Flashride on Parliament Square

I joined a 2,000 strong ‘flashride’ after work this evening. It was in support of The Times ‘Cities fit for Cycling’ campaign which itself has resulted in a large number of MPs being contacted by their constituents – something I myself have done – demanding that the safety of cyclists and promotion of cycling in this country is finally addressed and supported. This in turn has led to an Early Day Motion which now has the support of 67 MPs and is being debated in the House, tomorrow.

A very short vid I took:

And a couple of iPhone pics:

london flashride cyclesafe parliament square

london cyclesafe flashride parliament square

I have never taken part in any type of rally, protest or demonstration prior to today. It was great! A real feeling of solidarity among like minded people who want to make a difference – making our roads safer for cycling and encouraging more people to take it up. Eminently sensible when the vast majority of car journeys in this country are <2 miles but most people are put off because they consider that cycling on our roads it just far too dangerous.

As I have mentioned before – I had little interest in cycling until I lived in Japan where everybody cycled. Not, I should add, in head-to-toe lycra, high-vis and helmets – but in their ordinary clothing. Cycling is just part of the way of life over there for all age groups and all people. I really enjoyed that experience but it’s taken me more than a decade of living in London to take up cycling here (since last autumn). It’s difficult to compare cycling in Japan with cycling in the UK because culturally it is poles apart.

Anyway, I’m digressing. We met on the Mall just after 6.15pm and I was shocked at just how many cyclists were then when I arrived at 6.20pm or so. It was like being on a runway at Heathrow after dark – a sea of flashing lights. I had noticed a big increase in bikes on the road when I cycled to work this morning and imagined it might be in connection with tonight’s rally!

It was very well organised – fully marshalled and with a police escort. The roads were closed along the route and I have little doubt that the 2,000 strong cycling contingent made quite a sight coming up Whitehall, over the bridges, around Trafalgar Square, etc. We got a lot of cheers from tourists along the way (including what looked to be a large party of Dutch school kids at the end of the 1 hour cycle when we got back to the Mall!) and a lot of pedestrians were frantically snapping away on mobile phones to capture the raucous cavalcade as we came past.

I’m looking forward to the next ride in April which is in the run-up to London’s mayoral elections. I’ll be there.

PS Congrats and thank you to Danny from Cyclists in the City and Mark from ibikelondon for rallying the troops today and getting such a great response! It was a damp, cold winter evening but the turnout was amazing.

About Milo

I write about anything and everything which may include, but is not limited to: travel, photography, television, books, cinema, the arts and importantly - food and wine. And I’m desperately seeking Steven. Among other things.
This entry was posted in cycling, london and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Flashride on Parliament Square

  1. Justin says:

    Very fun!!!! :)

    There is another annual bike ride in London (well, and worldwide) that some twitter friends of mine have taken part in. Something tells me you’ll be too bashful for that :)

  2. mumof4 says:

    Looks amazing – hope it got enough media coverage…

  3. Milo says:

    Justin – ha I think I know the one you mean. I’m not so interested in that but I *am* interested in the Tweed Run this spring! Watch this space.

    Birdy – it got quite a lot and it’s growing! Next big event is on Saturday 28th April. Hoping for 10,000 cyclists including people of all ages – a much broader demographic than the predominantly commuter crowd of last week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s