An estimated 50,000 cyclists joined the London Freewheel, Britain's biggest mass cycle ride. Participants were able to enjoy safer streets in the city centre whilst taking in famous landmarks along the route. The event also featured members of the UK Olympic cycling team and carnival entertainment including music, cycling angels and jugglers. Further out from the centre, many Londoners held their own carfree celebrations. Around 10,000 residents joined the biggest carfree event ever staged in the borough of Haringey. Roads were closed for information exhibits, stunt BMX cycling and a mobile skate park, children's arts space, and a farmer's market.
In Hounslow, a range of activities and free gifts were on offer, including fruit smoothies made by pedal power, while 'Dr Bike' was offering bicycle repairs, advice and cycle training. The event gave residents a greater sense of what a traffic-free environment is like and helped encourage healthy living.
More information: Freewheel
For pictures: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sky_sports_london_freewheel_2008/
Edinburgh - Commuter Victory
In Edinburgh, a 'Commuter Challenge' was organised to improve the public attitude towards daily travel to work - demonstrating that you don't have to travel by the same mode of transport every day. Hundreds of citizens chose to dance, cycle, jog, walk, skate (all things motor-free), and use the bus or train to reach work in the quickest time; receiving a croissant and coffee to kick start their day. Many businesses encouraged their employees to be actively involved in the carfree events for environmental and health reasons.
A 'Green Passport Day' involved Green Passports distributed to all school children in Edinburgh. The initiative saw pupils walk, cycle or scooter along chosen routes, collecting stamps at the checkpoints, in order to be entered into a prize draw competition. Carfree day was further celebrated with a street party featuring local music, a dressed up bike parade, art workshops and information booths where people could sign up for a free car-sharing membership.
More information: Try cycling in Edinburgh
Harrogate Car Free Day
The sun shone for Harrogate's first Carfree Day. It kicked off with interviews with Mayor John Fox, Phil Willis MP and others at Harrogate bus station, where passengers and bus drivers received pastries. The Press was there in force, along with live broadcasts on Stray FM. Over 600 people registered for free day bus passes. It closed with a bike ride from Harrogate College to St Peter's Church, where live music awaited the 100-odd cyclists, not forgetting the unicyclist! And next year? Plans are underway, so get ready to leave your car at home and start pedalling.
More information: Harrogate carfree day
London Islington, UK
An estimated 1,500 people enjoyed Carfree Day in Islington as busy Liverpool Road was transformed into an open-air park on Saturday, September 20. Families, residents and visitors basked in glorious sunshine as they enjoyed picnics on the grass or lounged around in deckchairs provided for the day. There was live music from a local band and free popcorn on offer. On a normal Saturday, Liverpool road is a very busy street with pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles all competing for space, but with the road closed people made the most of the brilliant weather and took the chance to enjoy a carfree day.
- John Robson
More information: http://www.islington.gov.uk/Council/CouncilNews/PressOffice/2006/09/2657.asp
For pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/ong.viaciclo
Brighton's Streets are for People
A pedestrian-friendly Brighton city centre welcomed people to the Streets for People event. Brighton's residents and visitors were urged to travel by bus, on foot or by bike and to join various health walks to attend a number of events spread across the city.
Entertainment came in various forms, including music stage, street dancers, workshops for people to learn a variety of music and dance, and a cinema experience inside a yurt showing short films celebrating the joy of cycling. The empty roads were turfed over creating an alfresco dining experience for picnics, and a sandy beach, complete with buckets and spades, was created on the road surface for children. Other family entertainment included games and competitions, such as a treasure hunt, painting streets using tricycles and decorating beach huts.
There were free bicycle rickshaw rides - which transported visitors along the seafront, a free bike doctor clinic for bicycle safety, security advice and information on car sharing clubs. Several carfree street parties were happening simultaneously across the city - encouraging people to adopt sustainable alternatives to the car for more healthier and active ways of living.
More information: http://www.journeyon.co.uk/
For pictures: http://www.journeyon.co.uk/events_80.asp
Fiesta Success: Bristol Streets Alive
Bristol celebrated Carfree Day with the Streets Alive event: attracting around 8,000 locals and cyclists to enjoy a carfree space in the city centre. A few busy streets were closed off to motor vehicles to make way for lots of food, beverages and musical entertainment which lined the way for pedestrians and cyclists.
There was a carnival atmosphere: streets came to life featuring entertainment from theatre performers, roving musicians and a live acoustic lounge. Colourful and alive with activity, flags hung from above and lined buildings decorating either side of the street. The road surface was transformed into a giant blank canvas as people created various works of cycle art and various arts and crafts workshops encouraged views to be expressed about Bristol as the UK's first cycling city.
The fiesta focused on promoting cycling alternatives. The public had the chance to try many types of cycling - attracting riders of all ages and ability levels. There were many cycle-based activities such as displays of unusual bikes, free repairs service, information and advocacy bringing positive visibility to cycling.
More information: Streets alive
For pictures: http://www.streetsalive.net/newsitem.aspx?item=12