guest blogger cycling with heels Jude Burke profile q and a

In a new series of guest bloggers for the London Cycling Campaign, we find out a bit more about Jude Burke, also known as Cycling with Heels.

Do you remember your first bike and how you learnt to cycle?

Everyone remembers their first time…but I have absolutely no recollection of it whatsoever. Read Jude's answer in a previous blog post.

 

What was your first memory / impression of cycling in London?

I first started cycling in London in early 2002. A friend was cycling to work at the time, and she convinced me I should give it a go. I remember going to Halfords in Brixton (where I was living at the time) just to have a look at bikes – only to come out of the shop having bought one. It was, I think, a green Apollo women’s bike and it cost about £100. At the time I thought it was a lot of money to spend on a bike, whereas now I realise how cheap it was. The first time I took it for a ride was pretty terrifying. At one point, I was riding in the bus lane along Brixton Road and a bus beeped at me from behind. I thought he was beeping at me because I wasn’t allowed in the bus lane, so I got off my bike and phoned my friend to ask her. In reality I imagine he was beeping because I was probably going really slowly.

 

Has that impression changed now and if so, how?

I’m no longer scared of buses! In fact, I’m not really scared at all. Cycling in London does take confidence, and that comes through experience. For a long time I didn’t like turning right, particularly across wide roads, so I would plan long convoluted routes to avoid it. I also didn’t like going round roundabouts, and would steer clear of those too. Then one day I found myself at one completely by accident, and figured I just had to get over my fear. I did the same with right turns, too.

 

What’s the best thing that has happened to you from cycling?

 Hmm…probably that all this cycling keeps me fit and in shape.

 

What style and colour bike(s) do you have?

I only have one bike, though if I had more space I’d have more. Mine is a brown 2006 Specialized Crossroads Elite. Amazingly I’ve had it for 6 years and it hasn’t been nicked. Yet.

 

Does your bicycle have a name?

My trusty steed.

 

Tell us what your 3 great things about cycling in London are. 

The freedom of not being limited by tube routes or train timetables.

I save on travel costs.

It’s a great way of finding my way around and getting to know different areas of the city

 

If you could change one thing about cycling in London, what would it be?

  Better infrastructure/more segregated cycle paths

 

How do you rate the cycle routes and paths around where you live and work?

The ones that are there are great – but they’re pretty limited.

 

How accessible do you think it is for people to start cycling?

It’s getting better. Particularly round where I live (in Stoke Newington) increasing numbers of people are cycling and I think that can encourage other people to take it up too. But more needs to be done. There’s still a very widespread view that cycling is too dangerous. Unless there’s a significant investment in infrastructure, then safety is probably going to continue to be a big barrier to cycling.

 

Do you have any advice / words of wisdom for people thinking about taking up cycling?

It’s not as dangerous as you may think it is! It will probably feel pretty scary at first, but once you get used to it, it will get better. Start out by riding at the weekends, on quiet roads, before tackling the main roads or rush hour. Cycle training can also help you to have confidence.

 

Jude blogs about cycling and living in the city at www.cyclingwithheels.wordpress.com

Are you blogging about cycling in the city or would like to write articles for London Cycling Campaign, please send an email to info@lcc.org.uk

Become a supporter of London Cycling Campaign - to help make London a more liveable city for cyclists and pedestrians.

Post a reply

Sign in to post a reply.