Cyclists get on their bikes and ride
AROUND 70,000 cyclists enjoyed a sun-drenched ride around London on Saturday (August 1) as the two-day RideLondon festival kicked off.
Day one of the event saw participants of all ages take on an eight-mile route around traffic-free roads in central London, taking in landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and St Paul’s Cathedral.
There was also cyclingthemed entertainment and live music at a number of festival zones along the route. Event director Hugh Brasher hailed it as a cycling celebration and a fantastic family fun day out. He said: “This is not just about promoting cycling as a sport, but cycling as a form of health and exercise, cycling as a mode of transport, and cycling as an ordinary part of people’s lives.
“We have seen all kinds of people out today, from the oldest to the youngest, from teenagers to babies being towed along in their buggies.”
As the evening closed in, spectators were treated to the Brompton World Championship which took place in London for the first time. After a photo finish British rider Mark Emsley was crowned the winner for the second year in a row.
In the more traditional races Ella Barnwell claimed victory in the youth girls Grand Prix while Jake Stewart won the boy’s race.
And then, in the main exciting event of the day, 103 elite women riders battled it out in the Grand Prix with Velocio Sports team member Barbara Guarischi taking first place.
British cycling favourite and double Olympic medallist Laura Trott could only manage a seventh place finish with rival, and last year’s winner, Giorgia Bronzini in fourth place.
As the sun shone on day two, some 26,000 riders took on the RideLondon-Surrey 100 through the city, into leafy Surrey and back into the capital to finish on The Mall. The first riders made it back in around four hours and Italian rider Francesco Cipolletta crossed the finish line first.
Mayor of London and Uxbridge & South Ruislip MP, Boris Johnson, posted a Youtube video to celebrate the event.
In it he recalled taking part in 2013, and said: “I will never forget the joyful experience of being spurred up those beautiful Surrey hills by the encouragement and sometimes the cheerful derision of my fellow cyclists.”
n TEAM SPIRIT: The cyclists sweep over Hampton Court Bridge as spectators gather to cheer them on
Photos by Jon Mikol www.buyaphototms.co.uk WL154545