Thursday, 21 April 2011

Angus in London

In my last post I wrote about taking up cycling as part of a plan to escape penury. It worked. I got out of the financial hole I was in, and took my bike when I moved back to London to work at the BBC in White City. I moved into a beautiful house in Crouch End, which is now my favourite part of the city.
Angus, a 3-speed bicycle
Home - Glasslyn Rd

I like cycling in London. It has a tangle of smaller streets around the main arteries, and many of these are closed by bollards at one end to prevent larger vehicles passing through, which leaves them quiet and safe for cyclists. If you need further assistance navigating safe routes throughout the city, the Mayor's office distribute maps which show quiet streets suggested by other cyclists.

What really recommends cycling in any city are the things you see and hear around the streets, particularly on a bike with an upright riding position. Early one Sunday morning I was riding through a residential street in Highgate, and I stopped at a junction near three shabby middle-aged drinkers. Their staggering gait and rumpled appearance strongly suggested that they were valiantly extending their Saturday night celebrations, but two of them - a man and a woman - were clearly losing motivation and lagging behind a more enthusiastic leader who was dressed in a manner strongly reminiscent of Compo from Last of The Summer Wine.  I wait at a junction as these three walked on a nearby pavement, and one of the laggers shouts ahead, "are you sure this is the way?"
Compo replies in an Irish accent. "Ah yes, this is definitely the way." He looks around and notices me. "He told me we'll see a man on a bicycle at the end of the street and it's just up ahead after that."

I continued to use my bike as part of my journey to work. In addition to saving a few bob, this releases you from delays imposed by traffic and public transport, so you can be more consistent with the time you arrive for work, and when you get home. The BBC has a free shuttle bus service for its employees that go between the various BBC buildings, so I would ride my bike to Broadcasting House, near Oxford Circus, put my bike in the secure lock-up there, and catch the bus to Media Centre in White City. My route to work was brilliant. Here are some photos from it.

the city from Suicide Bridge, Hornsey Lane

Highgate Cemetery

Chester Road

the entrance to Holly Village

Holly Village

Red brick multi at Malden Crescent

Waiting for traffic lights to change to cross over to Malden Crescent, I notice a couple on a scooter getting frisky


Oval Road, by Gloucester Crescent, where Alan Bennett lives

Sculptural pediment of Regent's Park terrace

Passing Regent's Park

  Terrace on the Outer Circle

Park Crescent

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Building on Portland Place

Falun Gong protesters outside RIBA, opposite Chinese Embassy

All Souls
Broadcasting House - Destination

Bike parked


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This post is epic. You win 100 points.

  3. Sweet pics of Highgate, we are on Swains Lane, literally 2 mins walk from Holy Village and the Cemetery! Enjoying your posts Ben and when I have enough pennies I too shall buy a bike!