The ride was organised in memory of local campaigner and keen cyclists, Bob Grose, who died aged 71 following a heart attack while out cycling with friends around Christmas time last year.
Transport is the largest source of carbon emissions in Devon, say organisers, who report a growing interest in cycling as a healthy alternative to car travel.
But, they reveal, people lack the confidence to cycle because of a lack of safe routes.
Dartington Parish Councillor, Cllr Trudy Turrell said: “In Totnes and in Dartington, the air we breathe breaches World Health Organisation safe levels every day.
“Those who suffer most are the elderly, vulnerable and especially school children walking to school. It’s appalling.”
Bob was a keen cyclist and organised several Reclaim the Streets cycle rides and was an active member of the local Extinction Rebellion group, having dedicated himself to climate change activism after his retirement.
Before he retired, Bob’s work included years spent with the World Health Organisation where he oversaw several huge projects, including the elimination of polio and leprosy.
Bob’s wife Jane said: “He died as he lived, cycling up a hill on a mountain bike, covered in mud, with a smile on his face.
“He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
Jane and Bob’s daughter, Eleanor, joined the bike ride.
Emma Hopkins, who helped organise the event, said: “We are riding to remind everyone of the importance of active travel, and that cycling is fun.
“In the face of air climate change and the need to reduce the number of cars on the road, we need more cycling.”
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