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Surrey in the saddle as regular cycling "booms"
2:12pm Friday 12th October 2012 in News
Surrey is riding the wave of a “massive boom in regular cycling” on the back of its starring role in the London Olympics.
The county council has teamed up with British Cycling and Active Surrey to create “a lasting cycling legacy.”
The county council is joining the two bodies to seize on what British Cycling has called a “massive boom in regular cycling” after huge crowds flocked to the county to watch the summer Olympics road race events.
British Cycling and Sky have announced that according to a detailed survey they had carried out, there are now one million more regular cyclists in the UK than in 2009.
The county council has said it is working with British Cycling and Active Surrey on hundreds of free bike riding opportunities for residents.
The push for cycling comes after Surrey followed up its hosting of the Olympics road races with the final stage of the Tour of Britain event, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, in September.
In addition, the county council has teamed up with London mayor Boris Johnson to launch an annual 100-mile cycling road race through the capital and the county. Geared up for a field of 35,000 elite, club and amateur cyclists, the event, following a route based on the one used for the Olympics, will be part of a weekend-long cycling festival, with the aim of being the biggest fundraising cycle race in the world. The date set for the first100-mile race is Sunday, August 4, 2013.
And on top of that, recently Surrey County Council revealed it is planning a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France. The county council said it had been spurred on to look at putting together a bid to host the iconic and arguably premier cycling event in the world by Team GB’s Olympic cycling success on the county’s roads. David Hodge, leader of Surrey County Council, said in the summer the county had been “the epicentre of world cycling.” A spokeswoman for British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling, said the first ever British Tour de France winner and the British cycling performances at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, had inspired people, and spurred them to get back into the saddle.
She said their Sky Ride Local bike rides initiative was thriving, with ride leaders taking smaller cycling groups out to explore the area on two wheels. And she highlighted their Breeze scheme, saying: “Breeze is the biggest programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun. “We’re aiming to help hundreds more women in Surrey to feel confident and comfortable about going on a ride. “Also gathering momentum is our social network for cyclists.”
She said: “With over 12,000 users, Social Cycling Groups is making it easy for people to get together, find a place to ride and enjoy a bike ride.”
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council's cabinet member for community services, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be a part of this record achievement.”
Coun Clack said: “Through our fantastic partners, British Cycling and Active Surrey, we’re working together to provide hundreds of free bike riding opportunities for residents, and have created a lasting cycling legacy for the local community. “Surrey County Council are proud to be working in partnership with British Cycling and we look forward to getting even more people on a bike." Citing the increase of one million cyclists, British Cycling’s chief executive, Ian Drake, said: “This is a fantastic culmination to an incredible year for cycling. “In partnership with Sky we introduced the Sky Ride campaign in 2009, setting out our ambition to inspire the nation and get more people on bikes. “Within three years we have created an unprecedented shift in cycling participation with the help of Sport England, Surrey County Council, our members and local Ride Leaders and volunteers.”
He said: “Four years ago we were known for our ability to win medals on a world stage. “Now we’ve used this success to drive participation, reaching out to one million more regular cyclists, providing more ways to have fun on a bike, and making it easier to get involved.” To find your nearest riding opportunity online, visit: goskyride.com