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Cycling to take over capital for two days in August 2013.... but Sustrans says that a real legacy would be helping people use their bikes every day

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has this morning announced full details of the two-day cycling festival, called RideLondon, aimed at helping secure the capital’s Olympic legacy. Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has said that a real legacy, however, would be helping more people use bicycles as an everyday mode of transport.

The inaugural edition of RideLondon will take place on the weekend beginning Saturday 3 August 2013 and will include a family fun ride, a 100-mile road ride incorporating an elite race that takes in much of the Olympic road race route, and a criterium in the heart of the city.

The event is expected to attract 200,000 visitors to London and will be organised by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership, a joint venture between the organisers of the London Marathon and The Tour of Britain.

The involvement of the London Marathon organisers underlines the mayor’s ambition that the event will become the biggest charity fundraising cycle ride in the world, and online registration is now open on the RideLondon website for cyclists wishing to express their interest in taking part in the family fun ride, expected to attract 70,000 riders to an eight-mile closed circuit taking in many of the capital’s best-known landmarks, as well as the mass road ride that will have 20,000 participants.

The events that will make up the weekend are:

  • RideLondon Freecycle “COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE” - An 8 mile central London route on closed roads for up to 70,000 people.
  • RideLondon Grand Prix “EXPERIENCE CRITERIUM RACING” - Also known as Criterium Racing, this invitational city centre loop will provide a focus for the Women’s Elite, hand-cycles and youth groups.
  • RideLondon 100 “RISE TO THE CHALLENGE” - A 100 mile challenge ride including charitable fundraising through London and Surrey via Richmond Park - expected to attract 20,000 riders in Year 1.
  • RideLondon Classic “SEE THE GREATS” - Starting in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and following part of the Olympic Road Race route this race will see the international men’s elite take to the roads of London & Surrey on what is expected to become part of the UCI’s official race calendar (announcement in September).

Announcing details of the event today, Mr Johnson said: “This year London has been the place to be and yet again this amazing city has proved its expertise in hosting major world class sporting and cultural events.

“Our challenge is to ensure that 2012 is just the start, not the end of the benefits of hosting the Games. We must create long lasting opportunities for the Olympic Park and the capital, which will showcase London to the world, attract more visitors, create more jobs and support the economy. 

“We also need to capitalise on the incredible achievements of Team GB’s Olympic cyclists whose superhuman efforts will inspire thousands more Londoners to take to two wheels. I urge every Londoner and cycle fanatics from all over the country, if not the world, to mark the weekend of 3 August 2013 in their diaries for what I believe will become one of the world’s number one cycling events.”

German Dector-Vega, Sustrans London Director, insisted however that the focus should not just be on one weekend-long event, saying: “It’s great that the Mayor wants to capitalise on the recent boom in the popularity of cycling, and this Cycling Festival will no doubt maintain cycling as a high profile sport.

“A real cycling legacy from the Games will give more people to chance to use their bike as a regular form of transport.  We hope the Mayor will be keen to continue to develop the London Greenway’s network, and also make cycling more accessible to young people.

“Over the course of the Games over 1000 children have taken part in Olympic taster sessions organised by Sustrans, we’d love to see every child in London have a chance to get on a bike and learn to cycle safely.”

Full details of the routes of the rides will be announced later this year and will draw on lessons learned during London 2012, and the event is also due to be televised by the BBC.

Present at today’s launch was double Olympic champion Laura Trott, who said: "It's been amazing the way the British public have really got behind Team GB and cycling in general during the last few weeks. I’ve been completely blown away by how many people have come out to support us.

“The crowd noise in the Velodrome was something I will never forget. It’s great to think we may have inspired people to get on their bikes and RideLondon is a great opportunity for the public to get out and join us on the roads. Cycling has always been a huge part of my family’s life and I hope that having watched the Games lots more people will be encouraged to have a go.”

British Cycling President Brian Cookson added: “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.

“RideLondon demonstrates there is now an unprecedented, mainstream demand for cycling events in this country. And our colleagues at the UCI know that British Cycling can be relied upon to produce not just competitors of the highest level, but also superbly organised events for cyclists of all levels of ability.

“None of this is a happy accident but the product of years of hard work. What we are seeing are the fruits of a strategy British Cycling has been pursuing for over a decade. And the success of our sport at both elite and participation levels is a great return on the efforts of so many of the people involved in our sport who have turned that strategy into action.

“Having been involved with the creation of RideLondon we look forward to this annual events first delivery next year with great anticipation”

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.