Drafting routes

Up until Wednesday last week, our route-planning for the Bloomer Ride looked like this:

The Bloomer Ride wall
The Bloomer Ride wall

Yes, there are maps underneath all those tie-on pockets and print-outs of archive finds!

However, as with all guided tours, there comes a time when you have to get the route off the screen or the wall or whatever, and get out there and experience it first-hand out on the street. This is where you discover prohibitive potholes, unexpected roadworks, serendipitous sewing machines, gorgeous blossoms and right-hand turns that just don’t feel right.

Factor in the amount of space a group of cyclists take up when they are stationary and the logistics of getting (and keeping) tandems, cargo bikes and penny farthings moving, and you have an interesting set of criteria to design for. …as well of course of taking people through the journey of some of the stories that emerged through the research.

Bloomer routes
All the bloomer routes we tried out

It took us a few attempts, but by Saturday morning we had a route that felt streamlined enough to take in a range of themes and locations whilst also being a pleasant and safe afternoon cycling around London.

We also had a couple of different options for certain segments stashed in our metaphorical Victorian tie-on pockets, and were able to select from these as needed during the actual event. Need to get to some nappy-changing facilities fast? Yup, we can do that!

Routes: they’re only ever in draft form until you ride them.

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