I heard about these a little while ago, then they came to ground again during (another) tube strike.
Whilst i like the idea of encouraging folk, who are too scared to ride on London's roads... actually... hang on, no i don't. i don't like it at all. i encounter enough numpties on my ride in as it is. when they all turn out it's a fucking nightmare.
i can't help thinking the whole thing is flawed, i was listening to the train pimp on the radio this morning extolling the virtues of london's cycle routes. we're not in fucking holland, london's bike routes are shit, they're usually on crap side roads covered in glass and dog shit. they're not a good indication of what it's like to commute in london.
he continued to say that you can ride to most places in london, on bike routes, and hardly encounter any cars. i would abso-fucking-lutely love to see that route.
if i was slightly more christian, i could see the benefit of these trains, getting people out on their bikes, losing some of that fear. but ultimately, riding in london (and most cities i imagine) is scary, there are lots of big petrol powered idiots around with scant regard for your safety, poor surfaces with potholes big enough to swallow up a wheel, shocking traffic flow and yes, dog shit and glass everywhere.
teaching people to ride on the quiet roads could well be a good starting point, but it's only the beginning, you need to ride the rough bits, otherwise your bike isn't empowering, you can't go anywhere you like without consulting cycle maps. you're on rails effectively. it's like saying i will only use the number 12, 36 and 25 buses to get around london, i can get everywhere with those, it may take me 5 hours, but i can do it.
You can't get everywhere with those buses by the way. it's just a metaphor.
let's look at the real barriers to riding in london. i.e. all of the above...