Hannah is a project officer working on improving walking and cycling in London and has been with Sustrans since March 2018. In this blog, she shares how London Quietways have changed the way she travels in the city she loves.
Having lived in London my whole life, I have experienced first hand London's developing cycling and walking infrastructure, and attitudes towards it.
I have been cycling in London for over 12 years and my two-wheeled journeys have taken me across multiple areas of the city, from central London to various far-flung outer boroughs; north, south, east and west.
I've watched with growing interest as cycling infrastructure in London has emerged, evolved and improved. I've enjoyed cruising along cycle superhighways and pootling around my local "mini-Holland". However, I didn't expect any new initiatives to revolutionise my experience and entire perception of cycling in London.
Quietway 2 has revolutionised my commute
The revolution to my commute came in the form of Quietway 2 (Q2). Linking Walthamstow to Bloomsbury, Q2 is my new route to work at Sustrans' London office in Farringdon, offering a pleasant journey.
I have been cycling from Walthamstow to Central London and the City for six years, primarily via main roads. I'm very used to jostling with traffic and wrestling for space, so you can see why it had never occurred to me that my daily commute could be peaceful, relaxed, safe, and spacious.
When cycling on the Quietway, I almost forget the dicey, stressful, smoggy struggle that is, all too often, the norm for many busy roads on my usual commute in the capital. Instead, I find the miles tick by serenely.
Furthermore, my new saunter has not seen an increase in travel time. The route is pretty direct and where I may lose time making more turns, I save time avoiding repeated traffic lights and congestion.
I have a lasting dilemma over wearing a pollution mask. I have no love for the sweaty, stinky neoprene nose-bag, however, I am also deeply troubled by my growing knowledge of the negative health impacts of vehicle exhaust fumes.
On the Quietway, that dilemma is removed. I can cycle eight miles through London completely mask-free and breathing freely, without the usual wincing as I choke down lungfuls of diesel.
Cycling for everyone
I also enjoy the diversity of the Quietway users. Amongst the commuters are children on their way to school, parents pushing buggies, people popping to the shops; walkers and cyclists of all kinds, from toddlers on tricycles to riders in lycra and everything in between. It's genuinely lovely to share this space in a relaxed and considered way with so many users and to experience the sense of community and connectivity that comes with it.
To conclude, I am a Quietways convert.
The Quietways initiative is redefining active travel in the capital as the nourishing, energising, pleasurable experience it should be, which is key to getting more Londoners walking and cycling.
I love cycling and walking in London and I'm excited to continue to be part of travelling down, creating and shaping and generally taking back healthy London streets that benefit everyone.