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300 Children and Adults Ride Through Guildford Calling for Safe Cycle Routes

Published on: 13 May, 2023
Updated on: 15 May, 2023

By Hugh Coakley

Around 300 adults and children took part in the first Kidical mass cycle ride in Guildford on the bank holiday Monday (May 8), said a spokesperson for the event. From babies in trailers to grandparents on e-bikes, it took around four minutes for the crowd of cyclists to stream out of the Allen House grounds at the start.

Kidical mass cycle ride in Guildford on Bank Holiday Monday, May 8. Photo Mandy Millyard.

Ride organiser and parent, Chloe Sutcliffe said: “Currently most of the roads around Guildford just don’t feel safe enough for our children to cycle on. It would be amazing if there was safer cycling provision so they could bike around locally without feeling afraid.”

The Guildford event joined a reported 500 Kidical Mass rides taking place worldwide with an estimated 150,000 people taking part.

See above, time-lapse video of the start of the Kidical mass cycle ride in Guildford (May 8). It took four minutes to get everyone out of the Allen House Grounds.

Parents cycled with their children and walked alongside the younger ones, encouraging them in the crowd. Starting at Allen House in Chertsey Street, the route took in the High Street, along to GLive, through Stoke Park, past the Lido, and finally down to Stoke Road.

Cycling, walking and even pushing on the mass cycle ride through Guildford. Photo Mandy Millyard.

Kseniia, 36, from Guildford, saw the town in a different way after the event. “It is often said that taking care of the environment and reducing pollution are important. However, after attending this family-friendly cycling event, it became clear that Stoke Park was the only safe place to cycle with kids.

“We would love to have the same freedom of movement with our daughter in the town as we did at the event.

“To encourage more people to cycle and reduce pollution, safe cycling infrastructure and roads is urgently needed.”

It’s not all about pedalling, balance bikes were there as well. Photo Mandy Millyard.

Victoria Hazael, Guildford, said: “Please build us the infrastructure to keep our children safe and healthy and improve air quality too!”

Cycling UK, the national cycling charity based in Guildford say 66 per cent of people who don’t cycle are put off by ‘fear of traffic’, showing the need for more separated routes.

Sophie Gordon, campaigns officer at Cycling UK, also joined the ride. She said: “We found it tricky to put the route together as there are so many busy roads in Guildford, which illustrates why we need to make it easier to get across town on a bike.

“It’s encouraging to see that Surrey County Council’s latest transport strategy puts more emphasis on active travel, and we hope that rides like these will demonstrate the demand from local families for measures to increase cycling and walking.”

Gathering in the Allen House Grounds at the start of the mass cycle ride. Photo by Mandy Millyard.

In attendance were local councillors George Potter (Lib Dem, Burpham), Matt Furniss (Con, Pilgrims) and Howard Smith (Lab, Westborough).

Potter valiantly jogged alongside those on two wheels and said: “It was so inspiring to see so many children, and their parents, participating in the event. It’s very clear that there is a real and growing demand to make our streets safer for cyclists.”

Bubbles, bikes and babies on the Guildford mass cycle on May 8. Photo by Mandy Millyard.

Furniss, who is also the SCC cabinet member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth, said: “It is important that we provide safe cycling routes for children and cyclists to travel around our towns sustainably. We are committed to improving cycling training through our Bikeability programme available for all school children across Surrey and providing dedicated cycling routes to improve road safety for all users.”

Many participants eagerly asked when the next mass ride would be, and there are hopes to organise another one for the next international Kidical Mass weekend in September.

Comfortable two-seater on the bike ride. Photo by Mandy Millyard.

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Responses to 300 Children and Adults Ride Through Guildford Calling for Safe Cycle Routes

  1. Howard Smith Reply

    May 14, 2023 at 6:53 pm

    A huge thank you to the organisers for a brilliant, well run event. It really showed how many cyclists we have here in Guildford and I think we would have many more if we can take some simple steps to make cycling safer.

    Fewer cars on the roads, less congestion, better air.

    I hope we can look forward to many more of these in our town!

    Howard Smith is a Labour borough councillor for Westborough

  2. Helen Skinner Reply

    May 15, 2023 at 9:11 am

    It was a fantastic ride and everyone was so lovely. The people driving their cars were offering encouragement to the little ones on bikes as we went past.

    Guildford has a huge traffic problem and if we could enable more people to cycle safely then it would free up road space for those that don’t make the switch. We need to think about the local journeys people make and how we can improve the cycle routes we offer to support them.

    I would like to thank the instigators for bringing this event to Guildford and everyone who took part or waited patiently while we passed. Can’t wait for the next one, my three-year-old is convinced she’s going to be on her own bike next time so we need to get some more practice in!

  3. Sam Neatrour Reply

    May 15, 2023 at 10:16 am

    This was a fantastic event and shows the strength of feeling towards significantly improving the cycling infrastructure across Guildford. Well done all.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    May 15, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    All this shows is that if someone else is happy to organise an event on a sunny day, many will join in, for which I praise the organisers.

    What it does not show is how many people are prepared to stop using their cars in their normal life when it is wet cold and possibly icy and they have to fit everything into a set time schedule.

    We have to balance the “nice to have” a place to cycle such as along the Wey navigation towpath, and the essentials of getting from A to B to earn the money to earn our living.

    It’s not about a pleasure ride.

  5. Julia Shaw Reply

    May 15, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    It was great so many people turned up despite the forecast for heavy rain.

    I look forward to safe cycling infrastructure being built in Guildford so we can cycle with our kids to more destinations without needing the protection provided by the marshals on the Kidical Mass ride.

  6. Esmat Faiz Reply

    May 16, 2023 at 9:58 am

    So many times we have to get in the car to go somewhere safe to cycle with the kids.

    It would be so nice to be able to cycle from home without having to navigate roads through the town centre which are just not safe for children to ride on.

  7. James Masterman Reply

    May 16, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Like Mr Allen, I live in Burpham.

    And when I go from Burpham to Guildford I cycle. Why?

    It helps keep a 60-plus-year-old fit.

    It doesn’t add to the congestion or pollution experienced every day on the London Road.

    At a steady pace, it takes less than the time to drive/find a parking spot/pay the parking fee.

    Oh, and I don’t have to pay a parking fee.

    Over 40 per cent of car journeys made in Guildford are within a 15-minute cycle ride. But better, safer cycling infrastructure is needed to release that potential.

    The Kidical mass bike ride attracted 300 bike riders, despite the poor forecast and rain on the day; a great illustration of that largely untapped potential.

  8. Henry Morgan Reply

    May 27, 2023 at 10:36 am

    Unfortunately, this is a borough where the council did its absolute level best to close down the Bike Project. Its old workshop is now just lying rotting with broken windows in the council depot, while it limps on in a tiny site after the horrendous costs and disruption of moving and losing crucial staff.

    A publicly-owned facility that was doing incredible work, serving its community in so many ways, victim to a totally, unfit-for-purpose, borough council that should be thoroughly ashamed of itself.

    It is absolutely emblematic of their attitude to sustainable transport and the problems of Guildford.

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