Round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont officially launched the 16th freshnlo Pedal for Scotland today with a little help from some biking friends.
Mark, who is an ambassador for the event and will be taking part in the classic 47-mile Challenge ride on 7 September, was accompanied by Scottish Cycling track endurance and road cyclist James McCallum along with one of the event’s younger participants Keira Murtagh and her dad Stephen.
The event, in association with Decathlon, boasts a ride to suit all levels of cyclist. As well as the iconic 47 mile Glasgow to Edinburgh route, there are also shorter family rides in Edinburgh, Glasgow and a timed 110 mile sportive for the more experienced rider. Over 8,000 riders took to two wheels for the fifteenth freshnlo Pedal for Scotland last year.
The Challenge ride takes participants on a scenic route between Glasgow and the capital city along closed and quiet roads and cycle paths, finishing in style at Murrayfield Stadium. There are plenty of rest stops along the way with a free lunch in the grounds in Linlithgow Palace and some much welcomed home baking at Avonbridge.
Ian Aitken, chief executive of Cycling Scotland, said: “This is a huge year for sport and in particular 7 September will be a huge day for cycling. After a summer of watching some of the best athletes in the world, freshnlo Pedal for Scotland gives people the opportunity to get on their bikes and take part in cycling with thousands of other Scots of all ages and abilities.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I am pleased to welcome back the freshnlo Pedal for Scotland bike ride which encourages people of all ages to get on their bikes. The Scottish Government aims to get more people making active travel choices for their everyday journeys wherever possible, to improve health and the environment.
“We recently allocated £4.5m in grant funding to Cycling Scotland over two years for various projects including this important event which is in addition to the £20m announced last September towards cycling infrastructure.
“Cycling is a great way to kick start a healthier lifestyle, it’s fun and hopefully events like this event will encourage more people to choose cycling for shorter journeys and leave the car at home.”
Mark Beaumont, who has recently returned to the UK following his round-the-Commonwealth trip with the Queens Baton Relay for the BBC, said: “This will be my fourth time taking part in the freshnlo Pedal for Scotland 47 mile Challenge ride. Every year I am struck by the huge variety of ages and abilities who come together to take on this brilliant route, from beginners and people returning to cycling to those who use their bikes on a daily basis. There is such a great atmosphere of camaraderie on the day and I can’t wait to line up at the start for the 2014 event.”
Scottish Cycling athlete and Commonwealth Games hopeful, James McCallum, said: “Any event that encourages people to get out on their bikes is a great thing. The fact that freshnlo Pedal for Scotland also offers a tougher, timed 110 mile sportive route for the more experienced cyclist is a fantastic bonus and makes the event truly inclusive for all abilities. I am really looking forward to taking part in the sportive on the 7 September and cycling with hundreds of others.”
Participants of freshnlo Pedal for Scotland can also raise money for children and young people in Scotland affected by poverty by supporting the STV Appeal, back on board as official charity partner for a second year.
The freshnlo Pedal for Scotland Challenge ride, Sportive and Edinburgh Family ride will all be held on Sunday 7 September. Dates for the Glasgow Family rides are due to be confirmed shortly.
Entry is now open at www.pedalforscotland.org
STV Appeal fundraising packs can be downloaded from www.stv.tv/appeal.