The £1.5m Hovis London Freewheel will place take on Sunday September 23rd

Hovis backs traffic-free London ride and Freewheel Festival

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, today gave London’s cycle renaissance a further boost as he launched the Hovis London Freewheel. He was joined by Konnie Huq, Blue Peter presenter, who became the first person to sign up for the ride. Pix and quotes here.

The London Freewheel – sponsored by Hovis – will take place on Sunday September 23rd and is aimed at cyclists of every age and ability. A nine mile central London route will be made traffic-free allowing up to 30,000 riders to take over the streets and enjoy the capital’s most iconic sights including the London Eye, Victoria Embankment, Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral and the Mall.

The Mayor and Transport for London want the Hovis London Freewheel to encourage more Londoners to cycle in the capital. The number of cyclists on London’s major roads has grown by a 83 per cent over the past seven years, but the Mayor wants to increase this even further.

The Hovis London Freewheel is designed to help people ride from their front door into central London and home again. There will be six ‘Freewheel Hubs’ across London where riders can gather to be led by experienced cyclists onto the vehicle-free route. The hubs will also offer the chance to have bikes checked by experts.

Hovis London Freewheelers will also be able to take part in the Freewheel Festival – an event at St James’s Park open to all participants and their family and friends. Highlights of the festival will include: a Hovis picnic, BMX, mountain and trial bike stunts, cycling acrobatics, and a cycling circus along with children’s activities and information on cycling in London.

Ken Livingstone, said: "2007 is a massive year for cycling in London. When the Tour De France arrives in two weeks time, we will see the world’s top professional cyclists speeding around the streets of capital. This September, the Hovis London Freewheel will give Londoners a unique opportunity to have a go themselves and cycle past the capital’s most iconic sights on roads without other traffic. The event will be a free, fun celebration of cycling aimed at everyone particularly those people who have a bike but haven’t ridden for a while.

"Cycling is good for you and good for the environment. Having taken part in the Hovis London Freewheel, I hope people will find that cycling regularly in London is easier than they thought.”

Tim Dewey, Hovis Divisional Director of marketing, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Mayor to help bring this exciting cycling event to London. At Hovis we believe in the power of good food and good activity. Hovis has for many years had associations with cycling and is proud to continue this tradition."

Hovis was a founder sponsor of the National Byway, the heritage cycle route.

Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, said: "In London’s year of the bike, this will be the best day of all, the day when cyclists take over central London. This will be the day when London cyclists get safety in numbers and can ride around car free roads, enjoying all the sights. We want everyone to get those old bikes out of sheds and basements and to celebrate the future of travel in London."

Register for the event in advance at Places will be limited. Registered riders get a high-visibility cycle bib, a map, and a bicycle bell. And the first 5,000 people who register get a free pack of Hovis London Freewheel Top Trumps.

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