Haringey’s children have high rates of overweight and obesity. Almost a quarter of reception children and 38% of Year 6 children in Haringey are overweight or obese according to the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) classification. This is in line with the findings of London’s Child Obesity Task Force who found that nearly 40 per cent of all London’s children are overweight or obese. These shocking figures will foretell ill-health in the future.
Many children don’t get enough exercise as part of their daily routine. Parents perceive London’s streets as dangerous, polluted, noisy and unwelcoming; perhaps they don’t have enough knowledge of local safe routes where children can cycle safely for fun and exercise. .
That is why London Cycling Campaign organises KidicalMass. These communal cycle rides are fully marshalled and allow families to discover London at a slow pace. Last Sunday’s ride started at one of London’s most child-friendly spaces, Granary Square.
We then cycled past the British Library, where a traffic light engineer kindly put the light on green to let 500+ people cross safely over Euston Road. Along the route there was some exciting architecture to admire, such as the One Blackfriars tower and the Young/Old Vic theatres. It wasn’t just the stunning architecture that caught the eye, with many cyclists taking the opportunity to dress up for the ride.
Having arrived at Union Street, the London Fire Brigade were delighted to find so many children outside their headquarters, and swiftly brought out their fire engine to entertain the kids.
Please consider joining the next ride on Sunday 14th May. Our local cycle campaign will arrange a feeder ride, so you don’t have to face the traffic alone.
Don’t worry too much about your child, they’ll probably be stronger than you! Yesterday 6 year old Oli cycled from Haringey to Union Street and back, without gears. He will turn 7 this week and his father is now confident that money on a new bike is well spent. My 9 year old daughter managed the whole ride too; what appealed most to her was being able to listen to different kind of music along the route.
These rides are fun as well as safe, with plenty of entertainment all the way. KidicalMass is a great way to give children a chance to exercise and to show parents that cycling in London can be fun!
Written by Anke Böhme and Angela Hobsbaum, photos and videos from Ben House, Yiannis Chronakis and Anke Böhme.