Today is the first Friday that novice commuter cyclists will have the chance to be guided into central London in a series of 'bike convoys'. The so-called 'Cycle Fridays' have been set up on the initiative of the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL).
The rides will continue for eight weeks, departing at 8am from six different locations around the capital, led by experienced riders. They aim to provide a useful service for riders who need a little extra support to start cycling to work.
The safest routes into the centre will be used in an effort to overcome participants' fears and continue the cycling habit. The Cycle Fridays website has a link to mapped routes.
Those joining the rides will be greeted by ride marshals from the London Cycling Campaign and given a basic bike check and relevant TfL cycle maps before getting on the road. Cycle Fridays will continue every Friday until 2 October.
The previous success of guided rides in the capital known as Bike Tubes - because they were intended to replace the strike-ridden underground - seems to have inspired the idea.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Cycle Fridays are a brilliantly simple way of giving thousands of commuters the confidence to get cycling. I'm sure that when they see how much of a fun, healthy and convenient experience it can be they will be hooked."
Koy Thomson, Chief Executive of London Cycling Campaign, said: "We know that a third of Londoners own a bike and many want to cycle more. But force of habit, particularly with commuting, stops them switching to the faster, cheaper alternative. Cycle Fridays will help people break old habits and exercise their choice to cycle"
The initiative is part of a summer of cycling in the capital, designed to boost the numbers going by bike. There has been a nine percent increase in those pedalling on London's major roads over the last year, but the Mayor and TfL are seeking to go further – aiming at a 400 percent increase by 2025.
Cycle Friday routes (all meet at 8:00am)
- Brixton - Russell Sq: meet Outside KFC, Corner of Brixton Road and Coldharbour Lane, Brixton
- Finsbury Park – City (St Pauls): meet Finsbury Park Gate, Finsbury Park, Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park
- Mile End – City (St Pauls): meet under the Green Bridge near Mile End station, Mile End Road, Mile End
- Ravenscourt - Trafalgar sq: meet outside Ravenscourt Park Tube- Ravenscourt Place, Ravenscourt Park
- Swiss cottage - Holborn: meet outside Theatre, Eton Avenue at junction with Swiss Cottage Gyratory, Swiss Cottage
- Greenwich – City (St Pauls): meet at Cutty Sark Gardens, King William Walk, Greenwich