Wednesday 10 April 2013

I Find Out More About IBikeLondon

You might have read my previous blog entries for an organisation called IBikeLondon. I have so far been on two of their rather fun rides and have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed them. They are really well organised, fun, relaxed and are excellent hosts.  The rides are brilliant and always take you to unusual locations. The second ride I went on was a particular favourite of mine and there was lots of see. You can click on the links at the bottom of this blog entry which will take you to my write up and photos.

When out on a ride it is difficult to ask lots of questions but i was curious about IBikeLondon and wnated to know more about them. Luckily Elisabeth from IBikeLondon was able to get a few questions answered and their responses to my questions are listed below.

The meeting point for so many rides - Achilles statue in Hyde Park.

1) Tell me about the history of IBikeLondon.

Anthony created Cyclehoop Ltd in 2008, a firm of award-winning designers specialising in innovative bicycle infrastructure. As a cyclist, and willing to wear not only sportswear when riding, he designed the range of the IBikeLondon t-shirts.  In 2012, Anthony decided to expand the project and organise free rides around London. So here we are!

2) Who are the main players at IBikeLondon and what is their function in the organisation?

Anthony – Managing director and founder.  He’s the decisions maker and gets to wear the t-shirts!

Elisabeth – Graphic designer, ride organiser.  She runs IBikeLondon for Anthony and is in charge of the website, communication, graphic design as well as organising and promoting the rides.

John – Ride leader, Route creator.  He knows London very well and has been organising group rides for the past few years. He’s in charge of creating the routes and leading the group during the event.

3) What bikes do you all have? They must be Brompton’s right?

We have quite a lot of different bikes for our office: a fixed gear, two folding bikes, a road bike and even a unicycle! We recently acquired two beautiful orange Brompton’s indeed!

4) I have really enjoyed the IBikeLondon rides I have been on so far, tell me about how they started.

Except for the Critical Mass rides that disturb other road users, or very small local groups, there is a lack of large free sociable rides in London. That is why Anthony decided to organise these events, hoping to get the cycling community together. Our aim is to promote cycling as a safe and social activity and to explore different parts of London.

5) How many people turned up for the first ride and how is it different to your most recent rides?

Around 35-40 people turned up for our first ride which took place early November 2012. The latest one, our third ride, was attended by a hundred cyclists. By the summer, when the weather will be hopefully nice and warm, we expect it to grow quite big. Such a huge group means that the pace will be slower (due to waiting) so we decided to make the route a little bit shorter to end up at the pub on time!

It is really nice to see that some cyclists, as yourself, join us every time. It helps creating a sociable and friendly atmosphere. We are pleased to have new people joining our events, and we hope to see them at the next ones.

You always end up in interesting places on an IBikeLondon Ride. (Photo courtesy of IBikeLondon).

6) Tell us about what you have planned for future rides?

We have decided to organise our rides every first Saturday of the month from May 2013. We would like to explore different areas of London every time, and we make sure there are interesting things to see during the route. We don’t want to spoil the surprise so it is confidential for now!

7) Night rides seem very popular, would IBikeLondon ever consider one of these?

Yes we have, we are not sure when yet. We have some great Monkey Lights, and we would love to display them during a night ride and encourage the whole group to have lights. Add to this the music bike provided by Druid Cycles CIC, and it could be a really great event. Stay tuned!

8) London is a great place to live, work and cycle but what does IBikeLondon think could be done to make cycling in and around London safer and more enjoyable for all?

London is one of the safest cities to cycle in the world but it could be made safer still.  Our wish list would be reducing traffic speeds, increasing cycling safety questions in driving theory, more positive promotion of cycling and greater protection in law, including changing the presumption of liability in collisions between cyclists and vehicles.

9) The IBikeLondon T-shirts which are sold on your website are excellent (especially the Brompton ones). How popular are they and who thought of the design?

They are very popular among cyclists. The design is simple but it answers two questions: where do you cycle? and how? With different types of bike and colours, we hope everyone could find one that suits him/her.
For example our Brompton t-shirts are appreciated in Japan and Korea, as Brompton bicycles are popular there.

I will have to get of these - orange of course! (Photo courtesy of IBikeLondon).

10) Anthony founded the quite brilliant Cyclehoop. Tell us more about how this came to be.

The initial idea came about during Anthony’s Master’s Degree in Architecture. Inspired by the theft of his own bike, which was lifted over the top of a signpost, he designed the Cyclehoop. The hoop converts existing traffic signposts into secure cycle parking for 2 bicycles and is quick and easy to install. His design went on to win the “Reinventing the Bike Shed” international design competition. Five years on, Cyclehoop Ltd is now a firm of cycle parking design experts, selling over 15 products designed and made in Britain to UK and worldwide customers.

11) Will IBikeLondon be going international with IBike _ _ _  for other major cities across the world?

Regarding our t-shirts, we have already developed IBike… with other cities in the UK and worldwide including Brighton and Hong-Kong.

The T-shirts go international. (Photo courtesy of IBikeLondon).

12) What would you say to people living in London, fed up with traffic jams, crowded buses, trains or tubes who are reluctant cycle to work in London?

Just get out and ride. Explore London, try several different ways into work. Purchase decent tyres and keep them pumped up hard.  If you’re not confident enough, join our regular rides and see how fun it is to cycle together around London!

As I have written I have really enjoyed the rides organised by IBikeLondon and plan to go on many more. They really are a great and if the idea of a free, turn up and ride around interesting locations in London sounds like fun...believe me it is. It doesn't matter what sort of bike you have so why not give them a go!

Their next ride is titled 'Ride East(er) on 30th March 2013, meeting at St. Paul's Cathedral 10:30 a.m. This will be a 12 mile ride heading east and ending up at the Angel Pub (Rotherhithe, SE16 4NB). It should be great fun and I plan to be there.

Thank you to everyone at IBikeLondon for answering my questions and special thanks to Elisabeth!

Below please find a few links for IBikeLondon and my past two blog entries containing details and lots of photos from the two IBikeLondon rides I have been on so far.

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