A year on from the London Olympics, world class cycling will once again be returning to Kingston this weekend.

The inaugural RideLondon cycling festival takes place this Sunday – where 20,000 amateur cyclists and 150 elite riders will pedal 100 miles from the Olympic Park in east London, down through the Surrey Hills and back into the capital – passing through Kingston twice along the way.

The event is sure to evoke memories of Sir Bradley Wiggins’ triumphant dash through town on the way to winning Olympic gold in the time trials 12 months ago.

But there are concerns amongst some businesses that the festival could impact on trading just as it did during the Olympics, when visitors watched the event but did not stay in town to shop.

Koko Aghopian, manager of cupcake bakery Sweet Revenge in Market Place, said: “Last year wasn’t good.

“It was a waste of time. I was stood outside the shop because nobody was coming in.”

Asked if RideLondon – a more family orientated event – would be different, he said: “It isn’t going to make us millionaires.”

Surrey Comet:

Joff Summerfield rides through Kingston Market Place to promote RideLondon

RideLondon event director Hugh Brasher said the festival, which will run for at least the next five years, will hopefully bring in business in the long term.

Mr Brasher said: “One year on from the Olympics this is a fantastic legacy event encouraging people on to bikes to get fit and to get inspired.

“It’s an amazing weekend festival of cycling that we hope will be a catalyst to enticing more people onto their bicycles.

“It’s about encouraging people to come to areas, appreciate them for the first time and hopefully come back and spend money there.

“In Kingston we have got a brilliant town centre, river, great bars and great restaurants, and it’s the only place on the course where the cyclists will be coming through four times.

“If you remember Bradley Wiggins’ quote last year about the roar as he came into town, it just made sense to come through Kingston.

“It’s just a fantastic place to come to.”

Surrey Comet:

The RideLondon event marks a year since Sir Bradley Wiggins rode triumphantly through Kingston on his way to Olympic gold

Cyclists from Kingston taking part in the amateur ride include a group of fundraising dads, a Kingston councillor and a man recovering from a broken back.

Jamie Davis, Neil Humphrey, Rob Fisher and Neil Cuthbertson will be tackling the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The foursome, who all live in Kingston, have previously cycled from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in just nine days to raise funds for the charity.

Setting a target of £50,000 for the charity, they have so far raised about £36,000.

Surrey Comet:

Councillor Simon James, Jamie Davis, Joff Summerfield, Neil Humphrey and Coun James' son Kiron

Mr Davis, 38, said: “What’s nice about this is we get to cycle through Kingston.

“It’s a little bit special – a closed road event in your home town.”

One man who almost did not make the event is Matt Anthony, from Claremont Road, Surbiton.

The 32-year-old chartered surveyor fractured his spine after falling off his bike in June, and faced a race against time to get fit in time for Sunday’s event.

Mr Anthony said: “I was going down a descent and I came off my bike, landing on my head.

“I was airlifted to hospital – not that I remember any of it.

“Obviously it has hit my training a bit and I won’t be as competitive as I might have been before the accident.

“I will just keep well fuelled, keep eating and take my time and get through it.”

Kingston councillor Simon James, lead member for sustainability and sport, is also taking part in the Surrey 100.

A keen amateur cyclist, it will be the first time he’s taken part in a cycling event covering such a distance. He said: “This is a new thing for me. I’ll let you know afterwards whether I’ll be doing it again!”

Surrey Comet:

Surbiton resident Matt Anthony, who almost missed RideLondon after fracturing his spine

Meanwhile, a series of bike-themed events will take place in Kingston during RideLondon on Sunday including: 

Vintage and Urban Bike Fair (Market Place and Market House) *

Rollapaluza - a unique cycle sport (Market Place) 

Dr. Bike and Bike Marking (Memorial Square) 

Kingston Junior Cycle Club - bike demonstrations and skills (All Saints Church grounds) 

Children’s Play Area (Memorial Gardens)

There will also be dozens of money-off vouchers available for restaurants and cafes to coincide with the beginning og Kingston Food Festival. Programmes are available from the information kiosk outside Kingston Train Station or Market House.

A free park and ride service will also be available for staff visitors to Kingston Hospital during Sunday’s RideLondon event.

The park and ride will operate from Kingsmeadow Stadium in Jack Goodchild Way, off Cambridge Road, from 6.30am to 8.30pm while road closures are in place.


Road closures along the entire route will be put in place at 5.30am on Sunday and will remain in place until 6.30pm

Portsmouth Road, Kingston High Street, Thames Street, Kingston Bridge, London Road and Hampton Court Bridge will all be closed to traffic

Vehicle movements on the day will be severely restricted

All parking bays will be suspended along the race route itself