Shoppers stopped to cheer and wave as 135 MK residents, including MK’s Deputy-Mayor and senior councillors, cycled through the city centre in Santa suits.
At 10.30am on Saturday 16th December, the Cycling Santas rallied at Station Square for a short ride to Campbell Park. Following last year’s pilot ride, this was a rehearsal for a formal world record attempt next year, which will encourage 500 people to participate. The event was reported by BBC News (online story) and ITV Anglia News (TV report).
Father Christmas (aka actor Dave Lovesy) led the proceedings with some hilarity:
As well as creating fun, the event brought together leaders from different business, education and community organisations who are members or supporters of a new broad-based alliance to get more people cycling in MK, especially children.
It was an opportunity to hear from civic and political leaders about their visions for cycling in MK.
- Dame Ann Limb, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, said: “I am totally behind MK Council’s ambition to find ways to get more children cycling to school. Walking and cycling are good for people, places, and the planet which is at the heart of my sustainability focus as High Sheriff.”
- Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing & Healthy Communities, said: “Research shows active travel leads to longer, healthier lives. I pledge to do all I can to help MK City Council make walking and cycling easier and more attractive to MK residents.”
- Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families said: “We know cycling to school makes a big difference to children’s health and wellbeing. We want more children and young people to cycle to school. Last year MK Council delivered Bikeability Training to 35% of all 9-11-year-olds and we’re doing all we can to increase it to 60% this year. I pledged to work with our schools to find ways we can work together with the Cycling Citizens alliance to achieve this goal, and get to 80% by 2025.”
Mayor’s Cycling Awards were presented by Deputy-Mayor Cllr Marie Bradburn:
- Organisation with most registered riders – MK Breeze Women’s Cycling Group (16 riders)
- School with most registered riders – Two Mile Ash (20 riders)
- Best Blinged Bike – prizes donated by John Lewis for 1st place (https://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-christmas-advert-2023-snapper-character-plush-soft-toy/p110743615) 2nd place (£30 voucher) and 3rd place (£20 voucher).
Then it was time for the Santas to cycle! MK’s Panacea Samba band provided the drum beat as they left the Square for Midsummer Boulevard.
With the help of 16 Guide Riders in hi-viz pink, the route was easy ride, attracting participants aged from 5 to 75 and a passenger dog!
The Cycling Santas pedalled up Midsummer Boulevard,
then dismounted at the ‘Cyclists Dismount’ sign to walk between thecentre:mk and Midsummer Place,
then circled MK Rose in Campbell Park
before stopping for mince pies and fruit.
Some pedalled on to the Light Pyramid and back.
before finally heading back to Station Square.
Thanks to MK Community Foundation for providing staging, Cycle Saviours (MK Christian Foundation) for providing transport and bike repairs, The Parks Trust for providing sound, Fully Charged for pedal haulage, and JAR Photography for the professional images above.