Just one taker for guided rides into central London

A well-intentioned attempt to get more commuters from the London borough of Hammersmith cycling to work has been branded a flop after just one rider showed up.

The Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle reports that for the first in a series of guided rides on June 30, set up by Transport for London to encourage more people to cycle into work, nobody showed up.

The following week's ride was cancelled, says the Chronicle, and a final ride on July 14 attracted just one person.

The plug was pulled on the £15,700 programme the following day. Critics have said that the whole exercise was a costly failure that had ignored the lessons of a similar campaign the previous summer, which also saw a very low turnout.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and vice chair of the London Assembly transport committee, told the Chronicle: "Last year's Cycle Fridays were an expensive flop. Yet instead of learning any lessons the Mayor insisted on going ahead this year with guided commuter cycle rides before suddenly cancelling them half way through the summer.

"There is much that needs to be done to encourage cycling across London, but guided commuter cycle rides are clearly not the answer. The Mayor should instead concentrate on expanding the bike hire scheme and making roads safer for cyclists."
A spokeswoman for TfL told the Chronicle: "We believe that guided rides could be really effective in improving confidence and safety amongst people who are keen to take to two wheels.

"However we were always been clear that the rides would only be laid on if the demand justified the expense. The programme was advertised widely but there was low take up, which led to the remaining summer rides programme being cancelled."

She told the newspaper that guided rides laid on during the Tube strikes were one of a range of measures to help people get to work, along with extra bus and river services and marshalled taxi ranks, with 'tens of thousands' of Londoners choosing to make their own way to work by bicycle.


yarrump [15 posts] 7 years ago

Woking has free breakfasts for cyclists on the last Friday of the month and Kingston University had free breakfasts for cyclists/walkers during their health weeks. Usually the KU free breakfast was porridge. Not sure any of this will survive the cuts though. Why was the scheme held in July surely the time to give incentives for commuting by bike is during the dark, rainy, overcast days when the wind is blowing and you barely feel like getting out of bed.

timlennon [210 posts] 7 years ago

Fifteen and a half grand for that. I am manfully holding back a long string of profanities. Hammersmith into town is a simple ride: the issue is persuading people - against any reasonable person's perception of the actual route - that it's a safe and enjoyable route to ride.

georgee [182 posts] 7 years ago

Much better having £15k spent on a couple of road repairs so potential cyclist don't have the impression they'll fall into a canyon or get chucked off into the traffic. Alternatively fund the hole in the budget by hiring a PC and pocketing the different in fixed penalty notices to ASL abusers and RLJ'ing f*ckwits for an afternoon.