British cyclists reach London after epic ride from Portland to Portland Place
After cycling 4,347 miles across the USA, Ireland and the UK, the intrepid Portland 2 Portland team of British architects and planners finally made it to the RIBA Headquarters in Portland Place, Central London on their cross-continental research project and charity cycle ride. The 15 core riders were joined by 65 cyclists to ride the final leg from Windsor to London last Saturday (13 July) including leading British architects Richard Rogers and Terry Farrell to cycle the final mile from Waterloo Place to Portland Place.
They had set off from Portland, Oregon on America’s west coast on 27 April. The team of amateur cyclists (with an age range of 26 to 72) were led by Peter Murray, founder of Blueprint magazine and Chair of New London Architecture which promotes London’s built environment. This was not just a test of physical and mental endurance, despite the current Tour de France only being a meagre 2,115 miles. The team has been researching how the cities they visited along the way are coping with the increasing interest in the bicycle as a credible form of urban transport.
Before setting out on their epic voyage, the team conducted training rides in Freiburg, Copenhagen and Rotterdam to provide baseline experience as Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands are regarded as exemplars in the provision of bicycle infrastructure.
Once complete, the research will provide comparative data and offer solutions based on what the cyclists have witnessed and, most importantly, ridden and experienced. They spoke extensively with Transport Commissioners, Planners and Campaigners along the way to collate information which, it is hoped, will assist politicians and planners in instituting improved cycling conditions in cities across the world.
Peter Murray is currently adviser to the London Mayor, Boris Johnson on how to make London safer for cyclists as a member of the Design Advisory Group. The group’s findings should be received with great interest, especially as a third cyclist has just been tragically killed on London’s streets within three weeks.
In addition to all this, the team also raised money for architectural charities the Architects Benevolent Society, Article 25 and Architecture for Humanity.
You can still make a donation and catch up with all the films and photos of the team’s astonishing achievement by visiting the portlandtoportland.org website. I had a chance to speak with Peter Murray after the team had reached New York City and the interview may be found HERE.