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From Camden to Tottenham on Wheels: London Strives to Be the Best Big Cycling City

By Tereza Antonova

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, introduced a new plan for cycling. And it looks like it might finally put an end to the cycling horror stories you hear about the British capital. Just look at the figures. The current funding for cycling is £169m per year. Oh wait, that’s actually the 2018 number. The new budget increases the number to £214m. So at least financially speaking, it looks like Khan means business.

According to the plans, Londoners should be finally able to ride from Greenwich to Woolwich, and from Oval to Steatham. By 2024, there should be a net of newly built 280-mile-long cycle routes. The current system of dividing the paths into Quietways and Cycle Superhighways will be dropped, everything should be part of one vast web of cycling heaven.

Sadiq Khan vows to make changes. © Profimedia, Alamy

Critics will say that the streets aren’t ready for hundreds of thousands of new cyclists. That they weren’t built for that. And it’s true. But neither did the Romans plan the existence of the Tube. Still it didn’t stop anyone from building it under the old Londinium, did it? There will always be drawbacks and pitfalls. But the ultimate truth is that cycling is the way forward.

It doesn’t pollute the environment. If nothing else, it contributes to painless breathing when we make a run for groceries. Also, cities grow: as more people move into them, urban areas are expanding and we all need to fit in. Using a bicycle as a means of transportation helps. And it’s not just about getting from point A to point B.

You hear a lot of horror stories about cycling on the streets of London. © Profimedia

A nice side effect of hopping on a bicycle is, of course, the exercise we perform on the way. It contributes to the good health of citizens. They don’t need to go to hospitals as much. Therefore, cycling is a relief to the healthcare system and its financing. And, as Sadiq Khan remembers to mention, there’s one more benefit: people riding around the city are a boost for businesses, as they tend to stop by shops on their way and make purchases.

The goals set in Khan’s plans are definitely ambitious, but far from unrealistic. Do you think the mayor will succeed? Will London change? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!