Published on February 7, 2014 | by Tom Baker

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Beat the tube strike – take two wheels instead of four

As most Londoners geared up for a day of commuting chaos, a group of cyclists took advantage of the situation to inspire others to join them. Organised by Mark Ames, editor of the ibikelondon blog, ‘bike the strike’ (#bikethestrike) comprised a number of organised cycle rides around London this morning, with experienced cyclists leading less confident riders in to work along their regular routes.

A Londoner biking the strike.

Organised on the spur of the moment yesterday afternoon, Mark was able to use a community of engaged, web-savvy cyclists to organise the scheme, which quickly swelled from the single original route which Mark planned between Bethnal Green and Mayfair to more than fifty, coming in from as far away as Walthamstow and South Croydon as ride leaders volunteered to help others on two wheels.

Although Mark and I were only accompanied by a couple of other people in our convoy, the number of other cyclists out on the roads was notable. As traffic ground to a halt along Bethnal Green Road, we were able to make steady progress towards the City, passing numerous bus stops crowded with people. As testament to how relaxed our journey was, Mark was able to point out many of the interesting sites in historic Clerkenwell.

Of course when the tube is running, it’s often the quickest way to get around, especially if there aren’t too many connections to be made. But this morning it didn’t take much more than half an hour to travel seven miles in rush hour, tube strike traffic with all the convenience of being able to travel directly from door to door. It may be that those who took part in bike the strike today, having witnessed first hand the convenience of a growing form of transport, may adopt it for more regular journies. Nonetheless, questions still linger about cycle safety on the roads following a spate of deaths at the end of last year and, although he saw today as an opportunity to recruit new riders to the massed ranks of London cyclists, Mark was clear that he and many others are still looking for more action from the Mayor and Transport for London as regards investment in infrastructure.

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