Cycling's Olympic legacy is already here, says British Cycling

Numbers of commmuters and racers are up, new facilities opening

by Sarah Barth   August 18, 2012  

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The 'legacy' effect on cycling of holding the Olympics in London began long before the Games even started, said the President of British Cycling.

Brian Cookson OBE, said: “The plans for cycling’s legacy from the UK hosting the Games were underway long before the Olympic torch was lit at the stadium in London. Since the amazing success of our cyclists in Beijing we have been planning for this surge in interest and we’re already starting to reap the rewards."

Numbers of communters and regular (more than twice weekly cyclists) were up from six months ago, and women in particular are taking to two wheels, with 53,000 more women cycling regularly.

Of course, six months ago it was February, and naturally more people cycle in the summer months.

Cookson went on to say: “Britain has fantastic state of the art cycling facilities covering every discipline – be it a velodrome, a closed road circuit or a BMX track. It’s not a case of build it and they will come, we’ve built it and they are coming in their droves, with more new facilities planned over the next 12 months."

These facilities include closed road circuits in cities including Blackpool and Middlesbrough, state-of-the- art velodromes in Bournemouth, and now London and Glasgow, a resurfaced Herne Hill, one of the world’s first permanent indoor BMX tracks in Manchester and an international BMX facility in Birmingham as a legacy from hosting the BMX World Championships.

British Cycling's focus for next year is to provide a velodrome in Derby, closed road circuits in York and Bath (if you want to see that happen, don't forget to make your voice heard - it's very close to our hearts... and homes!), mountain bike facilities in Manchester and Essex and a BMX track in Burgess Park, London.

“And let’s not forget that cycling doesn’t have to be a structured activity, be it cycling to work as a form of transport or going for a family ride on a towpath at the weekend, we are doing all we can to campaign for better road conditions for all cyclists," said Cookson.

“With the continued support of Sport England, UK Sport, Sky, our sponsors, and local authorities, Britain is well on its way to becoming a true cycling nation and our ambitions for the next four year cycle remain high.”

6 user comments

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All well and good. I do wish however that BC would wade in a little deeper into what makes those that don't cycle frightened to ride on urban and suburban roads. Sports riding on closed tracks is laudable - as is winning medals - but BC has a chance now to help change the mind set towards cycling in the UK and the quality of life and health for more people by backing the '20 is plenty' campaign.

Sky Rides are just window dressing: it's regular commutes by more people on a daily basis which will make the real difference and that won't happen until motorist speed is reduced by force.

Politicians and local government in the UK will continue to support what they perceive to be the biggest threat to their own re-election. At present that is angry motorists. It could be angry cyclists if BC step up and take charge.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
18th August 2012 - 16:38

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I don't often disagree with you MercuryOne, but you're wrong to dismiss Sky Rides as window dressing.

The published evidence on measures that have successfully grown the modal share for cycling all indicate the need for a multi-component approach. That's to say more bike lanes, better-designed road junctions, more cycle training, more bikes available to hire, more off road trails, a supportive legal system with effective enforcement, better provision for disabled cycling, Dr Bike days, etc.

Love them or loathe them, Sky Rides provide a valuable opportunity for people who don't identify themselves as cyclists to engage more in an appealing, low-risk, packaged activity. I'm convinced that Sky Rides play a valuable role in raising the profile of cycling at a local level and help thousands of non-cyclists to enjoy participating regularly.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
19th August 2012 - 17:10

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Without investment is real cycling infrastructure, the stuff that goes on the roads, it means absolutely nothing! We have been here before, this is just another flash in the pan. The so called 'legacy' effect will fade away as fast as it came. We have an opportunity, but the golden few, don't really give a stuff about the ordinary people at the grass roots.

posted by Kim [132 posts]
19th August 2012 - 21:10

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I don't know whether Bradley, Mark, Lizzie, Victoria et al care about ordinary cyclists or not - I am not sure I see why they should. They are elite professional athletes, who stand to become pretty wealthy from their efforts, hard as they may have been.

However I really do not see them as positive role models for mass utility cycling, indeed the reverse. I think we have quite enough young-middle-aged men in lycra acting out their Tour de France Fantasies on the public roads, especially as commuters. It is they who are impatient to press on and so jump the lights, weave through the traffic and occasionally use pavements to bypass stationary traffic, and it is they who leave the negative impression on those who want to see only the negative, in the pages of the Daily Mail and multiple local newspapers.

I do not blame Bradley et al for this - it is not how they chose to be perceived. However apart from Victoria Pendleton, who certainly allows herself to be portrayed as a fairly mormal person where she is promoting her range of bikes at Halfords, or a well-known hair care product, the image we have of all of them is of lean, improbably muscular, athletes in stretch lycra and funny looking helmets with dark tinted visors.

As for velodromes and mountain bike trails and closed road circuits, I have seen some of the numbers quoted for what these facilities cost to build. You could make a lot of segregated cycle track for the same money and I'll bet a lot more people would use them.

posted by Paul M [316 posts]
21st August 2012 - 17:45

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Wiggins certainly seemed pissed off on Twitter a couple of years ago when his wife was knocked off her bike by a motorist. Pendleton has voiced concern about safety on the road before. Cavendish has pointed out differences between UK and elsewhere, including advocating that we should adopt presumed liability here.

Yes, they may be stars, and yes, they may race mainly on closed roads or inside velodromes, but the sport's stars certainly train on the same roads as us when they are in the UK, and they will also have family, friends and in some cases kids who ride on the road.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8262 posts]
21st August 2012 - 18:05

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The stars do train on open roads. Many of the Manchester based people often commute to and from the Velodrome on their bikes.

However, any talk of legacy which focusses only on cycling as a sport (and particularly an off road sport) is frankly a bit pathetic. I'd like to see a campaign to remind drivers that it might be the next (or indeed the current) Bradley Wiggins or Joanna Rowsell that is being endangered each time that a driver is too selfish or lazy or ignorant to give a cyclist space.

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [174 posts]
4th September 2012 - 9:28

8 Likes