More than 38,000 cyclists took part in the Hovis London Freewheel cycling event in London today in a massive show of pedal power.
Described by organisers as the largest mass participation cycle ride the capital has ever seen, tens of thousands of riders passed some of London’s most iconic sights including the London Eye and Buckingham Palace on a 14km route free of other traffic.
A Freewheel Festival in St James’s Park also saw tens of thousands of people gather for a celebration of cycling which included a Hovis picnic, cycling acrobatics, a cycling circus and BMX, mountain and trail bike stunts.
Mayor Ken Livingstone and Transport for London have expressed the hope that the event will encourage more Londoners to cycle in the capital especially those who have a bike but use it infrequently.
According to the Mayor’s office he number of cyclists on London’s major roads has grown by 83 per cent over the past seven years however Mr Livingstone wants to increase this even further. It is estimated that 40 per cent of Londoners have access to a bike, but only five per cent use one regularly.
Mr Livingstone described the event as “an incredible success, with more than 38,000 cyclists taking over the capital.”
“Today has been a highly visible endorsement for the growth of cycling in London. Record investment in training and facilities has seen cycling soar by 83 per cent since 2000 – more than any other city in Europe.”
:”ycling is good for you and good for the environment. Having taken part in the Hovis London Freewheel, I hope people will find that cycling regularly in London is easier than they thought. I have asked my staff to bring me an analysis of what worked this year and a proposal on a bigger event for next year.”
The Mayor’s Green Transport Advisor and Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones said “this is the biggest celebration by London cyclists we have ever seen. It has been such a success that we will have to think seriously about making it much bigger next year, just to keep up with demand. This kind of event shows how London could become a healthier, less polluted city if this number of cyclists took to the streets in their local area on daily basis.”
Tim Dewey of Hovis said his company were “delighted to be the lead sponsor of the first Hovis London Freewheel. At Hovis we are passionate about great tasting, wholesome food and an active lifestyle, which is why we are excited to be part of this event. People today have clearly had a great day.”