Kidical Mass and friends at Reading Cycle Festival

Kidical Mass Reading returned after the Summer with a circular ride from Reading Cycle Festival. It was a wonderful event, which really highlighted that we aren’t alone in our goals. We want to see kids out having fun on bikes, and they were certainly able to do that on the ramps courses set up by Avanti (who run Bikeability training in Reading). We want to see cycling infrastructure put in that is safe for children to use, and both Reading Cycle Campaign and WATCH in Wokingham work hard towards this goal. Finally, we want to build a sense of community between cycling families, and that was present at the event in spades.

We were so lucky with the weather, as we were able to disprove a common cycling misperception. The ride started in the dry, meaning that we had a good turnout – just over 60 riders joined us. However, about ten minutes from the end of the ride the heavens opened. There were a few pauses as people who had remembered to bring them put on waterproofs and rain covers. One marshal joked over the radio that we would have to stop as it’s obviously impossible to cycle in the rain. But of course that’s completely untrue, as most of us demonstrate every few weeks. As winter approaches we will have even more opportunities to demonstrate this ability. At least in December everyone usually has a coat with them.

It was great to see so many families, and a few other special guests! All of the Reading councillors have been invited to our rides, and Cllr Dave McElroy joined us again. Cllr Al Neal, who is a regular at the Wokingham rides, kindly rode over and helped out with marshalling. Also, for the first time in Kidical Mass Reading’s history we had a police escort! Fortuitously, they had the stand next to us at the festival (for bike marking against theft) and – I’m not sure how as I wasn’t party to the conversation – two of them were persuaded to join us. By all accounts they enjoyed the ride, even if they did peel off near the end to take shelter under a tree until the rain died down.

Back at the festival, Kidical Mass attendees got closer together than ever as everyone who didn’t leave immediately huddled under the gazebo to eat cake (thanks Kat!). The rain didn’t last long – it often doesn’t – and our kids enjoyed an afternoon of riding on the ramps, watching the amazing stunt show and playing with their friends.

Finally, the old adage about waiting all Summer for a Kidical Mass ride and then three show up at once is basically true. There will be a ride on Sunday 24th September, starting from Palmer Park at 2pm, to tie in with the International Kidical Mass action weekend. Then, on Saturday 7th October we will be back in Wokingham Elms Field, again at 2pm. I hope we see you there!