As the countdown to London 2012 steps up a gear today – the opening ceremony is just 100 days away - British Cycling’s chief executive has highlighted ways in which people inspired by the exploits of the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish and Shanaze Reade this summer can get involved with cycling. The governing body has also revealed that more than 100 cycling clubs have already entered the Go Ride Games initiative for under-16s, announced earlier this month.
“With just 100 days until the greatest show on earth, there has never been a better time to get into cycling,” said British Cycling’s chief executive, Ian Drake. “Be it riding with friends at weekends, participating in a sportive, racing or commuting to work, there are thousands of ways to get involved across the country - whatever your age or interest.
“The cycling revolution has already started – over 1.7 million people now ride at least once a week – but we don’t want to stop there. Events like the Go Ride Games and Sky Ride present an unrivalled opportunity for us to make sure that London 2012 inspires thousands more to get into cycling,” he continued.
“Our aspiration is to win medals and to ensure that we use that success to get unprecedented numbers of people riding regularly, transforming Britain into a nation of cyclists and providing a true legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Mr Drake added.
The Go Ride Games, described as “a national summer festival of cycling for young people,” were launched earlier this month, and full details are available on the British Cycling website as well as in this short video.
Speaking at the time of the launch of the initiative, Andrew Chaston, British Cycling’s Development Manager for Clubs and Volunteers, said: “'The Go Ride Games provides the opportunity for more young people to try out our fantastic sport.
“With our clubs developing their activities all the time, the Olympics can kick start the involvement of many young people for years to come as we embed more opportunities to participate, race and volunteer.”
British Cycling also provided some figures showing the levels of participation in various facets of cycling in Great Britain, including revealing that nearly 20,000 people are now racing regularly, with almost 3,500 events being held annually.
The last year has also see almost 300 sportives take place, with more than 90,000 participants in total. Presumably people entering more than one event are counted more than once, but with most of those rides likely to be held at weekends in spring and summer, they have plenty of choice in which ones to take part in – while organisers face plenty of competition to attract their custom.
The Sky Ride initiative is also continuing to grow, with more than 200,000 people taking part in such events in 2011, and British Cycling says that in addition this year there will also be some 1,700 community-led rides staged with the help of 45 local authorities and involving a total of 25,000 recreational cyclists. It is training an additional 650 ride leaders, making a total of 1,200 throughout the country, with further details available on the Go Sky Ride website.
British Cycling is also training 450 additional voluntary Breeze champions to help out with its initiative of that name which seeks to encourage 10,000 women take up cycling for the first time during 2012. Further details can be found on the dedicated Breeze Bike Rides website.
Finally, British Cycling confirmed that more than 2,300 coaches and ride leaders had completed one of its qualifications last year.
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.