#CommutingSucks - Race for space for London’s cycling population

Posted 16 June 2016 by Helen Christie

National Bike Week takes place from 11 – 19 June 2016, with an emphasis on encouraging people to cycle to work...

WhatHouse? looks at the benefits for cyclists of new homes in London and how cycling can impact on how we live, work and plan for the future of cities.  

With train delays, tube strikes and the weather finally taking a turn for the better, more and more people choose cycling as their preferred means of commuting, the number of bikes on the streets, at the office and in homes naturally increases. While many new builds are required to provide adequate space to house bikes, the majority of the capital’s housing stock is ill-equipped to do so.

Brompton has analysed the average purchase price and the average rental cost in every London borough to calculate the cost of keeping a bike within the property, usually within a hallway or on a balcony.

If your commute involves a train as well as your bike, it’s a good idea to check in advance about your trains restrictions. Trying to get even a folded bike on a busy commuter train is not always feasible. Some train services have restrictions on bicycles on trains, and while folded bikes are able to be taken on any train, unfolded bikes cannot generally be taken on trains during peak time, and are not allowed on the London underground.

There are plenty of folding bicycles available The Brompton bike can be folded to a third of its size making it perfect for high density living as the bikes can be carried on tubes, buses and trains as part of an integrated multi-modal journey to work and once there, stored neatly under the desk. It was even a Londoner who has designed the lightest folding bike, the Hummingbird.

Stephen Loftus, CMO of Brompton comments: “Cycling has clear benefits to all those who live in cities, but space in cities costs money. Looking at the amount of square footage that is given over to store bikes, in hallways, on balconies and in other rooms, a folding Brompton bike can free up valuable space both at home and at work.”

A London cyclist spends, on average £43.74 per month on the space for their bike, and £9731.92 of the average purchase price of a house in London accounts for the space a cyclist would require to store one full sized bike.

Brompton Bicycle is also looking to help employers and property developers provide cycle hire and storage in a compact and space efficient way, through Brompton Bike Hire’s Dock and Locker solutions. There are other locations around London, such as The Cycle Hub in East Croydon.

The City of London also provides free 24-hour cycle parking in several staffed car parks around the city, including London Wall by the Museum of London, Baynard House just north of Blackfriars Station and Tower Hill Car Park.  

Howard Crosskey of the Royal Institute of British Architects says: “These are conservative estimates when you look at the size of new build properties particularly. With the average new build one-bedroom flat now occupying the same floor area as a tube train carriage, smart storage solutions become even more critical.”

The calculations are based on averages and the price discrepancies between different areas of London lead to some predictable results. Covent Garden is the most expensive area to rent the space to keep a bike at £111 per month with Westminster a close second on £106. The cheapest places to store bikes in rented accommodation are Abbey Wood at £22, Thamesmead at £23.60 and Plumstead at £24 per month.

The calculations are based on TFL’s recommended area for bike storage which is 1.4 square metres and the total area for a dwelling as recommended in the GLA’s London Housing Design Guide for new premises.

For those of you wanting to jump on your bike during National Bike Week, there are plenty of events going on around the capital and the rest of the country – including a Naked Bike Ride.


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