Get Cycling?

July 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment
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There couldn’t be a better time to start cycling if you live in London. Yes, that pesky event called the Olympics means that cycling is now officially the best way to get to work (if, indeed, it wasn’t before). Everyone must be underground, off on holiday or at one of the Olympic venues because the centre of town and the roads leading in have been exceptionally quiet over the past few days. Obviously this depends on where you live but I for one will be making the most of it (random torrential rain storms aside).

The Transport for London cycling pages have some useful tips on routes etc, plus they are showing a cute little film in cinemas eulogising the freedom of the bicycle. But readers beware! It’s not all a utopian dream, as these transport posters from 1916 and 1933, respectively, suggest. So ride, but ride carefully…


Sorry the text of the one on the left is so small. It reads:

‘DON’T hold on to other vehicles when they are in motion or stationary, and especially don’t hold on to Motor-buses. You may meet with an accident.


DON’T cut in past vehicles on the near side, they may pull in and you will find yourself jammed.

DON’T try to ride in congested traffic when the speed is too slow to make keeping your balance easy’

The red text on the bottom of the right-hand poster says:

‘Read and obey the Highway Code. Observe the rules of the road’


Whitsun Excursions

June 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Cycling, Travel | Leave a comment
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Ah, Whitsun week, a holiday that provides the backdrop for one of my favourite FF adventures, Five Go to Billycock Hill. At the start there is much excitement as the Kirrins set off on bicycles and make for the titular hill, so called because it is shaped like a Billycock (‘Billy Coke’, or bowler) hat. They plan to indulge in a spot of camping and meet up with Julian and Dick’s schoolfriend Toby who lives on Billycock Farm. Luckily for them, it is gloriously hot and a jolly time is had by all – well not quite all as Toby’s airman cousin Jeff is suspected of treachery when both he and an important aeroplane disappear one stormy night. As you can probably guess, everything comes right in the end. Jeff’s name is cleared, the boys are promised a trip in his aeroplane, and a massive celebratory feast is consumed.

The Five are not the only ones to venture away from home at this time of year. A number of London Transport posters from the 1920s and 30s extol the joys of out of town travel at Whitsuntide. This E McKnight Kauffer poster is one of my favourites and dates from 1933. ‘Whitsuntide Holiday Off to the countryside by Bus Coach Train Tram’. Indeed. If you travel from London to East Anglia at the weekends it is certainly quite possible that all four of these methods will be utilised in the course of one journey. Tomorrow I hope to catch a single train and take my bicycle to Colchester. From there it is a mere 10 miles or so to Mersea Island, a place renowned for its oysters, sandy beaches and tendency to get cut off from the mainland at hightide.

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