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06/09/2010 // INFO 1 Comment

SkyRide London: London Marathon for bikes without the bleeding nipples

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Yesterday’s SkyRide in central London had more in common with the London Marathon than just the breezy and occasionally showery conditions which you often experience in April for the world famous 26.2 mile event. It was not a endurance event providing heroic images of people struggling to complete an epic race but a demonstration of the enthusiasm for cycling and the potential benefits of car free cycling in the capital.

Celebrity participation has been a staple for the London Marathon for many years and there were plenty on hand yesterday to provide some glamour. Kelly Brook showed her support (and made friends with a number of the Met Cycle Task Force in the process) and Sir Chris Hoy was on hand to prove (perhaps) that he still exists (where has he been recently?).

Sections of Team Sky attended and I was delighted to have a quiet word with the understated and hugely talented Edvald Boasson Hagen. He is one of the most naturally talented riders in the Peloton and will become a major force in stage racing in the future.

It was perhaps fortunate that Rupert Murdoch did not feel the need to participate in fancy dress, unlike Richard Branson’s showboating during the London Marathon dressed as a butterfly (?). Instead the colour was provided by the participants (as it had been at Redbridge earlier in the summer). In this respect the event took on a very “London” feel. The individuality of the London cycling community (and beyond) shone through.

There were amazingly decorated bicycles which would not have looked out of place in Carnival in Rio. There were fabulous speed machines, fixies, cruisers, choppers, tandems and a slightly freaky cycling piano which crabbed its way along the route. London had clearly taken the SkyRide to heart and planned what it was going to wear and ride for some time before.

One difference between the Marathon and the SkyRide was the huge numbers of families attending. This was a landmark event that London’s children were able to participate in fully and become central to. They seemed to be having a wonderful time, cycling safely on the car free roads on a Sunday afternoon.

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