Sky and British Cycling have announced the dates and locations for this year's series of Sky Rides - we already know there's one in London, Mayor Boris spilled the beans on the Mayor's Sky Ride a couple of weeks back, but 10 other cities will also host mass participation rides and there will be rides in London's outer suburbs too.
Twelve Sky Ride events will take place up and down the country starting in Ealing, in west London on 18 July and then moving to major towns and cities across the UK: Bath and Southampton (25 July), Manchester (1 August), Middlesbrough and the London Borough of Redbridge both (15 August), Glasgow (22 August), Leicester (29 August), Bradford (29 August), Blackpool (31 August), Mayor of London’s Sky Ride in central London (5 September) and Birmingham (12 September).
We're quite excited what with Bath on the list … on the same day as the last stage of this year Tour de France, but we'll maybe tear ourselves away to sample the Sky Ride atmosphere. All Sky Rides take splace on traffic-free streets to enable cyclists to explore their cities by bike for a day. Last year's Sky Rides attracted over 110,000 and, according to Sky, since last July the company's cycling activities "have encouraged almost 300,000 people to start cycling more frequently (cycling more than before Sky Ride 2009) and 92,000 of these people have become new regular cyclists (cycling at least once a month or twelve times a year)*."
Those saddling up for a Sky Ride could well find themselves cycling in some very select company Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Kelly Brook, and Bradley Wiggins are all slated to ride – although something will have gone dreadully wrong if Wiggo shows up in Bath on the 25th.
Announcing this year’s summer of cycling, Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Chief Executive said; “After the fantastic response we had from the public last summer we want to make this year’s Sky Ride even bigger and better. Ultimately we’re aiming to get a million more people cycling regularly by 2013. Through Sky Ride, we want to get Britain back on its bike.”
Sky Ride ambassador Sir Chris Hoy said; “Sky and British Cycling have a genuine opportunity to make a positive difference to people's lives by encouraging as many people as possible to get on their bikes. I had a fantastic time at last year’s events in Glasgow and London and it was great to see so many families enjoying all the activities and having fun. I am thoroughly looking forward to attending Sky Ride events this year.”
Kelly Brook, Sky Ride ambassador said; “I am so pleased to be involved with Sky Ride again this year. It is a fantastic initiative and cycling is a great way to stay in shape and keep healthy. Since being involved last year I’ve enjoyed getting out and about on my bike more and I can’t wait to take part in the London event again this September.”
Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling, said: "Together with Sky and Sport England we want to inspire people to get out on their bikes more regularly. After the success of last year's Sky Ride, the initiative is back in 2010 to offer you the opportunity to ride your bike alongside stars such as Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy. Sky Ride is a fun day out for the whole family and a perfect way to explore your city in a safe environment, so register today and play your part in turning Britain into a true cycling nation."
As well as the 12 city rides Sky and British Cycling also announced a series of local Sky Rides called Sky Ride Local taking place across the country. Trained cycle leaders from British Cycling will guide small groups of cyclists on routes in a number of the Sky Ride cities every Sunday throughout the summer. The local rides will offer a selection of routes at different levels of difficulty ranging from Ride Easy and Ride Steady for any age or ability, to Ride Well and Ride Strong for adults and teenager who want a slightly harder challenge.
That's not all, youngsters will get the chance to get on their bikes this year through British Cycling’s initiative Go Ride, a cycling development programme for young people, and Go Ride Racing, a national entry level competition programme that bridges the gap between school and club based coaching sessions and racing. Also Sky Ride Schools, a series of led-rides planned across the summer hosted at schools to encourage young people and their families to get cycling.
People interested in Sky Ride or cycling can visit www.goskyride.com for news, information and online registration for each of the Sky Ride events. The site will also feature tips and expert advice on how to ride safely and look stylish plus views from Sky Ride’s cycling ambassadors.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.