Dis-Connected Croydon put on the rack over cycle installation

ANDREW DICKINSON got on his bike when he saw the latest example of ill-considered spending of public money on the streets of South Croydon

Don’t get me wrong. As a cyclist, I want to see more cycle lanes and secure bike parking and that whole Amsterdam-ish cycling vibe in Croydon.

The car-shaped bike rack at South End: did no one at Croydon Council consider the bitter irony that 14 cyclists were killed on London streets in 2013, the majority in collisions with motor vehicles

The car-shaped bike rack at South End: did no one at Croydon Council consider the bitter irony that 14 cyclists were killed on London streets in 2013, the majority in collisions with motor vehicles?

Hell, I’ve even designed a Croydon bike that uses all the letters in the word “Croydon” in the shape of the design. I just need someone to build it and potentially kick-start a small manufacturing industry in town.

I even look forward to the day when Croydon hosts an annual international cycling grand prix with the peloton bombing down Wellesley Road as the parcours takes them on a circuit around town.

What has annoyed me is the appearance of the new bike parks that have been positioned near the Swan and Sugarloaf in South End. Not the fact that they are there, but these light and dark blue car-shaped bike parks, by design, are completely out of context. They look like they have fallen off the back of a van on the way to the local children’s playground, such is the kindergarten appearance of them.

It feels to me as if someone has said these bike parks look cheap and childish, but let’s see if we’ll get away with such a design and colour scheme in Croydon. The joke is on us! Why could they not be a simple, classic, stainless steel? Even the car shape would look better in a neutral material.

The car shape is meant to represent that one car space is the equivalent of 10 bike spaces. With Boris Bikes yet to reach Croydon, then in the long term, these bike racks show that they are potential sites for the hire scheme.

It seems the colour scheme is the one adopted by “Connected Croydon”, the council-run project that is spending the Mayor of London and Transport for London’s regeneration cash. The same colour scheme features on the “We are improving South End” leaflet that is doing the rounds. By extension, then, would that mean that if their chosen colour scheme was a fetching lime green and lurid pink, the bike parks would also be in those colours?

In the same leaflet, some of the artist’s impressions show the regular stainless steel bike parking stands and then bespoke cycle stands which look like apples and pears. Mmmm… a food theme in a restaurant district. Who would have thought it?

Another concern is that these bike racks are painted. As more cyclists are encouraged and the usage of these racks increases, they will scratch and chip, and will look scruffy and need painting again. So we have been saddled with the maintenance of them.

The good news is that they are only bolted down and not sunk into the new paving, so removing them and replacing with a more tasteful design, more in keeping with a  restaurant district, should be straightforward.

I hope that in the cool light of a Croydon morning, the Connected Croydon team see that a better design could have been chosen and are brave enough to change them.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Boris Bikes, Boris Johnson, Commuting, Connected Croydon, Croham, Croydon Cycling Campaign, Cycling, Environment, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Parking, Planning, South Croydon Community Association, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Dis-Connected Croydon put on the rack over cycle installation

  1. Peter Rogers says:

    From a practical point of view these strangely shaped bike racks also make it difficult to secure both wheels to the rack – nothing against Croydon but experience and paranoia make me security conscious

  2. davidcallam says:

    Who chose this design? It’s hideous, crass and typical of how people from outside the borough see Croydon. Will TfL be installing these carbunkles in Kensington or Hampstead, or even Wimbledon Village? I suspect not.

  3. Normally one would avoid unnecessary metalwork as it is a hazard, particularly for cyclists/motorcyclists who fall off.

  4. mraemiller says:

    I like it it’s fun and I dont think it’s particularly brash.

    Our streets are full of utterly revolting street furniture but no one bats an eyelid if it looks functional. But if it was purely functional no one would notice it and the political point it is trying to get over.

    Funny isnt it the council remove one of the many “ghost bikes” that litter London with their white painted steel ugliness and you’re up in arms… The state pays for a steel painted piece of visual propaganda to promote cycling and you’re not happy either even though it’s about 50% less ugly. When are you happy?

    Honestly I dont think it’s a bad piece of art. What you dont like about it is it’s fun. Or perhaps it shows cars and bikes sharing the same space instead of coldly echoing a mantra about death and guilt.

  5. They certainly look interesting! I hope you’ve actually written to the council directly with your concerns and suggestions – although I’m sure they read this, it doesn’t actually count unless you contact them directly… As always, printed paper letters are the best way over emails or phone calls.

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