With a 48-hour Tube strike now looking almost certain to start at 21:00 tonight, two things are sure: London will grind to a halt as people try to drive to work, and lots of commuters will pull a bike out of the shed and ride through the inevitable gridlock. The ibikelondon blog has cooked up a simple tool for experienced bike commuters to help out new and rusty riders as they take to the streets.
Announcing the idea, the site’s editor Mark Ames writes: “There's plenty of people in London who will be considering using a bike to get through the strike who might be feeling nervous, may be inexperienced at cycling with London traffic or simply may not know the way overground to their place of work.”
To help out those people Mark has created BikeTheStrike, which uses Google Maps to bring together experienced and less-experienced riders for Wednesday and Thursday’s commute run.
Mark says: “The way it works is simple; if you're a cyclist and you'd be happy to guide another slightly apprehensive rider to work, add your details and draw your cycle route on to our #BikeTheStrike action map, which you can find here.”
Ride leaders are asked to list a meeting point and start time, and give a Twitter handle so people can get in touch.
“If you're a rusty rider looking for someone to show you the way, or to give you a bit of gentle encouragement, check the map for routes near you, and tweet any ride leaders whose route suits your needs, et voila you've got your very own bike buddy to show you the way and take you gently across town and in to the office,” says Mark.
He emphasises that ride leaders are not taking on legal responsibility for those they guide. Instead he said, this is about channelling the "blitz spirit" to help people get to work during the strike.
For more information to sign up as a leader or find a route that suits you, go to the BikeTheStrike page on ibikelondon.blogspot.co.uk.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.