Record numbers attend Cycle Sunday in Bristol

men, women with children and bikes in a green environment

Lord Mayor Cleo Lake, Sustrans England South Director James Cleeton and Cycle Sunday founder Vicki Cracknell and supporters enjoy a traffic-free day on the Downs.

21 September 2018

Over 3,000 people enjoyed traffic-free cycling in Bristol at the weekend – a record number for the event that has been established since 2015.

Cycle Sunday showcases traffic-free cycling infrastructure for people of all ages and abilities. The event is an opportunity for those new to cycling to try out their skills and improve their confidence in a supportive, fun and safe environment.

Held on Sunday 16 September on the picturesque Clifton Downs in Bristol, the event is organised by us in collaboration with local community groups and was supported by leading Bristol law firm, Barcan+Kirby.

This is the first year the event has featured a circular route, which proved very popular with participants who were keen to see more regular traffic-free days on the Downs.

More demand for traffic-free days in Bristol

Esther DeAngelis a local resident who regularly attends the event said she felt this year was bigger and more diverse. She said:

“It’s drawn in families from all over Bristol – it’s so important for everyone to get an opportunity like this, to cycle along these beautiful roads safely and with no traffic. It’s so enjoyable, I really don’t know why we can’t do this more often.”

We need to reduce reliance on getting to places by car

The Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cleo Lake, who attend the family-friendly Cycle Sunday event said she was keen to see more access to the area by bike. She said:

“As Lord Mayor, one of my roles is to chair the Downs Committee which manages the Downs.

"I am keen to see more access to the Downs by bicycle and in particular to create opportunities for people from all over Bristol to enjoy this beautiful place. 

“It was great to see people of all ages and abilities cycling on a car-free route around Circular Road and Ladies Mile. In particular, Cycle Sunday enables children to have more freedom and get to the "hard to reach" parts of the Downs!  

“We need to reduce reliance on getting to places by car. My hope is that one day, people will be able to get the bus to the Downs, hire a bike by the Water Tower and explore the Downs safely on two wheels rather than four."

People love coming to Cycle Sunday

The founder of Cycle Sunday, Vicki Cracknell said they had worked hard to secure a continuous 3.5km loop around the Downs.

"People love coming to Cycle Sunday to ride around the Downs without the worry and "whoosh factor" of passing cars.

"At each of our previous events they have asked "Why can't the route be longer?". This year, we worked hard to gain permission from the Downs Committee for the closure of Ladies Mile and a section of the footpath next to Stoke Road. This gave us a continuous 3.5km loop which proved incredibly popular with everyone at the event and enabled children to really clock up some distance.

One parent who emailed us a thank you said: 'Our four year old was very proud to have pedalled around the whole Downs himself.' " 

Walking and cycling is good for our health and mental well-being

James Cleeton, Sustrans England South Director said:

“Cycle Sunday was a great opportunity for communities across Bristol to come together and enjoy waking and cycling in a traffic-free, safe environment. We are all well aware of how good walking and cycling is for us, and at Sustrans we think it’s important to hold regular events like Cycle Sunday which encourage and enable all communities and abilities to enjoy walking and cycling in the outdoors.”

Find out more about how you can use your car less for more everyday journeys