Mayor visits Hounslow to urge West Londoners to get back on their bikes

Mayor of Londonís Skyride coming to the borough on 9 August

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has visited Hounslow to meet children from Lampton and Hounslow Manor schools and spread the word about Skyride - the mass bike ride coming to the borough on 9 August.

The Mayor of London’s Skyride - Hounslow is based on the popular Sky Sports Freewheel event that last year attracted 50,000 Londoners to central London. It will allow cyclists of all ages and abilities to cycle along a special car-free route, taking in some of Hounslow’s beautiful green spaces, including Lampton Park and Syon Park. Cyclists from all over west London and greater London are expected to join in.

The Hounslow event,  which is sponsored by Sky, is part of a summer of cycling in the capital. It puts the borough on the map in terms of promoting cycling, and represents the first time that such an event has been held outside of London’s zone one. The Mayor is committed to boosting cycling in the outer boroughs, and has welcomed Hounslow’s efforts to become a true biking borough.

The Mayor said:
"London is a fantastic city to cycle in, but for a plethora of reasons many of us don’t do it as much as we would like. The Mayor of London’s Skyride – Hounslow will be a chance for people to get on their bikes and enjoy a ride through some fantastic green spaces free from the interference of cars, which can sometimes be off-putting.
"Last year’s event in central London was a huge success, enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, and I’m sure that this year the good folk of West London will also turn out in huge numbers to take part in this unique and fun celebration of one of the cleanest, healthiest, and environment-friendly ways of getting about town.  When I was elected, I promised to be a Mayor for all Londoners- not just zone one. This is why I am taking our flagship cycling event to Hounslow."

 Jeremy Darroch, Chief Executive of Sky said: “I’m proud to be bringing Skyride to Hounslow, Sky’s home for the last 20 years, in partnership with the Mayor of London.  We want to get as many people as possible in and around Hounslow to pick up their bikes again this summer; for fun and for fitness. So join in, with friends or family, and be part of a new cycling phenomenon that, we hope, will get one million more people cycling by 2013.”

Cllr Peter Thompson, leader of Hounslow council, said: “It is a real privilege to have been chosen as the host of Skyride, and we are really looking forward to giving people the chance to discover more of the borough.
“As well as show-casing our fantastic green spaces, this is a chance to show local cyclists – and would-be cyclists – just how easy it is to get around the borough on two-wheels”

During his visit the Mayor also urged students to get some biking practice by joining in Transport for London's Schools Cycle Challenge, where Key Stage 3 students, parents and school staff are being invited to see how many people they can get cycling between 15-26 June. Schools will be competing against others in London and can win awards for cycling the most miles, getting the most people taking part, or recruiting the most new cyclists.

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's Director of Transport policy, said: "I know Hounslow well, and I'm pleased that cyclists from all over west London will soon get to discover some of its beautiful parks as they join in the fun. In so doing they will be playing a part in London's cycling revolution.  Events like this help spark people's interest in cycling and give people the confidence to give it a try - from young children to older Londoners, everyone can get involved."  

Sky has announced a series of mass participation summer cycling events to encourage people to get back on their bikes.  In addition to Mayor of London’s Skyride – Hounslow, the Skyride initiative will see large scale events in four city centres, with streets closed to traffic and guided rides at hundreds of local venues.  These free events will give tens of thousands of people, of all ages and abilities, the chance to enjoy riding with their family and friends. 

Sky is also launching a new cycling website at www.goskyride.com to give a simple one-stop shop for news on the Skyride events.  The site will also offer a host of tips and expert advice on how to ride safely and in comfort, along with exclusive views from the stars of Sky’s partner, British Cycling.

June 18, 2009