England's real cycling capital. It's signs like this that show why.

It's the roadworks on Hills Road railway bridge just south of the station. (Roadworks which, incidentally, are for installing bike lanes.)

The cones have narrowed things down to make overtaking unsafe, so the sign instructs motorists not to overtake cyclists.

And it works. We got no hassle from drivers. In fact, we could enjoy the view at leisure from the top, which is one of the highest points in East Anglia.

It took a bit of activism from excellent local group the Cambridge Cycling Campaign to persuade the council to put up such signs for similar works a couple of years or so ago, but this time round it went up without prompting, we're told.

Compare the Cambridge situation with Waterloo Bridge in the capital (right). There are similar works there, but no such signs - and little consideration from buses or taxis. Perhaps Cambridge could lend a couple of its signs to London once those bridge works are done.

23 August 2010

Train man: Bike path on a railway

We were intrigued by this sign on the seafront bike path running north from the resort of Bridlington, on the east Yorkshire coast.

I've seen some genuine shared railway/bike facilities, where bikes actually do ride right along the railway line itself. (On remote narrow bridges in rural New Zealand, for example, outside Pukerangi in Otago.)

Obviously this is just one of those seaside-prom sightseeing jobs, though. The train itself was further up, and was full of passengers on mobile phones saying 'Hi, it's me, I'm on the land train'.

22 August 2010

Railing again: Bike parking at Tate Modern

Tate Modern used to have a perfectly good bike shed to park in, which everyone ignored because the railings outside the entrance were more convenient.

Now, the bike shed has disappeared as part of the development works to the south of the main building. So the railings are now the only place you can park your bike anyway, legitimised by a sign.

Which is fine, but slapped wrists to Tate for removing the bike section from their how-to-get-here web page. They used to be cited by the LCC (still are, actually) as a good example of an attraction whose website encourages you to cycle there.

Not any longer. There's info on getting there by boat, tube, bus, taxi, car, coach, camel - OK, I was lying about the camel. But nothing about bikes, not even hire bikes. (There are three fairly convenient docking stations, which surely ought to be pointed out on their website. What do they think those lines of identical bikes are? An installation?)

Talking of which, Marcel Duchamp was a keen cyclist, of course, as we know from his Bicycle Wheel of 1913. It was originally going to be an entire bike, but he left it fastened by only one D-lock to a rack in Waterloo.

Update: The Tate Modern website has now been updated (though only with info about hire bikes). Maybe they've been reading this blog.

21 August 2010

Let's twist again: Britain's bendiest road

One of Britain's strangest roads is in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute off the west coast of Scotland.

The Serpentine Road was built when the town boomed as a Victorian resort, its ten hairpins enabling the horses to carry building materials up to the manor house on top of the hill. Or so the bloke in the pub down the bottom told us, anyway.

A curious biking experience either up or down, it's much more exciting than the much-vaunted 'crookedest street in the world' Lombard St in San Francisco. It's twistier, and it's two way, plus you don't have all the gawping tourists.

London's twistiest bike path is on the Ornamental Canal just west of St Katharine's Dock by Tower Bridge, while the twistiest road in England is said to be Zig Zag Hill, part of the B3081.

But neither offers what Rothesay (right) offers, which is superb Victorian architecture, a restored Victorian public toilet in posh marble, stunning views, and a fish and chip shop owned by relatives of Lena Zavaroni. Ha! Take that, San Francisco!

Google's Street View vehicle heroically ascended the road, and on one of the views you can see a cyclist pushing wearily upstairs.
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20 August 2010

Cycle clip: Bike racks on a fast ferry

Some of London's most thrillingly situated bike racks are here, on the Thames Clippers fast ferries. They're commuter services, but take bikes (though we've never seen any, apart from ours).

For sightseers, the £12 rover tickets give you unlimited travel on the Clippers all day after 10am, from O2 in the east to Millbank in the west.

Both the O2 and Tate Britain have some of the free ping pong tables set around London this summer - they'll be taken down after this weekend, so hurry.)

Talking of hurrying, the best bits are east of Tower Bridge, where the boat bombs along like Donald Campbell in Bluebird just before closing time. If you do put your bike in the racks, it might be an idea to lock them, just in case.

19 August 2010

Ferry 'cross the Mersea

We're big fans of little ferries that take bikes; the Thames has a few out west (at Twickenham and Shepperton, for example).

But we were pleased to discover this one that runs between Mersea Island and Brightlingsea. It's not far from Colchester, but a long way from spray-tans and white stilettos, in Essex's marshy southern flatlands.

Mersea Island itself - pronounced 'Mersey', though this ferry was never celebrated by a 1960s pop combo with an irritatingly overplayed song - has interesting bustling-harboury stuff to the west, seafood stalls and all.

Finding the ferry, which runs from the easternmost point of the island, is quite an adventure, and involves asking locals for directions down unmarked tracks and across unsigned shingle beaches. Luckily we speak a related language and could make ourselves understood.

It runs a scheduled service until 5 September (11am, 1.30pm, 4pm from Brightlingsea, returning 15 mins later from Mersea), and also runs on demand in this period with a phone call (07981 450169). It then runs until 31 October by phone appointment (01206 302200). Fares are a couple of quid plus a quid for a bike - for which price you can also get yourself a credit-crunch special fish and chips from the cafe in Brightlingsea.

From Brightlingsea to Colchester you can go largely along the river, through pleasant places such as Wivenhoe (right). With its wide traffic-free riverside path, nautical feel, and trim wooden-board houses, at times it feels like a smart suburb of Copenhagen. Then you get to Colchester.

18 August 2010

Every docking station in a day? Fat chance

Today's Londonist alerts us to some people who aim to visit every London hire bike station in 24 hours on 2 September. Patrick Bishop and colleagues will be raising money for a drinking water charity and therefore will be doing it a, erm, sumo suit. (They have a Facebook page.)

They'll need to visit nearly 400 docking stations with a time per station of only about seven minutes, which sounds ambitious. Chances are several of their intended stations will be full (right). Not to mention the recent welter of reported technical glitches, which will probably see all their 400 rides being charged to my key.

There's more charity-stunt-ride fun this weekend in London, when the seven-person conference bike going from John o'Groats to Land's end passes through London. Here they are at the weekend, looking for cycle parking at Manchester Piccadilly (from MadHeadCyclist's twitpic; more photos on their Facebook album).

I look forward to seeing them barrel down a Cycle Superhighway...

17 August 2010

Dirty work in east Yorks

England is full of mucky place names. The sort that gleefully fall foul of US-based profanity filters, and which are gleefully collected in certain mischievous websites.

(I'm surprised that particular website didn't mention Shitterton Farm in Dorset, though.)

Still, I was pleased to cycle past this road yesterday on a jaunt up the east coast south of Scarborough, just north of Flamborough Head.

16 August 2010

Hire ambitions: Good and bad experiences of the bike scheme

The Beer Hunter has been challenging himself to visit as many hire bike docking stations in a day as possible without incurring any charges. On Saturday, he told the Borisbikes forum, he managed 61 in eight hours, through an enterprising mix of jogging, cycling and orienteering.

We like this idea of docking-station challenges and will be watching with interest how the 'record' develops. We might even have a go ourselves.

It all sounds great fun - if the system works. Which hasn't been the experience of another poster to the Borisbikes forum, who claims they were incorrectly billed £30 for nine 'free' journeys.

Are these teething problems or gum disease? As they say, only time will tell. And as my mum would say, well in that case give time a couple of beers or something, and get it to tell us now.

Seeing red on Serpentine pavilion's bike-seats

Hyde Park, with its benign chaos of walkers, strollers, skaters doing fancy footwork round lines of cups, and tourists trying in vain to head for Buckingham Palace, is always fun to cycle round.

And the Serpentine Gallery is always enjoyable to visit, with its free exhibitions (the current one being a random-feeling selection of works and photos from Wolfgang Tillmans, until 19 September).

But there's a curio we've not seen before in the Pavilion, a cafe-bar and ping-pong venue flooded with blood-red light that's open until 17 October. The seats by the bar are like saddles, and the footrests are like pedals. You can spin them round as you sip your only slightly overpricey beer or cappuccino. You can tell the pav was designed by a Frenchman.

15 August 2010

Mamils, Whirls, Cowpoos and other cycling acronyms

The Mintel report that explained the boom in bike sales as middle-aged men buying expensive road bikes has been picked up by the wider media.

As we mentioned here last week, Mintel’s report said the number of bikes sold was in fact going down. The ‘boom’ in sales is in value, not numbers.

But it hasn’t stopped the story taking off. The BBC website, for example, introduces us to the acronym ‘mamil’ – middle-aged man in Lycra.

This blog does not feel particularly aligned to either elastic copolymer fabrics or seven-grand Pinarellos, and so suggests the following Real Cycling acronyms as more in line with our experience:

WHIRL Wears Helmet, Ignores Red Lights

COWPOO Celebrity On Wheels, Photo Opportunity Only

PRATFACE Politician Riding Around Town, Followed by A Chauffeur on Expenses

BIOGRAPHER Blogs Instead Of Going Riding And Posts Hackneyed, Endless Rants

CLONE Cycle Lane Of No Effect

I'm sure you can come up with even worse.

14 August 2010

Paint your wagon: Patriotic bike decor

You see lots of bikes in London with very snazzy individual paint jobs. This one we spotted the other day in Bermondsey Square (home of London's coolest bike shed).

We're not quite sure what the network map here is, but if it's anything to do with the rail network, that seems reasonably useful. It might just be a wiring diagram for the dynamo, I suppose.

The evidence of the crossbar suggests that it's owned by a patriot...

...and the chainstay, that it's a royalist.

(NB The opinions expressed on this bicycle do not necessarily reflect those of the blog.)

13 August 2010

Solving the full / empty docking stations problem

As I was cycling home up Baylis Road the other night, I was infuriated to see the cycle lane blocked again by this parked c...

Oh. Well, I suppose this one had a decent reason. Of course it's a hire bike shuttle car plus trailer, moving bikes from full docking stations to empty ones.

There's quite a bit of this going on at the moment, as shown by yesterday's post. Possibly lots more to come.

Which raised a sensational suggestion from one of my fellow Southwark Cyclists last night. How about rewarding people who cycle 'against the tide', helpfully?

For instance, if you cycle from a docking station which has (say) less than two free docking points to one which has less than two bikes, you get 25p credit put on your account - something like that.

It would not just help solve the problem of redistribution vehicles clogging the roads. It would also be a great job creation scheme for those with time on their hands, and help fill the streets with cyclists, which as we all know makes it all safer.

I think we should start a campaign.

12 August 2010

Killer map: Docking station use visualised live

Spatial analysis researcher Oliver O'Brien has produced this interesting live map that visualises current hire bike docking station use.

It's updated in real time from TfL data and shows if docking stations are full (red) empty (blue) or the half-full ideal (purple).

It vividly illustrates the tidal flows of commuter use through the day. Central stands fill up (and frustratingly offering you nowhere to dock) and peripheral ones empty (frustratingly offering you no bike to take out) with the process reversing in the evening. (Thanks to Werner for alerting me to this.)

Oliver's blog Suprageography has other examples of visualisation stuff he's been working on, from Mancunian history to London tube use.

Barriers to enjoying the CS3

The launch of the Hire Bike Scheme has seen the Cycle Superhighways pale into relative insignificance. Which is just as well. Or perhaps it's just that the blue paint is fading faster than expected in several parts. Anyway, I took a spin along CS3, Barking to Tower Gateway, the other day.

The bit along Cable St is good (though of course it's only a blued-up and smoothed-over version of the mile of separated cycle track that was there already).

At Limehouse Basin the strange contraflow maze is still entertaining topologists, with surprising gems like this Continental-style wrong-side-of-the-road challenge here.

Also at Limehouse Basin is a swing bridge. If you're unlucky, it's swung when you arrive, and you have to wait a couple of minutes while river traffic shuttles between basin and Thames.

Now, the devious blogger might take a picture of it in this state, and make a cheap crack about the CS3 not being continuous when it has this barrier across it. That would be unfair.

No. The actual barrier across the CS3 is further on, here in East India Dock. If you can find it after the blue paint mysteriously runs out for a few hundred yards.

If you're not sure which way to go, simply get a camera out and pretend to take a picture. Within seconds, a security guard will rush out and shout clear, firm instructions for you to clear off or he'll call the police, pointing the way helpfully with his fist.

11 August 2010

This blog nabs hire bike thief

A hire bike thief has been caught, TfL tell us, thanks to this blog.

Last Saturday we posted a picture of a hire bike we'd spotted suspiciously situated in a canalside garden in north London, with its logo painted out (right).

TfL's sleuths - the TfL-funded, 30-strong MPS Cycle Task Force - saw the blog and moved into action faster than you can say Bicycle Repair Man (right).

Within two hours, TfL's press person Silka tells us, they had swooped and made an arrest. A man has been cautioned on suspicion of theft. (Apparently, it was a display model rather than a street model, but had still been nicked.)

So if you see anything suspicious - such as a man riding a bicycle wearing a cape with his underpants on outside his trousers, or even a hire bike where it shouldn't be - help the fight against evil by reporting it to the hire bike website.

10 August 2010

Mid-life crisis fuels bike boom - not cycling?

The Telegraph puts an interesting spin on Mintel's new report on the UK bike market.

The paper, which seems quite keen on cycling these days, portrays this as a boom time for bike sales, driven by middle-aged blokes splashing out on £7,000 road bikes to recapture their youth.

It also ends on the cheery figure of 10 per cent of the population cycling 'almost every day'.

There are a couple of less optimistic notes in Mintel's abstract of the report, though. The rise in the value of sales was caused by a weak pound: the number of bikes bought - despite the popularity of cheap bikes under the Cycle to Work Scheme - was down 10 per cent.

(Electric-assist bike sales are on the increase, but that's not real cycling.)

Mintel report that "Cyclists can be divided fairly evenly into the one in eight adults who ride regularly (once a week or more often) and the similar proportion who ride occasionally (less often than once a week).

"Non-cyclists are most likely to be deterred by the perception that it is too dangerous to ride a bicycle on the road."

Ah, those damn perceptions again. Nothing a blue line can't paint over!

09 August 2010

Bike hire scheme encourages you to bank at... Nationwide

Another candidate for 'inappropriately sited Barclays London Hire Bike Scheme docking station of the week': this one's at Cheapside, in the City.

08 August 2010

More bikes on drinks labels. Sweet

Bicycles on wine labels are pretty common, as previous posts (1, 2) have mentioned.

However, there are also teetotal drinks labels featuring bikes. We spotted this one on a bottle of Monin Syrup in a cafe-bar the other day, for instance. It's a standard element of many cocktails, evidently just the sort to pep you up as you cycle from Paris to Roubaix circa 1903.

But 'gum'? Have we been getting it wrong? Is it to drink, or fix your tyres with?

07 August 2010

Games people play with hire bikes

On myLondonCycle they're encouraging you to play a Twitter-based game with the Hire Bikes.

Whenever you take one out, you tweet its number and use a particular hashtag. So by searching Twitter, you can then track the progress of individual bikes - er, or people. Check in whenever you use a hire bike, it urges you, so "everyone knows where you are cycling".

I'm not particularly a fan of surveillance. But maybe such surveillance could help explain how this hire bike got here. We spotted it in a back garden overlooking the Hertford Canal by Victoria Park the other day. There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation, though the amateurish way someone's spray-painted out the logo on the wheel trim raises suspicions.

Of course, there's disappointment for those using a stolen model. Many parts are non-standard and impossible to maintain without specialist equipment. (The valves, for instance, use special locks; you can't take a normal pump to them.)

06 August 2010

A draw for cyclists: Poster exhibition at LT museum

There's an nice exhibition of illustrations promoting cycling in London at the Transport Museum in Covent Garden until 22 August. (The museum is ten quid to get in, with children free, so this exhibition could be the excuse you need to go.)

It shows the best entries from a competition run with the Association of Illustrators. As always with these things, much of the fun comes from disagreeing with the judges' decisions, because the ones you like are clearly much better.

Many of the entries go for the kaleidoscopic, with a bold collage of cycling-is-eco-fun images. Galia Bernstein's Go Green, for example (right), the image used to publicise the exhibition; although curiously it doesn't contain any green.

Ms Bernstein may be making a point, or perhaps she just liked the Barclayesque, turquoise feeling to the city milieu.

Mia Nilsson's third-prize entry (right) goes for a similar approach, perhaps inspired by the trunk-route and branch-line network of the Cycle Superhighways. Or perhaps not.

The first prize went to Rachel Lillie's Good for you Green for London (right), though there were several others that caught my eye.

I was rather taken with the 1960s-kids'-book humour of Mithila Shafiq's Going to Horse Guard Parade [sic], with a soldier giving his horse a lift on a tandem; like the London Bike Hire Scheme, I'm not sure that the promotion of equestrian bike-sharing will significantly increase the capital's modal share of cycle journeys, but it makes me happy.

I liked the sideways humour of Marco Viale's Bikali, with the eight-armed Indian deity astride a bike. Yes, you often need eight arms in London: two to hold the handlebars, two to signal, two to hold the coffee and bacon roll, and two for gesticulating to drivers.

The illustration I'd most want on my bedroom wall is Charis Tsang's Taking in the View (detail, below right), a skyline panorama from Primrose Hill in sunny, relaxing 1930s poster style that promotes the space and freedom of cycling through subtlety rather than thumping a biodegradable tub.

The funniest one is Jamie Wieck's The Joy of Cycling, a risqué parody of the 1970s book The Joy of Sex. Typefaces and line drawings are authentic, even down to that bloke's period thicket of a beard, and the bike puns are almost laugh-out-loud. (I'll even celebrate his comedically straight-faced instructions to you to 'always use protection' and 'practise safe cycling' and wear a helmet.)

Plenty to enjoy, and they've got a Hire Bike on display too. For those going there by the real thing, there's a docking station right outside the south exit on Tavistock St, and another in Wellington St, possibly forming London's closest pair.

And hooray for the Museum: the find-us section on their website prominently features directions on how to get there by bike.