Record numbers are expected to take part in National Bike Week which started at the weekend (June 13-21), encouraged, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) findings showing that the more people who cycle the safer the roads become.
“Get more out of life, get cycling”, that’s the message from the organisers headed by Cycling England, Cycling Scotland and the CTC, the national cyclists organisation.
Endorsing this clarion call are a host of cycling celebrities whose backing should ensure the media give the Week more than a passing glance.
This is what Vivienne Westwood, doyenne of British fashion, says: “Cycling is so convenient. Because I never ride very fast, I don’t need a change of clothes – if necessary I walk up the hills. Sometimes I carry high heel shoes with me in the basket if I’m going somewhere.”
There are events for all abilities, from the popular Bike2Work breakfasts, commuter challenges, charity rides, cycle fairs, Dr Bike events, road races, time trials, cycling skills events, club rides etc.
Last year over 380,000 people took part in events across the country.
Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England, said: “Many families are looking for easy ways to get more out of life, particularly during these difficult financial times. Cycling brings families together and is a fantastic, free way to explore new places and rides and have a lot of fun. We hope that people will use Bike Week as the perfect opportunity to get back on their bikes and re-connect with their communities.”
Government and the cycle industry fund bike Week.
340 events nationwide
National Bike Week is a meeting of the old and the new and among the 340 events nationwide is the granddaddy of them all, the CTC’s annual York Rally on the Knavesmire Race Course, (June 20/21).
Like many major gatherings of enthusiasts there is a time-locked air to the York Rally. Although embracing the modern image with the latest equipment and mod cons, which these days include roof racks as a must for those car-assisted cycling holidays, there are the older members in plus fours whose cycling holiday starts from the moment they ride away from their own front door.
They’ll turn up bike laden with panniers and saddlebag with a tent roll strapped on top and a Primus, ready for the instant brew at a mountain stream.
10,000 visitors are expected at the York Show, many of them camping on the site under canvas or in camper vans.
There are CTC events all over the country, including Swindon’s first cycling festival on Sunday (14th), which expects 1000 children to take part.
This is a CTC Cycle Champions project in conjunction with Cycle Experience. They will be running cycling activity days in 5 schools in the area in the week running up to the Cycling Festival. The children will learn about the health and environmental benefits of cycling and get on their bikes too.
The Cycling Festival in Lydiard Park is free and lasts from 10am to 4pm. Taking part will be CTC Swindon, Swindon Road Club, GWR Race Team, The Great Western Community Forest and various environmental and wildlife groups.
Tamina Oliver, CTC’s Cycle Champions Officer in Swindon, said: “If you are thinking about getting on your bike in Swindon this summer, the Cycling Festival is the perfect place to start. There will be maps, routes, advice and even a free bike check to help you on your way.”
Tamina and the team will provide help and advice to adults and children who want to learn about cycling in the area. There will be a wide selection of bikes available to try, a chance to have a go on the Try Out Track and free guided cycle rides around Lydiard Park led by professional cycling instructors.
For more information or an interview, contact CTC’s Cycle Champions Officer in Swindon Tamina Oliver on 07717696672, firstname.lastname@example.org or CTC’s Press Office is on 0844 736 8453 or 07786320713.
Boris’s ‘cycling revolution’
Bike Week is just one of several cycling festivals being hosted in London this year, as part of Mayor London Boris Johnson’s Transport for London campaign to get more people cycling announced last week.
Already there are 550,000 trips a day by bike in the capital, largely due to people becoming fed up with the transport system.
This week 11,000 people took to bikes to beat the 48-hour Tube strike. London Cycling Campaign can take the credit for this. They organised “Biketube” led rides from tube stations into central London, and attracted many new converts to cycling as a result.
Johnson’s task is to convince critics that he can do more than put on traffic-free cycling days and match TfL’s smooth cycling PR operations. He will be judged by his ability to deliver the promised cycle hire scheme, by laying down cycling superhighways and most of all, by calming the traffic.
Last week, the annual All Party Friends of Cycling Group enjoyed their annual “Bike to Work” ride in London, led by Gwen Prosser, MP, chair of the Group.
They were joined by lots of schoolchildren for the ride from Speaker’s Corner, across Hyde Park to the House of Commons.
For more information: www.bikeweek.org.uk