Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map

I’m having another of those moments where I feel like I’m the only person in the world who dislikes something. (To be clear: I dislike this map.)

I’ve cycled in London. Not as much as some people, but for a year or two that was how I commuted, three to five times a week. I also did a few longer rides, and got to try the hire scheme before I moved away. I want to see there be more cycling in London.

The problem is that this map doesn’t make it any easier. Instead, it abstracts away some complexity you need to understand (how to deal with one way systems, for example) and replaces it with other complexity which you don’t (what is R1 and how is it different from R1a?)

Remember, the Tube map can make compromises with geography because it is disconnected from the surface geography except at stations. By contrast, cyclists have to share the same messy, often medieval, street plan as everything else on the ground, and this map won’t show enough to let them do it. I’d much rather have the TfL/LCC cycling maps, large as they are, because they actually work. (I know. I used them.)

On the other hand, perhaps everyone is liking and reblogging this because it’s colourful and pretty. Call it a nice artwork if you like, but I don’t think it’s good design.