Ride London – What, all of it?

Never shy of rubbing shoulders with success Boris Johnson roped in double gold medal winner Laura Trott to announce plans for London to host a two-day world class festival of cycling next year. The weekend festival will be known as RideLondon and will feature a series of events for amateur, club and world elite cyclists.


RideLondon will take place over the weekend beginning 3 August 2013 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. They hope that the festival will 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. We may have heard that one before.


RideLondon ‘…aims 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.’


According to the Mayor of London, ‘Our challenge is to ensure that 2012 is just the start….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.’ An announcement about tackling the increase in cycling deaths in the capital would also have been welcome.


And a penultimate word from Trott – ‘It’s great to think (Olympic success) 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.’ To find out more head to


And a last word from our office wag – Boris [notorious philanderer] Johnson wants you to ride London?…..I thought he already had.


Featured News

Gold Run for Wiggo

With the Men’s Time Trial Bradley Wiggins has won the first of what we hope is a string of cycling golds. In the process he doubled Britain’s gold medal tally, just hours after the host nation won its first event at the London Olympics yesterday.


With his seventh Olympic medal, four of them gold, Wiggins is now the most decorated British Olympian, while the morning’s medal ensured Heather Stanning and Helen Glover became the first British female rowers to win an Olympic title. Wiggins had been the favorite for gold after winning both time trial stages en route to becoming Britain’s first Tour de France winner last month, and his dominance was clear to see as he finished 42 seconds ahead of the Germany’s 2011 world TT champion Tony Martin.


Chris Froome won the bronze, as former Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara finished a disappointing seventh. The Swiss rider injured his shoulder in Saturday’s Road Race and was clearly in pain when he crossed finish line. American Taylor Phinney finished fourth, nine seconds off a podium place.


Wiggins later turned up live on BBC, still looking a little shell-shocked, and even interrupted an international football broadcast with an unscheduled stop at the BBC3 studio. Cycling trumping football? The world’s gone mad (as Wiggo would say).



No Gold for Cav

Not perhaps the kick-off to Olympic Cycling that many of us had hoped for with Mark Cavendish’s ‘Dream Team’ failing to take a podium, but still an undeniably spectacular start to the 2012 Games and a thrilling race that ultimately saw Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Vinokurov take Gold, Rigoberto Uran Uran (Columbia) with Silver and Alexander Kristoff (Norway) with Gold.


With near perfect conditions and crowd support that at times rivalled the Tour de France’s best days the Men’s Road Race unfolded on a grand scale; 140+ riders from 63 countries tackling the longest Olympic course (also the largest ‘free to vie event’) that was incident packed almost from the off.  A dog chose its moment to dart in front of the peloton whilst still well within London and by an hour and 45 minutes in the biggest crash of the day took down a dozen riders – the most unexpected event though was Fabian Cencellara’s locked rear wheel that had him plough into hoardings, leaving him bloodied and without hope for what little was left of the day. The extent of his injuries have not yet been disclosed but are more than likely to inhibit his performance ay Wednesday’s Time Trials – boosting Bradley Wiggins’ chances of Gold.


Despite the lack of Team GB medals, the Men’s Road Race looked like Great Britain has truly embraced the sport and even more encouraging – in this ‘build ‘em up and knock ‘em down’ media-led age – no one post-event was looking to lay blame, knock tactics or tut loudly ‘I told you so.’



Hoy to Fly Flag

The prestige of British cycling seems to be going from strength to strength. Hot on the pedals of Bradley Wiggins’ historic win at the Tour de France comes the announcement that Sir Chris Hoy has been chosen to carry the Union Flag at the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday, after the conclusion of voting by the 542-strong British team. The four-time Olympic Gold Medallist had previously had the honour of carrying the flag at the closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, today saying, ‘I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to have been voted as the flag bearer for Team GB… To lead out your team at a home Olympics is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that that I can’t wait to experience in just a few days time.’


Hoy will be in action on the track during the second week of the Games when his participation in both the Team Sprint and Keirin events could see him equal, or even surpass, Sir Steve Redgrave’s British record of five Golds.



Box Hill on the Rise

Something of a celebration for cycling fans with news that one of the key viewing points for the 2012 Road Race will now be able to accommodate significantly more people than had at first been indicated. After initial concerns that the area around Box Hill, a significant hill and scenic to boot, was to be limited, LOCOG (The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) have confirmed that numbers – which are ticketed – on the ‘Donkey Green’ area and ‘Zig-Zag Road’ sections are to be increased by 3,500. London 2012 Director of Sport Debbie Jevans has issued a statement in which she says, “We are delighted to welcome people to watch the Olympic Road Race from the Zig-Zag Road and Donkey Green at Box Hill…We will give people the chance to see a generous amount of Road Race competition at one of the best stretches of road which we are able to do following the test event and our learnings (sic).’


LOCOG will now work with the National Trust (who own and maintain Box Hill) to remove, in an ecologically sound way, invasive scrub to accommodate the additional spectators.



Herne Hill Lives

Herne Hill VelodromeCyclo loves to hear good news. It would appear that the Herne Hill Velodrome, the last remaining venue from the 1948 London Olympic Games still in active use, has been rescued creeping disrepair and potential closure following an agreement to sign over a new 15-year lease. For a number of years the iconic venue has been forced to operate on a series of rolling single-year contracts that have made it impossible for the trustees to commit to the much needed renovations.


Speaking to the BBC Peter King of British Cycling (and one of the original Herne Hill trustees) commented: “Now that we have secured the terms for a 15-year lease we will be able to do the repairs, which means resurfacing the track, and repairing the fencing, to enable the track to perform properly again.”


As the track at which the likes of Bradley Wiggins began their career it is hoped that Herne Hill will be able to play a role in the 2012 London Games – not, of course, as either a competition venue or even training facility – but as a place for those inspired by the Olympics to enjoy grass-roots entry in to the sport.


For more information about Herne Hill Velodrome visit


Featured Features

Cycling First: The 2012 Velodrome

2012 VelodromeDoesn’t it fill the UK’s cycling community with pride to know that the first major London Olympic venue to be brought to completion is the stunning £95million Velodrome? With claims of being the fastest cycling track in the world the Velodrome was officially opened in late February with the 6,000 seat venue making a stunning addition to the rapidly emerging Olympic park; it’s already being hailed as the default architectural icon of the development and it’s easy to see why.


The key team responsible for design and delivery comprised Chris Wise, Dean Goodliffe, Mike Taylor and Ron Webb, the former Australian cycling champion, who has already been involved in the instillation of more than 50 tracks world-wide including those for both the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Webb has commented that “Building a track is like building a ship inside out”, and with the London Velodrome featuring one of the largest cable-net roofs in the UK along with 56km of Siberian pine all nudged in to place with 350,000 nails it’s easy to grasp the nautical simile. Fact-fanatics might also like to note that the entire structure sits on 900 piles that had to be driven to an exceptional depth of 26m due to the fact that the development area is, basically, a 100-year-old landfill site. If you win a pub-quiz now you know that, you owe Cyclo a beer (it’s the rules.)


Other innovations for London include a 360degree glass wall between the upper and lower tiers of seating to give panoramic views across the park (though eyes on the track would seem more appropriate), seating around the entire track rather than just the straights, climate control to hold things around the 29°C mark for improved times, plus a track-side competitors’ loo suggested, legend has it, by Sir Chris Hoy.


Of course legacy has been a key term right from the beginning of the bid to stage the 2012 Games and the Velodrome and wider VeloPark are at the heart of this commitment. Once the final medals have been awarded and the Olympic flame handed on, a new mountain bike course and road-cycle circuit will be added for use not just by elite athletes, but by sports clubs and the wider community. Added to this will be cafes, bike hire facilities and cycle workshops all of which will help to create a new cycling “hub” which will be owned, run and (mostly) funded by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.


With Track Cycling having been, by far, Great Britain’s biggest success in Beijing (more than a third of Team GB’s total golds came via peddle power) it’s clear that riders will be pushing hard to up their game for 2012 and London’s Velodrome will provide a stunning background whilst the drama unfolds. Here at Cyclo we can’t wait to get inside and have a play (where was our invitation in February?)


(Velodrome image courtesy of LOCOG)