Report: Sky Ride London
Event: 5th September 2010, London
NEW! Belinda Sinclair gives us a rider's eye view of Sky Ride London 2010. Belinda joined one of the many led rides onto the main route and got chatting with fellow riders who all had their stories to tell. Read More...
Above: Check out our video from the day...
Above: Images from Sky Ride London
An estimated 80,000 cyclists locked down the streets of central London on Sunday 5th Sept as Sky Ride London returned to the capital, Eddie Allen reports.
After drawing in 70,000 riders in its 2009 edition, Sky Ride London had a lot to live up to. A year on and London's cycling community didn't disappoint, with the turnout topping 80,000 riders, who turned the 16km route into a spectacular sea of spinning wheels.
Above: Riders approaching St Paul's Cathedral
The traffic-free route began at St James' Park, before heading down the Mall and through Whitehall, passing the Houses of Parliament before turning onto Victoria Embankment. From here the route flanked the Thames before turning its back on the river towards St Paul's Cathedral, the City and the Tower of London, before retracing its steps back west towards the start.
Above: The Sky Ride train passes through The City
The scenes along the route were nothing short of incredible. As early as 10am, the route was practically packed to capacity with cyclists. The event village at St James' Park was a hive of activity, with Sky Ride bibs being dished out by the lorry load, before riders headed onto the traffic-free streets to begin their Sky Ride experience. As midday approached the crowds had thickened further to the point where you could have crowd surfed across a sea of cyclists all the way from the City to Big Ben. Both sides of the embankment were chock-full of riders, creating a surreal, joyful and carnivalesque experience which stopped London in its tracks.
Above: The Drench and Gatorade helpers were flat out all day
The route passed an impressive roll-call of famous sights; Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Downing Street, Big Ben, St Paul's, The Tower of London - this list goes on. However tourists everywhere were turning their backs on London's famous sights and training their camera lenses on the cycling procession that filled the roads. Back at the event village there were similar scenes. The usually tranquil St James' Park was in full festival mode, with music, food and entertainment on tap all day.
Above: BMX World Champion Shanaze Reade signs bibs on the Adidas stand
By lunchtime, the park's deck chairs were full with cycling picnickers, enjoying live music, bingo, quizzes and celebrity appearances from Sir Chris Hoy, Rebecca Romero, Shanaze Reade, Kelly Brook and more. Eager fans queued to have their Sky Ride bibs signed by their cycling heroes. Kids tested their skills at the Go-Ride area. Dads tested their mettle on the Love Cycling stand's Wattbikes. Families picnicked on hot dogs, crepes, burgers, ice creams and Gatorade, fuelling up for another lap of the route.
Above: The scenes at St. James' Park
Looking around the event village and on the route itself, it was clear that many had gone to great lengths to give their bikes and outfits the Mardi Gras touch. Many had decorated their bikes with tinsel, balloons and tassels. Others had completely coordinated their outfits and bikes. Some had brought their pooches along in baskets. Mums and Dads had rigged up tandems, trailers and child seats, bringing their whole brood along to soak up the unique Sky Ride London experience. London's Barclays hire bikes had been pressed into service, helping those without a bike to take part in what was an incredible realisation of a very simple fact - London loves cycling!
We'll have lots more photos, video and further reports coming soon. So bookmark this page and check back soon!
For more information on Sky Ride and Sky Ride Local go to www.goskyride.com