The London Skyride experience

London Skyride beginning

Today was the London Skyride. It involved 15km (why do they use KM in all the promotional material? I guess it sounds better than 9.32 miles) of roads closed off to cars, so that cyclists can enjoy cycling around London. There were also plenty of events being held such as bike repair stands and the cycle sprint challenge which allowed you to test your speed against your friends. For those less confident cyclists there were also lead rides to the event leaving from all around London. I was asked to marshal the ride from Swiss Cottage.

I met with a lot of cyclists and was surprised to hear the number of people with a fear for cycling in London. This kind of surprised me and I will make sure I put together more articles with safe cycling tips.

London Skyriders are out in force taking over the streets of London

On the ride in it was quite surreal seeing all those cyclists taking up the whole road. Along the way there was a lot of bicycle bells ringing which was quite loud considering the size of the group, this helped raise plenty of attention from confused onlookers.

Upon arriving to the event it was clear it was a huge success. London’s cyclists had turned out in force. The crowds reminded me of cycling on the streets of Vietnam or China. There was no way you were going to pick up any speed along the way! The atmosphere was great and everyone seemed to be enjoying it.

Once the group had been led in I had a chance to have a quick look around and meet some of you including John and his friends. It is always good to meet fellow cyclists and its a shame I ran out of time to meet up with everyone who got in touch. Keep an eye out for future meetups.

I can highly recommend the Skyride event and will be attending the one next year. I’ll leave you with this great picture from realcycling:

image

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9 Responses to The London Skyride experience

  1. Shelly 21/09/2009 at 12:51 am #

    looks like the event was really successful! I love that incredible art bicycle, WOW.

  2. Darren Alff 21/09/2009 at 7:17 am #

    These sorts of bicycle fun rides are great. How many people do you think were there? And if the roads were all blocked off, why was everyone wearing those bright yellow bibs?

  3. Samandiriel4 21/09/2009 at 8:19 am #

    Good post. Occasionally I got to pick up speed but was always slowed down again by the children in front. Not that I minded.

  4. Andreas 21/09/2009 at 9:06 am #

    Shelly – I know, there were so many varied bikes there. Stefano the guy I was marshalling with had his kid and a dog in the huge.. I can only describe it as a box attached to the front of the bike. Was very cool.

    Darren – Apparently 65,000 were in attendance, pretty incredible figure. Not sure for the reason for the yellow bibs – I guess it is 3 fold: 1 so that they are noticeable on the way home 2 for promotion purposes 3 to encourage a more fun atmosphere in some strange way!

    Sam – Think a few people were getting frustrated by that but it was not really there for the more seasoned cyclists though there was definitely a critical mass feel to it

  5. Steve 21/09/2009 at 10:57 am #

    There was a bit of a mix-up at Walthamstow where 30 riders turned up for a “led” ride but no leader arrived. We ended up having to improvise but made it to one of the start-points at Mile End. Have to say there were some total scumbags driving cars around, overtaking at high-speeds and putting lives at risk.

    The event itself was great – so many people and such positivity and pretty multi-cultural too. I thought the old cliche about British people being anti – child was turned on it’s head – tolerance and patience was the order of the day.

    My radical suggestion would be to close the whole of London next year with access granted only to bikes, buses and emergency vehicles. It would especially compliment the Open House weekend and Tour of Britain. Apparently the whole of Brussels was car free yesterday, why not London

  6. Richard Irvine 21/09/2009 at 2:14 pm #

    Great idea but there was one in London and Manchester but nothing in Liverpool.
    Liverpool needs all the help it can get to promote cycling so hopefully soon.

  7. Andreas 21/09/2009 at 8:06 pm #

    Steve – that sounds like a familiar experience, think not enough marshals were around in the morning. Overall I must say the event was very well organised by Sky. The loudspeaker people did get a bit annoying! I like your suggestion of closing the whole of London – that should solve the problem of all the drivers testing out their car horns.

    Richard – shame to hear no event in Liverpool – would have thought there would be considering the size. What is the cycling like over there?

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