Why Richmond is top for cycling
Picture courtesy Mind The Gap Tours (mindthegaptours.com)
The borough’s cycling czar Katherine Harborne ureges us to get on our bikes
I run my own business, I live in Richmond – where I serve as a councillor – and I promote cycling in the borough at every available opportunity.
I don’t think you have to wear lycra to cycle. Our slogan is: ‘more people cycling, more often, safely and for fun.’
We have no family car (never have done, actually) and go everywhere in Richmond by bicycle or by public transport.
So here are 10 reasons to get pedalling
1) Richmond is the cycling capital of the UK – with the emphasis on children and fun. 5% of all journeys are made by bike and we aim to increase that by 40%.
2) The borough has the most popular lead rides – and 10 more of them – than any other in London. In fact, Richmond Council has trained up approximately
20 people to lead rides around the borough. The rides are safe and sociable and cover four different levels, from beginner to advanced. To register visit: goskyride.com/richmond
3) Sky Ride Richmond is sponsored by NHS Richmond because cycling is good for mental health and fitness. Statistically, cyclists live longer and healthier lives than non-cyclists.
4) Each summer Richmond stages the annual Strictly Cycling Bike Festival – a fun day for all the family. Strictly Cycling helped Team Richmond win gold medals in the London Youth Games for cycling two years running.
5) Richmond supports Breeze, the national cycling for women programme. In fact, the borough organised a heart-shaped ride round Richmond Park.
6) Richmond is a centre for bike tours and, in partnership with South West Trains, now has a £220,000 bike hire hub at Richmond station. Here you will find 70 pay-as-you-go bikes, available from as little as £10 per day. In addition, Mind The Gap Tours provides guided tours from Richmond to Hampton Court (mindthegaptours.com)
7) Strictly Cycling is Richmond’s Olympic cycling legacy and part of the Olympic Inspire programme. Five Richmond schools had two-hour weekly competitive cycling lessons during the recent summer term, run by a British cycling coach.
8) Team GB Olympians and Paralympians trained in Richmond Park this summer, while Richmond and Bushy Parks hosted stretches of the Olympic cycling routes.
9) Ham Gate Avenue hill, just inside Richmond Park, was voted one of the Top 10 hills in England for cycling down.
10) 2013 will see Ride London – the Mayor of London’s Olympic cycling legacy – pass through Richmond borough and follow the Olympic Road Race route. It’ll be like the London Marathon – but better.