Well, today was a first for me: I cycled in London. And I didn't die.
I've been thinking about it for a while, but I've always been worried about it — roads in London are much busier than the roads I normally cycle in Newbury — and so I haven't done it.
But, since I didn't want to be on the tube today, nor spend the length of time it would take me to walk, today was the day to give it a go.
Perhaps today was just a "good" day, but I wish I had done it sooner.
Cycle superhighway CS3
I went from Paddington to Westminster and, other than the very first bit and very last bit of the route, I was in segregated cycle lanes or in parks. It was very much a stressfree journey.
So much so that, when I arrived with some time to spare, I decided to explore a bit more, and ended up cycling along the "superhighway" CS3 up to Bank and back.
Dedicated, segregated cycle lanes make a huge difference. And I mean actually segregated lanes, not just a white line along a road. At no point in the ride did I feel uncomfortable or at risk.
I'd prefer cycle lanes to be segregated from pedestrians too (which is not the case on some of the route in Hyde Park) since that seems like the safer option for everyone.
Bits to fix
I had a bit of hanging around at Paddington due to a train cancellation, and pushing my folded Brompton around was not as easy as I had hoped. The small roller on the rear mudguard jammed every couple of minutes, and it certainly wasn't a smooth roll. So I bit the bullet and ordered a rack, to give me two wheels at the front (when folded).
Some odd noises coming from the front wheel as I was heading back, so that's something for me to investigate.
Overall, a hugely positive, fun, experience.
I wasn't the fastest cyclist, nor was I aiming to be. But I achieved my goals: I cycled in London without dying, and I got to where I needed to be faster than if I had walked, and without going on the tube.
I also scouted out some places where I could lock my bike, if needs be, as I doubt I'll always be able to take my bike inside with me. I'm not sure I'm a fan of that idea, even with a robust lock and thick cable, but I guess that's part of the reason for having bike insurance...