Boris Johnson reveals cycling monorail plan for London's Olympic Park+video

Could the capital get its very own Shweeb-style ride?

by Simon_MacMichael   February 6, 2011  

Marge vs The Monorail promotional card (copyright Fox).png

Remember our report last year on the Shweeb, the cycling monorail in New Zealand that won $1 million in funding from internet giant Google? Well, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has revealed that he is planning a similar facility for the city’s Olympic Park, to be called 'The Fly.'

Johnson made reference to the proposed development in an interview with East London-based website Docklands 24 that mainly focused on efforts designed to help the capital’s most disadvantaged inhabitants, including the launch of an initiative called Team London that encourages businesses to get involved in community projects and help tackle social inequality.

Talking about the legacy East London would enjoy from the Olympics – we’re now less than 18 months away from the opening ceremony – the mayor said: “I’m determined to go ahead with the maximum benefits from the Olympics.

“Stratford will be a brilliant transport hub and we will push on after 2012 with new links. We hope to put in a cable car before the Olympics – it’s going to be tough but we’re looking at that, a Silvertown crossing and a new tunnel.

“That will be a fantastic improvement for east London and south-east London. Beyond that I want a further crossing in the Gallions Reach area.

“You’re seeing real transformation at Stratford and we’re getting things done,” he added. “We have the Orbit tower and whatever you think about it people working there say it is creating a cluster. Then I have ideas for what I call The Fly” – an aerial monorail running above the Olympic Park.

That this is a recent idea appears evident from the Docklands 24 journalist pointing out that even the mayor’s press officer appears to be taken by surprise at mention of it, and the reporter asks Johnson, “You do remember that Simpson episode where they blew their budget on a pointless Monorail?”

“Don’t worry,” responds the mayor. “It won’t be anything like that.”

Words of reassurance, then, that Johnson doesn’t intend following Mayor Quimby’s lead in blowing the city’s budget on the project, although we can’t help feeling it would be a nice touch to invite Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy along for the opening, as happened in The Simpsons.

In the meantime, though, here’s a video of the Shweeb in action to give Londoners an idea of what may lie in store for them.


Monorail Cat may need to keep alert to avoid been run over, however.

9 user comments

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Now this looks like fun!

posted by taz3611 [28 posts]
6th February 2011 - 13:06

1 Like

Wouldn't work in London- it's more of a Shelbyville idea.

Weren't monorails what every expo used to think was the future?

posted by wild man [295 posts]
6th February 2011 - 13:36

1 Like

OMG! I have seen the future. Sustrans, you know you have got to do it. Imagine the Barclays idea but nationwide, riding along above the traffic congestion and danger. Big society here's your big chance.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [264 posts]
6th February 2011 - 13:39


@bikecellar I suspect that Sustrans would need a heck of a lot of donations from us lot to get that off the ground! I wonder what the impact of installing all that infrastructure is - and how easy it would fit in with our other street furniture/powerlines, phone cables, etc.

If Boris gets this off the ground, it would be amazing, but what in towns with big hills? Going down would be great fun but going up would still be a chore. Perhaps having solar panels for a boost would help.

I love the idea but cannot see it working in the long run... imagine pods with gum stuck to them, smelly and sweaty, vandalised, parts stolen, basically becoming like any other mass transit system in major cities. Then again, yobbos are usually lazy little blighters, so perhaps the thought of actually exercising would put them off!

posted by Myriadgreen [96 posts]
6th February 2011 - 14:11


Waste of money


posted by fluffy_mike [94 posts]
6th February 2011 - 15:51


This has got to be the stoopidest idea since the angled crank. These pods have no luggage carrying capacity, you're cycling inside a greenhouse and you can't overtake. Great idea for a novelty fairground ride but as a serious way of getting around an Olympic site, it's got all the credibility of Comrade Boris' barber.

posted by RedEsau [1 posts]
6th February 2011 - 18:26

1 Like

Oh dear, all a bit negative are we not ? My comment was made in jest.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [264 posts]
6th February 2011 - 22:10

1 Like

Looks like I will be making a trip to the Olympic park after all. Got to go on this.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
6th February 2011 - 22:44

1 Like

We think in the Netherlands that Shweeb is an intelligent solution to a big daily trafic problem of commuters.

As soon as the plan is ready we will let you know, but it will defenitely be after 'The Games' that the first functioning part of the monorail will be ready.

Succes to you all and compliments to the Mayor of London who took the risk of trying out a solution that could turn into a revolution in organising public transport.

posted by johannes krens [1 posts]
21st July 2011 - 21:55