Mayor to ride the Bonfire Bike Train to Lewes
Two mass cycle-rides from The Level in central Brighton
Saturday 5th November, 3pm & 5pm
“Remember, remember…. getting to Lewes Bonfire can be tricky by rail, bus or car and not half as much fun as the totally massive and amazing Bonfire Bike Train” say the organisers of the annual ride from Brighton to Lewes.
This Saturday 5th November, two ‘bike train’ mass cycle rides will roll off from the Level in central Brighton, via the University of Sussex at Falmer.
The first ride will be joined by the city’s cycling mayor, Cllr Pete West, on the mayoral tandem. A total of up to 200 people are expected on each of the bike trains which will snake up the Lewes Road with lights and music blazing. More will board at the University of Sussex (Falmer House).
From Falmer the ride will use the inside lane of the A27 dual carriageway. Organisers say this is a safer option than the very dark and narrow cycle path alongside it.
Organiser Duncan Blinkhorn said: “This will our seventh Bonfire Bike Train to Lewes. It is always hugely popular, bringing light, music and laughter to the Lewes Road and demonstrating that group cycle rides can provide a safe and efficient means for getting from A to B, even on such a busy road. We are delighted that our cycling Mayor Pete West will joining us and we look forward to escorting him on his mayoral tandem, flying the flag for a low carbon Brighton and Hove ”
He added: “The narrow shared cycle and foot path from Falmer to Lewes is not really fit for purpose for such a big ride and desperately needs major improvement if more people are to use it during the darker months of the year . The main road has a much better quality surface and more space making it safer. We will have warning lights, reflective signs, flags and a support vehicle at the rear to ensure we are seen by approaching traffic and there will be plenty of space for vehicles to overtake us, so we won’t be holding anyone up.”
Riders will pedal along to classic firey tunes like ‘This Wheels on Fire’ and Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’ blasting out from a fleet of cycle mounted sound systems.
In response to concerns expressed by Lewes residents involved with processions about bikes being brought into crowded areas, Mr Blinkhorn said: “We will brief all our riders, advising them to park their bikes away from central Lewes to ensure that we do not get in the way of any processions or add to the pressures on crowded streets.”
The bike train is free to join. Participants are asked to:
· ensure they bring a road-worthy bike with lights
· register on the Facebook event page or when they arrive at the start point.
· assemble from 2.30pm and 4.30pm to get ready for the respective departures.
Return rides will depart from outside Lewes Prison, at 11pm, midnight and 1am.
Autumn Equinox is upon us and the nights will be getting longer…but along with shorter days and chillier times, this season also brings two of our best local group rides – courtesy of Brighton BikeTrain.
Starting with the celebration of the humble apple, which gets bigger and fuller each year, BikeTrain to Apple Day at Stanmer Park takes place on Sunday October 2nd, with two scheduled rides leaving the Level at 11am and noon.
The next ride is the huge BikeTrain to the Lewes Bonfire celebrations on November 5th. BikeTrain is an entirely voluntary group, dependent completely on people coming out to help. If anyone is free to lend a hand at either of these events, here is a note from Duncan – the group co-ordinator – explaing what they need:
With Lewes Bonfire being on a Saturday – and coinciding with a Southern Rail rail strike – it has the potential to be a huge with 500+ riders. Last year we did an amazing job of pushing it to a new level by using the A27 dual carriageway. The challenge will be to do that again on a bigger scale and with two rides there instead on one. It will really help to have enough of us involved with experience from last year.
We will also need a Bike Train Station on the Level (a marquee with tools, lights information and a base for sound systems) from about 2pm to 5pm. We could do with some people who are not coming on the ride but can help with that. Any offers?
For Apple Day, in addition to the rides, we will be running a Bike Cafe and a bike parking area throughout the day (10am – 5pm)The Apple Day ride will be a good opportunity to give some new ride marshals a bit of experience prior to Bonfire.
If you can help in any way, contact Duncan on 07944 152607 or find the group on Facebook
Volunteers are needed for this year’s hourly Bike Train service to Springwatch Festival at Stanmer Park on Sunday 5th June.
After a successful first year, the daily Bike Train has started up again for the new academic year.
Duncan Blinkhorn of Lewes Road for Clean Air is planning a “Bike Train” so that cyclists can gather and ride together at intervals, convoy style between the Level and Falmer. Duncan said: “Bike Train aims to create a safe space in the form of scheduled mass rides, where cyclists are highly visible and able to hold the road for each other on routine journeys to work, school and university.”