London will play host to a record number of cyclists in August as the Prudential Ride London Freecycle event expands to 70,000 participants.
The race, which will take place on August 1 as part of the London mayor's annual festival of cycling, will take a different route running along the Strand and Lincoln's Inn Fields – cyclists are being diverted ironically because of the work on Boris Johnson's pet project the Cycle Superhighway.
The eight-mile route will pass iconic London landmarks including Buckingham Palace, St Pauls and part of the Southbank, as it goes south of the river for the first time with a loop over Waterloo Bridge.
Six festival zones – in Green Park, St Paul's Churchyard, Guildhall Yard, Leadenhall Market, Aldwych and Lincoln's Inn Fields – will offer cyclists free “bike-based entertainment” and activities including stunt cyclists, bike polo, a pedal-powered quiz, and the VeloPark Challenge, a virtual Olympic Veldrome.
They will also have secure cycle parking so participants can leave their bicycles safely.
There will be music and entertainment all along the route too with bands, music bikes, stilt bicycles and Penny Farthings to entertain the riders. Bike doctors will be on hand in case of any technical problems.
Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle is in its third year.
Budding cyclists are being strongly encouraged to take part, by both TfL and Johnson, as the capital moves towards a more pro-bike infrastructure.
However TfL has warned drivers to avoid areas near the event routes.