I hope you'll excuse us if this blog round up is even more incoherent as ever - not only was your rounder-upper distracted by the small matter of helping organise Pedal on Parliament - but it was one hell of a week all round. The Vole O'Speed did his best to get us all caught up but even so if I've missed anything, I can only apologise (and try and make amends next week).
Now I know you all want to just wallow in the coverage of Saturday's big bike rides, but as every over-excited child at a birthday party knows, you have to have the sandwiches before you can have the cake and ice cream, so first we need to consider the small matter of the Transport Select committee. Joe Dunckley thought he knew what the ministers would say but even the all-seeing and all knowing War on the Motorist did not predict the sheer jaw-dropping effrontery of what they actually said. As Easy as Riding a Bike was too baffled event to respond but Drawing Rings is made of sterner stuff and then goes into more detail, while the Dutch Cycling Embassy also quickly chimed in. Bike Biz helpfully includes a full transcript. There were more sensible people there than our actual politicians - like Jon Snow, but generally the bloggers were unimpressed - Cycalogical thinks making Mike Penning Road Safety Minister is like putting Harold Shipman in charge of the care of the elderly while the Cycling Silk attempts to place our politicians on the Huppert-Pickles axis. The only small glimmer of good news to come out of the whole shoddy affair was that Ministers are at least to act on dangerous junctions.
Saturday's rides weren't the only bike protests this week - with the fallout from the Addison Lee affair providing a nice appetiser. Help my chain came off was at the die in (and got cut up by an Addison Lee cab on the way home). Road.cc reported the protest in some detail while Wheels Pedals Person looked at the court's decision on the use of bus lanes. The Road Danger Reduction Forum explained why the whole fiasco is so important while I pay Road tax considered how Addison Lee could repair its relations with cyclists. Cyclists in the city asked when Boris Johnson would act - and explained how Add-Lee's chairman, John Griffin, was wrong that there was no room for cycle routes in London. But in the end, the last word went to London's own traffic, which ensured that John Griffin was 'rather wonderfully' stuck in traffic for his live radio debate with Sustrans. The sound of cyclists up and down the country shouting 'should have come by bike' at their radios must have been heard in Broadcasting House.
But then again, this was the week when cyclists spoke - or pedalled - with one voice. In the run up to the big day yesterday, Charlie Holland (lucky chap) was touristing in his own city while Bike Minded Kensington was seeing what Budapest's Critical Mass has achieved with up to 30,000 cyclists at a time and I Speak Bike happened to have the perfect outfit. On the day itself, i bike london led out the ride while Charlie found Picadilly Circus had never been so quiet as when 10,000 people were passing through it ... on bikes. As tens of thousands of people in London, Edinburgh and Rome got on their bikes, Cyclists in the city said the status quo is no longer good enough.
North of the border, they'd have to agree with the largest and happiest demonstration ever outside Scotland's parliament, attended by (among 2,995 others) Joe Blogs, Jon's Page, Just Sitting (who wants to know if we can do it all again next week), Roger Hyam (who'd be cancelling his newspaper subscriptions if he ever bought any) and the darker side. Anth was not the only organiser to feel relieved.
There will be more blog posts from all concerned rolling in next week, I have no doubt, but if you're still putting together your Big Ride or Pedal on Parliament video together and need a soundtrack Downfader's here to help. And if you're disheartened by the lack of visible progress, don't despair - it's exactly how Amsterdam and Copenhagen got to be the way they are.
In the short term, in case you had forgotten, the real purpose of the rides was not just a fabulous day out but to remind you to vote bike, particularly in the London elections. As the mayoral candidates scrambled to sign up to 'go dutch, with the Evening Standard explaining admirably what this might mean, even Boris pledged his support - but can he be trusted to implement it?. Perhaps its not our politicians' minds we need to change but our politicians? And if you're not voting locally on Thursday then even better - you can follow Sutton's lead and start planning ahead.
Politics, in the end, is as much local as national (and supra national). Starting with the good news for local communities, Waltham Forest is to go all Amsterdam on us (and I can't be the only one who desperately missed Freewheler when that news came out). It was mostly bad news, though from the tolerance of pavement parking in Brent to the continuing assault on bus lanes, this time in Sheffield, to the combined bike paths and loading bays of Bath. As the Times reveals the worst roads for cycling in the UK, As Easy as Riding a Bike looks at the lessons of Milton Keynes, while the People's Front of Richmond sees some of the subtler ways in which a car culture restricts local development. And we missed this earlier but it's important - how Southwark Council is making things worse for cyclists while Cambridge police are refusing to clamp down on speeders in Cambridge's 20mph zone. At least Hastings cyclists have arranged a swap with their Dutch counterparts - perhaps they can swap road safety tips as well.
Enough of politics, let's talk economics. The Invisible visible man wonders if it's the lack of a revenue stream that's holding back cycling, while the Grumpy Cyclist wondered when we started granting rights on a pay as you go basis. As the Swedes toy with a fantastic 'nudge' idea in the form of a speed camera lottery the evidence for cyclists - even those of us knocking around on second-hand bikes - as good consumers continues to pile up. Perhaps the ultimate owners of this huge pile of bikes destined for Africa will be the same. Meanwhile, if you are buying a practical bike, new or old, Lovely bike has some tips for you
Meanwhile, over the North Sea, Bicycle Dutch has been looking down on cyclists in Utrecht while Copenhagenize reminds us what a real bicycle superhighway looks like - perhaps that's why there are no cyclists in Copenhagen? Is this the best bike parking in the world? For a coffee addict, this Manchester bike parking cafe might come close? And further afield, from the bottom of a steep hill in San Francisco, a defence of the electric bike.
Thinking more philosophically, the Cycling and Society symposium programme has been announced while Thinking about Cycling becomes a person on a bike in South West Ireland. Cycalogical thinks logically about the about the ineffectivenes of training.