Bicycles, for as far as the eye could see
Children on bicycles for as far as the eye could see was the spectacular sight in Hackney on Thursday as the borough’s fifth annual mass bike ride took to the roads.
Bike Around the Borough (BATB), organised by Hackney Council in partnership with the Met Police and sponsored by Volker Highways and Berkeley Homes, saw hundreds of young cyclists from more than a third of the borough’s schools complete a nine-mile circuit of Hackney.
It was the second-largest ‘bike bus’ in the world, with 873 school children, staff and parents cycling from Hackney Downs to Hackney Marshes via Clissold Park. It missed out on breaking the bike bus World Record by just eight riders.
The ride provided a chance for students to practice skills learned at cycle training and raise awareness of how easy it is to travel around the borough by bike. It also saw school staff trained in cycle marshalling.
Robin O’Brien, 10, from Queensbridge School, said: “I love cycling because it’s good exercise, it doesn’t pollute and it’s good for the world.”
Rebecca Fouhy, nine, also from Queensbridge, added: “The ride was good because I learned how to cycle with more confidence on the road. I like cycling because it makes me feel free and it makes me feel happy.”
The ride was greeted in the Marshes by a cycling samba rickshaw and live music from Five–O, a band made up of police officers.
Seeing so many Hackney students cycling in our streets en masse was a wonderful sight and I was delighted to see lots of residents out, cheering them on.
As well as being a great day out, the event had some serious aims, including to increase and encourage future generations to cycle by showing them how fun, healthy and easy it is to get around the borough by bike.
Sgt Pete Smith, from the Roads & Transport Policing Command, said: “It was such a great day and everybody enjoyed the exercise and entertainment. We're all looking forward to an even bigger event next year.”
Hackney aims to be the most cycle-friendly borough in London with 15 per cent of residents travelling by bike for all journeys by 2025.
Hackney, which has the highest cycling rate in London, has been recognised nationally for its innovative approaches to encouraging cycling with initiatives such as free training for children and adults; the cycle loan scheme; the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on all Council-controlled roads; the Cycle Hackney app; and cycle awareness training for HGV drivers. Union Developments and Cycle Training UK also sponsored the event.