I feel like I’m tempting fate horribly here, but what the heck. A change of routine here at 853 Towers has seen me get back into the commuting life once again. But now I can do something I couldn’t do last time I was regularly chugging across the capital. I can take the bike some of the way, and save myself a few quid.
Back in November 2010, I bemoaned the lack of places to park a bike at North Greenwich station. For years, one set of crappy stands full of half-nicked cycles proved an uninspiring invitation to get onto two wheels. So, while I cursed the lousy bus journey or simply took the mainline train instead, there wasn’t really much of an incentive to get a bike and do something about it.
But as I created that post, the ground was already being whipped away from beneath my feet. A slew of new racks appeared outside Ravensbourne college, while outside the TfL building at Pier Walk another set appeared. Suddenly, cycling to North Greenwich seemed, well, doable.
And so it’s proved. With a favourable wind and kind traffic, I can race down to North Greenwich in about 11/12 minutes, half the time it’d take by bus and a third of the walking time. I can gawp at the Greenwich Millennium Village residents who still wait in huge numbers for a bus to go one stop (after 10 years, I still don’t know why) before swerving around their more sensible neighbours walking down one of London’s daftest cycle lanes, the one that looks more like a pavement than a pavement.
Coming home, I can ride along the Thames, listening to the river lap against the shore. It’s the best of all worlds and a reason why this part of London is frankly amazing.
Obviously when it chucks down with rain, and the Jubilee Line implodes, I’ll have a different view. But in the meantime, it’s £20/month off a travelcard and keeps me well away from Southeastern.
As for the cycle parking – over a year on, very few people seem to have cottoned on to the extra space. The Ravensbourne racks are well-used by their students and under the watchful eye of the O2’s guards, but hardly anyone else seems to use them. As for the TfL racks, which have CCTV cameras on, a grand total of no bikes at all were parked there at 9.10am yesterday.
By accident, without any deliberate planning, the area around North Greenwich station may have become SE10’s best place to park a bike. Fairly safe, plenty of security, plenty of spaces. Better than the guarded National Maritime Museum racks, better than the post outside the Pelton Arms with a camera trained on it. All by accident.
Now, if someone actually planned some decent cycle parking up there, imagine how good it could be!