It is time to saddle up and get ready for one of the best free family events in the Ealing summer calendar, Ticket to Ride. Need to learn how to ride a bike? Don’t worry, you need look no further because we have the answer to that, too, as you can read below.
Ticket to Ride will give you the chance to take part in safe and fun, guided cycling tours to explore the local area. It is part of the council’s celebration of National Bike Week and is open to cyclists of all ages and abilities.
This year, to encourage even more residents to take part, Ticket to Ride is taking place this Sunday (25 June) and the following Sunday (2 July). On 25 June, the ride will begin at the bandstand on Churchfields Recreation Ground next to Brent Lodge Park. On 2 July, the ride will begin at Northala Fields by the café. Both weekends, rides will set out on the hour every hour from the starting point.
Everyone is welcome, but the gentle group rides are particularly designed to encourage families, nervous riders and those returning to cycling to get back on two wheels.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure, is a keen cyclist. He said: “Ticket to Ride is a brilliant day. I go along every year and it’s great to see so many people enjoying themselves.”
Each ride is less than 10 miles long and explores Southall, Greenford and Hanwell, taking in some of the borough’s green spaces and canal tow paths. Cyclists can choose to ride only part of the route if they prefer.
There will be plenty of activities going on at the two starting points, too; including free Dr Bike cycle health checks and bike security marking by police. Participants can enjoy face painting, BMX demonstrations and even make a pedal powered smoothie.
Meanwhile, children aged between three and 12 who cycle the whole route can claim a special gift bag by getting their maps stamped along the way.
To find out more, visit www.ealing.gov.uk/cycleride
GET SOME FREE CYCLE TRAINING
Ealing Council offers free cycling training to people who live or work in the borough. Whether you are a complete beginner or need to sharpen up some rusty skills, or just build confidence in certain situations, the Cycle Training UK course can help.
Sali Fergusson (pictured left) of Ealing said: “I did it to ride with my children. My seven-year-old is really confident on his bike and my two-year-old will soon be learning so I thought ‘I’ve got to learn too now.’ But I had always had a real phobia of cycling and my husband kept wanting to teach me but I just couldn’t do it.
“The training has gone so well. I never thought I could pick it up so quickly. I asked the instructor on the first day what his success rate was and he told me it was 100%, so I told him I would be the one to knock him down to 99%. Really, it’s amazing.
“The best thing is that you don’t have to own a bike but can hire one for the class. And you can keep going until you’re happy you can ride confidently.
“My objective is to ride with my children in the summer and be confident on the road but my ultimate goal is to cycle to work in Uxbridge each day.”
Elza Gomes Gallo (pictured right) came to London to study at university and has stayed on to
work in Ealing. She is taking part in one of the free courses at the moment.
She said: “I know how to cycle but I felt insecure on the road. I am from a small town in Brazil and the roads in London are a little chaotic for me in comparison. “I already feel more confi dent and I’ve increased my awareness of things like signalling. We have a really good instructor and I would recommend the training to others.”
Caroline Bleakley of Hanwell was a complete beginner when she signed up for the course – having never learned to cycle, even as a child. She said: “In a short time after a couple of sessions with expert one-to-one instruction, I was able to ride. It’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone wishing to learn to cycle for the first time and I can thoroughly recommend it.”
To find out more visit www.cycletraining.co.uk