Monday, 9 January 2012

Streetscape Study

Warning: this posting contains strong language.

I worked on a streetscape study during the summer, the purpose of which was to finalise the design of a revitalised London Cycling Network, to my satisfaction at least. This required me to get on my bike – generously donated by Pearson Cycles – and have a look. I spent about four months doing this, and clocked up over 1400 miles during this period. In all I had six ‘incidents’, the details of which I would now like to relate.

The first one was down to me. I was on my way to a meeting near Russell Square and in a bit of a rush. I was coming from the east, using LCN Route 0 for the ‘final approach’. When I got to Tavistock Place, I didn’t see the segregated cycle track on the right-hand side, didn’t see the marker to point me in that direction, and had forgotten that this was the point where the segregated cycle track starts and ends (it was eight years since I last used it).

So I was on the ‘wrong’ (left-hand) side of the road, making my way inside a long line of queuing traffic. At the junction with Marchmont Street, a white van suddenly turned left as I was alongside it, leaving me no other option than to follow him around the corner. Having negotiated the manoeuvre successfully, I banged on the side of his van. It stopped. “Did you see how close you were to hitting me?” I asked the driver, showing him with my finger and thumb what I thought the distance to be. “Sorry mate,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, “I didn’t see you.”

But that one was my mistake, okay? I ought to have been on the segregated cycle track. A lot of people went to a lot of trouble to install it, and it was an oversight on my part – or undersight – not to have used it.

The second incident took place at about 11.30 one night, at Swiss Cottage. I approached the junction from Belsize Road, wondering if maybe it might make a decent cycle route (it doesn’t – not yet anyway – there’s steps at the top). Anyway, I was on my way to Belsize Park. I crossed the A41, and was heading up towards Fitzjohn’s Avenue, when for absolutely no reason whatsoever, South Hampstead’s answer to a question that nobody asked piped up. “You’re not allowed to cycle on the pavement,” he said. It was nearly midnight, I really wasn’t riding that fast – I was going uphill, for one thing – and the pavement, which is plenty wide enough, was otherwise empty. Why did he feel the need to say something?

I pointed out to him that there are five, six lanes given over to the motorist around this junction, not all of which they actually need – two lanes to approach Belsize Road, two lanes to approach Avenue Road, both of them B roads – and nothing (to speak of) for the cyclist. I explained that as a cyclist I am a particularly vulnerable road user – over the last fifteen years a cyclist has been killed in London once every 24 days on average – and that the traffic proceeds very quickly at this time of night. What else was I supposed to do? Quick as a flash the guy comes back. I should push my bike through these junctions so that I might enjoy more the pleasure of riding on the quieter routes. Ah, such wit.

Things quickly went pear-shaped after that. He tried to push me off my bike (I was stood astride it by this stage). He threatened me. If I ever showed my face around here again he’d kick my head in. “Do it now!” I kept telling him. “Go on, do it now!” Having thought we had finally reached an understanding of sorts, I cycled away. After I’d got about 20 yards up the hill he called me a cunt. Wearily I turned the bike around. “Look me in the eye and say that,” I growled. He wouldn’t, of course. He said the comment was directed at himself. “Fucking right,” I said to him.

The third incident took place on the A40. TfL plan to upgrade this route as part of their planned programme of works, and I was keen to have a look. CS10 has a dog-leg, just at the point where things start getting really difficult, and this obliges users who were heading east from Park Royal to now go south.

What we’re looking at then, is two half routes rather than one complete one. The first section takes you in an easterly direction from Park Royal to more or less in the middle of nowhere (if such a place exists in London), where the Westway joins with Wood Lane (oh yeah); and the second section takes you in a southerly direction from this junction to Kensington Olympia via Shepherd’s Bush.

On the first section, west of the junction at Perryn Road and The Approach / Long Drive, the cycle path is of a good standard (for a bit), but east of it there is what is known here as a shared-use path, and in places like Holland and Denmark as a pavement. I imagine that TfL are thinking of spending a lot of money converting this shared-use path to something like the Go Dutch model – a lot of money knowing TfL – but to what purpose? If you’re going to head north when you get to Wood Lane, you’re as well using Du Cane Road. And if you’re going to head south, Old Oak Road / Uxbridge Road would probably serve you better (the journey distance to Shepherd's Bush is over a quarter of a mile less). The only reason that I can see for going all the way down the A40 to the junction with Wood Lane would be if you worked for the BBC. Thus, unless TfL change their plans, and extend the route at least as far as the junction with Latimer Road – thereby enabling cyclists who are heading east to keep going east – they might as well stop at Old Oak Road / Old Oak Common Lane.

Anyway, I was using the shared-use path on Western Avenue, south-side, heading east. A guy up ahead was parked across the path, on his mobile. He was looking to his right, I was approaching from his left. I had my wits about me, of course, but what, I wondered, about him? Where were his wits? Just as I was about to pass him by he pulled forward, the phone still pressed to his ear. He saw me, but not before I had swerved onto the main carriageway a bit to avoid contact. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic.

The fourth incident happened in Hyde Park. I was having a look at Route R1a. I entered the park at the junction with Upper Grosvenor Street, and was heading towards the Royal Parks offices, west of which is a cycle path that takes you on to West Carriage Drive.

Now, it seems absurd to me that there are any No Cycling signs at all in Hyde Park, let alone between these two cycle facilities. And as I say, I was just having a look, so it wasn’t like I was in a hurry. When I got to within a stone’s throw of the cycle path near the Parks buildings, this man took the trouble to inform me that cycling was not permitted here. (How could anyone not have known that already? Hyde Park is full of  No Cycling signs.) I took the man for a Royal Parks employee, and naturally I was curious to know in which way he thought the quality of this particular environment is diminished by people on bicycles. In other words, what was so sacred about this place that it needed to be a no-go zone for cyclists? “It allows us to get away from people like you,” he told me. I asked him why he would want to do something like that: was I more smelly than the traffic on West Carriage Drive then? I can’t remember his reply – it might just have been a grunt – but I do recall pointing to a woman on a Boris bike, also riding illegally, tut, tut, whatever next? and asking him if he wanted to avoid people like her.

The fifth incident occurred on the one-way southbound section of Rectory Road (A10), in Stoke Newington. I was approaching the junction with Evering Road, when some guy in a Jag cut me up. Now somebody please tell me: why do they have to overtake you? Haven’t they heard there is simply no need to keep driving like that? The traffic is flowing smoothly now.

I was close enough to him to be able to bang on the rear wing of his car with my fist. In so doing I lost control of the bike, fell off and grazed both of my palms. To be fair the guy did stop. I think he thought he had hit me. (I hope he did anyway. That was the point of thumping his car at any rate.) He wanted to take me to the hospital. Very apologetic, he was. Nice bloke actually. Crap driver, but a nice bloke.

The last incident happened on Lowndes Square. I was heading north towards Hyde Park. There’s a cycle crossing at the junction with the A4 that takes you into the park, the first to be installed in London I believe. Lowndes Square itself is part of LCN Route 5 (or LCN+ Route 244 ). I was occupying the primary position, as every book on cyclecraft tells me to do, when the driver of a black cab came up behind me and honked his horn. I turned around, told him to fuck off, and carried on. He honked his horn again. By this time we were heading around the top of the square and I felt safe to pull over to my left.

Within about 50 yards of this point is a set of traffic lights. (They were on red, of course, as the cab driver must have known they would be. Lowndes Square is a back street, you know. Der.) I caught up with him again there.

“You got here before me then,” I said. “Well done.”

“Yeah, and you shouldn’t have been in the middle of the road.”

What?? But this is an official cycle route.” (I thought it best not to mention the primary position. Nobody outside a very small clique has even heard of it. Just keep it simple, I told myself.)

“You shouldn’t have been in the middle of the road.”

“Fuck you! This is an official cycle route.”

“You shouldn’t have been in the middle of the road.”

“Fuck YOU!

“You shouldn’t have been in the middle of the road.”


And so on, until the lights changed.

So that was it, more or less. 1400 miles, four months, six incidents. And what conclusions can be drawn from this? That cyclists are unnecessarily being put into conflict with both pedestrians and motorists, and that a thoroughly car-centric culture can turn thoroughly decent people into arseholes and make a thoroughly pleasurable experience like riding a bike ‘a little bit off-putting’.

The incidents with the pedestrians are particularly galling, since there is absolutely no reason why they should not be able to get along with cyclists perfectly well. In the case of the parks and other such public spaces, the message has to be that considerate cycling is permitted.

We really should try to make the public realm as inviting to bicyclists as possible (within limits, of course). It’s in society’s interest to do so. The more people ride bicycles, the more cyclised it becomes, the more civilised it becomes, the more healthier, happier people get, the more sustainable our lives are, the more mobility people have – you too, kids! – and the more tightly our communities knit together.

Where there are inevitable conflicts with pedestrians, as on most High Streets for example, we ought to look at the idea of shared space much more closely and with far greater imagination. Where there are inevitable conflicts with motorists, as on most busy roads, the only practical solution is segregated cycling. These are my final words on this blog.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

An open letter to all advocates of cycling in London

I am a self-confessed map addict. I can’t even look at a map without wanting to draw lines on it.

About twelve years ago now, I stumbled upon a signing strategy which uses colours to indicate the direction of travel, compass colours. Although I find it to be an extremely flexible design tool, I have to concede that it is not so flexible as to allow me to code all of the routes – or rather, sections of route – that I would like. This is in fact a shortcoming. Only one person has pointed this out to me, Professor John Parkin from London South Bank University, who otherwise described my proposal as ‘technically flawless’.

He suggested that the main problem I have is a PR one, and in this I feel I am not alone. Cycling also has a PR problem. Indeed, when considering the development of the cycling infrastructure in London over the past couple of years, it’s actually impossible to avoid the impression that things are going backwards.

Recently Transport for London have more or less explicitly stated that, as far as they're concerned, the convenience of the motorist is now more important than the (safety and) convenience of just about everybody else. For the life of me I don’t understand this one little bit, and would be indebted to anyone kind enough to explain their thinking.

I mean, what actually are the benefits to society attached to the use of the private car in the built-up area? Anybody? No? It doesn’t seem that difficult a question to me. Let’s try something else. What is the point of living in towns and cities if you can’t access local facilities, such as schools or railway stations, safely and conveniently on foot or by bike? No really; what is the point?

The major advantage of high-density conurbations is that these facilities are usually fairly close to hand, and easier and quicker to reach by ‘the humble bicycle’, which has so many benefits, both to the individual and to the wider community, that it is, I suggest, no surprise that a Radio 4 poll from a few years ago determined it to be the best invention of all time. “It was an easy victory for the bicycle,” this BBC report says, “with more than half of the vote.”

Did you get that? More than half of the vote! In Britain! The bicycle! In a poll to determine the best invention ever! (The internet, by way of comparison, received just 4% of the votes cast. Second was the transistor, with 8%.)

On the one hand, then, we have these horribly inefficient machines, which nobody can find a good word for; and on the other hand, we have these wonderfully efficient machines, which even a child can enjoy.

I wonder, then, how is it that Boris Johnson can tell a Conservative Party Conference, that everything they do at City Hall is about bringing the village back into the city, receive the warmth and laughter of an appreciative audience in return, whilst at the same time actually making conditions worse for cyclists and pedestrians, in an attempt to smooth the traffic-flow, which was mentioned not at all in his speech, and which takes us about as far as it is possible to get from the ‘nothing more villagey’ scene so vividly conveyed?

What’s going on there? And Peter Hendy, TfL’s Commissioner of Transport, echoing the Mayor’s theme, explained in his inaugural lecture to the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics (UK) that:

“Making cycling itself more attractive means overcoming some challenges, such as: improving its 'reputation'; removing barriers to cycling; [...] using more green spaces to make more attractive cycle ways [...]; and increasing the understanding of cycling design considerations amongst professionals and ensuring these are adequately reflected within scheme designs – particularly in road schemes.”

Now what Peter Hendy is saying there sounds absolutely bang on the button to me. And yet, these words are not being reflected in schemes such as Blackfriars, King's Cross, Vauxhall, the Elephant and Castle, etcetera, etcetera, and I have to ask why not.

More recently, TfL’s Director of Environment, Kulveer Ranger, issued a statement about improving cycling safety. He said: 

“Historically our roads have been designed with motorists in mind, but that must change, and the Mayor intends that with thousands more Londoners taking to two wheels, their needs be given greater attention.”

Sounds promising. Let’s read on.

“Sixteen cyclists have been killed in London this year, and nine of those deaths involved a heavy goods vehicle. There is no doubt we need to address that horrifying connection.”

Hmm. I wonder if a penny has finally dropped? Following the death of Sebastian Lukomski in 2004, Rose Ades, then Head of the Cycling Centre of Excellence at TfL, said that the best solution would be for cyclists and HGVs to ‘safely’ share the same road space. I suggested that this was like asking surfers and sharks to ‘safely’ share the same stretch of coastline. Maybe TfL have finally realised that segregated cycling is the only proper way to resolve ‘that horrifying connection’.

“The Mayor has asked TfL to commission an independent review of the design, operation and driving of construction-industry vehicles such as […] skip lorries, tipper trucks and cement mixers […]. We will look at how we can make those vehicles safer through physical improvements such as side bars, extra mirrors and sensors; and through better training for drivers.”

They’re planning to make some of the sharks safer in other words. No bad thing of course. I mean, who wouldn't want to go surfing when there are safe sharks around? And there’s a safety review planned of over 300 junctions, including Bow Roundabout. But not the least indication that TfL are thinking in terms of a network; nothing at all about a reduction in the road capacity; and nor is there any evidence that they are serious about ‘removing barriers to cycling’.

These barriers are known beyond any shadow of a doubt, thanks to TfL / MVA Consultancy research:

·         too much traffic / congestion
·         not trusting other road users
·         lack of cycle lanes / routes
·         not knowing where to go

The first two can only properly be addressed through the creation of ‘clear space for cyclists on London's main roads’, as the LCC's Go Dutch campaign is calling for, and the last two can only properly be addressed through the development of a comprehensive, city-wide cycle network.

The benefits of developing a network are beyond dispute.  As Olaf Storbeck explained in one of his blogs:

“Two economists independently drew my attention to another issue: network effects. ‘A few isolated bike lanes don't help much if you still have to go through dangerous stretches on most trips,’ Matthias Doepke (Northwestern University) wrote me. ‘Once there is a connected network, the attractiveness of biking goes up a lot. That's where we are in Chicago now - good number of lanes, but no real network yet.’

“Greg Ip, US economics editor with The Economist, puts it this way: ‘Just as you are likely to buy an Ipad the more applications it has, you are more likely to switch from car to bicycle the more bicycle lanes (and therefore destinations reachable by bicycle) are available. Doubling the number of bike lanes more than doubles the number of cyclists likely to use them.’”

Jim Davis said, “If we don’t […] think in terms of [a] coherent network instead of piecemeal ‘solutions’ that act like a Band-Aid on a laceration, then […] the bicycle will continue not to be taken seriously as a mode of transport.”

A good question to ask at this point is, Which routes? I understand that the LCC is drawing up a list, borough by borough, of those main roads which they think should be given the Go Dutch treatment. I imagine this would largely be based on the LCN+. Obviously I am very interested to see the detail, but to be quite honest with you, it’s not my concern whether this road gets treated first, or that one. What does matter to me is that I am able to code whatever it is that people think is worth incorporating into a network.

This is why I have developed, and this is why I am writing an open letter to all advocates of cycling in London. 

For what it's worth, I think Matthias Doepke has it absolutely right: 'Once there is a connected network, the attractiveness of cycling goes up a lot.' Indeed, once there is a connected network, the only way is onwards and upwards. 

Monday, 28 November 2011


I am pleased to be able to tell you about a new website,, which I hope you will be interested to visit.

The purpose of this website is to facilitate the study of a revitalised London Cycling Network. Primarily we are seeking to establish which sections of this network are functional and which are not, and from here we should be able to build up a complete picture of the current cycling environment. It is hoped that, in turn, this would help to inform the debate about where future investments in cycling would be best placed.

The website is aimed mainly at people who have an interest in developing an amenable cycling environment in the capital, but recognising that many hands make light work, if you do happen to have any photos of the London streetscape that are just sitting on your hard drive doing not very much, then please upload them onto the photomap.

Bikemapper was made possible because of a number of people, beginning with Ben Irvine from Cycle Lifestyle, who is responsible for the London Cycle Map Campaign, and who, together with his girlfriend Becks, took us through to the finals of the Geovation Challenge. My sincere thanks to them, and also to Chris Parker at Ordnance Survey, whose excellent idea it was to support innovation in geography.

My thanks also to Martin Lubikowski from ML Design, who has worked with me since 2005 (check out the map tour). Also to Jon Haste from KOLB and Stuart France from Stuff Animated for their inspirational work. To Josh Coleman and James Nash from Bike Dock Solutions for their generous sponsorship of £500, and to Willy and Guy Pearson from Pearson Cycles, who let me have a bike. (Not a Pearson bicycle, unfortunately, just an off-the-shelf number. Drat.)

I would like to thank Oph, who very kindly allowed me to stay in his house for the period of the streetscape study, and also Chris and Saffron. They organised a bit of a party for everyone some time before I left, and it was here that I had the enormous good fortune to meet a talented young man named Fela, who very patiently and competently has worked with me since then to develop the website.

But mostly I would like to thank my family, who have been my rock. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Hackney High Street

A couple of weeks ago, the police were out on Hackney High Street (properly, the top end of Mare Street), warning cyclists that if they were caught cycling the 'wrong way' up the street again (i.e. the following week), they would either be fined or have to attend safety training.

Hackney High Street

The police are pointing people to a parallel route, which adds an extra quarter mile, just under, to your journey (nearly sixty miles a year). Click here for the details. Cyclists who, not unreasonably, are disinclined to go out of their way just in order to stay on the right side of the law are, said the police, 'just being lazy'. Cyclists! Lazy! Whatever next!

Of all the one-way streets in London that form part of a revitalised London Cycling Network, this one is probably the toughest nut to crack. Complaints about cyclists going the wrong way up Hackney High Street come from three groups: bus drivers, shop-keepers and pedestrians.

As a 'London cyclist', I routinely ignore the 'No entry' signs on one-way streets. What I will not do, however, is ride on the pavement.

In order to go up Hackney High Street, then, I use the parking bays, like stepping-stones. Sometimes I have to wait for a break in the traffic - it's buses, mostly - but I prefer to do this than go a quarter-of-a-mile out of my way.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Who's in the peloton?

An investigation of the growth of cycling in London

I have been meaning to lay my hands on the above-named document for some time. The authors of this report, TfL and MVA Consultancy, refused to share it with me, and neither is it available on their websites, but luckily, the London South Bank University were able to point me in the right direction.

The report notes, 'A unique opportunity to track (cycling) behaviour over time and understand the reasons for change.'

Having already established a baseline picture of cycling behaviour through existing monitoring, the study team were able to follow up with a further round of telephone interviews. 500 interviews were conducted with cyclists in Richmond and Sutton, of whom 64 were 'new cyclists'. (A new cyclist was defined as someone who was cycling once a month or more in September 2009 and who, one year previously, had been cycling once every six months or less.)

Over 75% of the sample had been resident in London for ten years or longer. Over 90% had access to a bicycle prior to their behavioural change. Around 35% did most of their cycling during peak periods. 66% had concerns before they started cycling.

There were three main groups of concerns: confidence and skills, facilities, and road and traffic conditions.

With regard to road and traffic conditions, the main issues were too much traffic / congestion, not trusting other road users, and a fear of being knocked off one's bike. With regard to facilities, a lack of cycle lanes / routes was cited as the main barrier, followed by a lack of showers and changing facilities, and finally, a lack of places to leave one's bike. As for confidence and skills, the major barrier in this category was, 'Don't know where to cycle'. (Remember, over 75% of respondents have been living in London for ten years or longer.)

In joint first place was too much traffic / congestion, and not trusting other road users. In joint second place was a lack of cycle lanes / routes, and not knowing where to cycle. And in third place was a fear of being knocked off one's bike.

A former Chief Executive of the London Cycle Campaign said, 'The endgame is the prioritisation, completion and signage of an effective London Cycle Network.' Assuming cycle training would always be at hand to those who want it, assuming more cycle parking would continue to be made available, assuming employers and colleges would meet an increase in demand for cycling by providing showers and changing facilities, the development of a London Cycling Network would represent a huge step forward in terms of dealing with those other 'concerns' that new cyclists have.

And how important are new cyclists to the current growth in trip rates? ANSWER = VERY.

So, which way now? How does TfL 'nudge' more people into cycling?

TfL have taken the trouble to understand their 'customers'. They know who is most likely to cycle. These people fall into four different categories: Urban Living, Suburban Lifestyle, Young couples and families, and High-earning professionals.

They know, as well, that there is great potential for cycling in London. 4.3 million journeys a day have been identified as potentially cyclable, by origin, by current mode, and by journey purpose. M'lud, 2.8 million of these journeys are currently being made by car. Every day, then, 165 million 'potatoes' are being 'consumed' unnecessarily. No wonder Britain is becoming so obese.

Interestingly, the main benefits of cycling were identified as health, and then general enjoyment / stress release. More convenient / able to get to more places came fourth.

In response to the above, TfL propose taking a targeted approach, focusing delivery on areas of high potential. These have been identified as short hops in Central London, commute trips from Inner to Central London, and local trips in Inner and Outer London (i.e. to the shops, school and work).

The current strategy involves the Cycle Superhighways and the Barclays Bike Hire Scheme. Both schemes are used mainly by young men. It doesn't look like this situation will change any time soon.

The following conclusions are drawn:

  • Understanding behaviour through targeted research is key to our work
  • Enabling a targeted approach to planning and delivery
  • In support of the cycling revolution which is underway in London.

Please click here to see the TfL / MVA Consultancy report.

If Antony Gormley ruled the world

He'd ban cars in cities.

He says, 'As a cyclist myself, it's encouraging that our tribe is growing bigger. But I think it's crazy that we still insist on cohabiting with cars in cities. In Paris there are so few cars now - Parisians really feel their city is theirs, their own communal living room, and they treat it with respect.'

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The London Cycling Network

I have finished laying down the course of the routes that make up a revitalised London Cycling Network. As always, these maps are best viewed with the terrain box ticked.

Navy Routes

Side-to-side routes 205.8 mi

Additional routes 45.1 mi

Total 250.9 mi

Red Routes

Side-to-side routes 221.4 mi

Additional routes 54.7 mi

Total 276.1 mi

Green Routes

Side-to-side routes 236.4 mi

Additional routes 35.3 mi

Total 271.7 mi

Cyan Routes

Side-to-side routes 255.2 mi

Additional routes 45.3 mi

Total 300.5 mi

Orange Routes

Side-to-side routes 213.2 mi

Additional routes 66.5 mi

Total 279.7 mi

Circular Routes

Total 11 mi

Grand total: 1389.9 mi

Average (not including Circular Routes) 275.8 mi
North-south ('cold' colours) 551.4 mi
East-west ('warm' colours) 555.8 mi

Certain sections of these routes are coded with more than one colour (bridges, for example), so the actual network distance is going to be somewhat less than the stated total. Something a little over 2200km would be my guess. But the LCN was 3000km, the LCN+ was 900km, and the Cycle Superhighways are whatever they are, and when you consider that pretty much all three networks are incorporated into this new design, you'd have to say that 2200km of network is not excessive, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Granted, the network as shown does not cover all of the Greater London area, and working out which routes should make up the rest of the network, and how they should be coded  - which I have looked at, but not for a while - is something that will need to be addressed.

To remind you, my proposal can be broken down into two parts:

i. a comprehensive, city-wide cycle network developed, in the first instance, to a minimum level of functioning; and

ii. a signing strategy which uses compass colours to distinguish one route from the next.

The first part of my proposal generally stands up well to criticism, such as I have heard, at any rate. The second part of my proposal is also fairly robust, but is more likely to be misunderstood. I will consider now those criticisms which are known to me.

Lower speed limits, dedicated bike lanes and priority at junctions will encourage new cyclists, not a load of signs. This map idea is dead before it's even started. (Michael Cave)

I’m having another of those moments where I feel like I’m the only person in the world who dislikes something. (To be clear: I dislike this map.) 
I’ve cycled in London. Not as much as some people, but for a year or two that was how I commuted, three to five times a week. I also did a few longer rides, and got to try the hire scheme before I moved away. 
I want to see there be more cycling in London. The problem is that this map doesn’t make it any easier. Instead, it abstracts away some complexity you need to understand (how to deal with one-way systems, for example) and replaces it with other complexity which you don’t (what is R1 and how is it different from R1a?) 
Remember, the Tube map can make compromises with geography because it is disconnected from the surface geography except at stations. By contrast, cyclists have to share the same messy, often medieval, street plan as everything else on the ground, and this map won’t show enough to let them do it. 
I’d much rather have the TfL/LCC cycling maps, large as they are, because they actually work. (I know. I used them.) On the other hand, perhaps everyone is liking and reblogging this because it’s colourful and pretty. Call it a nice artwork if you like, but I don’t think it’s good design. (Paul Mison)

Pretty, but not Practical. OK for a tube as you can't get lost between stops, but on a bike, I'd rather have the street map version to know where I really am. (Paul Adams)

Clearly my critics have not understood the detail of my proposal, which is how it goes sometimes. But 'dedicated bike lanes and priority at junctions' where? Tell me, and I'll see if I can code them. And do you actually need maps to show you 'how to deal with one-way systems' if the routes on this network are functional in both directions? No, as I say, these aren't criticisms, they're misunderstandings.

The second part of my proposal is a signing strategy which uses compass colours to distinguish one route from the next, and 'this map idea' is a way of conveying that in a stylised form.

'A map is a graphic representation of a portion of the earth's surface drawn to scale, as seen from above. It uses colours, symbols, and labels to represent features found on the ground.'

'A map provides information on the existence, the location of, and the distance between ground features, such as populated places and routes of travel and communication.' 

Another criticism - this one anonymous - is that the map doesn't include enough detail to show which streets the routes are on.

How do people want it? I could make my map as big as the London Cycle Guides, if you like, and then I could show all of the detail that you desire.

'The ideal representation would be realised if every feature of the area being mapped could be shown in true shape. Obviously this is not feasible, and an attempt to plot each feature true to scale would result in a product impossible to read, even with the aid of a magnifying glass.

'Therefore, to be understandable, features must be represented by conventional signs and symbols. To be legible, many of these must be exaggerated in size, often far beyond the actual ground limits of the feature represented. On a 1:250,000 scale map, for example, the symbol for a single-track railroad (the length of a cross-tie) is equivalent to a railroad cross-tie of about 1,000 feet on the ground.'

First and foremost, the London Cycling Network is a strategic cycle network. When you make a strategic journey by bus, say, you do not need to know the name of every road the bus travels along. I am trying to think why things should be different if you are making a strategic journey by bike.

Paul Adams said (above) that you can't get lost in between stops when using the tube [or bus], which is why, when he's out and about on his bike, he'd rather have a street map to know where he really is. Quite right. Anyone who has used the cycle network knows how easy it is to lose sight of the waymarkers and then to become disorientated.

In places like Holland, however, I have heard that the waymarking is very effective, so we know that the problem which Paul Adams relates can be solved. The case is, if you are making an A to B journey, there's a reasonable chance that you are already familiar with A and B, it's the bit in between that would most likely cause you to become lost and get out your street map.

Interestingly, about a third of the population cannot read a map. Indeed, a survey of more than a thousand motorists revealed that only about 1% knew enough to earn a Cub Scout Map Reader's badge. We ought to be careful, therefore, not to confuse our skills and requirements along with those of everyone else.