Campaign: 2014 Big Ride

This article was originally published in the June 2014 edition of London Cyclist

 

 

Thousands of Londoners hit the city’s streets to support LCC’s Space for Cycling Big Ride and send a strong message to our politicians

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

 

LCC’s chief executive Ashok Sinha said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to the many thousands who joined us 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 also go to the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the day such a success, without whom we couldn’t have made the Big Ride happen. By the day of the ride itself, over 2,500 local election candidates had already backed our 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 more than 5,000 Londoners, seemingly representing every age, background and area of the city, soaked up the amazing weather in central London on the biggest mass cycling demonstration in the UK since the Love London, Go Dutch Big Ride in 2012.

 

Several hundred riders came into the centre of town as part of the 30 guided ‘feeder’ rides organised by LCC local groups, 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 along 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.

 


Thirty-five marshalled pedestrian crossings 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. Speakers included LCC trustees, local politicians and the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner.

A crew of paramedic cyclists took part in the event, but no serious injuries were reported. The London Cycling Campaign once again thanks the hundreds of volunteers who helped marshal the event, along with the officers from the Metropolitan Police Cycle Task force.

Social media buzz

The #BigRide and #Space4Cycling hashtags trended on Twitter, such was the buzz all over the UK for Space for Cycling events. In Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield they all reported an excellent turn-out on their own rides, with the city campaigns uniting behind the LCC’s Space for Cycling platform.

 

 

One of the nicest moments on the day was when the Big Ride crossed paths with the annual Tweed Run right outside the Houses of Parliament. Organiser Ted Young-Ing said: “Crossing Westminster Bridge to the chimes of Big Ben and then meeting up with the thousands of cyclists on the Big Ride was by far the highlight of the day for me. We were very proud to have LCC as our nominated charity this year and having our events on the same day was a lovely added bonus.”

 

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