7,000 people turned out on 31st July to join TV presenter Jeff Brazier, the Mayor of London's environmental director, Kulveer Ranger, Paralympic champions Sarah and Barney Storey, plus Team Sky's Greg Henderson, for the Mayor of London's Sky Ride Hillingdon. Many more came out to watch and experience the day as cyclists of all ages and abilities took to traffic-free streets for the chance to enjoy their local area on two wheels.
The day marked the first of three Mayor of London Sky Rides in 2011, including a central London event on Sunday 4th September. Sky Ride is a national campaign to get one million people cycling regularly by 2013 and includes free events, activities, information and support to help and inspire people of all ages and abilities to rediscover the fun they can have on two wheels.
British Cycling, Sky and The Mayor of London, in partnership with Hillingdon Council and Transport for London, organised the 9km route, which took in Barra Hall Park, Hayes town centre and Hillingdon Cycle Circuit.
Sky Ride Ambassador Jeff Brazier said: "It's been a fantastic day here at The Mayor of London's Sky Ride Hillingdon, with people of all ages getting back on their bikes and enjoying cycling around their local area on traffic-free streets. I just hope that all 7,000 people that have taken part today will be inspired to start cycling more regularly and continue to have fun on two wheels. And don't forget we want you to tell us about your Perfect Hill to cycle down, so make sure you nominate yours at goskyride.com."
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's Director of Environment, said: "The Mayor of London's Sky Ride route around Hillingdon has been an absolute pleasure today. Myself and the thousands of Londoners here have discovered the area in a whole new way, and the best thing about it is that many of those who have taken part, and dusted off their old bikes will be using them again soon as a result. It's all part of the Mayor of London's cycling revolution, and of course the next stop is the Mayor of London's Sky Ride in Barking and Dagenham next month."
Hillingdon is also one of thirteen boroughs that the Mayor and TfL awarded biking borough status to in 2010. They have pledged to put cycling at the heart of their local transport delivery plans and they will receive extra support and expertise from TfL in a bid to encourage more people to cycle in the local area.
The Mayor of London's Sky Ride Hillingdon is just one of the many ways local residents can get back on their bikes through the Sky Ride campaign. Sky Ride Local rides are free, local led-rides running every Sunday through the summer in and around Hillingdon. There is also the Breeze network - a programme of bike rides and support just for women, and bike maintenance workshops will be taking place in London on 23rd and 24th September to help everyone keep riding with confidence.
Thanks to everyone who made the day such a success. Keep riding!
Sky Ride People
Here's what just a few of the thousands of riders thought about Sky Ride Hillingdon:
Roger, Martin and Paul
"We didn't realise Hayes had so much green space, The course in fairly easy,no hills to speak of. We started off at Hillingdon Cycle circuit, We enjoyed that,never been there before. We all come from Ealing and never come over this way so it was nice to see another part of the World. The Skyrides are good because of the closed roads so people can cycle safely, closed circuits are good for families, Usually there is so much traffic on the roads, the attitude of some drivers can be quite compromising at times. We've been looking at a route map and there are a lot of canal paths round this area which is really good, you can actually commute into the centre of London on the canal paths. Cycling is increasing in popularity, London wasn't the safest place to ride a bike but with the recent changes it should encourage more people to get on their bikes. The recent introduction of the 'Boris Bikes' is a good example of whats been done to get more people on bikes."
"This is my first Skyride and its really good, it gives an ideal opportunity for people of all abilities to get out and ride a safe route. I never use my bike but i thought I'd get it out and give it a go today. There are too many cars usually but today has been really good without the traffic. I'm going to give this cycling a go after today. The route maps are brilliant,I'll have a look and try some of the routes."
Nina and Daughter Hayley
"We've just finished the course and its really nice, we've just stopped for an ice cream. We don't usually come here but today has been really peaceful on the closed roads. It's great because I can take the youngsters with me and not get frightened by traffic, I do commute to work occasionally, I rode the Ealing ride last year and enjoyed that so I decided to ride London to Brighton ride so I've caught the cycling bug, If it wasn't for Skyride I don't think I'd have got on my bike so they are a great idea."
"I've just finished the course on the 'contraption' (actually a tricycle recumbent), these are a great idea,you get to see like minded people out enjoying their riding. Its great on this (contraption) because people don't usually see recumbents so everyone wants ask about it. I do the big London Skyride which is fantastic but today is just great for families to get out on their bikes on safe roads and with the course going over Hillingdon cycle circuit it lets people know there is a closed circuit nearby. Its good to be able to support the event today."
Sarah & Barney Storey (Paralympians)
"This is our first Sky Ride today and its great to see so many people out on their bikes. Mass participation events are so much fun, we're looking forward to getting out on the circuit later and being able to ride with everyone. Its a beautiful sunny day and with so many people here today the 2013 target of 1,000,000 more people on bikes looks well underway. Today is about people from all walks of life and all ages just out riding their bikes and chilling out. I rode when i was a kid but went off to compete in other sports but now I'm able to ride bikes as a career but getting the confidence on a bike when I was young has certainly helped me now. People here today can see the success our guys have recently had in Portugal and with Shanaze winning the BMX Worlds they can see whats achievable from cycling. Skyrides are a great starting place for youngsters to get out on their bikes and enjoy their riding with people from all age groups who can all ride together and chill out when they've finished."