Fans of Bristol City FC who use pedal power to get to matches at the club’s Ashton Gate ground may find themselves being welcomed upon arrival by players thanking them for using their bikes to reach the game.
The initiative forms part of an effort to get the team’s fans to reduce their dependency on their cars, and if it succeeds, it may leave supporters of local rivals Bristol Rovers, nicknamed gasheads, as the main petrolhead football fans in the city, too.
According to the club’s website, players will also be signing autographs and posing for photos with bike-borne fans, as the club seeks not only to back Bristol’s status as a Cycling City, but also underline its commitment to the 10:10 climate change initiative.
The club will also be adding bike routes to and from the stadium to its official website, and has installed 40 covered, secure bike racks, taking the number of bike parking spaces available to 140 as part of an effort to also try and reduce supporters’ dependency on their cars.
Business Development Director Guy Price, himself a keen cyclist, said: “The club is committed to promoting healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles in the community. We have made our own pledge by joining the 10:10 climate change initiative but we want to go beyond that and encourage our supporters and neighbours to do their best as well.”
He continued: “The player greetings will give cyclists the chance to chat with the players as well as getting autographs and photos. This will be just one of many new steps we're going to be taking to encourage bike use among our fans".
While we're on the subject of football, in the past few days we caught up with Simon Hood, the York City fan whose Bicycle Kicks charity ride saw him cycle to every one of his team's matches in a season that turned out to be longer than originally anticipated as the side made it all the way to Wembley for the Blue Square Premier play-off final, where they lost 3-1 to Oxford United, so look out for our interview with him soon here on road.cc.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.