Pinboard: The Latest on Boris Bikes (And Say Hello, Wave Goodbye to Your Resolutions?)

Back in September our writer Tim Sowula launched his petition to get the Barclays Bike scheme extended through Kentish Town …

These streets were made for cycling.
These streets were made for cycling…

Back in September our writer Tim Sowula launched his petition to get the Barclays Bike scheme extended through Kentish Town to the Heath.

He has now had a response from Boris Johnson, who says: “I view the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme as an expanding programme subject to topography, operational considerations and available funding. As part of the recent expansion of the cycle hire network, the scheme saw an extension to Camden Town, with the northernmost docking station on Castlehaven Road towards Chalk Farm. Any further extension of the scheme would be dependent on the factors listed above. In the meantime, I continue to encourage those with financial backing and strong proposals to contact TfL directly so that they are able to investigate the possibility of expanding the scheme.”

We agree with Tim and the Green Party that this response is not good enough. The Camden Green Party has just issued a press release criticising Boris for dodging responsibility.

Boris Bikes“This is a disappointing response from the Mayor,” says Cllr Maya de Souza. “If he wants to claim credit for the scheme and allow his name to be so associated with it, then he should equally take responsibility and act decisively when clear arguments are put to him. There’s no rationale in terms of topography to not have bikes here, and we feel that given that the scheme would have had to be extended only around a mile and a half from its current boundary, the long-term return would more than justify the initial investment.”

Cllr de Souza added: “As well as residents, the petition has backing from the Camden Labour and Tory parties, as well as the Camden Cycling Campaign. With this broad coalition of political support for something that makes such clear sense, we are confident that we can persuade our Mayor to take this issue seriously.”

Tim Sowula has pledged he will continue to try and put pressure on the Mayor and TfL: “I’m going to be talking to more local community groups and businesses to see how we can make our case even stronger. We will also see how we can exert some pressure through the Council.”

If anyone is interested in helping, please contact Tim (@timsowula) or leave a message in our comments below. But of course, the easiest, quickest, cheapest way you can all help is to encourage more of your friends, colleagues, contacts, twitter followers to sign the petition here.

Flaxon Ptootch2. Now, Let’s Party Like It’s 2012. Wonderful nocturnal gallery Flaxon Ptootch return with their first show of 2013, with work by visual artist, songwriter and DIY enthusiast Lupen Crook and self-taught illustrator and musician Joni Belaruski. Both artists will be in attendance, so it’s well worth heading along for a night firmly off the wagon. And if it’s anything like December’s show, we’ll be stumbling back in the small hours.

Free Space Poster3. Support Local Art. The Free Space Gallery’s 2013 programme launched on the 7th January with a new show by Emerald Dunnes.

With a background in stained glass, Emerald “understands the importance of light and colour and creates a feast for the eyes of painting and mixed media pieces”.

There’s an open afternoon on Saturday January 19th (3-8pm) when you’ll also have the chance to meet and discuss the work with the artist, and enjoy a glass of wine along the way.
Kentish Town Health Centre, 2 Bartholomew Road.

The view from Lockside Lounge back in the summer
The view from Lockside Lounge back in the summer
4. Libations at Lockside. Not indulging in a spot of January abstinence? Head to the Lockside Lounge, who are climbing on board the hyperlocal bandwagon with a ‘Lockside Goes Local’ offer. So if you’re a NW-er, bag yourselves two mains for a tenner, or a variety of cocktails including apple strudel martinis and white Russians for a fiver each. Not bad (although there must be better deals out there, right?)

Grafton 5. Healthy Streetfood Takeover! (Kind Of). Making their debut at The Grafton this Friday are popular streetfooders Horn Ok Please, who offer ‘Indian Street Food the way it should be served. Fresh, hot and tasty.’ This lot were a regular fixture at the Brewery’s StreetFeasts last summer – and we can tell you it’s not only delish but quite healthy(ish) too: think Masala Chips, Veg Bhagi’s, Aloo Tikki Chaat and more.

quinn6. Back to the Resolutions: Local History, Anyone? The Kentish Town Kaleidoscope continues next Friday 18th January at Quinns, the rather imposing blue and yellow pub on the lower reaches of Kentish Town Road. War historian Dr. Robin Woolven will be on hand to speak about how Kentish Town and the surrounding area was affected by missile drops during WWII, while also drawing on his own experiences as an RAF Specialist Navigator. To top it off, the evening will finish with a ‘traditional style Irish music’ sessions, featuring Whiskey Mick. Email to book. 6.30pm, 65 Kentish Town Road.

zabludowicz7. And, Finally, the Zabludowicz Unveils Its First Show of 2013. The greatest gallery in north London (although another is snapping at its heels) is back with a new show, Disappearing Into One, which runs from 11 January–27 January, and is curated by MFA students from Goldsmiths and Chelsea College of Art (private view is tomorrow Friday 11 January, 6–10pm). And if one of your resolutions is to unveil the artist within, don’t forget every Wednesday evening (7-9pm) you could sign up for life drawing, led by artist John Close. Paper and some materials are available, but they tell us places are limited so booking is recommended (£6).

Everyone glad to back in the thick of it? Thought so.

Words: Conor Fisk, Tim Sowula and Stephen Emms
Main Photograph: Stephen Emms

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  • Simon

    Not about Boris Bikes per se, but can anyone explain the thinking behind the new(ish) pedestrianised area, near the bike-stand at the bottom of Parkway? It seems to have achieved nothing except to clog the flow of traffic while bringing no discernible benefit. Just a useless new triangle of pavement. Or am I missing something..?