Hundreds saddle up as inclusive cycling celebrates milestone

Crowds of people, despite the rain, lined the streets as cyclists in the Tour de France rode through

Crowds of people, despite the rain, lined the streets as cyclists in the Tour de France rode through Stratford High Road last year - Credit: Archant

An inclusive cycling programme has seen more than 600 people take part in bike rides around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer.

The milestone was reached in the same week that marks a year to go until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The All Ability Cycling Hub has been running sessions throughout the summer at Lee Valley VeloPark, with more than 40 fully accessible bikes on offer.

The specially adapted vehicles include a bike car, handcycles and wheelchair platform cycles, with up to 60 people taking part in each session, run by social enterprise Bikeworks.

Jim Blakemore, co-founder and director at Bikeworks, said: “We’ve been running the hub for about nine years, at Victoria Park and Little Wormwood Scrubs.

“The Olympic Park sessions began in May and we’re hoping to have them running every day of the week.

“We’re hoping to offer more activities, such as competitions, in the coming months as well.”

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He added that while most of the participants were from the Olympic host boroughs, some people were travelling 10 or 15 miles to take part.

He said: “We’ve got people with all sorts of disabilities who take part, and some without any disabilities who just want to keep fit.”

Vicki Austin, head of Paralympic legacy at the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “Following the huge success of Team GB’s cyclists at the London 2012 Games cycling has ballooned in popularity.

“The All Ability Cycling Hub gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy this popular sport and see the awe-inspiring venues of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from a new perspective.”

The Hub is a joint initiative involving five organisations and aims to provide a Paralympic legacy in the park.

All ability sessions run on Tuesdays and every other Saturday between 11am and 1pm, with cycling for older people on offer on Mondays at the same time.