What did Skyride achieve?

This is a video I put together of the Mayor of London's Skyride which took place back on Sunday 20th September and was the final in a series of mass participation bike rides across the UK throughout the summer.  Put on between British Cycling, the Mayor's office and Sky Broadcasting it attracted some 65000 participants to it's 15km course which is a huge number of cyclists.

Driven by a considerably larger budget than previous similar annual events (formerly 'FreeWheel') and with publicity on Sky television, in the London papers and with leaflets handed out at tube stations in the run up to the event, I think it's fair to say that the event attracted a good cross-section of Londoners, with many families taking their children along on their bikes to experience cycling in central London without the perceived risk of other road users - a Critical Mass for the chattering classes if you like!

Reviewing the pictures and making the video I've been reflecting on how much I enjoyed the day (personal highlights were meeting Sir Chris Hoy, and better still - Sponge Bob Square Pants!) - but one thing has been bugging me - why can't cycling be like this in London eery day?  By that, I don't mean that automobiles should be banned (although there are certainly a lot of areas in central London where they should be) but why isn't there this density of riders every day?

I think the fear of danger associated with cycling plays a big deal in this - there were a lot of Mums and Dads on the ride; the very people who've had it put to them that they are safer in their cars than they are cycling or walking to get where they want to be - the more they get in their cars, the less safe it is in the road.  But of course we all know that statistically you are safer on the road on a bike than in a car, and that the more who cycle the safer it becomes.  I'm not sure how sucesful events like Skyride are in helping to migrate people from cars to bicycles, but hopefully - simply through sheer volume of numbers - it can help to portray cycling as being something everyday and ordinary, which is definately a good start.

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