More than 240 schoolchildren enjoyed the sunshine as they took part in a mass bike ride across Hackney last week (Thurs 24 May).
‘Bike Around the Borough’ was organised by Hackney Council and supported by the Met Police and saw youngsters from 17 of the borough’s primary schools taking part alongside school staff and cycling instructors. It built on the success of last year’s event, which celebrated the launch of 2012 Hackney Parks Walking and Cycling route.
Starting at London Fields, this year’s 8.8 mile circular route took in many of the borough’s best known landmarks and green spaces with meeting points in Shoreditch Park, Clissold Park and Millfields Park. The cyclists used main roads, practicing the skills developed this year through national standards cycle training and seeing how easy it is to travel safely around Hackney by bike. Zak, a Year 6 Pupil from Tyssen Community Primary School, said: "I learnt that cycling is as healthy as walking and that cycling is fun."
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said:
“ It was great to see so many young people taking part in this event. Cycling is a quick, easy and healthy way to get around our borough and the work that the Council and its partners are doing to improve safety and infrastructure for cyclists means that more residents than ever are choosing this as their main form of transport. Giving children the confidence to cycle safely will hopefully mean that they too become cyclists for life.”
This was echoed by event marshal Carmen from Jubilee Primary School, she said: “This event has shown the children that cycling is not only great fun in the park but is a viable option for getting from A-B – something they had never considered before.”
Hackney has been recognised nationally for its innovative approaches to encouraging cycling. Initiatives such as free training for children and adults, 20 mile per hour limits on all Council-controlled residential roads and awareness training for HGV drivers mean that the borough now has the highest rates of cycling amongst residents in the capital.