Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 12:17 UK

Bike 'convoys' into London begin

A convoy of less experienced cyclists follow an instructor in King Street, Hammersmith, west London
Organisers hope the convoys will give London's novice cyclists confidence

A series of "bicycle convoys" from the suburbs into central London have begun to tempt new cyclists into the saddle.

Under the BikeTube project, experienced riders will lead six convoys of beginners from outer to inner London.

The rides, which make full use of cycle lanes, will run every Friday from 0800 BST and hope to show new cyclists the safest routes into the city centre.

Lucy Cooper, of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), called it a "real opportunity" to boost cycling.

Brixton to Russell Square - departs from KFC
Finsbury Park to St Paul's - departs from Finsbury Park Gate
Mile End to St Paul's - departs from green bridge
Ravenscourt to Trafalgar Square - departs from Ravenscourt Place
Swiss Cottage to Holborn - departs from Swiss Cottage Tube
Greenwich to St Paul's - departs from Cutty Sark Gardens

She said: "We're really pleased to be working on the BikeTubes, an idea that originated within LCC.

"This is a real opportunity to get more novice cyclists on their bikes."

A BBC London reporter was up early to join one of the convoys to get a taste of the action.

The scheme will run until 2 October.

By then it is hoped the novice cyclists will have improved in confidence enough to follow the routes alone.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Some people find cycling a little daunting at first.

"Cycle Fridays are a brilliantly simple way of giving thousands of commuters the confidence to get cycling.

"I'm sure when they see how much of a fun and healthy experience it can be, they'll be hooked."

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