For most, a charity bike ride means riding the 54 miles from London to Brighton. For the more intrepid, there’s the epic Land’s End to John O’Groats route at 1,000 miles. A group of architects and planners are currently redefining 'epic' in a ride from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place, London that started on Saturday and takes in 4,347 miles of cycling over 76 days.
They shall be stopping at 15 cities on the way including Chicago, New York and Dublin to compare how their authorities design and cater for cycling through its facilities and infrastructure by meeting local cyclists, architects, politicians and planners collecting a mass of information. Portland, OR is an excellent starting point with a strong record on bicycle advocacy and the city was awarded platinum status by the League of American Bicyclists five years ago.
Good bicycle infrastructure in the countries being cycled is sporadic and piecemeal at best, often marked by a long legacy of planning and designing predominantly for the car. Authorities have often excelled in making the simplest modes of transport difficult and the most complicated mode simple with all the knock-on effects on public health and air quality. The data collected, it is hoped, will assist politicians and planners in developing cycling facilities and sustainable transport policies around the world.
There are 16 riders taking part in this mammoth journey. They are being led by Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA: London’s Centre for the Built Environment and the ride is in aid of Article 25, Architecture for Humanity and the Architects Benevolent Society