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Ride

October 2022 ride photos

Today’s Kidical Mass ride went from Palmer Park to Forbury Gardens and was attended by about 40 people.

The ride proceeded down the Kennett towpath accompanied by the music of bike bells, children’s chatter and ‘I Want to Ride My Bicycle’ by Queen.

Many thanks to the marshals who helped us to make the ride a safe and relaxed experience for all involved. It was lovely to see the smiles on the faces of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers as we passed by.

After the ride participants mingled and ate cake and the children rode their bikes together and decorated the ground with pavement chalk.

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Report

September 2022 report

On Festivals and Friends

When we talk about why we do Kidical Mass, it always comes back to three C’s

  1. Campaigning (for better infrastructure);
  2. Confidence (creating a safe place for kids to practice road skills); and
  3. Community (building one).

And, my goodness, September’s ride was strong on that last point.

To start with, it was a collaboration between two Kidical Mass organising groups. Our good friends and neighbours in Wokingham started in Woodley and followed the planned Woodley to Palmer Park cycle route, where they seamlessly flowed into the start of our Reading ride.

To finish with, our destination was the Reading Cycling Festival – we swung over Christchurch bridge to arrive at the festival as a 65 strong group – I’m informed we were a very impressive and encouraging sight!

In the middle, our wonderful marshals kept us all safe, pedestrians pointed and took pictures, and drivers were generally very well behaved – we got lots of waves and smiles! And the kids, of course, were all brilliant.

At the festival Kidical Mass shared a stand with WATCH Wokingham (if anyone was wondering what Adrian had in his trailer on the ride, it was everything needed for the stall!). We also met in person some of the lovely people behind other local cycling groups – watch this space for some exciting collaborations regarding post ride activities on future rides!

We were grateful to Woodley Councillor Carol Jewel for finding the ride and volunteering to help as a marshal. All are welcome at our rides – but it’s especially wonderful seeing our elected representatives take our issues seriously.

If you want to help us further our aims, any of the following would help:

  1. Write to your local councillor and invite them to join us on a ride.
  2. Let us know of any community notice boards where we can pop a leaflet up.
  3. Come and join us! Rides will be running on the second Saturday of the month in Reading or Wokingham through until at least January. If you are coming without kids and happy to consider marshalling, please contact us (on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail) so we can send you the details of what is involved.
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Ride

September 2022 photos

Sunday 25th September was both the Reading Cycle Festival and a Europewide Action Weekend for Kidical Mass. So of course Kidical Mass Reading and Kidical Mass Wokingham joined forces, and around 65 people rode together to the Reading Cycling Festival.

Our rides are family friendly and fun and help adults and children to build connections with other enthusiastic cyclists. We also give young cyclists the opportunity to build road confidence, by giving them a safe marshalled environment to practice in. We are very grateful to the volunteer marshals who gave up their time to make this possible.

Children and teenagers need and deserve cycling infrastructure that allows them to navigate safely. Cities that offer spaces that are safe for children are good for everyone. There is a lot of work to be done in this regard in Reading and Wokingham, but there is increasingly a political will to make improvements. We were delighted that Councillor Carol Jewel joined the ranks of councillors who have ridden with us to see first hand the issues at play.

On arrival at the Reading Cycling Festival our young riders enjoyed watching Urban Display’s stunt riders, and many of them had a go at the mini obstacle course.

If you want to add your voice to ours (and have fun with us!) then please join us for our next ride on Saturday 8th October, meeting at 11am by Tutus in Palmer Park. All are welcome.

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Ride

August 2022 ride in Wokingham

Wokingham’s first Kidical Mass was held on Saturday 13th August. The ride took in a mile and a half around some of the town centre’s streets, and young and old enjoyed the spirit of riding together and chatting along the way. At the end, ice lollies and cycling games were enjoyed by all in Elms Field.

We are delighted with how the ride went. Kidical Mass is about fun and freedom for kids and families on bikes, but with a serious message about how safe our streets are at other times. The few drivers we met along the way were wonderful, giving plenty of room for everyone and enjoying the spectacle of kids riding freely on the roads accompanied by the wonderful Earley Panda 🐼.

Local support for the event has been tremendous, with so many people who weren’t able to make Saturday due to holidays or the heat asking when we’ll be back.

Our next ride is on Sunday 25th September, with a ride from Woodley to Palmer Park to meet up with Reading Kidical Mass as a part of the global Kidical Mass event. We’re planning to be back in Wokingham town in October.

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Report

July 2022 Kidical Mass Report

On the importance of Networks and Nettles

I had been looking forward to the third Kidical Mass Reading cycle ride. I’d seen how my five year old had loved them, I really liked the community involved, and I’m a big fan of campaigning for better cycling infrastructure. 

So, despite the heatwave, I was very disappointed to wake up ill on the morning of the ride. This report is therefore brought to you in partnership with the Kidical Mass Reading Intern, Michael (the aforementioned five year old), who kindly answered my questions.

The start of the Kidical Mass Ride from Green Park. Picture: Steve Smyth

Where did you ride?

We started at Green Park. We chatted and rode our bikes around as everyone arrived. We cycled to Wateloo Meadows. There was one road that we went next to that was very busy but apart from that it was very quiet ones. There were quite a lot of paths not next to a road.

It’s nice and quiet when cars are absent!

What’s different about a Kidical Mass Ride?

It felt safe riding on the road because of the marshals. They were making sure the cars didn’t hurt any of the cyclists. It’s busy with a lot of riders, so I felt more safe. It’s nice to ride with other children because they go at the same speed as me.

What happened afterwards at Waterloo Meadows?

We had a snack-ish lunch and I rode my bike down the tallest hill on the bike track with my friend. Then we had some water gun fun. Some of the adults joined in spraying with their water bottles, but the children got them more wet than they got us.

Reading’s Mayor enjoying our post-ride hangout.

At Waterloo Meadows Cllr Rachel Eden (Reading’s Mayor) and Cllr Jacopo Lanzoni joined the riders, and spoke at length with our lead campaigner, Kat Heath. The ride was written up by RDG.TODAY, and attended by a representative from Sustrans.


The path after @ReadingCouncil kindly cleared the stinging nettles. Thanks!

Here are three things you can do to help our cause:

  1. Please report any infrastructure issues you see on your outings to the council. When scouting the route, we found that one of the paths was overgrown with stinging nettles – particularly bad for child height riders in shorts. We raised this (which can be done through Love Clean Reading) and it was resolved in time for the ride.
  2. If you know of any businesses that will let us put up a poster, please contact us on twitter or through our website kidicalmassreading.co.uk
  3. Come and join us! All are welcome. Kidical Mass Wokingham are hosting a ride on Saturday 13th August (You can register on the Facebook event.)
    Our following ride will be a joint one with them on Sunday 25th September – the Reading leg will meet at Palmer Park and finish at Reading Cycling Festival on Christchurch Meadows.
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Ride

July 2022 ride

Saturday 16 July, 11:30 — Meeting at Green Park in Reading, Lime Square, RG2 6UG, finishing at Water Meadows for picnic, play and cake!

We had the pleasure to see Rachel Eden, the Mayor of Reading, who joined us for the picnic. It was pretty hot, so the water pistols at the end were very welcome… 🔫 🔫 🔫

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May 2022 Kidical Mass Report

On the trouble of finding a safe route in Reading.

I met Kat at Carter’s Steam Fair in late 2021. She was new to the area and looking to meet other parents who cycled. I was wearing a cycling jacket and balancing my toddler on my hip. Obviously, we were going to end up as friends.

A few months later she announced that she wanted to run Kidical Masses in Reading.

After she had explained what these were – an international movement of family friendly group rides, designed to build children’s confidence, create a community and campaign for better cycling infrastructure – we were in. I knew our five year old would love it. I hoped others would too.

Trying to find a suitable route really rammed home the need for better bike infrastructure in Reading.

We wanted to start and end at a park, so we could gather safely, and socialise and play at the end. However, Reading’s cycle paths don’t generally connect up well, and we couldn’t lead a group including young children through large and busy junctions.

Eventually, after much poring over maps and test riding of routes, we settled on Palmer Park to Forbury Gardens, mostly along the Kennet. On the day, about thirty people joined us. As we rode along, Disney tunes played out from one of the box bikes. We all had a spring in our step for days afterwards.

For the second ride we thought we’d reuse the route. However, the path along the Kennet had been closed to bikes, for months, with no alternative in place. The routes on the other side were also shut. We would have to aim for a different end point.

After a lot more scouting (thanks Simon!), we landed on a route to Christchurch Meadows, crossing the Kennet by the old gas tower site, then passing under the railway before swinging through Kings Meadow to Christchurch Bridge.

Mindful of the increased dangers of this route – a busier stretch on Napier Road, the unfenced Thames close to the path and the sharp downhill turns on the bridge over the Kennet – we were reliant on an even bigger team of marshals to make the ride safe. Many, many thanks to the members of Reading Cycle Campaign, and others, who assisted us with this.

May’s ride was a big success. Despite an atrocious weather forecast we had about seventy enthusiastic cyclists turn up – double the numbers from previously! It was brilliant watching the kids (and adults) enjoying the ride. Almost everyone stayed for homemade cake afterwards (thanks Steffi!), even in the torrential rain.

In May we were part of a wider Kidical Mass action weekend, with over 1,500 riders taking part in the UK alone. The message this sends is loud and clear – we want safe streets for our children.

So, to any councillors that are reading this, I have three requests:

  1. Come and join us! And a big thank you to Cllr Rob White and Cllr James Moore for cycling with us in April and May.
  2. Please push for consideration of the impact of roadworks and construction on bikes.
  3. If you couldn’t safely cycle between your two favourite parks in Reading with a group of children, look to make this easier. (Alternatively, if you can do it safely, please recommend the route to us!).

And finally, to answer the question on everyone’s minds – well, it’s certainly bothering my five year old, as I’m asked almost daily – the next ride will be on July 16th.

Follow us @KiddicalMassRead, find kidicalmassreading.co.uk or join Family Cycling Reading on Facebook for further details.

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May 2022 ride

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April 2022 ride