May 9 2011 By James Cracknell
boris cycle Image 1
HILLINGDON Council has been awarded £309,000 to spend on new cycling hubs for the borough.
The announcement was made by London mayor Boris Johnson during his visit to Eastcote, where he also launched Sky Ride, a mass participation cycling event that will come to Hillingdon in July.
Mr Johnson had arrived in Eastcote half an hour late after riding the Metropolitan line up from central London, on a day when he was facing criticism over the prospect of several more London Underground strikes.
But the Tory mayor was greeted at Field End Junior School by dozens of excited young cycle club members who were eager to show him around their new £80,000 circuit.
After a few laps, Mr Johnson said: "I want to congratulate everyone in this beautiful school for what they have done here.
"It fills me with joy to see so many kids cycling and I hope they stick to it for the rest of their lives."
A few of the children even showed the mayor how to find and fix a puncture in an inner tube. Charlotte Masters, aged nine, said: "I think he understood it, it is quite simple. We have to be able to fix a puncture and take a wheel off and do a complete course to get a gold award."
Mr Johnson said Hillingdon was just one of 13 London 'biking boroughs' to be awarded money by Transport for London.
The aim is to get one million Londoners cycling regularly by 2013, and Boris said the number had already gone up 15 per cent in the last year.
A big summer Sky Ride will take place on July 31, on a route to be announced. The event will be open to everyone and could attract thousands of participants. A smaller community ride kicked-off the cycling season at Ruislip Lido on Sunday (8).
Mr Johnson explained: "There is going to be a huge Sky Ride in Hillingdon and they will close some roads to make it happen, but it will give you a real sense of freedom."
However, asked if his popular Barclays Cycle Hire scheme would be extended to Eastcote, Mr Johnson said there was little chance.
"We are working on it, we would love to do it, but we would have to get all the staff up here to pack the bikes up and it would be very difficult."