2014 – A GREAT YEAR FOR CYCLING
2014 is going to be massive for cycling enthusiasts in London and across the whole of the UK, with a host of high profile events on the calendar. If you love cycling and are not already in a London cycling club, now is the time to look into it so that you can enjoy this momentous year with like-minded enthusiasts.
The action on these shores starts on Saturday 5th July when the 2014 Tour de France gets underway in… Leeds. Yes, not for the first time the world’s foremost cycling spectacular is taking its first stage “Grand Départ” out of France and this year the beautiful county of Yorkshire will take centre stage. Day one will see the tour move from Leeds to Harrogate, and on the following day it will set off from historic York en route to one of the UK’s great sporting cities, Sheffield. By the Tuesday the tour will be on French soil, but not before it makes a welcome return to our capital on Monday 7th July – that day’s stage travels from Cambridge to London, with the Olympic Park and The Mall among the highlights on the route.
Next we go north of the border, where the XX Commonwealth Games (Wednesday 23rd July – Sunday 3rd August) in Glasgow will lay on a feast of cycling. There will be mountain biking on a purpose built cross country course in Cathkin Braes Country Park, a road race through the city’s shopping streets and parks and track cycling at a venue bearing the name of a cycling legend – the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Think you might not make it up to Yorkshire or Glasgow? Fear not – you can catch these events on television surrounded by your cycling club buddies, and you will still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy your sport on the streets of London…
Coinciding with the closing weekend of the Commonwealth Games will be the London Triathlon, where entrants will cycle for up to 80km through the city, as well as swimming and running. Around 13,000 triathletes of all ages and experience are expected to take part.
Just one week later, on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th August, RideLondon – a two-day festival of cycling – takes place. Billed as a legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games, the weekend will feature: the opportunity to take part in a free cycle around an eight-mile traffic-free circuit in central London; a Grand Prix showcasing the Olympic and Paralympic cyclists of the future; the London-Surrey 100 and London-Surrey Classic – two races for amateurs and professionals; a Cycling Show at ExCel London, with three days of exhibition, guest appearances and more.
Last but not least comes the Tour of Britain, from Sunday 7th until Sunday 14th September. Route details remain under wraps at this time, but a London stage has featured every year excluding 2012 – when Londoners were given a little break to let them recover from the excitement of the Olympics.
London has many cycling clubs, some specialist and some open to all forms of cycling. Activities on offer vary from club to club, but among these you can expect sportives, time trials, racing, training rides, recreational rides and coaching. Furthermore though there can be a fantastic social element to joining a cycling club. Besides the camaraderie of the cycles themselves, they can be a great place to hook up with other fans of two wheels and perhaps make arrangements to watch or enter these great big organised events as a group. Some of the clubs have their own coffee shops and bars, so you can also watch the action from Leeds, Glasgow, Paris and more on screen with a refreshment. The London cycling scene has never been so alive – make sure you are a part of it in 2014.