Cyclists taking part in today’s opening day of the second annual Prudential RideLondon event were joined by world and Olympic champion Laura Trott and Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott outside the City of London’s Guildhall this morning to set a new world record – for the most bicycle bells rung at once.
The more than 600 participants – grouped together by coloured t-shirt into four separate sections, depending on the notes of their bells – were conducted by Dominic Wheeler as they played a six minute piece called Westminster Chimes specially composed for the occasion.
Ten minutes after the performance finished, Guinness World Record adjudicator Jack Brockbank confirmed that they had beaten the previous benchmark.
He said: “That was a fantastic performance. The total number of participants here with bike bells in this ensemble was 645. The current record was 503, set in Leipzig, Germany, in 2003.
“But there were some deductions,” he went on. “I can confirm there were a total of six deductions, which means there were 639 participants.
“And so it gives me great pleasure to officially recognise you all as official Guinness World Record breakers. RideLondon, on behalf of Guinness World Records, you are officially amazing.”
Event director Hugh Brasher said: “What a way to start the world’s greatest festival of cycling. We are thrilled to have opened Prudential RideLondon 2014 by setting a new Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest bike bell ensemble.
“Our orchestra was wonderful and the sound of a record number of bike bells playing the Westminster Chimes was extraordinary. It was fantastic to see so many people turning up so early to take part.”
Demand to take part in the record attempt was such that many would-be participants were unable to get into the location where it was taking place.
“We’re sorry that some people were not able to get into Guildhall Yard and we will be creating a special commemorative t-shirt and bike bell to send as a thank you to all the riders who registered to take part in the world-record attempt,” Brasher added.
The successful Guinness World Record attempt began at 9am and signalled the start of the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, which saw tens of thousands of cyclists of all ages and abilities take to a closed road circuit spanning the Cities of London and Westminster.
Trott, who has helped set a succession of team pursuit word records on the track, and who wil ride the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 tomorrow, said: “I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to see so many people come out and do it.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.