Starting next week, London will offer a little extra support to commuter cyclists as part of an initiative to encourage people to ride their bicycles to work each Friday.
“Cycle Fridays,” an initiative launched by London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL), kicks off next Friday — 14 August — and will continue every Friday until 2 October.
As part of the programme, series of bike convoys led by experienced riders will be on hand to guide novice commuter cyclists into central London. For eight weeks, the rides will depart at 8 am from six different locations around the capital.
Those joining the rides will be greeted by ride marshals from the London Cycling Campaign and will be given a basic bike check and relevant TfL cycle maps before getting on the road. Additional drop-off points can be agreed so that riders can get as close to their destination as possible.
“Whether it’s Monday, Wednesday or Sunday, I tend to go by bike but, although it is safe and getting safer, I fully appreciate that some people find it a little daunting at first,” Johnson said. “Cycle Fridays are a brilliantly simple way of giving thousands of commuters the confidence to get cycling. I’m sure that when they see how much of a fun, healthy and convenient experience it can be they will be hooked.”
Ben Plowden, Director of Integrated Programmes, TfL said: “Cycling is a great way to get around London, but getting started can be intimidating. Cycle Fridays are one of the ways TfL is working with London’s cyclists to help people to start – and keep – cycling in London. For everything you need to cycle in London, from finding out more about Cycle Fridays to ordering free cycling maps and booking free cycle training, go to www.tfl.gov.uk/cycling.”
“We know that a third of Londoners own a bike and many want to cycle more,” said Koy Thomson, Chief Executive of London Cycling Campaign. “But force of habit, particularly with commuting, stops them switching to the faster, cheaper alternative. Cycle Fridays will help people break old habits and exercise their choice to cycle.”
The initiative is part of a summer cycling campaign designed to boost the number of commuters travelling by bike. There has been a 9 per cent increase in those pedalling on London’s major roads over the last year, but the Mayor and TfL are seeking to go further, aiming at a 400 per cent increase by 2025.