Successful Le Tour de Waltham Forest despite local fire

27 June 2018

More than 750 people got the chance to enjoy the annual Le Tour de Waltham Forest despite a fire on a local industrial estate forcing a last minute route change.

Leyton Jubilee Park, where the annual community cycling event starts and ends, is adjacent to the industrial estate where a large warehouse fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning. To tackle the blaze the emergency services had to close Orient Way, and it was still closed on Sunday. Council staff from the Highways team worked with the London Fire Brigade and Metropolitan Police to ensure the event could still go ahead by changing the start and end points of the three heavily subscribed routes. Cyclists were instead taken on local roads, some of which have seen the benefits from recent Enjoy Waltham Forest works, and recently installed segregated cycle tracks on Lea Bridge Road before heading into the beautiful nature spots of Leyton Marshes, the Walthamstow Wetlands, Lee Valley and Hackney Marshes for their tours.

Stephen Rumbold and his son Jack from Leyton took part in the event for the first time. After completing the 18km Adventure  route he said: “It was a great ride, there was a lot of variety and it was good that it was pretty flat. It makes me want to get on my bike more, maybe when I retire.”

Members of Cycle Sisters

Members of Cycle Sisters after completing the 18km Adventure ride

Aisha Davies, pictured far right, from Ilford also took part in the longer route after only buying a new bike the day before. She said: “I started cycling again three or four weeks ago with the help of the Cycle Sisters community group. I’ve also been going on a free cycle training course with Cycle Confident.

“I feel like a teenager again. You get a sense of freedom, it’s exciting and healthy and you get to see things you didn’t see before. Today was something completely out of my comfort zone and now I have a huge sense of achievement.”

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “Despite the challenge of this weekend’s fire I’m delighted that this year’s Le Tour de Waltham Forest was still able to go ahead in such glorious weather. It is was great to see so many residents and their families, including some of our youngest cyclists, coming together to explore the borough while gaining confidence on their bikes and discovering new places they’ve never before. A big thank you must go to the volunteer stewards and marshals from an increasing number of community cycle groups based in Waltham Forest, without whom the rides would simply not have been possible.”

The pedal powered Scaletrix

The pedal powered Scaletrix

Alongside the tours, participants also got to enjoy cycling activities such as pedal powered jukeboxes, smoothie bikes and scalextric, and take a ride on one of the borough’s new Ofo dockless bikes. The event was supported by local community groups and shops including Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign, Higham Hill COG, Bike Shack Leyton and The Cycleway.

The event was also the first opportunity for residents to use the new digital map of the borough. The new map, created by Living Map, included the prearranged route maps for the tour. Funded by the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme, it also features live travel information from the borough’s Tube, bus and train stations as well as the details of some of the borough’s key buildings. From the map, users can find out the opening times of museums, local amenities and council buildings, together with links to the business’ website as well as details of the borough’s new segregated cycle lanes, residential bike hangars and station cycle hubs.

Ron Cregan, Co-founder of Living Map said: “This was the first Living Map we have produced for a London borough. Waltham Forest had a vision to produce a truly interactive map that would be of benefit to the community. They really wanted show the assets of the borough from its cultural venues to walking and cycling facilities. We expect this map will be really beneficial for residents and visitors to the borough and we look forward to helping it evolve as the borough grows and changes.”

Councillor Loakes added: “The new Living Map is a great asset to the borough which is still being developed and will evolve as time goes on. For now it is informative and functional because it has live departure times, details of how to register for a bikehangar and some of the best routes to explore. ”

To view the Living Map visit walthamforest.livingmap.com

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