Basile Simon (blog) Data, hackery, stories


First day of 2017 in London, first day on the saddle.

It’s Tube strike day and it’s wet, so the road is dangerous. I haven’t ridden the London tarmac in a couple of weeks, and it seems like the ratio of my bicycle is impossibly high as I join Kingsland Road sitting on my frame.

The wind starts whistling in my ears. I’ve got a whole bus lane for myself, and I feel like opening my arms as I pedal down the gentle hill towards the City.

In Dalston, I have to dodge a bunch of slow starters at the lights, and bridge the gap to grab the ass of a double decker and fly through Hoxton.

It’s Tube strike day. Hordes of wobbly cyclists set off on the wet road, with poor equipment and little confidence or balance. Jumping red lights is simply necessary to stay safe and far away from these unpredictable crash targets in high-visibility jackets.

Pedestrians are everywhere. Hundreds of them wait all along Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate to squeeze into packed and almost stationary buses, for some reason or another. Many wait on the road itself. Cars have to swerve and circulation lanes are only a distant memory, as are cycling advanced stop lines.

Going contraflow, I breeze past the chaos and dodge pedestrians savagely crossing between cars at a standstill. No need to get angry or righteous on a day like this. As I cross London Bridge, I realise I spent a lot of time on the brakes today, which isn’t really what you want when riding fixed. The ride could have been smoother.

I had been missing London.