Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has confirmed plans for the capital to host a two day festival of cycling next year. The weekend festival, to be held annually, details of which were released earlier this year, will be known as RideLondon and will feature a series of events for non-enthusiast, club and elite cyclists.
RideLondon will take place over the weekend beginning 3rd August next year and will be managed by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership, a joint venture between the organisers of the London Marathon and The Tour of Britain. It is predicted that the weekend festival could attract over 200,000 visitors from outside the capital, lead to a major boost in cycling numbers and generate tens of millions of pounds in economic benefit. However, many bike bloggers, and commentators on Twitter, have said the festival does not address road safety for cyclists and want Transport for London to introduce Dutch-style cycle infrastructure rather than organise short-lived events.
RideLondon will start with a family fun ride for up to 70,000 cyclists on an eight mile loop of closed roads around London’s iconic landmarks. The following day a 100 mile road ride for up to 20,000 amateur, club and elite cyclists will take place beginning in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be based on much of the route of the 2012 Games cycle road race. Women’s elite, junior cyclists and hand-cycles will also take to the streets of the capital to compete in a city centre grand prix.
Boris 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.”
RideLondon will aim to be the largest charity fund-raising cycle ride in the world and organisers will be able to draw on the vast experience of the London Marathon team within the partnership. Since its foundation participants in the London Marathon have raised over half a billion pounds for good causes and in 2011 they raised a staggering £51.8 million.
The finish for all the RideLondon events will be on The Mall.
A statement from Transport for London said:
“The international promotion associated with what will become an annual cycling festival will bring millions of pounds of economic benefit into London through national and international participation plus hundreds of thousands of spectators and worldwide TV audiences. It will provide a long term source of income for investment into improving conditions for cycling in London and provide opportunities to channel people to other cycling initiatives.”
Laura Trott, double Olympic track cycling champion, was at today’s launch of the initiative, and 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.”