EU Mobility Week celebrations in Hackney

Hackney Council celebrated EU Mobility Week 2010 by encouraging residents to travel smarter and live better with three events to promote the benefits of active travel.

Active travel, like walking and cycling, has many associated health benefits and contributes to reaching the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended level physical activity.

The Bicycle Pit Stop at Well St Common on 16 September was the first event of the week, providing maintenance, safety and journey planning advice for up to 80 visitors. A total of 25 bikes were checked on the day and a number of people signed up for Council surveys and newsletters.

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “In Hackney, we encourage our staff and residents to look at alternative ways to travel. Cycling has many health benefits and we are proud to have more people who cycle to work than anywhere else in the country. I’m delighted that so many people continue to support sustainable transport activities in the borough.”

In addition, Goldsmith’s Row was closed to vehicle traffic on 22 September for the ‘In Town without the Car’ day, when it was transformed into an outdoor café complete with a pedal powered sound system - with a solar panel back-up - provided by Hackney City Farm.

More than 200 people attended the event and enjoyed the activities on offer, including information about the Hackney City Farm ‘Bike Start’ scheme; environmental, educational fun and games by Groundwork Charity and Global Action Plan; as well as cycle maintenance and safety advice. Over 50 bikes were checked out by mechanics on the day.

The final event at London Fields on 26 September was the Slow Cycle race organised by charity Prostate UK. Many residents turned up, despite the rainy conditions, to support the cause and enjoyed the challenge to use biking skills to negotiate a 10 metre track in the slowest time possible – without stopping or putting a foot on the ground.

A victorious Andy Russell was named Hackney’s slowest cyclist; taking the longest time to complete the course in 1 minute 47 seconds. He won a selection of cycling related items donated by Bike Yard East and RIDO Saddles.

Participants and spectators also made use of the bike mechanics for cycle health checks and advice, including Freya Hepburn, 4, who rode her bike without stabilisers for the first time cheered on by her proud dad, Fred.

“The Slow Cycle was a fantastic success for Prostate UK and a great example of how a worthy cause can bring a community together,” said Community Fundraising Manager Jack Bacon. “The people of Hackney embraced the event whole-heartedly and a lot of local residents came out to support us. Everyone involved enjoyed a great day out in London Fields whilst raising awareness and funds for the fight against prostate disease.”