Photo by zefrog
While people are encouraged to cycle to work every day, "Cycle Fridays" aims at offering novice commuter cyclists a chance to gain more confidence cycling in the city on their own.
Starting next week and lasting until 2 October, six bike convoys led by experienced riders from the London Cycling Campaign will converge towards Central London. The convoys will leave at 8am from Swiss Cottage, Greenwich, Ravenscourt Park, Mile End, Finsbury Park and Brixton, with drop-off points in the Square Mile, Trafalgar Square, Holborn and Russell Square. Perhaps not the most flexible system if you don't live or work in the right areas, but no doubt a great opportunity for someone wanting to get started.
This may not help the apparent shortage of bicycles across Europe or the lack of bike secure parking around the capital. More cycle parks, like in Finsbury Park and the newly opened one in London Bridge, are clearly needed. Thankfully, Boris has promised to invest £111m this year and create an extra 66,000 bike parking places in London by 2012. 12 cycle "super-highways" crisscrossing London are also in preparation.
The slightly worrying thing about "Cycle Fridays" is that, according to the dedicated page on the TfL website (which includes maps of the routes), they will take you there but you'll be on your own to get back home. As some have been quick to point out, people may want to linger in town a bit longer on Fridays and may as a result find themselves in an inappropriate state to find the way home along unfamiliar routes, let alone ride a bicycle...
If you can't wait until next Friday, however, you can join the traffic-free Skyride in Hounslow on Sunday between 11 and 4. This is one of the local versions of the Mayor's London Skyrides, formerly known as London Freewheel.