March 20th is the first day of Spring and of the London electoral campaign.
Londoners are cycling and walking in London like never before and I shot this video yesterday on the way to work just capture the sheer volume of cyclists now in London.
Put simply it is time that:
- London had people friendly streets
- we had a 20 mph speed limit across town
- our streets are made safe enough for children to cycle on them
You can read all 10 principles of the Love London, Go Dutch campaign on the LCC website
So what can you do to support this:
Join the Big Ride. The street's of London will be closed for a fantastic bike ride from Hyde Park through to Blackfriars Bridge on Saturday @ 11am on the 28th April. Meet @ Marble Arch. More information
Sign the Love London, Go Dutch petition
Now start cycling, skating or walking to work, school or play.
My brother casts light and shadows for a living and we have been talking about a little project for a while. The release of Ubuntu 10.04 (aka Lucid Lynx) this week was the perfect opportunity to put the plan into action.
Pictures released under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0
The camouflage worked pretty well. We had a curious security guard at the Gherkin, which incidentally turns out to be difficult to project onto (shape and internal lighting)
We finished the last shot at 02:45 outside Millbank at which point we had a little excitement...
The initial Metropolitan Police response car screamed to a halt next to us followed by an armed response vehicle with sirens blazing. On reflection, a white van parked at an odd angle with me holding a long black spotlight over my shoulder and pointing it towards the building was just a little suspicious.
'So what sort of software is this?' elicited an elevator pitch on Ubuntu and the perplexed policeman cancelled the assigned air support unit. Thank goodness I had my Millbank tower ID on me (Canonical's London offices are in the building).
All in all, an amazing release and a fun Wednesday night.
Download Ubuntu - www.Ubuntu.com
Orange ran a advertising campaign last year in the UK that took the concept of Ubuntu (I am, because we are) and turned it into a campaign that linked the impact of people we have known on us as individuals.
I mention this, because a friend and mentor who I have known since I was a toddler passed away last night and Guy left more than a couple footprints on my life.
Guy Kewney was one of the UK's leading technology journalists. He started in the trade in the explosive years of personal computing in the late 70s.
I knew him from a different angle, initially as the father of Lucy and Alice whom I knew from a local Children's choir and then as a friend. The Kewney's lived around the corner from us in Finsbury Park, North London. To visit them was to be welcomed into a home bursting with new computers, peripherals and gadgets. It was a struggle to sit for for the carpet of gadgetry that covered every shelf, table and stair in the house.
It was here that Guy introduced me to seminal game Elite  on the BBC Micro. It was 1985 and I was was 11 but I remember the surprise of discovering that an adult could be into computer games. When I explained how much I enjoyed the game, he grinned confessing he had spent four months playing Commander Jameson exploring a parallel universe.
Guy, originally from South Africa, was into his sailing and swimming. Aged 8, I was amazed when he responded to my challenge to see who could swim further underwater by doing three full lengths without coming up for air. Guy as ever playful, modest and full of surprises. More recently we got a chance to sail on the West Reservoir in Stoke Newington, Guy reminding me that dingy sailing was sailing at it's purest and most fun.
People sometimes ask me how a graduate in political science got into technology. Well the answer is that the seeds were planted a long time ago - partly by my father but a in a very good part by Guy. Introducing me to WiFi in the early 90's he explained- 'Chris, wireless networking is going change the way we fundamentally use computers. Simply put, insurance claims for laptops being dropped in the bath are going to rise!'
In the last five years, Guy and I met either at my parents' or at a conference. We would talk about the technology industry - me seeking gems of wisdom from someone who had seen it ALL before. Be it discussing Microsoft's DNA or the likely success of WIMAX - Guy had an encyclopaedic knowledge of both technology and the business around it.
I saw him four weeks ago and tried in vain to see if we could sail once more before the cancer that he had fought bravely took him from us. Sadly it was not to be.
Guy - you will be sorely missed by many. I remember you fondly as a wonderfully warm, witty and wise soul with uniquely insightful twist on the world.
Chris, London April 8th 2010
It seems wrong that I can park a car outside my house but I cannot use the public highway to lock a bicycle up.
Several months ago I spotted a PlantLock and decided that this was the solution to the issue.
Designed by the Front Yard company, an innovative London design team the Plantlock is a strong planter with a hardened solid steel bar to lock a bike to. It looks great and weighs over 75kg when filled. While I would not leave a top of the range road bike on the street overnight, I feel comfortable locking my simple commuting bike to it.
As a family of two cyclists with many cycling visitors we decided to experiment with a Plantlock on our street. Having consulted our neighbours we placed two Plantlocks on our street with enough space for four - six cycles.
Duncan, who runs Front Yard delivered the Plantlocks to our door with stickers and bolts to screw it into the road.
To make them more visible we planted a 1.5m orange tree on the side that cars reverse on (ensuring that a dirver can see it in a rear view mirror). I also added a simple reflective strip on the traffic side of the one making it ultra-visible to oncoming traffic.
One month in and the reaction from neigbours and passers by is great and universally positive. People stop, stare and smile and we are regularly asked who put them there and where they can be got from.
The council have popped by and actually seemed supportive although it was not an official visit. So now we have a place to keep our bikes, a place for neighbours to keep theirs and an attractive addition to the street :-)
More Photos here