Intimidated or lost
How travelling in London normally worksYou wend slowly through your home area until you reach the main road / bus / tube, which you can then take until you reach your destination area, at which point a little further wiggling is required.
How cycling worksWhen travelling by bike, however, you instead have 2 options:
1) Follow the route you would take if you were in a car. This will be direct and well-signposted. It will also be one of the most unpleasant experiences of your day.
2) Attempt to follow a parallel route on quiet back streets. This will be almost double the distance, have no useful signposts, and require stopping every couple of minutes (for junctions, pinch points, checking a map, squeezing through barriers, retracing your steps...). You will definitely be late.
|adult||with children / child|
|in a rush||time to spare|
|likes traffic||hates traffic|
|wants a direct route||doesn't mind an indirect route|
|Enthusiast||cycles for leisure|
London has, so far, explicitly designed for these two groups, with "Superhighways" for the confident, and "Quietways" for the timid.
Unfortunately, there are some equally compelling pictures missing entirely:
The teenage girl, flying along because she's late for school again, too busy thinking about her unfinished homework to think about lorries.
The man dropping off his son at nursery who has a meeting to get to straight after that.
The woman who has just started a new job, with an unfamiliar commute, and needs to arrive on time but not stressed from dealing with traffic.
The grandfather nipping down to the shops on the high street quickly before his family arrives for lunch.
Us, going about our normal lives.
There are not two categories of cyclists, there are hundreds and thousands. And since we can't build one route for each, we'd better build one for everyone instead.