Riding the sky in London

London Sky Ride 

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The British government‘s resolution to fight obesity and carbon emissions by promoting healthy eco-living through cycling has proven a great success in England‘s capital as the familiar bright blue swirl of Boris Bikes speeding past has smoothly melted in as nothing more than part of the daily makeup of London traffic, as the Cycle To Work scheme gains followers and as excitement begins to build for the fastly approaching U.K. visit from the Tour de France. The U.K. Sky Ride, which takes place annually at various locations around the country, is just another of the national efforts to increase cycling awareness as cities block off roads to vehicles and drivers everywhere exchange their car keys for cycling helmets for the day. 

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The sight of things to come? Hoards of cyclists take to the roads whilst Big Ben watches on – much like Cinderella’s pumpkin- in a somewhat surprising eco-transformation, just for one day, the bike becomes the new car.

As interest in cycling augments, so too does the global market for curious bike-based gadgets, such as the Invisible bike helmet that disguises itself as a scarf and acts as an emergency airbag, the high-speed Cardboard bike retailing at a mere $250,00 and the Yike Bike, a modern style electric folding Penny-farthing. More can be found on Be The Bike and of course, from the revolutionary Japanese who continue to hold the monopoly on wacky inventions.

It’s not all helmets and roses for the new cycling initiative however, as fatal cracks begin to show and concerns for bike safety grow with London cyclist deaths tolling at 122 in 2012 and five cyclists sustaining fatal wounds in the space of just nine days in London this November. The appearance of Ghost Bikes in areas around the city where cyclist deaths occurred marks part of a local project set up by the London biking community in order to commemorate cyclists injured on the streets of London and warn of the dangers of poor road safety.

To what extent can the government’s efforts to promote cycling realistically have a positive impact on the reduction of global carbon emissions? Will the British public ever be willing to sacrifice their carbon-emitting cars? Does driving really cause a greater carbon footprint than cycling?  The following articles are interesting reads for those keen to learn more about the investigation into the potential of cycling to reduce carbon emissions, the carbon footprint of cycling and whether or not suburbs can be designed to eliminate cars. The NASA report on what effects changing the carbon cycle may have is also a key scientific report to consider.

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Digitally enhanced Sky Rides are among some of the activities on offer to luminous safety bib clad participants.

From illuminated tricycles to piano bikes- a colourful assortment of cycling contraptions spread their wings and fly for the London Sky Ride.

From illuminated tricycles to piano bikes- a colourful assortment of cycling contraptions spread their wings and step into the spotlight for the London Sky Ride.

A street performer conjures his liquid magic on the Thames riverside to a bike-mad crowd.

A street performer conjures his liquid magic on the Thames riverside to bike-mad crowds.

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M.A.M.I.Ls (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) and non-M.A.M.I.L.s alike take to the streets of London in their hundreds.

M.A.M.I.Ls (the official term for Middle Aged Men In Lycra) and non-M.A.M.I.L.s alike swarm the streets of London in their hundreds for London’s annual Sky Ride.

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Cycling-lovers have been so enamoured with the blitzing blue Mercedes-Benz of the British cycling world that Boris Bikes have been spotted as far from the home comfort of their London docking stations as Gambia.

Want to swat up on Skyriding? Have a look at these blogs from avid Skyriders Lizzie Armitsead, As easy as riding your bike and Let’s ride Birmingham or briefly browse through these award winning bike blogs Urban VeloLondon Cyclist,  EcoVelo, Naturally Cycling and Bike Snob.

 

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8 thoughts on “Riding the sky in London

  1. Thank you for following my blog, Rachel. Love your choices of images and topics in your blog. I also spent some time in England, grew up in Hong Kong, and now abiding in California. I look forward to seeing more of your stories from global trotting.

  2. Your photographs are beautiful — such a lively way to tell your story. Thank you for being my (ta da!) 700th follower at Triggershorse. I am humbled and amazed. – Fawn

  3. Great story… great pix! I can’t wait to dig into your global smorgasbord of posts here. Rachel, you may be a bit out of sync with any one of your collection of heritages – but you seem to speak a language that we all have in common. Brava!

  4. We have Bixi bikes in Montreal and Toronto but we certainly don’t hve as many enthusiasts as in Europe…hopefully in time this will change. Great blog by the way and thank you so much for following my blog. Blessings, Oliana

  5. I’ve read through several of your posts, and I think you’re quite clever with words. In addition to being one heck of a photographer, are you also a writer? You might think about mentioning this in your bio page, “About”.

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