The first of three Mayor of London Sky Rides (mass participation events to encourage people to cycle) took place in Ealing on Sunday.
Organisers Transport for London said the event attracted 13,000 riders, who took advantage of closed roads to ride around Ealing Common, the Town Hall, Pitzhanger Manor House and Lammas Park.
It was pitched at all ages and abilities, with younger riders able to practice their skills on the Go Ride obstacle course, and the more experienced could, if they chose, find out more about London’s cycling policies from the Mayor of London’s transport advisor, Kulveer Ranger. And for autograph hunters, several members of Britain’s professional road outfit Team Sky were on hand, including Kjell Carlström, Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift.
Two more Mayor of London Sky Rides are planned for the capital this summer: in Redbridge on 15 August and in Central London on 5 September. There are also dozens of local Sky Rides taking place around the country every Sunday until October 2010, including one on BikeRadar’s home turf in Bath this coming Sunday, 25 July.
The Ealing Sky Ride coincided with the launch of London’s first two (of 12) Barclays Cycle Superhighways.
The two pilot routes run from Merton to The City via the A24 and A3, and Barking to Tower Gateway via the A13 and Cable Street. They’re already in use by cyclists, with Transport for London saying that 5000 journeys a day are being made on them. TfL wants this to increase to 27,000 a day by 2013.
The Cycle Superhighways are marked by 1.5m wide blue cycle lanes with 5m deep advanced stop lines (84 total) at many of the junctions along the route. TfL have also installed 37 safety mirrors at selected junctions. These are aimed at improving the visibility of cyclists to drivers of large vehicles, especially when they are turning left.
Other features of the first two Superhighways include segregated cycle lanes at the Stockwell Gyratory on the Merton to The City route, and the upgrading of existing segregated lanes at the Elephant and Castle bypass and on Southwark Bridge, Cable Street and the A13. Also, traffic and bus lanes have been realigned to make more space for cyclists on busy stretches of road.
TfL will use feedback from the first two routes to help them design the remaining 10, which are scheduled for completion by 2015. The next two, from Bow to Aldgate, and Wandsworth to Westminster, are due to launch in summer 2011.