Sunday 11 September 2011

why we didn't go to the skyride

Last week I missed two events.
One of which was the launch of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain. This I regret badly, but unfortunately family matters prevailed. Luckily I was in no way crucial to the opening and I bet my continuous support will be enough to help get the CEoGB off and running. I believe that this lot will do a lot more good with their limited resources and unlimited passion and drive than anyone else had before. Please support them!

The second one was the famous Mayor of London Skyride. We decided not to go. And there were a couple of reasons. Firstly as we live in East London we would have to traverse all of London to get there. This is something I do reluctantly. Very. Although the CS3 that would have lead us there is good at places yet it is still not a very pleasant ride - I don't mind doing it every day by myself but doing it with my entire family was a bit too much. This also meant that my older son wouldn't be able to cycle along so I would have to carry his bike there. No bus, train or boat takes a bakfiets bike on board ATM sadly.

Not a car in sight but highvis and sport
gear prevails. Go Skyride!
Secondly - I have been looking at the pictures of the last skyrides and something struck me really strongly - this looks like a trekkie convention, a freak show (no offence to the trekkies). A crowd of people on emptied streets riding in Highvis gear with their helmets on. The majority of these people didn't even come on bikes. They came there to sample what normal everyday riding would be like, yet they don't really know how to do it really. I didn't want to be a part of it.
If Skyride is to promote everyday cycling it should happen everyday during rush hour, school and grocery runs. What is the point of showing people that they can come to central London once a year and cycle aimlessly around? Perhaps a better idea would be showing them they can cycle with their kids to school, get their food and drink by bike, go visit friends by bike and go and do all other things by bike. Imagine that happening. But that would require good cycling tracks and parking (still according to some the jury is still out on weather dedicated cycle tracks are needed).

This year Kelly has lights that actually work
on her bike. Boris should have come on
a clown-bike - much more suited for the
This is why on that very day we used the substandard but useful cycle track close to us to take us to our local supermarket, then visited our friends and then went to feed the ducks - all on bikes. Not because the Mayor of London kindly let us, but because it was convenient to do so. Boris can ride along Kelly (or any other eyecandy for that matter) all he likes and it will do nought for everyday cycling.


  1. I have to admit to being very sceptical about the value of mass rides like the Sky ride as a means of getting people to ride on a regular basis. I mean take a look at these three videos and think about which is most likely to encourage people to ride.

  2. Exactly - none of this videos made me want to pick up cycling. Thousands of people crammed in one place to experience the joy of cycling. Then most return to their normal lives and forget about bicycles until next year.