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The 13 mass participation events are set to inspire two million cyclists by 2020 - Sir Chris Hoy & Laura Kenny give the plans their approval

British Cycling has joined forces with its lead sponsor HSBC UK to launch a new annual series of 13 traffic-free mass participation cycling events across the country called HSBC UK City Rides.

Starting on June 11 in Birmingham this year the series will close city-centre streets in 13 separate local authorities. The events will run until September this year, and for the next four years until 2020 by which time the organisers hope to have inspired 2 million new riders to bring cycling into their lives. 

British Cycling and HSBC UK's overarching goal is to make cycling the number activity and sport of choice in the country. Along with a number of high-profile sporting ambassadors - including Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Kenny - Britain's cycling governing body hopes that this is the first step towards achieving that goal.

>Read more: HSBC replaces Sky as British Cycling sponsor

HSBC's Global Head of Sponsorship, Giles Morgan, the man responsible for the partnership with British Cycling, pointed out the benefits cycling has on the health of the nation.

“We know that more people cycling will lead to a healthier, greener, happier nation, making a significant impact on issues such as obesity, depression and pollution," Morgan said. "Cycling can be the solution to so many problems in this country and HSBC UK City Rides is the first step on that journey.”

Speaking about the City Rides, 6-time Olympic gold medallist Hoy said: “By opening up the roads of some of our biggest cities, we want to demonstrate the change and benefits that can come from having cities with fewer cars and more bikes.

"These events are the first step towards achieving that goal and getting two million people cycling by 2020.”

Laura Kenny, meanwhile highlighted how family-friendly these events are set to be.

Kenny said: “Events like HSBC UK City Rides are great for families with young children who want to experience the thrill of riding on roads for the first time in a comfortable and fun environment

“When I was growing up, I would have loved the opportunity to take part in an event like this with my family. It’s a completely free day out and is just about embracing the simple pleasure of riding through a city by bike, give people a new perspective."

Starting on June 11 in Birmingham, the events will span the country. The full list of dates and locations can be found below:

Birmingham – 11 June

Southampton - 25 June

Newcastle – 2 July

Sheffield – 16 July

Manchester – 23 July

Nottingham – 30 July

Cardiff – 6 August

Leicester – 13 August

Bristol – 20 August

Glasgow – 27 August

Leeds – 10 September

Coventry – 17 September

Liverpool – 24 September

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.

5 comments

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Leviathan [2772 posts] 5 months ago
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So Sky Ride basically, full steam to them, but I'm working, another time perhaps, get back to me. wink

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Spangly Shiny [150 posts] 5 months ago
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Who wants to give up a Sunday to ride in a city? I'll just stick to the byways thanks.

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srchar [653 posts] 5 months ago
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Hate to put a downer on anything that tries to boost cycling, but I don't see what these events achieve.  For one day per year, you can ride around the city, safe from vehicular traffic, but for the other 364 days a year, you have to put up with bad driving, poor/non-existant infrastructure and terrible air quality.

I work for a large bank (not HSBC) that occasionally sponsors this kind of thing. But there is a 2-year wait for a space in the massively-oversubscribed bike racks. Plenty of room in the basement for execs' cars though (in Canary Wharf!)

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MandaiMetric [131 posts] 5 months ago
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srchar wrote:

Hate to put a downer on anything that tries to boost cycling, but I don't see what these events achieve.  For one day per year, you can ride around the city, safe from vehicular traffic, but for the other 364 days a year, you have to put up with bad driving, poor/non-existant infrastructure and terrible air quality.

When I lived in US, I would participate in the 5 Borough Bike Ride, 42 miles around NYC. It was great, if crowded. One year I took my 5 year old with a tag-a-long - she loved it, and she loved all the attention her "bike" received. She didn't pedal very hard up the Queensbrough Bridge though... kids eh!

Closed road events are alot of fun to participate in, and the people at the side of the road were supportive and cheered everyone along.

It's a great way to get people off the sofa, who don't fancy the battle with traffic. If they like cycling, maybe they will find a go ride in Central / Prospect Park on the weekend, or ride up the West Side bike path to the GWB.

In the long run, more cyclists = better infrastructure IMHO.

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handlebarcam [1043 posts] 5 months ago
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These events are obviously not aimed at more casual riders than most of this web site's readership. But anything associated with HSBC is tainted by the many, many murky things they've done.