This weekend Glasgow hosts the Grand Depart of the biggest bike event in Scotland, the Pedal for Scotland. Now comprising of two different events, the Classic Challenge at 45 miles and the Big Belter at 93. Now in it’s 19th year the Pedal for Scotland has grown from 400 riders in their premier event in 1999 to over 10000 riders reported to have taken part in the 2015 event.
Pedal for Scotland is a classic example of an event that a wide range of people can aspire to take part in. Cycling is a sport that is growing in our country year on year, with Glasgow City Council reporting in March 2016 that there was a 200% increase of people cycling.
One of the many beauties of cycling is the community that envelopes it. From the punter that only nips to the shop on their bike to get their paper and square sausages, to the lycra clad, aero helmeted time-trial-tester ripping along the roads at warp speed, there is something for everyone to get involved in, and, crucially, fun to be had doing it.
HSBC Rides by British Cycling
Some of the most accessible events for people to get involved in are the various Rides hosted by British Cycling and HSBC. From just a few miles to perhaps a few handfuls of miles, there’s something for a wide range of cyclists, with Guided Rides and Breeze Rides to name a few categories, to the city rides where roads are closed round city centres across the country to be taken over by two wheeled warriors!
Use the Ride Finder on HSBC’s Let’s Ride! website that’s close to and suitable to you.
Also keep and eye open in your local area as they are a number of other organisations that put on guided rides, like we do, more info here!
Sportives and other mass participation events
The aforementioned Pedal for Scotland is a great example of what could be described as a sportif. These are usually ‘challenging’ mass participation efforts, ranging in length from 30 or 40 miles to monstrous 100 to 200 mile events. Good examples in Scotland are the Etape Loch Ness and the Etape Caledonia, The events are usually run with backong from charities and encourage participants to raise money, and you get feed zones along the way as well as some sort of participation token like a medal at the end. These two particular events are also run on closed roads, bonus!
There is also an organisation that pioneered the ‘sportif’ style, called Audax UK. Their rides range from 100km to a gargantuan 600km. Run on open roads, riders are encouraged to fill out a card that marks their progress along the way, in order to receive a roundel at the end. Something for the old skool among us.
For those cyclists with a competitive edge, there’s always racing. There are races to suit all ages and abilities, and just because you’re thinking about pinning a number on doesn’t mean you have to be dead serious.
Cyclocross is possibly the fastest growing cycle sport in the UK, with races cropping up all through the winter. The format of racing means that you are generally racing against riders of a certain age group, with races lasting generally no more than an hour, some races will even offer a taster race for the uninitiated. The type of racing means you need no more than a mountain bike to get started, and the friendly atmosphere makes cyclocross a bit more inviting than some other disciplines.
Of course, there are numerous other disciplines, such as road, time trial, mountain bike, BMX and cycle speedway, to name a few, more information can be found on the British Cycling website as well as a number of the races that are planned for the year ahead.