Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced plans for a two-day cycling festival in 2013, including a 35,000 rider closed-roads sportive based on the Olympic road race route.
The festival, part of the Olympic legacy and supported by world road race champion Mark Cavendish, will kick off with a family ride on traffic-free roads in central London. Up to 70,000 cyclists will ride an eight-mile loop taking in the capital’s sights, in an event from the same mould as the current Sky Ride series.
Most interesting, however, is the 100-mile event the following day, when organisers expect up to 35,000 amateur, club and professional cyclists to tackle a route which starts in the Olympic Park and head into Surrey before turning back to finish at ‘an iconic location in central London’, according to the BBC.
Cavendish said: “This is the ideal legacy not only for our world-class team of cyclists and paracyclists, but also for thousands of amateur cyclists who will hopefully be inspired by our performance at the Olympic Games.
“This event will be a fantastic opportunity to show Britain at its best and to share our Olympic cycling heritage.”
The event, which will be promoted internationally, is expected to pump millions of pounds into the economy through participants, spectators and worldwide TV audiences, which in turn is hoped to provide a long-term source of revenue for cycling projects in London.
The announcement is likely to strike a cord with London cyclists, who remain disgruntled at a perceived lack of investment in cycling infrastructure, denting the Mayor’s re-election campaign, with Mr Johnson set to go head-to-head with Ken Livingstone in May.
“This spectacular event will help ensure the 2012 Games are just the start, not the end, of the benefits of hosting the Olympics,” said Mr Johnson.
“We are already creating long-lasting opportunities for the park and the capital which will showcase London to the world, attract more visitors, create more jobs and support the economy.”
The Olympic Park will also host a series of ‘wheel-based activities’ aimed at uniting local communities through competitions, workshops, music, food and film.
Margaret Ford, chairwoman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, added: “The London Cycling Festival is just the kind of event that fits into the family ethos of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“Thousands of people will get the chance to enjoy our most beautiful parkland in an event that will bring people together and encourage healthy living.”