We didn’t want to keep you waiting too long … so the 3rd WINCHESTER MASS RIDE is now being organised and will be held on SATURDAY 27th APRIL.
Before that, a well-earned round of applause to the ‘heroic hundred’ who braved December rain and near freezing conditions – one of the foulest days of the year – to make the Mass Ride 2 a clear statement that cycling is, for many of us, the week-in-week-out way of getting around. Hot punch in the Abbey Gardens was never better deserved!
Those hardy souls ensured that the momentum and enthusiasm from our first mass ride was not lost and we can look forward to the delights of spring and another opportunity to see the streets of Winchester flooded with bikes.
It might feel like it but the Mass Ride is not really an event – the aim is to normalise the sight of mass cycling, not make it something special. That’s why there are no marshals at street corners, no road closures and no police on duty stopping traffic. We try to make it safe by weight of numbers. Also some very experienced riders volunteer to oversee the ride – they do a great job – and we are very grateful.
The Mass Ride is also not a protest. Of course, Cycle Winchester is a campaigning organisation working to ‘Make Winchester Better by Bike’. The Mass Ride wants to support those campaigns by making the large number of Winchester cyclists more visible to everyone – including ourselves – and thereby create a more compelling argument for change.
The Mass Ride IS however a celebration.
It wants to highlight both the pleasure and the benefits of getting around by bike.
It is principally about …
- FUN — It’s a great feeling riding in a large group and in relatively carefree fashion around streets that can often be a formidable challenge. Experience first-hand the thrill of a city where temporarily bikes are the dominant means of transport.
- COMMUNITY — Join a large and diverse group of people, united by the simple pleasure of turning pedals.
- INSPIRATION — We want people to see us and think I could do that. We know of at least one person learning to cycle in order to take part in this next mass ride and hope that attitude will catch on! We want reluctant or unfit cyclists to dust off their under-used machines and the slightly fearful to overcome worries about traffic and see how different it feels when in good company. We especially want more young people to experience cycling into and around the streets of Winchester and realise what they are missing. And naturally we need all of you regular, experienced cyclists to provide the large, welcoming and inclusive cycle space in which this can successfully happen.
- PERCEPTION — By our presence on the day and through media coverage after the event we want people to realise that cyclists are not, as often portrayed, a self-righteous, minority group but a very large, good-natured and representative cross-section of the community.
The first two Mass Rides have seen us turn out in early Summer and then in Winter. The 3rd Mass Ride is in late Spring. So you won’t be surprised to hear that in order to complete the set, there are already thoughts towards an Autumn ride. We hope your enthusiasm will help spread the word to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues — even to strangers! — so that over these next two occasions we can build our numbers and become even more massive. There is a tipping point where we simply can’t be ignored. If we are determined enough, Winchester is well-placed to make a ripple in the UK cycling scene and benefit from far wider exposure.
The routes and times have deliberately remained unchanged. They are intended to be useful for lots of people wanting to come into town at a weekend. Our hope looking beyond the autumn is that the Mass Ride might possibly take on a life of its own. By then many of us we will be very familiar with how things run and it could potentially become a regular, lightly-organised feature of city life, perhaps with occasional ‘specials’. Anyway that’s in the mix for later – we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
For now, let’s just see how many of Winchester’s cyclists and potential cyclists we can get together out on the streets on April 27th!