The Great Big The Game is Afoot Bike Blog Roundup

Yes, the Olympics have started - for what it's worth - and the world makes its regular discovery that the Dutch will cycle anywhere, although hopefully they will be careful of the drivers. Meanwhile the other game is proving great at getting kids of a certain age outdoors - perhaps time to turn your teenager's bike into a Pokemon Go machine - while at least one bike company realises that cultivating a relationship with female cycling journalists might be a better way at marketing their bikes to women than, say, draping a scantily clad female model over one.

Legacy London

Four years on from 2012, the Ride London Olympics legacy event is really important for what happens the day before when the roads are closed to cars and helmets can dangle free from handlebars - although for some it's also a painful reminder of how car sick much of the rest of London is. There were led rides from all 32 boroughs - including 100+ cycling from Richmond on one ride. Nor was it just London, either - the Coventry Sky Ride opened up its ringroad for cycling too.

If London is going to build a lasting legacy other than a one-day event, it will continue to need leadership, and campaigners are anxiously parsing Sadiq Khan's every word as he announces he will prioritise active travel to tackle pollution and congestion - as well as those of his deputy for transport, Val Shawcross. Even though eighty percent of respondents supported changes to the Hammersmith gyratory, and sixty percent the CS11 from Swiss Cottage to the West End, how the mayor responds will be a key test. He does seem overly focused on the impact on motorists but cycle campaigners and policy makers ignore London's growing congestion at their peril. Meanwhile, London's first quietway seems to have been a quiet success as cycling numbers more than double - while in the UK's other capital, Edinburgh, despited promises of retained cycling access during the festival, cycling along George Street is likely to be a piece of performance art in itself.

Cycling paradises

Closed-road events create one-day cycling paradises, but there are places where relaxed cycling can take place for all ages - even in Scotland. Oxford seems to have built a plain clothes cycling culture through a mixture of off-road routes for longer commutes and on-road city centre routes - while Vienna offers a bit of a mixed bag with nice enough routes where space is plentiful, and the usual compromises (for bikes and pedestrians) where it isn't. An impending arrival concentrates Streetfilms' mind on kids as cargo in Copenhagen - a city which has built 13 bridges in the last decade and not one of them open to cars - while a positive feedback loop between technology and improving cycling infrastructure is helping e-bikes become 'a thing' in Auckland - although even in the hostile suburbs an electric bike means you turn up at your friend's birthday party looking fresh as a daisy, albeit an hour late.

The fact is, the more natural barriers your area has to cycling - the more you need to do to encourage it, not less - with Norway being the prime example. Although when you do get a piece of nice shiny new infrastructure it can make the rest of your city's bike network look a little shabby.

Living in a post-fact world

Meanwhile, those attempting to overcome barriers and build a cycling paradise meet up against implacable opposition from those who use facts as a prop rather than a solid evidence base - although it seems even the anti's agree that cyclists don't want to take 'funny awkward routes' even as they try and propose them (those supporting the Edinburgh Roseburn route should take heart from the long and ultimately successful history of the battle for bike lanes on Bloor). Elsewhere, Newcastle's Northern Access Corridor is planning motorway-scale roads through the heart of the city even though motorised traffic numbers are falling - and citing health care organisations as one of the supposed beneficiaries, bizarrely. As Manchester starts work on Phase 2 of its Oxford Road scheme there are fears that watered down designs will compromise safety. And in Dublin, plans the Liffey cycle route are being hamstrung by an insistence on keeping two traffic lanes while San Diego's bike network will be full of holes because of an insistence on retaining a few parking spots - and even signs asking drivers to give bikes a measley three feet get the goat of some. Of course the daily grind of cycle campaigning goes on as Leeds consults over phase 2 of its City Connect programme and Leeds Cycle Campaign works to make cycling part of the city's transport conversation while CamCycle responds to proposals for the Queen Edith's Way roundabout and the A1307.

Space for people ... or space for parking?

Cars don't get things all their own way though - in Assen, speed bumps are rarely used because policy makers have removed most of the through traffic instead - while Portland decides that as cars would have been a hazard they won't be allowed on its new plaza. Amsterdam has transformed an old carriage parking lot into a place for people and bikes that's becoming a tourist attraction in its own right while Torontoist looks enviously at San Francisco's parklets that transform a parking space into a social gathering space. And anyone worrying about where the cars will park now needn't fret - when it comes to bike lanes, if it's wide enough they'll park in it regardless of whether they're the cops or if the paint is barely dry and the loose glass dust barely swept off it. No the real worry is that the city that's synonymous with cycle stands doesn't seem to have enough of them.

Infrastructure matters

Meanwhile, reminding us how important these things are, a dig into the California cycle crash data shows where the dangers lie - and bike lanes might have prevented North America's first bike share fatality. Portland gets 'crossbikes' alongside its crosswalks (note to UK policy makers, this doesn't mean crossings where you have to shoulder your bike and sprint over an obstacle...) while if they really want to reduce conflict on the Coomber Greenway widening the path would do a lot more than telling people to be nice to each other.

Plans and policies

As World Streets asked if gender parity in transport decision making would transform our cities, having one of the most powerful men in America cycle to work can't hurt much either (is this what is meant by the all-powerful bike lobby?) even as transport emissions overtake power generation as a source of greenhouse gases in the US. But the truth is, the decision making can't just all be one way and whatever your strategy or policy is, if it doesn't deliver then it's all immaterial. That said, despite a lack of funding (or much sense of urgency) Western Australia's cycle network plans should be welcomed - indeed emulated by the cities which don't even have a plan. In Germany, cycling infrastructure comes out of the ghetto and finally forms part of the overall infrastructure plan.

As the ECF launches its 'Journey of Hope' across Europe (not Britain, obviously, we're beyond hope), Skopje signs up to the Cities for Cycling network while the Vision Zero Network has launched a library of resources and case studies to help spread the word. Away from infrastructure, perhaps we need to stop promoting cycling as we have done since the 80s and before - and instead take a plain packaging approach to driving and its unwanted costs - or perhaps we just need more councillors signed up to Space for Cycling principles, and actually putting it into effect

Better bikeshare

Smarter bike share schemes can target the people who don't ride a bike yet - and if you use one in the UK you can have your say now. Meanwhile, as New York expands its scheme beyond the core areas, Streetfilms looks at how to ensure they reach all of society (including MAMILs doing Ride London after their bikes were stolen). We shouldn't forget bike share's radical history - and sometimes even more than sharing bikes, simply giving them away can be powerful - and not just to the poor in distant lands when they could be used at home.

By the lorry load

As Lancaster considers using its new M6 link road as an opportunity to remove heavy lorries from other roads, Glasgow instead uses turning lorries as a reason not to put in contraflow lanes - perhaps it's time both cities considered e-trike cargo deliveries, although we should be aware that bike-based delivery is not always an unalloyed good, at least for those doing the pedalling. And in a move that will delight all UK cyclists of a certain age, it looks like they are bringing back the guard's van, albeit only on American trains ...

The wind in one's hair

As ingenuous new wheeled machines mean anyone can once more enjoy the wind in their hair - as long as accessible routes are there to ride them on - the only thing holding some back is the endless helmet debate as peer pressure means even games in the garden have to be stopped while the kids run in to put their helmets on....

Taking it to the streets

And finally, if filling in consultations and emailing your councillors seems a little dry - there are alternatives, as guerilla bike lanes reach Ramsay Street and guerilla bike riders bring a Birmingham trunk road to a grinding halt (who would have guessed that something would come along to make critical mass look like the helpful good citizens? Young people, eh). But people have been taking to two wheels to prove a point for decades - and not always the people you would think. Meanwhile as one woman runs across America to support a September 11 memorial trail, a solitary chalked ghost bike keeps getting erased - but the battle goes on.