Spoiler: Cycling up Haverstock Hill is hard work

Haverstock Hill cycle lanes

The Ham&High tried out cycling up Haverstock Hill - Credit: Polly Hancock

Does anyone really want to cycle up Haverstock Hill? Well, I did on Wednesday morning (honestly).

I had a helmet on, it was briefly sunny, and it took me quite a long time (no need for specifics).

While I’d like to describe my effort as gallant, I think it’s safe to say my Olympics dreams are crushed, the remnants of which can be found at the bottom of the hill. 

Would some cycle lanes have helped my sweaty summit? Perhaps. 

I’m a casual cyclist, not one for Lycra. I love whizzing around on my bike to get from A to B, although my Wednesday ride was admittedly more of a slog.  

This week, cycling returned to the Belsize battleground.  

The long-running dispute over bike lanes in Haverstock Hill was reignited after a report recommended the council's transport chief approves the scheme running along the 1.25km stretch between Prince of Wales Road and Pond Street. 

I think people mostly agree with the need for more cycle lanes – they encourage us to be fit and healthy, and move away from a reliance on cars.  

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But some people indeed rely on cars, and might not be able to cycle up the hill (or want to, understandably). Crucially, the disabled and the elderly.  

Alternative, flatter routes would be better – and more pleasant all round.

Haverstock Hill cycle lanes

Bike lanes improve safety by parting cyclists from traffic - Credit: Polly Hancock

When 69% of local residents and 78% of businesses oppose the £541,600 scheme, attention needs to be paid.   

Camden deserves praise for rolling out cycle lanes across the borough. I genuinely notice and appreciate them going about my day-to-day meanders.  

But this feels like the debate hasn't yet reached a clear conclusion.   

If the cycle lanes do get sign off, which seems all but a formality, let’s hope they don’t become a white elephant taken over by e-scooters.  

In the future, I may channel more of my energy towards the downhill.

Haverstock Hill cycle lanes

A decision will be made on August 3 - Credit: Polly Hancock

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