news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Some thoughts on Skyride

with 11 comments

Skyride at Victoria Embankment
- The numbers! Loads and loads and loads of cyclists. I actually ducked off the route when I hit a jam of cyclists on Upper Thames Street – suddenly all that stuff about having the freedom of the city seemed rather hollow. Some very slow pinch points along the route – through Parliament Square and into Birdcage Walk was particularly tough.
- The barriers! It was unnecessarily hard to get on/off the route at times, particularly on The Mall where escaping to/from Marlborough Road was a bit fiddly with some over-zealous stewarding.
- The kids! Loads and loads and loads of kids. They kept crashing in the Blackfriars underpass. Not a day if you didn’t like being surrounded by Observer readers with children called Milo.
Skyride at Victoria Embankment
- The route! It’s great fun to take over central London for the day – the little dog-leg up to St Paul’s was worth the effort. It’d be great to see a longer route, though – how about taking over one of the bridges?
- The sponsorship! Thesps promoting Sky Arts outside Mansion House Tube? Groan. I’ll pass on the Sky bib, ta. Probably because my thoughts on London cycling have been influenced by seeing Critical Mass, it’s hard to reconcile freewheeling around town with clumsy ads for high definition television. (A disappointing lack of freebies too…)
Kelly Brook at Skyride
- Kelly Brook! Probably not a good idea to wear high heels while cycling, though. I wondered why Boris hadn’t gone for Proper Cyclists Dermot O’Leary and Edith Bowman, who both appear in a TfL cinema ad, instead of going for Daily Star readers. But I then remembered the last time someone on the BBC’s payroll helped a mayor promote cycling…
- The Boris bikes! Not so many of those, actually – and it made me wonder whether portable docking stations could be brought into use for big events. One big boo-boo, though – stations in Hyde Park were locked out of use hours after the Women’s 5K Challenge had finished – but were still showing as live on system maps. One of the dumbest things to do on London’s big cycling day out.
- My thighs! I’m feeling the benefit now. Skyride – by no means perfect, but still a good thing.

Written by Darryl

6 September, 2010 at 11:30 am

Posted in london

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11 Responses

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  1. it’s hard to reconcile freewheeling around town with clumsy ads for high definition television. (A disappointing lack of freebies too…)

    You wouldn’t mind the adverts, so long as you get a bag of goodies?


    6 September, 2010 at 11:35 am

  2. Frankly, yes.


    6 September, 2010 at 11:38 am

  3. Not a day if you didn’t like being surrounded by Observer readers with children called Milo.

    The early-morning Southeastern trains were particularly bad for this. Every single carriage was blocked solid with their bikes.

    Richard J

    6 September, 2010 at 11:44 am

  4. I went on the one in Bath, and it wasn’t as congested as London sounds – definitely enjoyable. But it made me think that it shouldn’t come down to a private company to promote cycle-only city centres. It would be nice if councils looked at this experiment and saw it as something they could implement themselves, ideally with wider roll-out of Boris bike-type schemes.

    Sarah Ditum

    6 September, 2010 at 11:47 am

  5. pavement cyclists aplenty! all decked out in full protective gear. sigh.


    6 September, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  6. My mum – umpteen thousand miles a year, over the Tourmalet at 75, etc. etc. – has pointed out on sundry occasions that there is no problem at all with wearing stilettos on a bike, since the heels are safely out of contact with anything.

    Albert Herring

    6 September, 2010 at 3:53 pm

  7. the riverbus was rubbish!…only allowing 10 bikes at a time even if they were half empty (rules and regs, health and safety blah blah…)
    if they spend as much as they did marketing the event, they can’t have been surprised that 100k odd people turned up , so why didn’t they have a big enough route to cope?
    nice try Boris, but pls learn your lessons for the next one.


    6 September, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  8. Yep, the Skyride, while longer than last year’s route, was so busy it was in danger of being a victim of its own success. They’ll just have to make it longer next year….

    I helped out with the marshalling in from Greenwich and my strongest impressions are of the sometimes very young children gamely making their way up to town. Who said kids have no attention span these days? I love the mix of all ages on these rides.


    6 September, 2010 at 9:17 pm

  9. Oh, and coming in as a marshal, you might not get a big bag of goodies, but you do get tea, biscuits, sandwiches and crisps for free…see you there next year in a blue jacket, Darryl :-)


    6 September, 2010 at 9:20 pm

  10. [...] It all started a couple of months back, when I gave a Boris bike a spin and pronounced it good. I did the Skyride, and a couple of weeks ago managed to pedal from the South Bank to Lancaster Gate, before seeing [...]

  11. […] Freecycle itself was great – it’s been made bigger, thankfully, cutting the bottlenecks of the past. Being surrounded by children having a whale of a time was something special. But while making […]

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