Photo: CJ Isherwood
In 2010 London’s roly-poly major Boris Johnson launched his Cycling Revolution with the aim of achieving a 400 per cent increase in two-wheeled peddling action in the capital by 2026 compared to 2001’s levels.
A number of factors have combined to ensure that Boris’s target will be met well ahead of schedule, much like Sir Chris Hoy powering past his opponents in the Olympic Velodrome to dip for another gold medal.
Firstly, the ‘Boris Bike’ scheme has been a success – in July the rentals hit the 1m figure for the first time in 24 months, having averaged 600,000 beforehand. Not bad considering there are only 8,000 to hire at any one time.
These times of austerity have made the ‘Boris Bikes’ an appealing mode of cheap transport around London for commuters and tourists alike, and this was most keenly felt over the Olympics – helped by Transport For London posters which had shrieked of expected delays on public transport.
Though the travelling difficulties never – thankfully – materialised, as many capital dwellers chose to escape the Games madness, the appetite for cycling only increased this summer thanks to the heroics of Team GB and Bradley Wiggins, who became Britain’s first-ever Tour de France winner.
Indeed, the number of journeys made by bike has doubled from 2000 to 2012 and now stands at over 540,000 trips a day, according to the Economist.
Being a sucker for a popular movement – but too cautious to be a trail blazer, in any sense – I have decided to hop on and cycle to work.
It’s been a great success so far, and made easier by some of the kit from German-based company Vaude, who know a thing or two about bike gear. With the winter weather front swirling you, too, will want to become acquainted with Vaude.
Now everyday, over my nicely ironed shirt, I zip up my red Spray Jacket III (£130 – pictured) and I’m protected from the elements. It’s sexy, breathable and stops any puddles or muck from dirtying my clothes.
What’s really neat is that it has an extended tail, so you won’t reach the office with an embarrassing – and undetectable – bottom stain. And if you really catch the cycling bug this lightweight jacket is just as useful off-road and down mountains.
Additionally I thought the Aquarius 6 – a water bearer / back sack with a mouthpiece (£65) – would be essential, especially on a hungover cycle. This rehydration system is tiny, though holds a staggering six litres.
Not only can you restrict it’s use to cycling either: it’s ideal for runs around the park or walking excursions outside London.
Together these two items have helped convince me to be part of Boris’s cycling revolution. Now, as well as being well hydrated and splash-free, I’m hooked.