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Skyride Glasgow

Thanks for coming to Glasgow

We hope you had as much fun as we did at Skyride Glasgow. Below, we have a full report from the event. If you took part in the event, why not download images of yourself? There's also a video of the event on Youtube and at Flickr you can share your images of a great day out in Glasgow.

Highland Springglasgow council

Skyride Glasgow Report

Sunday 23 August 2009 - Report: Phil Ingham
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Skyride Glasgow shook off a morning of rain and brought the whole northern bank of the river Clyde to life with a huge gathering of cyclists. Olympians Sir Chris Hoy and Ross Edgar joined with cycling TV and radio presenter Gethin Jones to bring some celebrity fizz to an already bubbling mass of riders of all ages.

Gethin Jones, Chris Hoy and Ross Edgar were mobbed wherever they went all day

Skyride has rapidly established itself as a superb family day out and mums, dads and children flocked to the Glasgow Green park, at the East end of the city centre, to enjoy a full day of riding, picnicking, shouting, cheering and taking part in all the cycling themed activities on show.

The event kicked off at 10am with the first wave of riders heading out down closed roads along the revitalized riverside of this dynamic city. Bursts of heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits as the eager ones sprinted ahead, whilst behind them families rode in loose gaggles, chatting, grinning at the photographers and taking in the sights of the route. And what a fine route it was, tracing the big river, which in turn reflected the stylish new apartments, restored cranes and exciting architecture, including the famous armadillo.

Crowds of riders surge out onto the main route from Glasgow Green

Back at the Glasgow Green, the atmosphere was festival like as the growing crowds of cyclists moved around the attractions: taking in the BMX and Trials displays, stopping for food and drink in the picnic area, before moving on to watch and take part in the Wattbike challenge.

And for all the star spotters, there were chances to listen to interviews with Chris, Ross and Gethin, before the smiling celebs signed hundreds of Skyride bibs. Eager young fans - and some not so young, to be honest - formed long queues to catch a brief chat with their chosen star and a treasured bib signing. The in-demand trio also led a couple of very popular "parade" laps, after which hundreds of young cyclists were left grinning from ear to ear, having enjoyed a ride with their heroes.

The rain did nothing to dampen spirits as everyone enjoyed a great day out

Meanwhile, Scottish cycling ran a constant round of Go-Ride activities as breathless young cyclists picked up tips from the coaches and pitted their skills against each other. Alongside them, a row of cycling stands, including British Cycling - receiving lots of membership enquiries - and a very popular bike health check marquee, did a roaring trade as the crowds sought to wring as much as possible out of the day.

With the weather improving throughout the afternoon, many went out for further laps of the course, enjoying a unique chance to cycle freely through the normally busy city. It was late in the afternoon before many parents could drag their reluctant children away.

Chris Hoy was interviewed in front of a big crowd, who hung on his every word

Chris Hoy summed up the day when he spoke to the crowd during the afternoon. Asked what he thought of the event, he said "I've been blown away by it. The reception Gethin, Ross and I have had from everyone has been so warm - they've been waving at us and cheering all round the course. Hopefully it'll stick in people's mind, the fun you can have from cycling and that'll get people back on their bikes, either for leisure or commuting."

Skyride People

Families love Skyride and we spoke to a number during the event and asked what they thought of Skyride Glasgow:

Mum and Dad Elaine and Greg from Paisley were at the event with their daughters Charlotte, 11, and Alexandra, 12. At first glance they seemed like a dyed-in-the-wool cycling family as they prepared their bikes, having unloaded them from their car. However, it turns out that Elaine and Greg are re-born cyclists, who have only got back into two-wheeled life this summer.

Greg admitted his neighbours had got him back into cycling, but the bug has bitten hard: "I'm looking to do 100 miles in a week and the best I've managed so far is about 80!"

Elaine has joined in the cycling, though it's "part of my fitness regime. We're very aware of childhood obesity. I've not really cycled since I was 14 and the last time Greg cycled was when he did a paperround. But we're really enjoying it - we try to buy something for our cycling every week."

If Alexandra looked a little reluctant at the early morning rain, she and Charlotte both looked remarkably fit and healthy. Charlotte was definitely the keener of the two girls and was a real advocate for cycling - "I'd like to see my school do more to encourage cycling. All they seem to be bothered by is books and lessons."

Elaine concluded by saying that she found cycling really helped her beat stress, and both she and Greg had been inspired by Lance Armstrong's recent visit to Scotland, though the family agreed that Chris Hoy was their favourite cyclist.

Chris Hoy's influence extended to young Cameron and his dad Mark, a police officer from near Motherwell. Cameron had just had his fluorescent top signed by Ross Edgar when we spoke and he was clearly thrilled. However, Chris Hoy was his cycling hero, "because he's Scottish," laughed Cameron. But Cameron's interest in Chris and Ross didn't prevent him admitting that his cycling interest lay in mountain biking - father and son had visited the Fort William World Championships, where they'd met Tracy Moseley. Father, Mark, looked lean and fit and it transpired that he commuted to work four days a week by bike, a round trip of some 16 miles - on the fifth day he drove in, taking in clean clothes on his one day in the car.

Chris Hoy and Gethin Jones lead a line of riders during a parade lap of Glasgow Green

Nine year old Gordon was at the event with his mum and dad, Yvonne and Michael. They were all keen cyclists, had visited Fort William and were veterans of the popular Pedal for Scotland charity event. Yvonne's daily routine included a three mile cycle commute: "it's really keeping me fit - and we do lots of family bike rides." For Gordon, the day had just become all the more memorable because he'd just ridden next to Chris Hoy as the local press took photos: "That was really exciting" he said, though again it was mountain biking which seemed to be the focus of his enthusiasm - not surprising when you consider the off-road trails available to riders from north of the border.

Gethin Jones speaks to two young fans

But, the adulation wasn't all reserved for Chris Hoy. Gethin Jones had become a great celebrity advocate of the Skyrides and his cycling blogs as he rides between the Skyride cities have revealed him to be a knowledgeable and enthusiastic cyclist. But to many young people he's best known for his time as a Blue Peter presenter and friends Heather, 10, and Faith, 9, couldn't hide their excitement at having their bibs signed by Gethin: "We're obsessed with Blue Peter - I told him about my Blue Peter Badge", said Faith. Under cross-examination, they grudgingly admitted that they did enjoy cycling and had already "done half the route - we're going to do the other half later."

Whatever their motivation, all the children we spoke to seemed to be having a fine day, mixing celebrity spotting and just enjoying themselves on their bikes. The Skyride formula provides plenty of entertainment for all the family and parents and children alike were getting stuck in.

More on Skyride Glasgow:

Why not download images of yourself? There's also a video of the event on Youtube and at Flickr you can share your images of a great day out in Glasgow.