For a brief moment in early August the streets of London took on an idyllic, almost mesmerizing, charm. The noise of the internal combustion engine replaced with the gentle perspiration of families, young and old, pedaling the streets of the capital for the inaugural RideLondon event.
The RideLondon event was conceived to build on the legacy of cycling from last summer’s Olympics in London and involved over 8 miles of streets in central London being closed to motorised vehicle traffic for two full days.
The Saturday was a celebration of cycling for one and all with over 50,000 people taking the time to cycle in a relaxed atmosphere on dedicated routes for cycling. What impressed me most was the abundance of parents cycling with their kids. It leant itself to a carnival atmosphere where no one was rushing or pushing or skipping in and out to beat the traffic just so they could break the next red light.
I took my time on the route. Soaking in the glorious sunshine and the oasis of peace within the city only broken by the hypnotic lullaby of bicycle bells.
I was quickly brought back to reality when I left the sanctity of the RideLondon route to head home and was more than a bit disappointed when I found the first car that wanted to share the road with me. More than anything else it was the sound that struck me most. Surrounded by tens of thousands of bicycles I was amazed how easily I had forgotten the sound of pistons firing when it was happily replaced by pedals pushing.
RideLondon has already been confirmed for 2014 with the second days racing attracting over 50,000 entrants already. I think i’ll stick with the slower paced Saturday. Leisurely rides make for better bicycle lullabies……