Under the baking sun of an incredibly beautiful Sunday morning, hundreds of day-glow yellow clad cyclists gathered for a city centre bike ride round the closed streets of Leeds.
The first ride of its type in Leeds, and organised by Leeds City Council, Sky, British Cycling and West Yorkshire Metro’s go:cycling project, this was a simple jaunt around a 5.2Km (3.2 mile) course, circling the Town Hall, and passing through Woodhouse Moor and the university campus.
The ride was started by Leeds’s own Kimberley Walsh, at just after 10:00am, we started pedalling; only to come up against the slower riders in front of us…
After a little start/stopping, we finally got going as the mass peleton gained momentum. This is where it started getting good!
It really was a stunning sunny day, and the ride itself (rated as ‘Easy Going’) was a fairly quiet affair as riders of all ages and abilities were present.
As you would expect, there were quite a few of the ‘all the gear, no idea’ crowd about, and riding in a group is an acquired skill it would seem – it was amusing to see quite a few chunky middle-aged people, bedecked in skin tight garish colours on some fantastic bikes, wobbling about and sweating profusely, walking up the hill (there was a fairly gentle but long hill on the route).
As the route rounded a little downhill section there was a small crowd of, well, ‘loonies’ is probably the best description, as they were encouraging people, by cheering and blasting air horns. Surprisingly this seems to work! Weird…
The best bit for me though was towards the end of the route as we rode the parks bowered pathways, and down to a twisty, downhill section approaching and through the university grounds. Bliss!
After the ride we wandered through the stalls and things arranged about the start section, where we were fed free cooled Jaffa oranges (we managed 8 between us), filmed for a future event in Leeds (something about animating a clock), and had opportunity to ride on some other style bikes. This transpired as a sporty, low slung recumbent bike (think go-cart with pedals), a lovely sedate side by side bike for two, and a hand-cranked bike designed for disabled people (this was particularly hard to use).
For me this was a great day out – there was food, drink, sun and cycling around traffic free roads. Much to be recommended!!