Boris Johnson Unveils his Cycling Vision

Boris Johnson London Cycling InvestmentMayor of London Boris Johnson has announced his ‘Vision for Cycling in London’, which is intended to make ‘cycling a normal part of everyday life and a compelling choice for all Londoners.’ Created in conjunction with British Cycling, significant investment of nearly £1billion is proposed to ensure that cycling is at the heart of future transport policies in the Capital. Amongst the initiatives is a ‘Crossrail for Bikes’ that will run some 15miles from the suburbs in the West, through the heart of London and to Canary Wharf and Barking; using a Dutch-style segregated cycle tracks along, among other places, the Victoria Embankment and the Westway flyover; it is believed that it will be the longest substantially-segregated cycle route of any city in Europe. Johnson described the much-hated Westway as, ‘the ultimate symbol of how the urban motorway tore up our cities’, and his vision turning it into, ‘…the ultimate symbol of how we are claiming central London for the bike.’


In addition, over the next four years, a range of new cycle routes will open running parallel to, and named after, Tube lines and bus routes, whilst other advances are set to include a new network of ‘Quietways’ – direct, continuous, fully-signposted routes on peaceful side streets, substantial improvements to the worst junctions and trials of so-called ‘Dutch-style’ roundabouts and eye-level traffic lights for cyclists.


In his statement Johnson said, ‘The reason I am spending almost £1 billion on this is my belief that helping cycling will not just help cyclists. It will create better places for everyone. It means less traffic, more trees, more places to sit and eat a sandwich. It means more seats on the Tube, less competition for a parking place and fewer cars in front of yours at the lights. Above all, it will fulfil my aim of making London’s air cleaner…’ Further commenting on the issue of funding, he continued: ‘As announced in the TfL business plan the overall budget for cycling will rise to £913 million, two and a half times more than previously planned, with almost £400 million spent in the next three years alone. Cycle spending will rise to £145 million in 2015, or around £18 per head, up with the best in Germany and almost on a par with the Netherlands.’


Full details of the statement can be found at



E-petition for Cycling Awareness

E-petition for Cycling AwarenessAn e-petition for cycling awareness that calls for changes to the driving theory and practical test and supports British Cycling’s Road Safety manifesto has been set up by one of its members, Mike Higgins. The e-petition has already attracted more than 15,000 signatures and has been leant support by cycling legend Chris Boardman who comments, ‘It’s common sense, we should make sure that all new drivers are taught how to be careful around cyclists’.


Higgins was moved to establish the e-petition after the tragic death of a cyclist near to his home in Leicestershire. 100,000 signatures are needed for the petition to be debated in parliament, but with your help that could easily be achieved well before its close in January next year. For more information on British Cycling’s Road Safety manifesto, which calls for ‘…changes to the driving test to make cycle awareness a core part of driver training and testing with emphasis on how much space to give cyclists and how to safely overtake cyclists’ see – to sign the e-petition visit


Please sign, share, retweet and get involved to help save the lives of British cyclists.


Extras Reviews

The Hornit

The Hornit 140dB cycling alarm loudest on marketSeldom, if ever, has a product divided Cyclo quite so much as The Hornit. At dB140 it is the loudest cycle horn on the market; the developer (an ex-lawyer) set to work on the unit after five years of commuting by bike through London traffic and is at pains to point out that it is for use in emergency situations only rather than day-to-day use or as a replacement for the humble bell.


The unit comes in two parts, the main horn unit, which houses the two AAA batteries used to power its mega-blast, and the rubberised trigger, which connects to it via a short lead.


In an emergency, yes we can see some value here.  According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) 80% of cycle accidents occur in daylight and 75% occur at, or near, a road junction; having something like The Hornit at hand (or more accurately at finger) could give cycling commuters the edge when it comes to such situations. The temptation though would be to use the horn in non-emergency situations, when dB140 would be nothing short of a rude slanging match. dB140, let’s be clear, is the loudest recommended for exposure to with hearing protection and even short term exposure can cause permanent damage to hearing. Granted exposure isn’t going to be anything but short, but this is still equivalent to the noise a jet engine would make at less than 100foot.


This is probably a true Marmite product and if you want to add a dash of reassurance to your commuter bike (you’re unlikely to fit it to your 5k carbon beast) and think you can resist the temptation of just scaring the hell out of wayward pedestrians, then The Hornit may be for you. We can’t help thinking that even the name sounds aggressive (and as it comes from the less than tactile-sounding Bullet Ventures Ltd, they aren’t doing themselves any favours), and one last thing to consider: the connector on the lead going into the main horn unit is incredibly prone to simply falling out – it jumped out three times on test rides with Cyclo – so the unit may not even be there for you to rely on just when you need it most.


The Hornit costs £34.99, further details and online purchase at


Reviews Tech

AfterShokz Sportz 2 Headphones

AfterShokz Sportz 2 Bone Conduction Headphones - cycling safetyWhere do you stand on the issue of listening to music whilst cycling? It’s a divisive subject, one that splits riders almost as equally as the great helmet debate, but what is certain is that if you do want to while away those saddle-hours to thumping tunes (or some Kenny G) then you’ll be a whole heap safer using AfterShokz Sportz 2 headphones.


The reason for this is simple: rather than plugging into (and therefore blocking) you ears, AfterShokz use bone conduction technology – the kind used by ‘special forces ops’ apparently – to deliver sound through the cheekbones to the inner ear, leaving the way clear for riders to hear traffic and other crucial audio cues. Held in place by a rigid, but perfectly comfortable headband, the buds sit just in front of the ears and the quality and clarity of sound is remarkably good – slightly on the tinny side, but then no one is arguing that the bike is the perfect spot of picking up every nuance of your favourite tracks.


The new Mark 2 model features an impressive 21 improvements over the earlier device, itself already pretty damn good, and several of these are immediately apparent. Sleeker (and blacker) than its predecessors, with a reflective safety strip thrown in for good measure, the aesthetic improvements continue through to the in-line controller, which is now smaller and far less of an ugly box.


Love them or hate them, the in-line controller is something of a necessity as the tech requires its own power to deliver the bone conduction sound and it houses, along with the obvious volume controls, the rechargeable lithium ion battery that facilitates this. Powered-up via micro-USB (another improvement over the original fiddly arrangement), the battery promises up to 12 hours of playback from a three hour charge – this can vary, we found, depending on the level of volume used.


Under test Cyclo found the AfterShokz to be undeniably comfortable (weighing in at around 45g) and, perhaps more importantly, stayed absolutely put even with some (unintentional, don’t ask…) off-road action that rattled the bones, but left the music still serving as a soundtrack to our misfortunes. Being able to still hear and react to ambient sound whilst enjoying music on the ride was a true revelation and has gone a long way towards changing our minds about the possible distraction of ride play-lists. If you like music on the move then the AfterShokz Sportz 2 are an essential bit of kit.


Priced at 49.96 (ex VAT) – further information and online purchase at


Featured Features


Time, we thought, for Cyclo to do a little campaigning… Ice (as a pack) can help reduce swelling, ICE (as an acronym) might just help save a life. Standing for ‘In Case of Emergency’ the idea of ICE is to encourage everyone not only to carry next of kin details – stats suggest that more than 80% of us head out without them – but to store them under the entry ‘ICE’ in our mobile phone where they can be readily identified by the emergency services. Such an obviously brilliant and simple idea, it’s odd to think that despite having surfaced in the mid-2000s it hasn’t universally caught on.


The original ‘eureka moment’ came to Bob Brotchie, a clinical team leader for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust in 2004 when he found himself continually confounded by the seemingly simple task of contacting relatives of patients. ‘I asked myself,’ Bob says, ‘how can I create a uniform way for the public to accept, and emergency responders to adopt a method of accessing the relevant info – fast. I thought of an acronym, so that I would know where to go, in the phones contact list straightaway. My earlier experiences had demonstrated that simply searching the contact list was haphazard…and time consuming! I didn’t know who to call and often got no answer anyway. Worst was when I had to give up, so as to continue with immediate care. I thought of ICE – In Case of Emergency and felt that if phone owners prefixed the ‘agreed’ ICE contact with ICE, then responders could go instantly to ‘I’ for ICE!!… Simple!’


The campaign gained initial traction and was strongly supported at the time by numerous other ambulance services, ramblers clubs and even the Welsh Assembly with Deputy Health Minister John Griffiths commenting: “Spending time trying to contact the next of kin can delay the start of treatment… If everyone follows this advice and puts an ICE number into their mobile phones any such problems can be overcome.’


One of the problems today is the almost universal adoption of smart phones; ironically – given their usefulness for communicating in terms of text, calls, SMS, email, social media and more – when it comes to ICE they can be disastrous for one simple reason: to protect their all-encompassing content, we PIN protect them, locking out the paramedics at the most crucial time.


If that mean’s the mobile’s time has passed in usefulness for ICE (still worth entering those details in case) what are the alternatives?


The full article will feature in issue 3 of Cyclo for iPad coming soon. For issues 1 and 2 take a look at Cyclo in the iTunes Store – issue 1 is free, issue 2 just £1.49



Saddle-up for the Big Ride

The London Cycling Campaign is planning their largest-ever event in support of safer streets in the Capital with the mass participation ‘Big Ride’ on Saturday April 28. Thousands are expected to take part in the campaign, with feeder rides from every London borough, along a safe and traffic-free route through the center which is intended to send a clear message to politicians (and in particular to the mayoral candidates) that urgent and radical action is needed to improve the cycling experience in what could be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the World.


With an assembly time of 11am for a noon start that will take riders through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar and Parliament Squares for a 2pm finish on Victoria Embankment, participants are encouraged to either dress up or decorate their bikes in the red and white campaign colours. Even those on foot and skates are welcome to attend and help add some noise. As Mike Cavenett, Communications Manager for the London Cycling Campaign, writes: ‘If you ever ride a bike in London as a resident or a visitor – or even if you don’t, but just want our cities to be better places – we need you.’ Full details and route maps are available at



Go Dutch

In response to what they claim are ‘deep worries’ suffered by both existing and potential cyclists over the safety of the capital’s roads the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has launched their ‘Love London, Go Dutch’ campaign and petition. Designed to encourage the next mayoral candidate to adopt the same kind of cycle- and people-friendly streets that Holland boasts, the scheme is sponsored by Brompton Bicycles and waste management and recycling outfit Bywaters, and supported by the Dutch Embassy. Amongst those who have already pledged their support are cultural writer Alain De Botton (author of ‘The Art of Travel) who comments: ‘This brilliant campaign recognises that so many more of us would cycle if only the roads were safer. It aims to resolve the current situation where many of us want to cycle all the time, but are scared of the dangers. Societies that cycle are healthier, but also, the bicycle is an emblem of a democratic, engaged citizenry.’


LCC has also produced a series of design proposals that follow the key concepts of Love London, Go Dutch for three key London hot-spots: Parliament Square, the Olympic Park and Blackfriars. To see concept artwork, for further details and to sign up to the e-petition visit


Extras Reviews

Fibre Flares

Fibre FlaresFibre Flares could well walk away with the Cyclo ‘Find of the Year’ award (only we don’t have such a category. Or awards). So suffice it to say that we really love these innovative solutions to more all-round cycle lighting safety. Whilst most lights work by making you – and your bike – clearly visible in only two directions (from in front and from behind), Fibre Flares illuminate you from the oft-forgotten side view, making you more clearly seen by traffic approaching broadside on.


Using high intensity LED’s to illuminate a flexible fibre optic core and most resembling an emergency hand-held flare, they can be attached in a variety of ways and places. A clip at either end means they can be secured to apparel or bags and detachable silicone straps, with a variety of width notches, can be used to attach them to more or less any part of the bike frame, including over-size tubes of up to 60mm.


The shorter length ‘Side Lights’ version, at 250mm, is available in blue, green, red and yellow (for around the £28 mark) and provide illumination up to 300meters with either a solid light or strobe mode, selected – as is on/off – via a silicon-encased push button at one end. The longer, 292mm, ‘Tail Light’ is available only in red light and at around £30.00 is primarily intended to compliment rear light safety. All versions should see you though around 70 hours in strobe mode on a single set of AAA batteries.


Aside from the obvious safety benefits, there are two things that Cyclo most admires about Fibre Lights. Firstly they are absolutely beautifully designed and made; whilst there’s nothing overly-engineered about them (no fuss, just clean, functional lines) they have something approaching ‘classic’ about them – they do there job, and do it well, but also look made to last and made to be admired. Secondly, dare we say, there is something ‘fun’ about them (a touch of the Lightsabre?) which should make them terrifically appealing to kids, either as a ‘must-have’ adornment for their bikes or in secondary use as all-round (literally) safety kit for dark and dusk excursions, school runs, camping trips and so much more. Genius…


Fibre Flares are widely available online.