On a Sky high

Not that further proof was necessary, but the London Sky Ride really highlights cycling’s newfound popularity. With estimates of more than 85,000 riders for Sunday’s loop of the capital, it more than doubles the previous record for the world’s biggest bike ride.

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Even the mayor was impressed by the turnout, although he thinks there’s plenty more still to come. “The only problem will be keeping cycling in London under control – I think it’s going to be a runaway beast,” he told Cycling Weekly.

Problems like this I don’t mind. Whether it’s a Sky Ride, the new London Cycle Hire scheme, or even one of the newly designated Superhighways, the capital’s population is welcoming every excuse to get back on two wheels. And it’s working big time. With some three million Londoners needing to find alternative transport during this week’s Tube strike, the best advice was to get on your bike.

This weekend it’s Birmingham’s turn. It’s the second city’s Sky debut, with an 8.3-kilometre circuit from the city centre down to Cannon Hill Park to be closed to other traffic for six hours from 10am.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly