A councillor tasked with championing cycling in Manchester is urging the Royal Mail to leave a postbox in the city’s Albert Square painted gold to provide a lasting memorial to the Olympic success of the country’s cyclists in the city where British Cycling is based. Plans are also under way for a victory parade to be held in October.
The postbox, like dozens of others around the UK in the home towns of Britain’s latest Olympic champions, has temporarily been painted gold, and specifically commemorates the achievement of Philip Hindes, who lives in Manchester, in securing men’s team sprint victory alongside Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Councillor Carl Austin has asked Royal Mail and British Cycling for the post box to be left permanently gold and fitted with a plaque marking the cycling team’s achievements at London 2012.
Almost all of the 14 Great Britain cyclists who won medals at the Olympics are based in or near Manchester.
“The Velodrome has become the golden ticket to success and I think this would be a perfect lasting legacy, on our doorstep, to what has been achieved there,” said Councillor Austin.
“There’s lots we can do to celebrate, like a homecoming parade, but this would provide lasting recognition of the real heroes who have achieved far, far more than anyone expected when the Velodrome first opened.
“We are immensely proud of all of them and a plaque would provide recognition, not just of Philip Hindes but all the athletes from Manchester and the surrounding area that have won those medals and put this city, cycling and the Velodrome on the map.”
Meanwhile, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has reaffirmed its commitment to making the city the leading one in England for cycle commuting.
With the help of a £32.5 million grant from the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, TfGM is developing a network of ‘cycle hubs’ that include secure cycle storage at key transport locations throughout the area, although some local cyclists maintain that priority should be given to making conditions safer for cyclists on commuter routes in the city itself.
The public transport agency’s Dave Newton, quoted in the Manchester Evening News, said: “It’s a long and challenging road, but one that we are already on and, with the support of our partners, we’re very confident of achieving our goals."
British Cycling’s chief executive, Ian Drake, added: "The people of Manchester have made a great home for British Cycling. Much of the great success we have seen at the Olympics, the Tour de France and in simply getting more people on bikes comes from here."
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.