The Embassy's 'Greatest Hits' Blog Roundup

For this week's Blog Roundup we're digging back into the archives, to look at some of the best bits of blogging about cycling you might have missed, or that are worth reading again. Call it our Greatest Hits, if you like!

The best writing is really about changing minds, attitudes and perceptions, and that's something that all these blogs have in common. Taken together, the writing on these (and indeed other) blogs amounts to a tremendous resource, produced for the most part by amateurs - people writing, explaining and investigating in their own time.

This is by no means a comprehensive account - just some of the Embassy's favourites. If there's other fantastic blogging out there that's not mentioned here, please let us know, either in the comments, or by contacting us directly - we'd like to do a Roundup of your choices.

A View from the Cycle Path

There's perhaps no better place to start than David Hembrow, an Englishman in the Netherlands, whose blogging has been tremendously influential in shattering myths about Dutch infrastructure and in changing attitudes in Britain. He has handily put all the myths and excuses about cycling infrastructure in one post, but other posts that merit a read include Three Types of Safety (about the importance of the distinction between statistical, and perceived, safety), 100% Segregation of Bikes and Cars (about how the Dutch manage to reduce interactions with motor traffic, everywhere) and Campaign for Sustainable Safety, not Strict Liability (written with Mark Wagenbuur, who we'll come to below).

Rachel Aldred

Rachel Aldred is an academic who has done a wonderful job creating simple translations of (Dutch) cycling policy that can be applied in Britain. In particular, When do cyclists need protected space? is a clear and unambiguous explanation of the basic requirements for good cycling conditions, across a network - with a follow-up post about the 2,000 PCU threshold, and using it for campaigning. Rachel has also blogged persuasively, amongst other things, about the problems with Advanced Stop Lines, and the reversed transport priorities in Britain.

Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest

Now apparently in retirement, Crap Waltham Forest was a magnificently angry and spleen-venting blog about the dire state of cycling in London, and Britain more generally. His series of eight posts on What Won't Bring About Mass Cycling asked hard questions about the effectiveness of interventions like 20mph limits, shared space, strict liability, cycle training, vehicular cycle campaigning, safety in numbers, and legislation and education. But there was also positivity - particularly his post explaining how David Hembrow changed his mind. (And we wonder what he might think of changes in Waltham Forest today!)


Mark Wagenbuur is a Dutchman who blogs in English; his posts (and videos) are a fantastic insight into Dutch cycling infrastructure, and the history of cycling in the Netherlands. Two historical posts in particular stand out - How the Dutch Got their Cycle Paths, and Amsterdam Children Fighting Cars, both of which show that the Netherlands hasn't always been a cycling paradise, and that improvements have had to be fought for. It's hard to choose other posts from Mark's vast collection, but Who Else Benefits from Dutch Cycling Infrastructure? stands out as a wonderful explanation of the mobility benefits for all of a well-designed cycling environment.  


David Arditti has a long history as a cycle campaigner in London, and his posts are also long, but informative and persuasive. His history of the Tavistock place cycle tracks, in the context of changes in British cycle campaigning, is well worth a read, as is another historical post (even deeper into the past) - 1934, the moment it all went wrong for cycling in the UK. David also blogs thoughtfully about policy - see, for instance, his post about whether it matters if we get cyclists out of the way of cars.

Pedestrianise London

Paul James now lives in the Netherlands; his blog is a great resource for details on Dutch cycling infrastructure. In particular his handy one-post summary of what the Dutch do where is well worth looking at. Paul has also blogged about Sustainable Safety for the Embassy.    


'A picture paints a thousand words' might be a truism, but it certainly applies for Bikeyface, who beautifully captures alternative realities, as well as the insanity of existing roads. Particular highlights include If I Owned the Road, A Zoo, Redesign, and A Place to Ride.  

Thinking about Cycling  

Another blog by an academic, Thinking about Cycling is written by Dave Horton, one of the authors of the Understanding Walking and Cycling Report. His posts on Cycling Struggles - the difficulties people have in simply getting around in Britain by bike - are well worth a read, as is his tremendous post on Different Worlds.

Alternative Department for Transport

The very first post on this blog set the tone, showing how an amateur can design a junction in a way that will minimise death and serious injury (and yet councils and professionals apparently can't, or don't care). It's had to single out particular posts, but perhaps the best include Dutch scenes in a British context, and Franklin and Forester quotes in a Dutch context.

Ranty Highwayman

A great resource, a blog on streets, roads, engineering and planning from a professional, who likes to see things done properly. Rethinking the little things is a great example of his work, as is Kerb your enthusiasm - all your kerb geekery, in one place. And while we're in technical mode, you might also like to look at posts by another highway engineer for the Embassy, particularly the one on priority for cycling at side roads.

At War with the Motorist

The home of some tremendous blogging by Joe Dunkley, including a visual reminder of how Britain always seems to be having a cycling revolutionIf you build it they will come, and almost everything you could ever want to read on fallacies about cycle helmets (and why Dutch people who wear helmets appear to be self-harming)

Kats Dekker

Katja Leyendecker is currently researching cycling infrastructure and gender, and her fascinating posts often reflect that - this post is a clear explanation of how quality of infrastructure and gender equality go hand-in-hand, while this one shows that there is a bigger broader problem of suppressed cycling in general.

Lo-Fidelity Bicycle Club

A fantastic blog written by the founder of the Embassy, Jim Davis, who combines insightful commentary with black (or should that be bleak?) humour. Start with his series of posts on Why People in the UK don't Cycle.

Beyond the Kerb 

Bez's posts on Beyond the Kerb are always detailed, clear and insightful. Two examples stand out - Cut the Crap examines the dreadful hypocrisy of building crap infrastructure that people cycling are told to avoid using, while Real Cyclists and Real Problems gets to the heart of the issue on pavement cycling.    


In a post we've already mentioned, Rachel Aldred has set out why Advanced Stop Lines are not a particularly useful intervention - but Magnatom goes slightly further in calling them the Spawn of Satan. And who are we to disagree? 

iBikeLondon and Cyclists in the City

Two top London bloggers who have played a huge role in the changing landscape in the capital. Mark started to get the debate rolling with a post entitled (amazing as it may seem now) Is the LCC pro cycle lanes or not?. He's also written many great posts, like Hoping, not Coping. Danny of Cyclists in the City is also a prolific and influential blogger - it's well worth reading his summary of blogging on Blackfriars Bridge, the issue where it all started in London.

Accidento Bizarro

Diverse and engaging blogging here on a variety of topics, but two particular highlights - a thoughtful post on the issues surrounding 'Women Only' cycle events and campaigning, and a succinct demolition of those bandwagon-jumping columnists who just keep getting in the way.

Subversive Suburbanite

Finally, a blog that I've only recently discovered - Subversive Suburbanite is based in Enfield, and much of her current output is on the subject of trying to change attitudes in a Mini Holland Borough. Children are traffic too! is a great summary of these issues, as well as providing the refreshing perspective of a child on traffic and transport.  


And a reminder - if there's anything you think we've missed in trawling through the archives, let us know!


Definitely worth adding a link to aseasyasridingabike too.  (Is it your own blog?)


Mark, what would be your personal top five of your own posts on Aseasyas? Or rather, which posts would you recommend to newcomers to your blog?

Although covering road danger for all vulnerable road users, Vision Zero London has covered some important cycling issues, such as misspending of Cycling money by Islington Council and the way Local Authorities have neutered the Central London Cycling Grid.