Five thoughts on the 2016 Ride London
Monday 1 August 2016 07.00 BST
Ride London, the capital’s weekend of cycle events – now expanded to three days – is in its fourth year. And for another time, I’ve taken part in what is officially called the Ride London Surrey 100, a vast, 100-mile closed-roads sportive, which this year saw up to 27,000 people take part.
As is also traditional for the Bike Blog, below are my instant (I’m writing this in the event press tent, still clad in my clammy bike clothes) thoughts on what is the UK’s biggest cycling extravaganza.
It’s not all about the 100
For me, the really important event of Ride London comes a day before – Saturday’s Freecycle. This year about 70,000 people, lots of them families, turned out to trundle round an eight-mile route through central London.
For all the fun of the Ride London 100, it’s an event for enthusiasts, hobbyists. It’s as much about everyday cycling as the London Marathon is about walking to work.
The Freecycle is different. For one thing it might tempt some people to cycle more often, especially as this year’s route took in London’s new, separated so-called cycle superhighways, which are a step above any bike infrastructure previously seen in the city.
But equally important, the masses of children and families enjoying their city on two wheels, in safety, gives an important message to politicians about the latent demand for everyday cycling. Brasher says he sees the Freecycle, and other events oriented at children like new kids’ BMX races, as vital to Ride London, and says he wants the organisation to start working in schools. “Cycling should be for all Londoners,” he says.