An estimated 50,000 riders of all ages, shapes and sizes filled the closed streets of central London today as part of the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, an eight mile circuit around some of London’s most famous landmarks.
From tots on trikes with stabilisers to vintage gents riding penny farthings, cyclists came from around the country to enjoy the motor-vehicle free lanes of the Embankment, passing St Paul’s and even along The Mall directly in front of Buckingham Palace.
One of the riders Maddox Tanrien, a 46-year-old from Stratford, was interviewed by Prudential while on his long handle-barred white beach cruiser at Bank junction.
“I just fancied a day out riding without traffic,” said Tanrien, who works at Chelsea football club.
“I cycle every day but this is the first time I’ve done anything like this. I will definitely cycle the full eight-mile course. The freedom to go anywhere is brilliant because the traffic in London usually is horrible.”
The event, which opened the whole Prudential RideLondon weekend was extremely well managed, with lollipop ladies and men to help pedestrians across the roads being used and many stewards to ensure things went smoothly, as well as several festival zones where riders could chill out and refuel. road.cc saw a few children falling off their bikes, but all were well looked after and helmets and high-vis (despite the lack of lorries) were the order of the day.
For seven hours the riders were a testament to what a car-free London could be like and the crowds showed their appreciation in their cheering as the riders passed by.
The organisers of this inaugral event said: "The event will demonstrate that cycling can be fun and a great route to a healthy, active lifestyle as well as helping the environment."
The number of people on bikes who rode today certainly seems to show that given safe facilities, people will choose to take their whole family (and the dog, some in trailers, others in baskets) out by bike to enjoy the city.