The Mayor of London has given London’s cycle renaissance a further boost by launching the Hovis London Freewheel, a major new cycling event open to all Londoners. Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq became the first person to sign up for the ride.
The Hovis London Freewheel – sponsored by Hovis – will take place on Sunday 23 September and is aimed at cyclists of every age and ability. A 14 km central London route will be made traffic-free, allowing thousands of riders to take over the streets and enjoy the capital’s most iconic sights including the London Eye, Victoria Embankment, Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral and the Mall.
The Mayor and Transport for London want the Hovis London Freewheel to encourage more Londoners to cycle in the capital. The number of cyclists on London’s major roads has grown by a massive 83 per cent over the past seven years, but the Mayor wants to increase this even further. It is estimated that 40 per cent of Londoners have access to a bike, but only five per cent use one regularly.
The Hovis London Freewheel is designed to help people ride from their front door into central London and home again. There will be six ‘Freewheel Hubs’ across London where riders can gather to be led by experienced cyclists onto the vehicle-free route. The hubs will also offer the chance to have bikes checked by experts.
Hovis London Freewheelers will also be able to take part in the Freewheel Festival – an event at St James’s Park open to all participants and their family and friends. Highlights of the festival will include: a Hovis picnic, BMX, mountain and trial bike stunts, cycling acrobatics, and a cycling circus along with children’s activities and information on cycling in London.
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: ‘2007 is a massive year for cycling in London. When the Tour De France arrives in two weeks time, we will see the world’s top professional cyclists speeding around the streets of capital. This September, the Hovis London Freewheel will give Londoners a unique opportunity to have a go themselves and cycle past the capital’s most iconic sights on roads without other traffic. The event will be a free, fun celebration of cycling aimed at everyone particularly those people who have a bike but haven’t ridden for a while.’
Londoners must register for the event in advance at www.londonfreewheel.com. Places will be limited, so people are encouraged to sign up soon in order to receive exclusive email updates and a welcome pack.