City cycling clinic

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  • Tykes on bikes

    Cycling up Stoke Newington Church Street on my way to Clissold Park to take advantage of a rare dose of sunshine, I find myself surrounded by bikes sporting London’s most placid cycle accessory: the child seat. Balanced on their cross bar seats like little Crocs-wearing mascots, or stowed behind the rider, pint-sized passengers seem all the rage on Stokie High Street. Occasionally you even see the real mavericks go by, their kids immured in a trailer buggy attachment: the north London equivalent of the Caravan Club. Critics might say that exposing small children to the perils of the capital’s traffic is irresponsible and dangerous. But there are actually so few incidents of road accidents involving children in child seats that the Department for Transport doesn’t even have a separate category for records. By contrast there were 1,802 severe injuries to four year olds and under from car accidents in 2006 compared to 54 cycle accidents in the UK. Not only is it statistically safe for children to travel by bike, it also gives them valuable experience of how to handle themselves on two wheels. What better way for them to learn about tribulations of London’s byways than listening to an irate parent swear with fury at yet another inconsiderate driver? Fiona McAuslan

    Route rating

    Miles 3.1 miles (Horatio St to Clissold Park)Average cycle time 35 mins (leisurely Sunday pace)Calories burned 254Children spied 5

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