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New Norman Foster building takes cycle facilities to a skyscraping level

A flagship new apartment block in London is to feature record amounts of cycle parking - amounting to one cycle space per bedroom - thanks to its bike-loving architect Norman Foster.

250 City Road, a new skyscraper in Islington, London, has been designed by Foster + Partners - the firm behind SkyCycle, a 136-mile high level cycle route imagined around London’s rail network.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson this month poured cold water on SkyCycle, describing the idea as “fantastically expensive” and outlining other measures he believes should take priority in improving the safety of cyclists, as we reported.

But more of a success story is Foster + Partners’ twin-towered “high-density, low-energy residential development” of around 900 luxury apartments, costing £840,000 for a one-bedroom flat, will feature 1,500 cycle parking spaces - around enough for one per bedroom - but only 200 car parking spots.

The 1,486 bike parking spaces make this development one of the most “most cycle-friendly high-rise in London” - and there will also be other features including dedicated bike elevators and on-site bike repair facilities.

Project architect Giles Robinson told Dezeen: “The project has a dedicated cycle lift from ground to basement level, where the cycle storage areas are located. At the basement level there is a dedicated cycle maintenance workshop that enables cycles to be cleaned and maintained."

The plans fall in line with new Transport for London (TfL) development guidelines that lay out a minimum number of bike parking spaces for new buildings.

But Foster + Partners has exceeded the expected 1,233 spaces in its plans.
 
Peter Murray, a member of the London Mayor’s Design Advisory Group, said: "It's a figure that spectacularly reflects changing attitudes to cycling in London. It represents a big shift in London. All new developments have to meet the [cycle provision] requirements, but since this is a tall and dense project, the impact and scale is impressive."

What remains to be seen, however, is how full all those bike parking spots are once 250 City Road’s well-heeled residents move in.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.