Summer cycling fever following Tour de France
The Tour de France roared through Tower Hamlets as the world’s leading cyclists vied for the famous yellow jersey en route to the finish on the Mall.
Thousands of spectators lined the route from Leamouth roundabout, along Aspen Way and The Highway to Tower Hill, to see the excitement of the race as the peloton chased and caught up with the leading two cyclists. Despite the rain, the atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation in the crowd as they waited for the cyclists to race past.
Council services continued to function well for the duration of the Tour associated road closures. Waste and recycling collections were made on time and the roads and pavements cleaned-up promptly once the crowds had moved on.
As the cyclists move on to the next stages in Belgium and France, the buzz of the Tour can still be experienced in the borough at the official Tour de France Fan Park which will be in Canary Wharf from 24 July to 27 July.
There will be opportunities to watch the race live on big screens, cycling-themed entertainment including photo exhibitions, French food, pop-up shops and prize giveaways.
With the Tour de France high in people’s mind there has never been a better time to cycle in Tower Hamlets. As the weather warms up, seeing some of the beautiful parks on two wheels gives a whole new perspective on the borough’s open spaces.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: ” The Tour de France was a spectacular event and I hope it inspires people to take up and enjoy all that cycling has to offer. Cycling is a great way to get around and a fantastic way to keep fit and healthy. We are very fortunate to have so many choices for off-road cycling, including beautiful parks, peaceful canal towpaths and riverside routes.”
There are lots of opportunities to get cycling in Tower Hamlets including free cycle training and organised rides. The council offers free adult cycle training and cycle buddying to anyone who works, studies or lives in Tower Hamlets. Training sessions can also take place using Barclays Cycle Hire bikes at docking stations in the borough. Family cycle training lessons are also available.
The adult scheme offers one to one sessions with a qualified cycle instructor. Cycle training sessions can be booked for either one or two hours in length and are available at a time and day of the week that suits you. Training is available for complete beginners through to experienced cyclists.
Cycle buddying training is also on offer once cyclists are at a competent level to cycle on the road. This scheme pays for a professional instructor to ‘buddy’ the rider on a useful journey (e.g. home to work), helping them to understand and cycle the safest and most convenient route.
For further information on these schemes or to book any kind of cycle training/cycle buddying session email email@example.com or call 020 7364 4001.
Additionally, Tower Hamlets Cycling Club run womens’ only cycling sessions every Sunday in Mile End Park, consisting of a beginners session from 11:30am to 1:30pm and an intermediate session from 09:30am to 11:30am. These sessions commence again on August 3, they are currently on a break for Ramadan. For further details e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Janice on 07423 069 863.
Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for Clean and Green, said: “We are committed to trying to ensure those who choose to cycle in the borough can do so as safely as possible. Tower Hamlets Council will continue to work hard to promote cycling safety to our residents through free cycle training sessions and other initiatives.”
British Cycling in partnership with the council is running a series of free bike rides, SkyRide Local, to get you pedalling this summer.
SkyRide Local rides are fun-filled free rides, led by trained British Cycling Ride Leaders. They are a perfect opportunity for friends and families of all ages and abilities to get out on their bikes and explore the scenery in Tower Hamlets and surrounding areas.
Rides vary in level, from beginners through to experienced cyclists, so everyone can pick one to suit their skills and preference.
Rides local to Tower Hamlets include:
Sunday, July 20, 10am: 14 miles through the Olympic Park, Limehouse Cut and Royal Docks.
Sunday, July 27, 10am: 25 miles ride up the Lea Valley towpath past the White Water Centre at Waltham Abbey.
Sunday, August 3, 10am: 12 miles through the Olympic Park, Victoria Park and along Regent’s Canal.
For more information and to register visit www.goskyride.com – local rides can be found using the postcode search facility. Registration is compulsory and free with places limited to about 30 people per ride.
Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle returns to the City of London and Westminster from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, August 9. Eight miles of roads in Central London will be closed off, enabling people to cycle in a traffic-free environment, enjoying the festival atmosphere and famous landmarks. Participants can register now at www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk/FreeCycle
Further opportunities exist to see elite cyclists in Tower Hamlets over the summer with the London Triathlon on August 3 and Prudential RideLondon event happening on August 10: both events happening on the borough’s roads. Details of the events and associated road closures can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk/londontriathlon and www.tfl.gov.uk/prudentialridelondon