Bournemouth's mayor cuts ribbon to officially open £750,000 facility...

The new Bournemouth Cycling Centre has been officially opened, providing local cyclists with an Olympic-sized 250-metre cycle track. Operated by the Bournemouth Arrows Cycling Club, whose members took to the track on Saturday, the facility has been built after overcoming opposition from some local residents who wanted to have the site designated as a town green.

Bournemouth Borough Council and British Cycling, which together provided the £750,000 funding for the project, threw open an invite to local residents, cyclists and their families to attend the official opening by Mayor Christopher Rochester on Saturday, with entertainment on offer including Rollapaluza racing.

Commenting on the track, Councillor Rod Cooper, Cabinet Member for Economy, Leisure & Tourism, said: “The opening of the centre is going to be a real celebration and will be fun for all the family. People of all ages are invited to come and have a look at the track, whether you’re a keen competitive cyclist or just a beginner.

“The new facility will offer people of all ages and abilities an opportunity to enjoy cycling in a safe, controlled and traffic free environment and will allow the entire community to enjoy activities including competitive cycle training and racing, learning to ride a bike, cycling for exercise, in-line skating and running. Residents are very welcome to bring their bike along for the celebration event and we look forward to showing them our fantastic track.”

British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, added: “The plans for the new cycling centre look fantastic. It is a perfect example of the continued efforts we are making, together with Sport England, to create excellent modern cycling facilities across the UK. The new facility will also support the growth of our sport at the grassroots to develop future cycling stars.”

The project at Slades Farm got the green light in February 2010 after the Ensbury Park Residents Association attempted to have the land designated with town green status. However, that request was rejected, since such status can only be given when the land is being used by trespassers, which was never an issue in this case since the council itself is the landowner.

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.