I’ve been in England for a bit, doing some walking, among other things. I arrived in London at the tail end of the Olympics, which was followed by the Paralympics, an event that stirred British hearts even more than the real thing.
And as part of this, Transport for London (the latest incarnation of what most of us still think of as London Transport) published some rather nifty and stylish maps to help non-Londoners get around. That’s one of them above at the top. I like that faux-3D effect (I imagine there may be a proper cartographic word for it), but here’s the cover of one of them, which I like less.
It raises two observations. One: of course variations of the phrase “Why not walk it?” pass my lips all the time. All else being equal, and I know it seldom is, I’d much rather walk than take a tube or bus. On the other hand, coming from Transport for London, doesn’t it seem a bit defeatist? Like a restaurant with a sign in the window saying, “Why not eat at home?”
And two, I know the rest of the world thinks of British men as epicene fops, but we don’t have to reinforce that stereotype, do we? Couldn’t they have found a walker to put on the front of the maps who looked a little more butch, and for that matter a little more British? No, no, I don’t have anyone particular in mind.