This is our first ever guest post (with more in the coming weeks). We asked for interesting article suggestions from our Facebook community and Gill Roylance suggested and then wrote this great article about her experiences cycling and on Sky Rides. Thanks Gill!
I’m not a serious sports cycle rider, I avoid hills where ever possible and although I admire the cycle-chic movement, I personally draw the line at riding round in a skirt and heels but I do have an affinity with my bike. It just reminds you of being a kid again!
I’ve only been riding regularly for the last 12 months but it seems to be contagious. People see you out on your bike and suddenly they’ve got one, from brand spanking new, all singing all dancing with hydraulic disc brakes to an old Raleigh shopper they’ve dug out of the shed and dusted off the cobwebs along with the rust. Its nice to think you can influence people to think, “hey, I fancy some of that, it looks like fun”!
So I had to take the opportunity to take part in some mass participation cycling. On 1 August I did the Manchester Skyride. British Cycling in conjunction with Sky have organised loads of cycle rides through British cities over the last couple of years. With city centers completely closed off to cars for the day, cyclists have been able to see their cities in a new light on one, two or even three wheels.
On 31 August I then went to Blackpool to ‘Ride the Lights’. We got a sneak preview of the illuminations from 7.00pm till 10.00pm as the lights were switched on, the ‘Golden Mile’ closed to all traffic including horse carriages and opened up to cyclists to ride from Starr Gate to Bispham. Despite the name it’s considerably more than a mile! It is mainly flat though, which suited me fine.
It had been a very warm and sunny day, which probably encouraged even more people to turn up. What struck me with both the Manchester and Blackpool ride was the eerie quietness. Hundreds of people are riding along the routes at any one point and yet without any traffic on what are normally very busy roads the silence stands out. Unsurprisingly with so many people all riding bikes at different speeds, some used to cycling, others not having been on a bike for years and lots of little ones on bikes it was a bit chaotic and there were a couple of spills.
On the whole though there were lots of smiles and ringing bells and everyone appeared to be enjoying the ride. I wonder about the little boy on the wooden balance bike (no pedals) who kept the pace on the Manchester ride, did he wear his shoes out? And the poor Dad at Blackpool who, whilst riding his own bike, leaned over to hold on to his daughter riding her bike with stabilisers for the whole route, I wonder if he can stand up straight yet?!
There are still some cities left that have a skyride still to run, why not take a look on Skyride’s website to find one near you.