Sky-Riding round London
On 5th September 2010 I joined an estimated 85,000 other people at the Major of London Sky Ride. The largest mass participation cycling event in the UK with a 15km route around Central London that is car free for 7 hours. The weather stayed dry and even the sun came out from behind the clouds on a few occasions.
The start of this free event was at St James’s Park (although joining and leaving at any point is possible) and the route took us down the Mall, through Whitehall and onto the Embankment. It then went past St Paul’s Cathedral, through the City and onto the Tower of London before coming back past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
The ride was started by Sir Chris Hoy, Kelly Brook and Boris Johnson and then it was just a case of riding the route as many times as we wanted and stopping as often as we liked. There was an Event village in St James’s Park with food, music and entertainment and Rebecca Romero and riders from Team Sky were also about there, although I didn’t spot any of them.
People turned out on all sorts of bikes- Tandems, Penny Farthings and every possible way you can think of for transporting children. It’s a great family event and even young children that still had stabilisers on their bikes joined in. The ‘Boris’ Barclays hire bikes were also very well used . It wasn’t a day for cycling long distances ,or riding quickly (it was certainly interesting trying to second guess what children were going to do in front of you) but was a fantastic atmosphere and really good being in the centre of London with no traffic about. The route did get very busy in the middle of the day and queues started to build up in certain areas and so it seemed the perfect opportunity to leave the route to find some lunch and a couple of Belgian beers.
2010 was the fourth time the event has been held in London and it has grown in size each year. It was really well organised, water, energy drinks and ‘Sky Ride’ bibs were given out for free at various points around the route. There must have been hundreds of marshals- at least 2 at every pedestrian crossing to ensure that people not on 2 wheels were able to cross the roads safely.
It was certainly a great day out and I would definitely do either the London event or one that is held in many of the other Cities in the Country.
Thumbnail and Slider Image photo credit - Emma