5 great bicycle-themed films

Cycling doesn’t perhaps lend itself to the silver screen in quite the same way as other sports. It doesn’t yet have it’s ‘Raging Bull’, or even it’s ‘Escape to Victory’. Nevertheless there are several great movies which feature the bicycle at their heart. Add your own favourites below.

The Bicycle Thieves

Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece of Italian neorealism follows the misfortunes of down-on-his-luck Antonio and his young son Bruno. Over the course of the day they embark on a fruitless hunt for the father’s stolen bike, which he desperately needs in order to work and support his family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjZI2YN0ueY

Jour de Fête

In this classic French comedy, Jacques Tati plays mailman François who regularly chats to the customers while making his rounds. After having occasion to watch a film depicting the United States postal service (who of course decades later sponsored Lance Armstrong) as an organization of great speed and efficiency, François determines to try to emulate them. He decides to use a bicycle to improve the speed of his service, but, as they say, things don’t exactly go to plan.

Belleville Rendezvous

Sylvain Chomet’s ‘Les Triplettes de Belleville’, to give its original title, tells the story of Champion, a Tour de France cyclist, who is kidnapped by French gangsters. His grandmother sets off to rescue him, accompanied by his enormous dog Bruno, and for reasons too obscure to go into, the titular triplets, music hall singers from the jazz era. The film is particularly notable for it’s unique style of animation and it’s depiction of the physical torture of training for, and riding Le Tour, including an ascent of Mont Ventoux.

BMX Bandits

The IMDB synopsis for this film reads as follows: “Two BMX expert bikers and a friend of theirs (Nicole Kidman) become entangled with a group of bank robbers after discovering a carton of walkie-talkies.” The plot may be fairly thin stuff, but it serves as a good excuse for a series of set pieces showing BMXs being ridden around some of Sydney’s most famous locations.

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Tim Burton’s directorial debut follows the eponymous eccentric man-child as he travels across the United States in search of his beloved bicycle. Anyone who’s had a bike stolen will find themselves rooting for Pee-wee, and it’s probably not giving too much away to reveal that he is eventually reunited with his bike, but not before making a host of new friends along the way.

Note: We’ve deliberately excluded documentaries from this list. There are enough great docs about cycling that they deserve a separate list of their own. Watch this space.

 

E-bikes: who said it’s cheating?

For the first time this year, riders taking part in the Tour De France will have their bicycles scanned for concealed electric motors. Rumours of so-called “mechanical doping” have swirled around the sport for years (for the full history, see this article), and were made real with the discovery, in January, of just such a device in the bike of a cyclo-cross competitor.

Gaining assistance from an electric motor is clearly against the rules in a competitive sport. There’s also however a prevailing attitude among day-to-day cyclists that riding an electric bicycle is somehow cheating. But could our instinctive distrust or snobbery towards e-bikes be preventing us from realising the full potential of these machines?

Some exercise is better than none

We all need to be active to improve our well-being and life-expectancy. As covered elsewhere on this blog, building exercise into your daily routine by commuting by bicycle is an excellent way to meet (or more likely far exceed) recommended levels of physical activity. Lots of people though are still not getting enough exercise. For some, an electric bike might help them to change that.

It might seem counter intuitive to put forward as a healthy solution a device which allows you to exert yourself less than a regular bike. The simple truth though is that reduced exertion is better than none at all. If e-bikes can open up cycle commuting to a certain segment of the population who wouldn’t initially consider a regular bike, and would otherwise be in a car or on public transport, then that has to be a good thing.

Research from various parts of the world, including this Brighton-based study, confirms that e-bikes encourage people to cycle more and deliver significant health benefits. The bikes are designed to assist the rider, never to provide all of the power. By requiring the rider to be pedaling at all times, they promote sustained moderate effort.

Go further, faster

Where the infrastructure is in place to make this possible, e-bikes can also help to extend the idea of what a commutable distance is. This article in the Guardian asks, with the popularity of e-bikes growing, is Europe about to see a new era of long-distance cycle commuting?

The soft whirr of an electric motor remains a relatively rare sound on the streets of Britain, where the machines have failed to take off in the same way that they have elsewhere in Europe and in Asia. Lack of enthusiasm might be down to cost, lack of awareness, or the aforementioned snobbery.

If you’re interested in finding out more then this is a helpful overview of the law concerning e-bikes (did you know that the motor won’t help you above 15.5mph?), and here’s a helpful review and comparison from a London commuter.

Even if e-bikes aren’t for everyone, let’s leave accusations of “cheating” to the professionals, and celebrate anything that helps to get more people on two wheels.

Cycling and the law: the what, where, when and how

Can a child ride on the pavement? Do I have to use cycle lanes where they’re available? And what on earth is meant by “cycling furiously”? The law around cycling in the UK is not particularly well understood by the general public, cyclists and non-cyclists alike, and a number of popular misconceptions still endure. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most relevant legislation.

Where can you ride a bike?

Bicycles are, in law, carriages, and should therefore be ridden on the carriageway (or, in common parlance, road) and not on the footway (pavement). The obvious exception to this is where designated cycle paths have been incorporated into the pavement. In these cases an approved cycle path sign permits the cyclist to use the footway for as long as that path continues.

Where no such cycle path exists cycling on the footway is an offence punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £50. This penalty cannot be applied to areas such as parks, or pedestrianised shopping precincts unless a byelaw has been passed making cycling in such areas an offence.

Government guidance suggests that penalties should not be aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and should only be applied where a cyclist endangers others. In addition, fixed penalty notices cannot be applied to those under 16. A full discussion of the law in this regard can be found here.

It’s worth noting that, should you feel uncomfortable cycling on the road in a particular area, you can always dismount, walk with your bike, and then jump back on when clear of the problem. Alternatively, cycle training can increase your confidence and your understanding of how to ride in traffic.

Which parts of the road can I use?

According to the Highway Code cyclists are permitted to ride two-abreast, but should ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends. All rules for cyclists can be found here – note that those rules which omit the word “must” are advisory rather than compulsory.

It’s important to realise that cyclists are not restricted in law to riding in the part of the road next to the pavement. Confident cyclists take the middle of the lane (also known as primary position) whenever the situation dictates that this is appropriate.

Do I have to use cycle lanes?

Cyclists are not obliged to use cycle lanes, and discretion should be used as to when to use the available infrastructure. Some cycle lanes are poorly thought out or improperly integrated and should be avoided.

Cycling under the influence

It is an offence to cycle on a road when “unfit…through drink or drugs” according to Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.  It is a misconception that you can get points on your driving licence for drunk cycling, but it goes without saying that endangering yourself and others by cycling whilst under the influence is to be avoided.

Cycling furiously

One of those quaintly worded offences that remains part of law is that of “wanton and furious driving”, applying to drivers of carriages (a bicycle, remember, counts as a carriage). Although rare, this offence may be applied where a cyclist injures another party as a result of wilful neglect or misconduct.

Jumping the lights

The rules of the road apply to cyclists just the same as motorists. Cyclists who contravene a traffic signal, which includes going through a red light, and cycling the wrong way on a one-way street, can be issued with a fixed penalty notice. Don’t do it.

What about the bike itself?

At the point of sale, a new bike must be equipped with (amongst other things) a bell, although as soon as it leaves the shop this can be discarded.

When riding in the dark a bike must be equipped with lights and reflectors, including two amber coloured reflectors on each pedal, which may well come as a surprise to those using clipless pedals. In practice of course this legislation is rarely enforced, although it is possible in the event of a nighttime collision that any failure to comply with the full lighting regulations may be regarded as contributory negligence.
NOTE: This post is for information and is not intended as legal advice.

 

Get on your bike and ride social

Riding a bike is a great way to get around, it will improve your fitness, and can help your wallet too. It can also do wonders for your social life. Here are some great mass participation events with something for all types of cyclist.

Charity Rides

There are lots of charity bike rides to choose from, with varying degrees of challenge to suit all abilities. Many are pitched at everyday cyclists, including the likes of the iconic London to Brighton ride organised by the British Heart Foundation. More demanding routes can take several days, including London to Paris, or further afield, cycling (part of) the Great Wall of China.

Sportives

There is an enormous number of sportive events to choose from in the UK, Europe and beyond. The biggest UK event with ambitions to become the London Marathon of cycling is RideLondon. Just like the marathon, demand far outstrips supply, so participants are either lucky in the ballot or take a charity place having pledged to raise a minimum amount.

Sky Ride

Alongside sponsoring the team that propelled Wiggo and Froomey to Tour de France glory, Sky also supports grassroots cycling and mass participation events. They have a calendar of regular guided rides happening all over the country, alongside bigger traffic free events for all ages, and a network of informal social rides. Check them out.

Something a little different

Existing happily alongside the bigger events there are a number of brilliantly quirky ways to enjoy your cycling.

The “semi-organised” Dunwich Dynamo sees riders setting off from London Fields as evening draws in and riding 120 miles to the Suffolk Coast. Many have a quick snooze on the beach before taking the coach back to London.

The Tweed Run is a “metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style”. Well dressed cyclists take to the streets and cycle past some of London’s iconic landmarks stopping for a tea break and a picnic stop along the way, and ending with a bit of a jolly knees-up.

The London Nocturne event includes elite level races, but also more unusual (if just as keenly contested) events for folding bikes, and penny farthings.

Prefer to pedal like crazy without actually going anywhere? Rollapaluza events see cyclists going head to head over short sprints on stationary bikes in a party atmosphere with great music and cheering crowds.

 

So whatever your ability, stamina, experience or nerve, get socialising on your bike and meet a whole world of like-minded folk.

 

A guide to buying kids’ bikes

With so many kids’ bikes now on the market, it can be tough for parents to make the right choice. It’s an important decision because an unsuitable bike will make riding frustrating, uncomfortable and just not fun, and that risks putting them off altogether. Here are a few pointers to make sure they get the right bike that will open up a lifetime of enjoyable cycling.

Get the right size

IMG_0143The single most important consideration is to get the right sized frame. Just like buying clothes for them it can be tempting to go one size up because they grow out of things so quickly. Don’t do it. A bike that is too large will be heavier, more unwieldy and more difficult to ride, particularly for those starting out.

Bikes for small people are measured by the wheel size. Here’s a guide to sizing based on age and/or height, but more important is to test ride the bike and make sure it’s comfortable.

 

Weight

Probably the next most important factor is weight. Go for the lightest bike you can, as this will make the bike simpler to get started, easier to control, and more fun to ride. Putting a child on a bike that weighs as much as your adult bike just ain’t fair and risks putting them off for life. Avoid suspension and other unnecessary extras.

Small brakes for small hands

The best kids’ bikes have scaled down components to suit the rider. Most importantly, look for brakes with a shallow reach that can be easily operated by small hands. Cranks (the arms connecting each pedal to the chainring) should be also be an appropriate length. BMX style bikes with low saddles and long cranks create a riding position which is inefficient and soon becomes uncomfortable.

Ditch the stabilisers

Stabilisers give kids a false sense of being able to ride a bike whilst preventing them from learning the most important skill – balance.  The best way for pre-schoolers to learn is to start them off on a balance bike. For older children learning to ride for the first time, a regular bike can be converted to a balance bike by removing the pedals, and refitting them once they are confident in balancing and steering. If you want a little help getting them going from a professional instructor, take a look at what training’s available.

Show a little love

Having invested in a decent bike, show it some love by keeping it well maintained. These tips for getting the most from your (grown up) bike apply just as well to smaller ones. A smooth, fast ride is an enjoyable one.

Try before you buy

If at all possible get your child to test a number of bikes. This can be the best way of steering them away from the one with the Batman logo, or the one with stunt pegs, or the one with the basket. Put them on a well-fitting light bike and they’ll work out for themselves that it’ll be a pleasure to ride, and they’ll be more likely to ride it if they feel that it was their choice.
Don’t believe it? Here’s how real kids rated bikes from a number of popular brands.

Tune up your ride

Want to recapture the beautifully smooth, effortless ride of a brand new bike? Here are a few simple tweaks you can make to your existing ride to get that fresh-out-of-the shop feeling back again.

Keep it clean

Little and often is the easiest way to keep your bike in good condition, so try to get into the habit of washing it regularly. Pay particular attention to the drive train – the chainrings, sprockets, and the chain itself – as clearing the gunk away from your transmission is the most effective way to improve the efficiency of your machine. Add this to the psychological boost of having a beautiful clean bike and you’ll be flying along like never before.

Keep it lubricated

Just as important as keeping the chain clean is keeping it lubricated. A well oiled chain will run more efficiently and will also pick up less dirt when riding in the wet. Debate rages as to whether WD40 should ever be allowed near your bike, but most agree that a specific bike lube will keep things running smoothly for longer. Apply a drop to each link and be sure to wipe off any excess.

Check your saddle height

Probably the quickest and most effective way for a majority of cyclists to improve their efficiency is to set the saddle to the correct height. Having a saddle too high, or more commonly too low, makes it impossible to transfer your full power through the pedals, meaning you go more slowly for the same effort. An incorrect position on your bike can also be uncomfortable, and even cause injuries in the long term. Despite being such a fundamental part of getting the right bike fit there is no universally accepted method of determining saddle height. Some of the competing theories are detailed here.

Pump it up

Underinflated tyres have greater rolling resistance, meaning you’ll need to work harder to maintain your speed. Pumping them up properly takes just a minute or two and will reap immediate benefits, shaving time of your journey, or at least allowing you to achieve the same speed for less effort. Different tyres will run at different pressures, so check the sidewall of your particular tyres where you should find the recommended pressure range. Here’s a handy guide to correct inflation.

Learn to love your gears

When considering a relatively flat city like London, there’s a good argument to be made that most bikes you’ll see (notwithstanding the recent popularity of fixed gears and single speeds) have many more gears than are necessary. And whilst it’s true that you’ll probably never need all of the 27 gears which are quite common, a large number of riders underuse their gears and could benefit from expanding their range. Pedalling rates (cadences) vary from one rider to another, so let your legs tell you when a change is needed. Churning too big a gear, or spinning too low a gear are both inefficient, and can also lead to injuries, so don’t be afraid to shift up and down regularly to keep a steady rhythm.

By following these few simple steps, for almost zero cost, you can put a new lease of life into your existing bike, and enjoy that new bike feeling all over again.

Cycling with small children

Kids. Change. Everything.

Once those adorable, exasperating bundles of energy have entered your life nothing will ever be quite the same again. The good news for bike loving parents is that the arrival of little people doesn’t have to mean an end to riding. Just strap the kids in and take them with you.

Why cycle with children?

Cycling is simply a great way to get around, and even with kids in tow it can still be the cheapest, healthiest and most convenient

way to do the nursery run, get to the shops, or just go exploring. Cycling with kids from an early age is also a good way to introduce them to the joys of riding a bike: the fresh air, the sensation of being self-propelled, the feeling of freedom and independence.

So what are the options?

There are a bewildering number of different options for transporting children by bicycle, each with their own pros and cons. For simplicity let’s boil them down to 3 main categories: seats, trailers, and cargo bikes.

Bike seats

The most commonly seen bike seat in the UK is the rear mounted type where the child is seated behind the saddle. The seat may be attached to a rack, or else cantilevered from a bracket on the frame.  They will have high backs to support a child’s head (particularly important if little one dozes off) and a harness to strap them in. More common elsewhere in Europe and in the US is the front mounted seat which attaches to the top tube, positioning the child between adult and handlebars.

Ordinarily bike seats would only be used to carry one child at a time, but as this Dutch “supermum” demonstrates, carrying three children plus shopping is possible.

•    Pros: Child is close to you so simple to talk to, and is high up so easy to see and be seen. Quick and easy to attach and detach, and relatively simple to store away when not in use. Inexpensive.
•    Cons: Top heavy so it can take a while to adjust to the way the bike handles. Risk of bike toppling over if left unattended.

Trailers

Bike trailers are like little buggies for either one or two kids which attach to the frame of your bike via a towbar. They will commonly have a cover to keep out the elements when necessary and pockets to store snacks and drinks within easy reach. Most will double up as strollers when detached from the bike.
•    Pros: Lots of room for extra luggage, great for spending the whole day out and about. Trailer is very stable and will remain upright even if the bike falls over.
•    Cons: Two children are within easy squabbling distance of each other. On busy roads some parents may feel uneasy about pulling their offspring behind them and low down to the road. Detaching and storing away can be a little long winded.

Cargo bikes

A popular option in cities such as Amsterdam but still relatively rare in the UK, Cargo bikes are purpose built for transporting two or more kids (or other precious cargo). The most famous is the Christiania bike, named for the Copenhagen hippie enclave where they were first made, but there are lots of different configurations out there, including this ingenious design which converts to a stroller. Availability in London is improving, with specialist shops like London Green Cycles offering a wide range, and some councils (Waltham Forest for example) offering free trials.

•    Pros: Sturdy, stable and durable. Positions the kids in front of you where you can see them. Loads of room and flexible seating options for two or more kids.
•    Cons: Not cheap. Needs a lot of room to store. Doesn’t provide the flexibility of converting back to a regular bike once you’ve dropped the kids off.

Give them the cycling bug

Some of these options involve a considerable investment, but the good news is that quality bike trailers and cargo bikes hold their resale value extremely well. Of course the real benefit to all of this is that before too long they’ll want their own set of wheels, so you can get them off your bike and onto theirs, opening up a lifetime’s enjoyment of cycling as a family.

Is cycle training for me?

Who is cycle training for? The simple answer is that it’s for everyone. By which I mean that pretty much anybody who rides a bike, or would like to ride a bike, will gain something from a lesson with a qualified cycling instructor.

It’s for the kids though isn’t it?

Many people’s standard conception of cycle training will be what used to be known as the cycling proficiency test, and the training of school-age children remains a big part of our work today. Thankfully the rather ad hoc approach to cycling proficiency was replaced with the launch of the National Standard for cycle training in 2003, and it is this structure which guides training in schools under the banner of Bikeability.

IMG_5997Training is also available to adults, and whilst all training will be underpinned by the same National Standard, there is a large amount of flexibility that allows for training to be tailored to the individual needs of each trainee.

 

What if I never learned to ride a bike?

If you never learned to cycle as a child, don’t worry, it’s never too late.  Also, you’re not alone.  You might be surprised to find out that, according to some estimates, around one in ten adults don’t know how to ride a bike. The good news is that one or two sessions with a qualified instructor are usually enough to get a complete beginner pedalling along.

I already ride on the roads so I guess training’s not for me?

Cycling safely and confidently, particularly on the roads of a major city like London, involves much more than mastering the control of your bicycle and learning the rules of the highway code.  Although those two things do clearly make for a good starting point!

Unlike driving a car there’s no test to be taken before you start cycling on the roads (and I’m not proposing that there should be) which means that often even experienced cyclists have never actually stopped to think about the finer details of how they cycle. Like most activities, habits (good and bad) are quickly and easily established. As an example, a very common habit of urban cyclists is to only ever ride in a narrow strip of road within 50cm or so of the kerb. A little time with a cycling instructor spent thinking about how to increase your safety and visibility can modify this behaviour for the better.

Bespoke adviceIMG_6040

The great thing about 1-2-1 cycle training is that each session can be designed bespoke for the individual trainee. If you want to tackle a certain journey your instructor can sit down with you to plan a route before riding it together to provide advice on specific roads and junctions. Perhaps you are unsure of a certain turn or manoeuvre? If so then these can be looked at in detail. You can also spend time considering the existing cycling infrastructure in your area and discuss when’s best (and best not) to use it.

So whether you’re a complete beginner, someone returning to cycling wanting the confidence to use the roads, or an experienced cyclist wanting to make sure that you’re riding as well as you possibly can, take a look at what training’s available near you.

London mayoral election-where does cycling fit in?

On May 5th Londoners will vote to decide their next mayor. Polls suggest that the most important issue for voters is housing, but the issue that is arguably of most direct relevance to Londoner’s day to day lives is transport.

Whilst the candidates will be in broad agreement that London needs more affordable housing, even if they differ on how to achieve it, how to ease the strain on the capital’s creaking transport infrastructure is a much more divisive topic. No more so than when it comes to the role played by cycling. When asked which is the more fractious debate, the EU or cycling, current mayor Boris Johnson replied:  “Oh God, cycling. Unquestionably.”

Before considering the views of the various candidates to succeed Boris, it’s worth reflecting that the polarisation of the debate around cycling tends to work against those campaigning for better provision. We need to shift the debate away from cyclists v non-cyclists and make the case that investment in cycling benefits London as a whole by easing pressure on other modes of transport and freeing up space on the roads. It will also play a part in improving the air pollution that claims the lives of nearly 10,000 Londoners each year.

Get informed

London Cycling Campaign has an excellent summary of where the main candidates stand on the issue.

All are in agreement that some good work has been done over the past mayoral term, and that more can be done to build upon this, in particular with the creation of more segregated bike lanes. Although the Conservatives’ Zac Goldsmith has also suggested he could remove cycle lanes if they weren’t proven to be effective.

All back the expansion of 20mph zones, with the Green Party’s Sian Berry going furthest by proposing a 20mph limit “across London”.

A rush hour ban on HGV’s in central London is proposed by the Greens, and also by Goldsmith as long as it doesn’t create “additional risks” at other times. Caroline Pidgeon for the Liberal Democrats promises to trial this same idea.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan has pledged to increase investment in cycling, as have Pidgeon and Berry, whilst Goldsmith has committed only to protecting current budgets.

Leading by example

Judging on past performance, Caroline Pidgeon has the most impressive pro-cycling credentials having been an outspoken advocate for cycling as a London Assembly Member, and the 2015 winner of LCC’s cycling champion of the year.

Sian Berry has in her own words “worked on green transport for over a decade and backed many LCC campaigns”.

Ask an Olympic champion

In his capacity as policy advisor to British cycling, Chris Boardman has been taking a keen interest in the mayoral contest. He provides a summary of his views in this interview with the Londonist, and you can view his interviews with Pidgeon and Khan on the British Cycling YouTube channel.

For more information on the election you can go to the London Elects website.

Full list of candidates

•    BERRY, Sian Rebecca – Green Party
•    FURNESS, David – British National Party
•    GALLOWAY, George – Respect (George Galloway)
•    GOLDING, Paul – Britain First – Putting British people first
•    GOLDSMITH, Zac – The Conservative Party Candidate
•    HARRIS, Lee Eli – Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol
•    KHAN, Sadiq Aman – Labour Party
•    LOVE, Ankit – One Love Party
•    PIDGEON, Caroline Valerie – London Liberal Democrats
•    WALKER, Sophie – Women’s Equality Party
•    WHITTLE, Peter Robin – UK Independence Party (UKIP)
•    ZYLINSKI, Prince – Independent

See you at the polling station.

Transforming cities through cycling

Radical changes to the way we move around big cities can be brought about quickly and inexpensively.

New York’s not-so-mean streets

This is the somewhat startling message of a new book, Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, by Janette Sadik-Khan who served as New York’s transport commissioner from 2007-2013. During that time she oversaw historic changes to the City’s streets, closing Broadway to cars in Times Square, building nearly 400 miles of bike lanes, introducing a bike hire scheme and creating more than 60 plazas citywide.

 

New York – the most cycle friendly large city in the US

This will come as quite a surprise to anyone who last visited NYC before this revolution took place. When I last cycled there in 2006 it was intimidating to say the least, unsurprisingly given that for most of the previous century the city had been built around the car. The lesson seems to be that if these changes can be achieved in New York, they can be achieved just about anywhere.

So how did Sadik-Khan make it happen? The key lies in rethinking how streets are designed, and, crucially, who they are designed for. Urban transport is, she argues, amid a “Copernican revolution” in which streets are remodelled around human beings, whether walking, cycling or on buses, rather than sitting alone inside a metal box.

New Yorkers took time to come round

The changes made in New York were not universally popular. In fact they faced vociferous opposition from myriad local groups, but polls conducted at the end of Michael Bloomberg’s term as mayor in 2013 show a strong majority of New Yorker’s approved of the transport measures. What’s more, Department of Transport statistics show that there has been an 82% decrease in the risk of serious injury to cyclists over the past decade.

Rethinking the streets helped residents to rediscover that New York City had been ideally suited to walking and cycling all along. The city’s dense design means many trips are short. 10% of car journeys are under half a mile, and 56% are under three miles – distances that can easily be covered on foot or on a bike.

Sadik-Khan also emphasises that transport policy should be measured by more than just how fast traffic is going.  “Our streets have been in this kind of suspended animation. They’re seen as there for all time. The result is that you’ve got dangerous, congested, economically under-performing streets. That strikes at the heart of the liveability and competitiveness of a city.”

And it didn’t cost the earth…

The really revolutionary idea contained in Streetfight is that these improvements don’t require massive budgets, nor decades to implement, nor even a visionary leader. You can make streets safer, more livable, more economically productive by simply adapting the existing space. She urges city planners to be bold, and to try things by making changes which can be quickly put in place and easily reversed if they don’t work out.

For lots more information on this inspiring work see Janette Sadik-Khan’s website, or watch the TED talk below.