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Social bike rides mark pioneering Cycle City Active City conference

Published on 16 May 2016

AN INFAMOUS murder case, the struggle of the Suffragettes and a behind-the-scenes insight into a global cycle brand are the subjects of three social cycle rides taking place this week.

The rides, which are free and open to everyone, are being held as Leicester hosts the pioneering Cycle City Active City conference at Curve theatre from 19-20 May.

Cycle City Active City will welcome more than 700 delegates to share best practice and find out more about how cities can support cycling, walking and active lifestyles.

International speakers will be addressing professionals from health, transport and regeneration. The conference will be demonstrating how lessons can be learned from cities across the world and the economic benefit of creating cities built for people.

As part of the supporting activities for the conference, free cycle rides, open to all, are available to join.

On Wednesday 18 May, the Giant HQ ride will set off from Curve Theatre in Leicester at 3pm. Hosted by cycling brand Giant, the ride will largely be on traffic-free tracks, through Abbey and Watermead parks.

On arrival at the Giant HQ, in Cossington, riders will be treated to tea and cake and a tour of the headquarters, as well as an insight into Giant’s LIV brand.

Also on Wednesday at 3pm is the Green Bicycle Murder ride. This popular themed ride, which also departs from Curve, will feature character actors re-enacting the story of The Green Bicycle Murder.

On a summer evening in 1919, Bella Wright, a young Leicester millworker, was found dead beside her bicycle on a quiet country road near Stoughton. Shortly beforehand, she had been seen riding away from Gaulby with a well-dressed gentleman who rode a green bicycle. 

Following a much-publicised search, Ronald Light, an ex-army officer and owner of just such a bicycle, was arrested, tried and then acquitted of Bella’s murder. Light’s acquittal has been disputed ever since. 

Cyclists who join this free ride will get the chance to see a re-enactment of the 1919 events. Riders will visit the crime scene and follow Bella’s route by bike.

On Thursday 19 May, the Suffragettes Ride will leave from Curve at 5.30pm. The ride will include a local performer accompanying riders in character as famous Leicester suffragette Alice Hawkins. Alice used her bike when campaigning, and riders will visit blue plaque sites in Leicester related to famous women, before returning to Curve for a rousing speech.

Further events are also being opened up to the public to allow them to participate in the Cycle City Active City discussions. At 6.30pm on Wednesday 18 May, there is Q&A session at the King Richard III visitor centre. It includes a talk from Dr Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the King Richard III dig, on ‘finding the car park king’, and Jon Orcutt from New York on ‘powercuts, hurricanes and people-friendly cities’.  Booking is essential as places are limited – email cycle-city@leicester.gov.uk to reserve a place.

And on Friday 20 May, there’s an open ‘question time’ event at Curve from 3.30pm. Entitled ‘What next for people-friendly cities?’, it will bring together leaders from industry and city government to discuss how cities can best serve people in the future.

Cllr Adam Clarke, assistant city mayor responsible for energy and sustainability, said: “We’re really pleased to be welcoming the Cycle City Active City conference to Leicester, which will bring together influential speakers and industry professionals to discuss how we can continue to make our city a profitable, sustainable and pleasant place for people to live in.

“These social events and question-and-answer sessions allow members of the public to join the debate, find out more about our aims and ideas for a sustainable city, and add to them. I hope lots of people will get involved.”

To find out more about the bike rides, visit  www.goskyride.com/leicester and click on ‘ride social’.

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