Olympic and world champion Dani King MBE officially opened Bath & North East Somerset Council Odd Down Cycle Circuit on Saturday 13 July.
The specially-designed circuit was constructed by Bath & North East Somerset Council with the help of a £600,000 grant from British Cycling. It is currently one of only 17 specific closed road cycling circuits in England and the first purpose built facility in the British Cycling South region.
Following in the tracks of Sir Chris Hoy – who rode the 1.5km closed-road circuit in June – Dani signed autographs and chatted with visitors as she kicked off a day of fun for all the family.
Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud to welcome Dani King MBE to open Odd Down Cycle Circuit as we especially want to encourage more girls and women into the sport and Dani is a terrific role model.
“We’re extremely grateful to British Cycling for their generous support in funding the circuit. We hope that by working together we can persuade more people to get active and enjoy the benefits of cycling – not only as a fun way to improve fitness and also as a greener way to get around.”
The free Family Fun day and Cycle Festival offered a chance to experience the new cycle circuit with Go Ride activities from British Cycling and cycle challenges from Sulis Scorpions Youth Cycling Alliance, Bath Cycling Club, Velo Club Walcot and Somer Valley Cycling Club. There followed a programme of cycle races organised by Bath Cycling Club.
"We are delighted to have supported Odd Down circuit. This is already a treasured community facility – best of all, it is open to all from experienced cyclists to people getting on a bike for the very first time."
British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake
In the first couple of months since it opened (May-June) a total of 83 sessions have been booked at Odd Down Cycle Circuit. More than 1,000 visits have been made by cyclists – including pre-schoolers, members of British Cycling’s Junior Olympic Talent Programme and cyclists with a range of disabilities using adapted bikes from the Council’s Wheel for All scheme.
Dani King MBE, the London 2012 Olympic Champion and three-time Team Pursuit World Champion/World Record Holder, said: “It is fantastic news that the cycle circuit is now open. When I was first getting into the sport, I was lucky enough to have a facility like this close to where I lived, and it played a huge role in my development as a cyclist. With so many young people being inspired by the success of British athletes, in ten years’ time Odd Down Cycle Circuit may well be hailing future Olympic champions!”
Dani was joined at the official opening by local rising cycling stars Bethany Taylor (14) and Sophie Taylor (13). The Keynsham sisters, who go to Wellsway School, are already making a name for themselves in cycling and have their sights on the next Olympics in Rio. Both girls are South of England 2012 road race and cyclocross champions in their age groups and have been picked to represent the region at the national track and mountain bike championships, where they will compete against the best in Britain.
British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said: “We’re at a record high in the numbers of people interested in cycling so it is vital that there are a wealth of facilities nationwide to meet increasing demand. We are delighted to have supported Odd Down circuit. This is already a treasured community facility – best of all, it is open to all from experienced cyclists to people getting on a bike for the very first time. The facility will be a significant boost to competitive cycling at a club and regional level and will help new cyclists develop the skills and confidence they need to ride on the roads.”
The Cycle Circuit is the first phase in the planned redevelopment of the whole Odd Down site, which will include a new 3G Astro Pitch, improved pitches and new changing facilities.