Next year there will be a two day cycling event that will provide a lasting legacy for the 2012 Olympic Games. This is according to an announcement today by London’s mayor Boris Johnson.
The two day festival will be held on August the 3rd and 4th. This was initially announced back in January, with Boris holding off announcing more details until the last few days of the Olympics.
Four events will be taking place. The Freecycle will close off an 8-mile route in central London. It will replace the SkyRide and should see around 70,000 people attending.
The RideLondon Grand Prix will be a race through central London along a 1.3 mile loop close to The Mall.
There will also be a 100 mile RideLondon sportive challenge on a closed route designed to imitate the Olympic road race. It is expected that up to 20,000 riders will take part. Entry will cost £48 and cyclists can apply now.
Finally, there is the RideLondon classic. This will be attended by many of the world’s professional cyclists and is likely to become part of the UCI race calendar. It will be covered by the BBC.
This is all well and good but is this something that London’s cyclists really need?
There’s no doubt the two day event provides a focus point for cycling and will raise much money for charity. It also has a feel good message to it and encourages people to try out cycling, some perhaps for the first time.
But once the two day event is over – what are London’s cyclists to do with the other 363 days in year?
This is the questions cycling campaigners are today asking. It’s unlikely they’ll get a response from Boris.
The Mayor had promised to look in to the London Cycling Campaign’s “Go Dutch” initiative. What this call for, is to have a major review of London’s road network and to begin to integrate Dutch style infrastructure, that will provide safe cycling in London.
Others are taking a more upbeat view. British Cycling President Brian Cookson is quoted in the press release as saying:
“The Launch of RideLondon today is further proof that British Cycling’s Olympic legacy is already in place. Like the rest of the country I have celebrated the achievements of Laura Trott, Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy, not just because they have succeeded during a wonderful summer for British cycle sport, but because they and the rest of the British Cycling team are inspiring people across the country to get active.
Success in the Tour de France and the Olympics has seen membership surge, seeing 250 people a day join British Cycling. There are over 160,000 more people cycling once a week or more than was the case six months ago.”
What do you think? Will you be attending?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.