RideLondon cycling festival to return after pandemic with new route into Essex

The event will return on Sunday May 29 after a near three-year absence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Beverley Rouse
Friday 18 February 2022 00:01
RideLondon-100 cyclists Greg Mawdsley, Laura Lawson and Lisa Thake, Jason Fergus from Active Essex, London Marathon Charitable Trust executive director Catherine Anderson, Essex County councillor Lee Scott and Farleigh Hospice RideLondon-100 riders Neil Coggins and John Porter pictured in Chelmsford (PA)
RideLondon-100 cyclists Greg Mawdsley, Laura Lawson and Lisa Thake, Jason Fergus from Active Essex, London Marathon Charitable Trust executive director Catherine Anderson, Essex County councillor Lee Scott and Farleigh Hospice RideLondon-100 riders Neil Coggins and John Porter pictured in Chelmsford (PA)

Cyclists of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are being encouraged to get on their bikes when the RideLondon cycling festival returns to the capital in 100 days’ time.

The event was cancelled for the past two years but is returning on Sunday May 29 with new 100 and 60 mile routes heading into Essex.

The route takes in Epping Forest, Ongar and Chigwell Row while those completing 100 miles will also pass Fyfield, Leaden Roding, Great Dunmow, Felsted and Writtle.

Event director Hugh Brasher told the PA news agency the event will show “London at its best” but also that Essex is “an incredibly beautiful county that people don’t know lots about apart from a very famous TV programme”.

RideLondon was last held in 2019 (PA)

The only way is Essex for those cycling 60 or 100 miles from Victoria Embankment while participants tackling RideLondon 30 will pedal to Woodford before returning to the same Tower Bridge finish line.

On the same day, FreeCycle will provide eight miles of traffic-free roads in central London plus a number of festival zones.

RideLondon, which could not be held in 2020 or 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions, was established by the Mayor of London in 2013 as a legacy event from the 2012 London Olympic Games and previously went into Surrey.

It aims to encourage people from all backgrounds to try cycling so a number of entries have been given to communities such as the Black Unity Bike Ride Groups, Cycle Sisters and Brothers On Bikes.

Samra Said, chairperson of Cycle Sisters, said: “We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to safely enjoy cycling as a means of exercise, personal growth and forming social connections.

Samra Said is the chairperson of Cycle Sisters which was set up to address the under-representation of Muslim women in cycling. The group will be taking part in RideLondon when the cycling festival returns on May 29 (RideLondon/PA)

“Cycle Sisters was set up to address the under-representation of Muslim women in cycling and through our Muslim women’s cycle groups, with volunteer ride leaders acting as role models, we’ve created a space where hundreds of women across London have discovered the joy of cycling.

“We’re delighted to have been supported by RideLondon this year which will enable more of our members to participate and experience the excitement and challenge of this iconic event.”

Mr Brasher, a keen cyclist who said the activity can be “a great day out”, said the event was returning with “an increased ambition for RideLondon to be genuinely for all”.

“Statistics on cycling participation and our own data from the previous seven RideLondon editions clearly show that women and under-served communities are in a minority when it comes to getting on a bike,” he said.

“We want to change that and for RideLondon to reflect the extraordinary diversity of this wonderful, multi-cultural city.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (front) and the city’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “Cycling has seen a huge boom during the pandemic, but we know that some people are still under-represented, so it’s really important that women and those from ethnically diverse groups are being encouraged to take part.

“I can’t wait for the event in May and urge all Londoners, whatever their age or background, to get involved.”

In addition to the mass participation events, RideLondon will also feature the RideLondon Classique, a three-day UCI Women’s World Tour stage race from May 27-29 including best women cyclists in the world.

The first two stages will take place in Essex before the final stage is held on a circuit in central London on May 29.

General entries are closed for RideLondon-Essex 100 which will follow a section of Stage Three of the 2014 Tour de France route but charity entries are still available.

Entries for RideLondon-Essex 60 (£50) and RideLondon 30 (£25) are open from February 18.

Registration for FreeCycle will open in March when the event route plus start and finish times will be revealed.

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