Monday, August 03, 2015

The 2015 London Free Cycle

The three year anniversary of the 2012 Olympic Games led to some hand-wringing comments about its legacy being squandered. But over the weekend it became clear that at least one sport has thrived, namely cycling.

The Prudential Ride London was a set of events open to both the casual weekend biker such as myself and gold medalists like Laura Trott.

On the Saturday the centre of London was made car free so that 70,000 cyclists of all abilities (all the way down to those with stabilisers) could explore those famous sights (above and below) without fear of being run over.

I went on a similar Skyride back in 2011 but this was bigger, with Mayor Boris calling it "the London Marathon on wheels".
It was absolutely fab and I combined it with the start of the 300th Doggett's Coat and Badge race. In fact I ended up doing the loop two and a bit times (route here), crossing Waterloo Bridge in total six times, three north to south and another three in reverse:
There was a bit of a crush around Trafalgar Square and Westminster where the route narrowed and there were frequent crossing points for tourists:
But the organisation was absolutely superb: lots of volunteers doing useful things and music all over the place, with bands like this one close to the Bank of England:
On the Sunday there was the racing, with professionals and serious amateurs heading off to loop around Box Hill just like for the Olympics, and again SW London was split into two.

The number of places had been increased from 16,000 to 20,000 in the first two events and finally this year 25,000 but was still massively over-subscribed, with 86,001 applying for the 100 mile race. They must have really enjoyed the finish line:
All in all, a hugely fun event, and my favourite track to bike to was this one:

With a tube strike threatened this week it might be an idea to have that bike handy and be ready to head back into central London.

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