All local councils love cycling. Or at least they love putting some ecofluff about it on their websites. Whilst I generally rant about the huge discrepancy between aspirational cycling promotional material and reality in Waltham Forest, one needs to bear in mind that they aren't alone. Or even possibly the worst.
Here is a selection of some facilities I encountered along my route through four boroughs today.
Haringey has a network of cycle routes across the borough including cycle lanes on main roads, separated cycle lanes and special fully signed, quiet routes.
Sounds promising. Here is one of those cycle lanes on a main road - Ferry Lane.
This is clearly a shared cycle facility - being as it is shared with a couple of road cones and other road-work detritus. Which have been here for months. To ensure that cyclists don't blunder into the road signs, there is a handily placed sunken drain which forces them out into the fast moving traffic to avoid. It really is as if Haringey hates cyclists. If the semi-permanent road-work detritus doesn't get you then there is a slippery off-camber drain to catch the unwary.
Still at least the cycle lane is a mandatory one. Which is great - it means that cyclists have the several millimetres of space between the cones and the white line all to themselves.
A little further along, one comes along a special quiet route round Markfield Road. These quiet routes allow one to relax, away from the bustle of the main streets. Time to take in the scenery.
I am always surprised I don't see more families cycling through here to Markfield Park. Maybe it is the multitude of HGVs manoeuvring in and out of the refuse plant that puts them off. Or the complete lack of any cycle facility to protect them from the works lorries that use this industrial estate every day.
Did you know? Hackney has more people who cycle to work that anywhere else in Britain - join them and find out why.
I would hazard a guess it isn't because of the world-class cycling facilities.
What can I say about Homerton Road that I haven't already said?
Only that, according to the sign, Hackney are investing £22M in their streets. Here you can see Hackney investing in cycle facilities to the tune of err... bugger all. They have laid down some nice cobbles on the steep entrance to the tow-path which will provide an exciting challenge in wet or icy conditions. Here could be a really superb segregated cycle-way which safely bypasses the congestion regularly present along this road. But instead the space is given to car parking. Which says it all.
So maybe the cyclist will want instead to use the cycle / pedestrian tow-path a bit further along the river? Us cyclists are a grumpy lot - we get these off-road facilities and yet still want to take away space from the motorist.
The cyclist even has a choice - either go up the raised and uneven cobbles or along the side which turns into a slippery mud bath when it rains. These raised cobble sections continue for a good stretch of the path. By the end you may be several inches shorter due to spine compression and the ride will have shaken out teeth, but at least this type of facility weeds out the weaker cyclists among us. Call it Darwinian cycle provision.
Newham is an ideal place to cycle because it is relatively flat.
That's really as enthusiastic as Newham seems to get over cycling - I had to search pretty hard even for this. So there we are - Newham's best asset to cycling is it's flatness - which I suspect has little to do with local government. Still, at least it is honest - I guess they couldn't say Newham is an ideal place to cycle because it has traffic choked streets that are deeply unpleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.
Take this part of the A11 to Stratford. I think using the word "ideal" in any respect to the conditions for cycling here can only be intended to be irony.
So there we have it. Three boroughs in the midst of London's cycling revolution. Superb.