Double Olympic champion Laura Trott officially started the race by pushing a big red button with Johnson joined at the front of the parade by wife Kay and children Molly, 10, and Henry, five, as the cyclists made their way from Queen Victoria Street past Monument, the Tower of London and Blackfriars Bridge.
More than 2,000 cycling enthusiasts had registered in advance to try and break the Guinness World Record, which currently stands at 916 and was set in Davis, California, in 2010, with Guinness spotters watching on.
But despite the best efforts of all involved the attempt fell short with only 607 bikes completing the five-mile route.
However, Johnson insisted it was the perfect way for riders of all ages and abilities to enjoy cycling in the city, whatever the result.
“The opportunity to do that with the kids was the main thing, to come and ride around the streets of London,” said the ex-Leicester Tigers star.
“On a bike, closed roads, see all the sights, it’s fantastic. You won’t get a better chance to do it. Keeping any line of cyclists together is tough.”
Prudential RideLondon event director Hugh Brasher echoed Johnson, as thousands of cyclists took to the streets to enjoy the FreeCycle event and make the most of the chance to ride on London’s streets.
More than 50,000 people covered part or all of the eight-mile loop, and Brasher said: “It was always going to be a difficult ask, world records aren’t easy to break – that’s why they’re world records.
“We learnt a lot from the experience and we’ll be back again next year to try again.”
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