Children join 95,000 who notch up 3 million miles in ‘Ride London’ festival
- Credit: Thomas Lovelock for Prudential RideLondon
Hundreds of families from all over East London got on their bikes for Saturday’s traffic-free ride from Mile End to the City and back.
It was the start of the two-day third annual ‘Ride London’, the world’s largest festival of cycling with 95,000 people taking part.
Main roads were closed off over the weekend for the five major events.
But it was Saturday’s family event that really got East London youngsters going on the traffic-free route along the normally horrendous main roads to Tower Hill, through the City to Leadenhall.
Free bike-based entertainment and activities was even laid on along the route.
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RideLondon is the largest festival of cycling in the world with more than 95,000 taking part in five major events, including the family jaunt from Mile End.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Saturday’s Grand Prix almost ended in disaster in the women’s race—when half the field folded up in The Mall in a huge crash with just one lap to go.
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The Italians managed to avoid the pile-up and crossed the line first with Barbara Guarischi yelling in delight—rather than the much-fancied defending champion Giorgia Bronzini.
She snatched the win by half-a-wheel to pip Shelley Olds on the line after three-quarters-of-an-hour of helter-skelter cycling.
Poor Bronzini had to settle for fifth this time, her late dash hampered by the aftermath of the crash.
Laura Trott was also affected by the pile-up as her main lead-out rider was taken out, leaving the double-Olympic champ high and dry on the last lap.
“I was too far back and was left to fend for myself and wasn’t ready for such a fast sprint.” Trott explained later.
“That massive crash took out my lead-out girl—so that was it.”
Jake Stewart grabbed an impressive win in the men’s race, covering early attacks before sprinting across the line ahead of Charles Page, with Jim Brown third.
But Sunday, the second day, was for serious fund-raising by riders from all ‘walks’ of life.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 had 25,000 take on a challenge like no other, through London and Surrey on a similar route to the 2012 Olympic road cycling races.
It started at east London’s Olympic Park and plied its way through Shadwell to Tower Hill, then down through Surrey’s stunning country roads and hills and back to London to finish in spectacular style in front of Buckingham Palace.
The riders were aiming to top last year’s £10 million for good causes—a record for a UK one-day cycling event.
The 95,000 people taking part in the weekend festival are estimated to have notched up three million miles between them.