Duncan Palmer writes for MadeGood.org and blogs about bike racing, design and culture. He has been cycling in London since 2010, having previously caught the cycling bug as a teacher in Japan. He rides 20 miles a day commuting across London on his old single speed, and when he gets a chance he loves to get out of London on his touring bike, exploring Britain and beyond.
I recently visited Berlin for a few days. It was the first time I had been to the German capital and it was fascinating to see the cycling infrastructure and culture that they have over there. It felt very progressive, very relaxed and very safe to ride a bike, with excellent cycle paths and drivers who were remarkably considerate. Everyone seemed to ride their bikes at a sensible pace and without having to gear up in hi-vis and helmets. It made me long for similar facilities in London.
There was one thing that I felt Berlin lacked compared to London, however, and that was wi-fi. In our fair city, you are never far from some free wi-fi, and for people who work on the go this is a godsend. For myself (quite strangely, I admit), the first question that I more often than not ask upon entering a pub or café is not ‘where is the toilet?’ Instead I ask ‘what is the wi-fi password?’
Museums, galleries, cafes… they should have wi-fi available to customers. I think I found 1 free hotspot in Berlin, and only 1 place had their password clearly displayed for people to use.
Should you be in London and you are cycling from meeting to meeting, you can be rest assured that you will be able to find a wi-fi hotspot to check your route or shoot off an email. It is also worth knowing some good places with free wi-fi access to work at too:
Royal Festival Hall – the RFH on London’s glamorous Southbank is an excellent place to get online to do some work. Lots of chairs and tables plus the great view of the Thames is a winning combination.
British Library – if you’re near King’s Cross or Euston and need to get online before catching a train, the British Library is nearby and offers wi-fi if you want to chill in the courtyard and have a cuppa.
Look Mum No Hands – the now legendary cycling café/workshop offers free wi-fi and you can be guaranteed to see plenty of others with their laptops. The food and coffee is cracking too.
Barbican Centre – the Barbican offers wi-fi via The Cloud service, which is free to register for. Here, you can sit and work in the foyer or outside. Why not catch some culture at the same time?
These are all good places to meet clients, for example, but how would you go about getting between them? An excellent tool is the Cyclestreets app on the smartphone (they also have a website -www.cycelstreets.net), which allows you to plan a route anywhere in the country. If you were getting from the South Bank to the Barbican Centre, for example, you can enter the start and finish points on the app or website and choose from quiet, balanced and quick routes. It will also tell you where it is going to be busiest. Here, it recommends heading along Upper Ground to Blackfriars Bridge. Go north over the river, then right onto Ludgate Hill and north again to Smithfield Market. From hear you can ride to Barbican station, cross onto Beech Street and you’ll be a the Barbican in a jiffy… simple!
You can follow Duncan on Twitter where he goes by the name of @cyclodunc. MadeGood is also on Twitter. You can find them by searching for @madegoodbikes
The Anywhere Working team is currently drafting a long list of our community’s favourite flexible working spaces across the UK. If you have any favourite spaces in other cities across the UK, please drop us a tweet to recommend a space/ if you’re interested in writing a blog post please get in touch on Twitter – @anywhere_work
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