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.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.