British Cycling is set to be at the heart of the biggest cycling participation event the country has ever seen, following the announcement of plans for London to host a world class two day festival of cycling in 2013, which will include a 70,000 rider fun ride and 35,000 rider sportive.
Amongst other things, British Cycling will be contributing its event organisation expertise, which in recent years has brought World Championship and World Cup events in Track, Mountain Bike and BMX to these shores to the festival, which London Mayor Boris Johnson announced earlier today.
World Road Champion Mark Cavendish was quick to welcome the news: “This is the ideal legacy not only for our world class team of cyclists and paracyclists, but also for thousands of amateur cyclists who will hopefully be inspired by our performance at the Olympic Games. This event will be a fantastic opportunity to show Britain at its best and to share our Olympic cycling heritage.”
Above, Sky Ride has shown that London is ready for the new cycling festival
The festival will also be the first large scale event to use the Olympic Park when it reopens next summer.
In a speech to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Mayor described his ambition to create one of the world’s leading cycling events in the capital in August 2013. The Mayor highlighted figures which predict that the weekend festival could attract over 200,000 visitors from outside the capital to London for the weekend and generate tens of millions of pounds in economic benefit.
The first day of the festival will involve a family fun ride for up to 70,000 cyclists on an eight mile loop of closed roads around London’s iconic landmarks. The following day up to 35,000 amateur, club and world class elite cyclists will tackle a 100 mile course that will begin in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and be based on much of the route of the 2012 Games cycle road race, incorporating the scenic county of Surrey.
The Mayor’s team will now launch a tender process, through Transport for London and London & Partners, inviting potential bidders to become the commercial delivery partner for the event.
Context: The Olympic Legacy
"The time is right for this event, with burgeoning ‘sportive’ participation levels demonstrating the mass appeal of our sport. This event will celebrate the new place of cycling in British culture, right in the heart of the capital."
In his speech the Mayor also heralded the thousands of jobs that are a legacy of hosting the Olympic Games. By the time the athletes are in the starting blocks for London 2012 the Games will have helped to deliver, during one of the toughest economic climates of the last century, the rapidly accelerated regeneration of east London and 200,000 jobs; including work for 32,000 previously jobless Londoners, as well as 8,000 permanent jobs at Stratford Westfield and a massive £2 billion boost to the capital’s economy.
The international promotion associated with what will become an annual cycling festival will bring millions of pounds of economic benefit into London through national and international participation plus hundreds of thousands of spectators and worldwide TV audiences. It will provide a long term source of income for investment into improving conditions for cycling in London and provide opportunities to channel people to other cycling initiatives.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company has played a key role in plans for the festival of cycling and in the creation of new jobs. Today they confirmed that the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will open in phases from July 2013 to allow people back into the park as soon as possible after work is completed to return it to public use. The festival of cycling will be the first mass participation event to be held in the Park following its reopening to the public.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company will also organise a full weekend of wheel based activities on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to support the festival of cycling. They will aim to bring local communities together through events, competitions, workshops, music, food and film.
What They Said
Mark Cavendish MBE, current cycling world champion, said: “This is the ideal legacy not only for our world class team of cyclists and paracyclists, but also for thousands of amateur cyclists who will hopefully be inspired by our performance at the Olympic Games. This event will be a fantastic opportunity to show Britain at its best and to share our Olympic cycling heritage.”
Brian Cookson OBE, President of British Cycling, said: “British Cycling has been involved in this exciting project right from the beginning. It fits in really well with the range of our activities, from leisure cycling right through to elite level competition. The time is right for this event, with burgeoning ‘sportive’ participation levels demonstrating the mass appeal of our sport. This event will celebrate the new place of cycling in British culture, right in the heart of the capital.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “This spectacular event will help ensure that the 2012 Games are just the start, not the end of the benefits of hosting the Olympics. We are already creating long lasting opportunities for the Park and the capital, which will showcase London to the world, attract more visitors, create more jobs and support the economy.”
Margaret Ford, Chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: “The London Cycling Festival is just the kind of event that fits into the family ethos of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Thousands of people will get the chance to enjoy our most beautiful parkland in an event that will bring people together and encourage healthy living.