Wheelie good turnout upholds Hackney world-record
Children on bicycles for as far as the eye could see was the spectacular sight in Hackney as the borough’s seventh annual mass bike ride took to the roads on Thursday 29 June.
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 37 of the borough’s schools complete a nine-mile circuit of Hackney.
Hackney is the world record holder for the most riders in a ‘bike bus’ which was secured in 2016 when 1005 people took part, this year the record was upheld as more than a third of the borough’s schools were involved. The final count for this year stood at 979.
A bike bus is a cyclist’s version of a walking bus, where a group of cyclists ride together along a set route, picking up people as they go.
Arron Kayembe, a year 6 pupil from St Scholastica's Primary School said: “I like going on my bike, especially with all my friends. Riding a bike is great because it not only makes you keep fit and healthy but you can also enjoy it.”
Pop-up motivation stations were positioned along the nine mile route, with hundreds of spectators waving flags and cheering on the cyclists, creating a festival atmosphere.
Mr Ekeama, Lead Mentor at Baden Powell Primary School said: “Bike Around the Borough is fantastic, we did this last year, the children loved it. It is a fantastic event for them, not only do they get to learn about cycling but it’s also great for community spirit.”
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.
I was delighted to see so many of Hackney’s young people cycling together en masse, getting to know Hackney’s roads and hopefully seeing how easy it is to get around the borough by bike. As well as being a great day out and showing how fun cycling can be to all residents, Bike Around the Borough will help children get on their bike more, help make the borough greener and encourage a healthy life style.
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.
The borough 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.
When I agreed to take part in Bike Around the Borough I took up cycling training through the Council, as I knew I was going have to brush up on my cycling skills if I was to match the cycling experience of the hundreds of young residents taking part. Biking with this next generation of Hackney cyclists was inspirational and I know they will carry on our ambition to remain the best biking borough in the country.
Following the ride, the Hackney Cycling Campaign hosted a summer bike social in Hackney Downs, with Stars n Stripes balance bike obstacle course, the Hackney Playbus, Champagne Lasseaux, Sustainable Hackney, and roller racing with Cycle Club Hackney.
Find out more about cycling in Hackney, including free cycle training, by visiting www.hackney.gov.uk/movebybike.