Today it was time we undertook our First Real Cargobike Journey into the “unknown”. Aka Zone 1!!
Three days ago, we moved into Tottenham, North London and we explored the neighbourhood a bit already. Yesterday we did a 15min ride from Bruce Castle Park to Wood Green and back. A ride which was quite unpleasant, due to the state of Lordship Lane. Potholes, no cycle lanes. You name it, Lordship Lane provides it. I was a bit apprehensive about cycling into zone 1, considering Tottenham is a cycling DISASTER.
We set out around 11.30 to go to my work, London Green Cycles. I am starting my new job on Thursday and I wanted to know how long it takes to cycle by cargobike. I actually got quite lost on the way in, but did manage to find Euston Station in the end, and thus the way to LGC. It took us about 1h 30min. OMG I was so happy to see my new colleagues. We made our first trip of many and I was just really glad we survived.
The trip didn’t as smoothly as I wanted it to be. I got a bit lost and there was this moment I got into a discussion (read: fight) with a TFL busdriver. I was cycling on the cycle path/bus lane and I got stuck behind another bus at the busstop. The busdriver behind me got cross with me, because I wasn’t overtaking his colleague. However, he didn’t seem to realise the cargobike was too wide to squeeze between the bus and the cars on the right of the bus. Then he shouted I “should go on the pavement.” I lost it by then, got off the bike and asked him if his mother taught him patience and if he’d be willing to lift a 100kg bike onto the raised kerb. That seemed to shut him up. About half an hour later I also caught up with him at Kings Cross Station. That was just glorious karma served on a hot plate. TFL busdrivers do not like the fact cyclists are indeed quicker than they are. Even when you cycle a BIG BIKE.
After I said hey to Alex and Sylvia (@cricklewoodmum) at LGC, Monkey and I decided to have lunch at Regent’s Park. We went there yesterday and we discovered a lovely playground. Monkey was adamant we should go there again. He brought toys to play in the sand! We also made some new friends. Not human friends, but birdy ones.
We stayed for a few hours playing and eating and just relaxing before it was time to go home. I did actually plan to go to the Natural History Museum, but the weather was turning and I realised because I got lost, the battery of the cargobike was dwindling. We cycled through the park, to Gloucester Gate, so we could cross Camden Town to get straight on the right road. Ofcourse, I got lost once more! I wanted to go via St. Pancras, to see the new cycle path there! So finding the right road was slightly tricky. Camden is busy with lots of cars and lots of pedestrians and little streets everywhere. But once I got on the right road, it was quite an amazing sight.
How nice would it be, if every street in London would be like this? And I don’t think it is a utopia, it can be done! With the right vision!
After St Pancras I went back via Kings Cross. Up up up we went! When all of a sudden, at Finsbury Park, the battery decided to die on me. Leg paddle power for the rest of the journey. Luckily I found the shortcut to Seven Sisters. I decided to just stay on the sidewalk. Without the battery, the cargobike is slow on fast roads. And dangerous if you need to cross a busy junction. On my way back home, I met loads of people this way. Today Tottenham Spurs have a home match, so many many people were walking from Seven Sisters to White Hart Lane. The atmosphere was joyous, loads of people on the streets, children included. Loads of questions about the bike too! Loads of “mummy, I want to sit in this bike”. In the end, it took us two hours to get home. But it was a lovely trip. Unfortunately it started to rain as well, so I was happy to get home, have a shower, some food and rest.
So, our first trip to the city centre was an adventure. Not everyone was courteous on the road. But most people were. Car is still very much king here in London, but it is up to us to change this mentality. One cargobike at the time. TFL needs to teach their drivers to behave as well. If you can’t be patient behind the wheel, just hand in your licence while you are at it. We all deserve to be part of the roads, even a mama on a bike!