Thousands of Londoners join the Big Ride in central London to tell politicians we want streets that are safe and inviting for cycling

Glorious sunshine, a host of smiling children, relaxed parents, thousands of ordinary Londoners enjoying the luxury of riding through central London without the fear of motor traffic – the Space for Cycling Big Ride on Saturday 17 May 2014 was a fabulous success.   

London Cycling Campaign Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the thousands who joined us today on our Space for Cycling Big Ride, helping to send a powerful message to London's politicians. Our city and borough leaders can be in no doubt as to the hunger there is from ordinary Londoners for streets that are safe and inviting for everyone to cycle.

“A special thanks must go to the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the day such a success, without whom we couldn’t have made the Space for Cycling Big Ride happen.

“So far, over 2500 local election candidates have backed our 629 ward-specific Space for Cycling measures to improve local streets for cycling, so now it’s time to see the action and funding that match the desires of Londoners.”

The crowd of 5000 Londoners, seemingly representing every age, background and area of the city soaked up the fabulous weather in central London on the Big Ride, organised by the London Cycling Campaign.

Early reports from the other rides in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield are of an excellent turn-out with the city campaigns uniting behind the London Cycling Campaign's Space for Cycling platform.

Hundreds of riders came into central London on our the 30 guided rides from all corners of the capital, with others coming from as far afield as Cambridge, Coventry and Wales.

At one point the ride, taking place on traffic-free streets, stretched from Park Lane all the way to Piccadilly Circus, with more people still arriving.

Mark Ames from iBikeLondon and Jack Thurston from Resonance FM's Bike Show entertained the crowd at the start line, as the thousands of people basked in the sunshine on Park Lane.

The start was delayed slightly while more people arrived, with the procession departing to a huge cheer at 12.15pm.

Locals and tourists lining the route clapped and photographed the vibrant crowd of cyclists, and took full advantage of the traffic-free streets themselves.

35 marshalled pedestrian crossings all along the route ensured passers-by could cross the ride quickly and safely.

The ride passed through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, finishing on the Embankment where a rally took place before an open-topped bus.

A crew of paramedic cyclists took part in the event, but no serious injuries were reported.

The London Cycling Campaign thanks again the hundreds of volunteers who helped marshal the event, along with the officers from the Metropolitan Police Cycle Task force.

The #BigRide and #Space4cycling hashtags trended on Twitter, such was the buzz all of the UK for the Space for Cycling events.

The London Cycling Campaign is a charity, whose work is funded by our members, donations and supporters. Please make a donation if you can to support our work making London's streets safe and inviting for everyone to cycle.

Thanks to our Space for Cycling sponsors - Evans Cycles, the Dutch National Embassy, and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain - without whom the Space for Cycling Big Ride could not have taken place.

And, last but not least, thanks to the Tweed Run, which also took place in central London today, for making us their charity of the year and supporting our Space for Cycling campaign.

Replies

  • By paul at 7:27pm 17 May 2014

Good day. Only gripe was being asked strongly to arrive by 11 when we couldn't even start to get into place before 11.10. and the ride didn't start until 12.15.

  • By JHW at 7:53pm 17 May 2014

Fabulous day. Well done to Ashok and all the team for organising it so well!

  • By anita at 10:10pm 17 May 2014

Pedestrians afterwards were looking both ways before crossing the empty roads, clearly surprised by the lack of the usual roaring traffic. Are we doing another one soon? Together with pedestrians, everyone out having fun?

  • By bigpete at 12:22pm 18 May 2014

Cracking day out and a clear strong message put across. Well done to all involved. Short and punchy speeches but the lack of a Conservative shows how far we’ve still to go. Cycling as a means of transport doesn’t yet enjoy full cross-party support.

Andrew Gilligan’s cynical gambit (“you’ve won the argument“, i.e. there’s no need for you to campaign anymore) wasn’t fooling anyone.

 

The whole event felt less about activism from hard core commuter cyclists, and more about fun from those who just want to rbe allowed to ride a bike safely than last year.

Maybe because the sun was shining this year; maybe it is because we bumped into the Tweed run and, maybe it was the second time of running it. Whatever it was, it just felt more fun.

And my special prize goes to Daniel Mason (Daniel is correct - not so sure whether I am correct with his surname) for . In a custom made wheelchair he 'cycled' alone all the way in from Colindale down the Edgware Road to take part. He has no use of his right arm, so I asked him how he ever manages to do a right turn. He nonchantly replied, "wait for a gap in the traffic, move out and then turn right."

Fantastic event. Well done you lot at LCC. Feel very proud and take the credit you deserve for organising a fabulous day.

 

 

 

 

 

Great event, atmosphere.

I'd echo the comments above.

Couple of things for the future...

The final rally bit was a bit odd in terms of it being plonked in the middle of the road. Didn't create the most condusive space for sitting or standing around listening to speeches and I think a good many more people than one might of hoped just cycled on and away. I appreciate this was a good site in a number of ways - except thoose of crowd experience for the rally component.

Seems like the news coverage is quite poor.  Looking at major London news channels and some national ones it barely gets a mention and where it does the story is weak. Given the recent tragedy at Elephant and Castle, the imminent local elections and the strong picture-led nature of the story I'm not sure why this should be?  Happy to stand corrected on this...

  • By paul at 4:16pm 19 May 2014

Is there any way of covering over "dead" traffic lights?  It feels bad going through red and at the end of the ride a few of us went through a red only to realise that we were back to normal streets and should have stopped.

Great Day! Well organised! Brilliant atmosphere. Well done LCC!

Really good event and the sunshine made it much more fun.

We didn't stop for the rally as my young son isn't into long speeches and the noise from the huge speakers was painful on the ears.  I would guess there were other families in a similar situation.

A lesson for next time is also to put the word out to people to wear ordinary clothes and hide the lycra.  And sadly to find a way to discourage people in the ride from cycling on the pavement (as I saw 2 men do in Whitehall) to get up the ride to join their mates!

Cheers

Adam

  • By Tom B at 11:37am 20 May 2014

I'm sorry that there seems to be an issue with riders wearing lycra:

(i) does that mean I shouldn't bother rocking up (with my kids in tow) next time? and

(ii) while riding on traffic free roads in the centre of town is all well and good, the rest of the journey in and out (in heavy traffic) requires the usual diligent 'road warrior' riding technique, and I'm darned if I'm going to be forced into wearing unsuitable clothing to make this run.

Maybe when the LCC has won, and we have all the Dutch infra we could want, I'll join the Tweed Run guys and girls, eh?

The future of these events is getting families along. Whatever they're wearing :) .

Politicians will have trouble saying no to little Jack and Jill, plus they're more photogenic than the rest of us.

But how to recruit Mum and Dad into bringing them along ? Esp if it's only once a year.

Regular family cycling to school and shops is the best bet. I'm sure LCC is already approaching parents through head and governors of schools, Expanding the Council bike loan scheme by inviting parents to recycle child seats they don't need anymore. Gov budget & Industry help to get Balance, kiddy bikes & seats for Bikeability training on playground layout in UK version of Netherlands CROW standards. So the next generation know what to demand from the start!

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