Professional cyclists, celebrities and families joined first-time cyclists for the three-day event, which began on Saturday with the FreeCycle, a family-friendly ride on eight miles of traffic-free streets in central London. The route from Bank in the east to Green Park in the west passed sights including Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. Along the route were six Prudential ‘festival zones’, with music, entertainment and bike mechanics on hand for any mishaps.
The competitive events at the weekend included the Prudential Men’s Classic, in which some of the world’s best male cyclists competed in a 169km race televised by BBC Sport, the Prudential Women’s Classique, in which cyclists completed 20 laps totalling 68km on a spectacular circuit in central London, and the Brompton World Championship Final, an eight-lap race around St James’s Park on folding Brompton bikes.
For amateur cyclists, the highlights of the festival were the 19, 46 and 100-mile rides on Sunday.
The flagship event, the 100-mile event, attracted more than 25,000 riders this year. It began at 5.45am and followed a circular route, beginning at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Riders continued past the Tower of London and the Natural History Museum in South Kensington and through Richmond Park and Bushy Park into Surrey. The final ten miles led across Wimbledon Hill and Putney and by the Houses of Parliament, ending on The Mall.
The 46-mile route offered a great introduction to cycling for students entered as part of the PruGOals programme, which provides inspiration and support to 16-18-year-olds to build a better future for themselves, regardless of their background.