Hackney cyclists ride through the rain for the East Festival


Hackney cyclists braved the rain for a varied programme of Venezuelan music, East End plays and jazz across the borough yesterday.

Some 30 cyclists dashed between three venues to catch the performances as part of Cycle East in this week’s East festival.

Greeted by world music from Hackney chorus the Wing-It singers at Broadway Market, the group followed designated cycle routes through Brick Lane before seeing jazz group Portico Quartet at the Toynbee Studios.

The cyclists continued through torrential rain on to an acapella performance from Dalston composer Helen Chadwick at St John-at-Hackney Church, Homerton.

They ended their tour at Dalston’s Arcola Theatre to see three new plays from East End playwrights Steven Berkoff, David Eldridge and Rebecca Lenkiewicz with Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson.

Hackney Cyclists member Oliver Schick took part in the ride.

He said: “I think this is a great idea, it’s wonderful. Cycling is the best way of getting around London. Some people view bikes as an accessory to walk, but it’s not, it can be part of your lifestyle.”

Cycle East organisers said the event was designed to attract newcomers to cycling in London.

Organiser Marian Farruja said: “The whole idea of celebrating East London is a good idea. Hackney is a culturally rich space, and has the highest number of bike users in London. We wanted to celebrate that.

She added that Hackney has several new cycling shops and related businesses.

“This is one of the few places with a cycle café and with so many cycle businesses around here, it’s an economical thing too,” she said.

She said: “I’ve been living here for a few years now, and there was only one cycling shop. Now there’s three and that’s just on my way to work.”