– The numbers! Loads and loads and loads of cyclists. I actually ducked off the route when I hit a jam of cyclists on Upper Thames Street – suddenly all that stuff about having the freedom of the city seemed rather hollow. Some very slow pinch points along the route – through Parliament Square and into Birdcage Walk was particularly tough.
– The barriers! It was unnecessarily hard to get on/off the route at times, particularly on The Mall where escaping to/from Marlborough Road was a bit fiddly with some over-zealous stewarding.
– The kids! Loads and loads and loads of kids. They kept crashing in the Blackfriars underpass. Not a day if you didn’t like being surrounded by Observer readers with children called Milo.
– The route! It’s great fun to take over central London for the day – the little dog-leg up to St Paul’s was worth the effort. It’d be great to see a longer route, though – how about taking over one of the bridges?
– The sponsorship! Thesps promoting Sky Arts outside Mansion House Tube? Groan. I’ll pass on the Sky bib, ta. Probably because my thoughts on London cycling have been influenced by seeing Critical Mass, it’s hard to reconcile freewheeling around town with clumsy ads for high definition television. (A disappointing lack of freebies too…)
– Kelly Brook! Probably not a good idea to wear high heels while cycling, though. I wondered why Boris hadn’t gone for Proper Cyclists Dermot O’Leary and Edith Bowman, who both appear in a TfL cinema ad, instead of going for Daily Star readers. But I then remembered the last time someone on the BBC’s payroll helped a mayor promote cycling…
– The Boris bikes! Not so many of those, actually – and it made me wonder whether portable docking stations could be brought into use for big events. One big boo-boo, though – stations in Hyde Park were locked out of use hours after the Women’s 5K Challenge had finished – but were still showing as live on system maps. One of the dumbest things to do on London’s big cycling day out.
– My thighs! I’m feeling the benefit now. Skyride – by no means perfect, but still a good thing.