It has been announced that Sky Sports are the title sponsors of the London Freewheel in 2008. This is a devastating blow. Last year the sponsors were Hovis and we got free sandwiches. I'm not exactly going to get a free satellite dish out of it, am I?
The freewheel is a good event, is free, and takes place in the second half of september. It's worth making the effort for if you can get into London.
Further reading: Press release about a summer of cycling and an Evening Standard article where Boris exalts Londoners to dust off their bikes. Also, here is a summary of the freewheel. Finally, the BikeforAll site on the freewheel sponsorship.
Good news. The London Freewheel 2008 is now taking registrations. The event will be on the 21st September.
As last year, now I have the slow torture of the wait all over again!
I hope that this year I'll be able to persuade the other half to come along....
Last year, I took part in the London Freewheel. It was a great event, and I'm hoping it'll be repeated in 2008. Periodically I do a search to see if it is to be repeated, and to put the date in my diary.
No luck yet. I'd appreciate a 'heads up' if anyone hears details.
(Edit: Scary, as of 13th Jan, this site is the number one link in google UK when searching for 'London Freewheel 2008' - Murk)
(Edit: As of 14th Feb, I've been told that a provisional time for this is the 3rd week in september, I'd guess the 21st - Murk)
(Edit: As of 5th March, Freewheel registration 2008 is open. It will be the 21st. - Murk)
The London Freewheel was a great event. Unfortunately, South West trains chose today to have engineering works, meaning that getting into London with a bike was more problematic than it need have been. I managed to get in via a different route (despite several pieces of misinformation from train staff about which route to take). I had a ticket to London Waterloo, but got off a little early at Clapham Junction, I then cycled to the common. I was one of the first cyclists to arrive.
There were free apples and sweeties. This was nice.
Waiting for the start, I did 4-5km just going round... and round... and round.
More and more people arrived, I think there must have been a 1500-2000 at the time we set off. We were funnelled onto a path out of the common and set off in small groups. Encouraged to ride no more than two abreast, the practicalities of groups of people bunching up at traffic lights meant this injunction was more honoured in the breach - though on main roads it was followed. We followed a route up to Buckingham Palace, where we joined the Car-Free route.
There were various stalls along the mall, and I visited the nice people at Evans Cycles and they reindexed my gears for me, for free (I had them close, but it wasn't quite right - all they needed was a little lube on the cable).
The route went from the Mall, around the back of Downing Street, left onto Parliament Square, onto Whitehall and then down onto the embankment. It went through the Blackfriars underpass (which was good fun - I would never dream of cycling there with cars about). We then went over London Bridge, before returning.
At various points there were photographers, and one could pose for free photos (which should be available for download tomorrow - they give you a reference number to find your photo).
I did a total of three laps, I could have done more, but I spent some time in the day browsing the stalls in 'the festival' (they should have had the stalls moved out a bit, made them double-sided - and had one side for pedestrians, and the other for people on their bikes (one way only). The other slowing factor was a bottleneck around parliament square and nearby areas.
The nice people at Hovis gave out Free Sandwiches. Red Bull gave out free caffeine based stimulant. Thames Water gave out free water (duh!), though their water bottles sucked. That was okay as Evans Cycles gave out some nice 'Tour 07' water bottles.
How could the day have been improved?
Well, it would have been nice if there were the opportunity to try a 'fast lap' or a signs saying 'slow? stay to the side', and sometimes the marshals would stop the flow to allow one person to cross on foot, and then stop again within seconds - the marshalls could have bunched the pedestrians a little more. Also, at places like parliament square, there is a subway under Whitehall which could have been employed.
Other than that, it was a great day - and I'm looking forward to the date coming round again.
One other improvement: Annually simply isn't often enough.... monthly would be great. What about weekly....?
My total cycle today was 52km. I probably could have doubled that quite happily without stopping for the stalls, and if there had been fewer bottlenecks - it was just great to peddle on reasonably good roads without fear of being flattened.
I've just uploaded my photos of the day.
I've been looking forward to this weekend for some time. It's the London Freewheel on Sunday. The north of the river From St. James' Park to London Bridge (and over the bridge) is given to the bicycle. Unfortunately, the better half isn't confident enough on the bike to join me, so I'll be going alone - except for the expected 30 000 other people who will be joining me.
My only real worry is getting into town with my bike, with South West trains only allowing two bikes per train....
Even on foot, 30000 bikes should be a sight to behold.
I've got back on my bike in the past few months, totting up 135km since the start of august (I know some folks do that in a day, but I'm building from nothing here). I've even booked myself on a cycle maintenance course at the end of the month! Anyhow, I've just signed up for the 'London Freewheel'. Essentially, there'll be a traffic free route by the river on Sunday 23rd sept, which will be given over to those of us with two wheels. Lovely!
My only trouble will be getting the bike into town, with lots of others trying to do the same!