It’s been an up and down week. Molly hadn’t been to London for two years and now she’s been twice in one week. Last Tuesday she gave school a miss so that we could leave home at 6am and cycle ten-odd miles in the rain to the railway station. As it was rush hour I wasn’t sure whether we would actually be able to get on the train with our bikes.  Unlike the good old slam-door trains of old which had big, spacious caged guard’s vans which could fit a large gaggle of bikes, modern trains just provide a token gesture of space. When I had asked at the station a few days before about putting on our bikes in rush hour, the ticket office man told me it was at the discretion of the guard – which roughly translates as: if you get a nice jolly chap, you can. But if you get a gruff bloke who doesn’t like bikes, you can’t. None of which is terribly reassuring when you’ve got to get to the Houses of Parliament by 9.30am to give evidence at a Transport Select Committee meeting on cycle safety.

But, on the morning in question, no guard was to be seen so Molly and I carted our bikes on board the train and sat crammed among a thick throng of be-suited commuters.

Molly and our trusty steeds on Westminster Bridge en route to the Houses of Parliament

It’s a strange sensation going from talking to a one-year-old and five-year-old every day (like I do at home) to suddenly having to talk in front of a TV camera and a committee of Parliamentary-type people. But I tried my best to put my point across, i.e. the government has been pretty spectacularly hopeless at putting money into cycling and that speeding drivers and poor enforcement of speed limits on rural roads were major issues for cyclists outside cities. I also called for an extension of 20mph speed limits in residential zones and that, to encourage more people to cycle, something must be done about bad driving, high-speed traffic, dangerous roads, junctions and lorries. Decent, Dutch-like dedicated space for cyclists needs to be provided alongside main roads and priority should be given to cyclists on roundabouts (as they are in Holland). I also said cycle safety should become part of the driving test and that cyclists should be allowed to turn left on a red light i.e. to get out of the way of the stationary traffic before it revs off at speed up your rear. I also suggested that Norman Baker, the minister responsible for cycling, and Mike Penning, the Road Safety Minister, spend at least a month on a jolly cycle tour around the Netherlands to see how the Dutch are so brilliant at all things bike. (Incidentally, after we were ushered out of the room and the aforesaid ministers were ushered in, Mike Penning commented that the Dutch should take lessons from Britain on cycle safety, on the grounds that, per head of population, cycling is over four times safer in the UK. Mike Penning is now known as Mr Ministry of Silly Statistics as he failed to take into account that in reality, the Dutch cycle over ten times more than us and therefore the risk per mile traveled is far lower. When you hear comments like this from people in power it’s maybe no wonder the country’s going to the dogs. My advice is put a cyclist in charge of cycling and road safety because it takes a cyclist to understand what it is like on the roads on a bike.

Four days after our Houses of Parliament experience, Molly and I were back on the train to London with our bikes again. This time for The Big Bike Ride, a massive closed-road ride that headed from Hyde Park to Blackfriars Bridge. It was prior to this weeks mayoral elections in London (Edinburgh also had a similar two-wheel protest). It was simply to say that London, and Edinburgh and other cities, cannot continue to be places in which the needs of cyclists are an afterthought. A bike-friendly, Dutch-like infrastructure is something that must happen.

Molly is gathering balloons as the park is gathering cyclists at the Hyde Park start.

We met Adam from the Ministry of Funny Bikes (hackneybikeworkshop.com) who had a zebra's head attached to his bike.

And before we knew it so had we. So Molly made conversation with our zebra's head as she pedalled along behind me attached by way of a Followme (a super-handy contraption that grabs her front wheel for safe cycling in busy places but releases it when she wants to cycle independently along quiet roads).

Heading off down Park Lane in the rain it was a seething sea of cyclists going nowhere fast, but happily.

More Park Lane gridlock merriment.

On Piccadilly en route to Piccadilly Circus. Slowly!

Big Ben in the rain! (It's very wet now - as depicted by raindrops on camera lens which may explain why this picture has come out horizontal and not vertical - I've tried swinging it around but it doesn't want to go!)

The very damp, multi-rain-layered end on the Victoria Embankment.

Finishing with us was...a festive freewheeling box-head

On the train home with our newly acquired zebra.

PS On Sunday 6th May I will be opening a bridge in Weymouth, Dorset. It’s the Newstead Road Bridge and the opening event marks the culmination of four years work by Sustrans and Dorset County Council.

The official ribbon-snipping ceremony takes place at 1pm on the bridge, though the whole event lasts  from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and comprises of:

BMX stunt displays, bouncy castle, cycle training, police, fire and health displays, bike maintenance, face painting and treasure hunt.

All this takes place at the Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre, Knightsdale Road, Weymouth.

So I’ll be there with various family members attached about my bike – and there may even be a zebra’s head on the loose.