The Great British Cycling Festival - a roundup
Posted: Tue, 02 Jul 2019 12:21
Photo credit: Matthew Potter Photography
Norfolk residents were out in force from 27 - 30 June to cheer on Britain's best cyclists as they competed for national titles in the HSBC UK | National Championships.
The Championships formed part of a spectacular weekend of events in the Great British Cycling Festival that was designed to be a celebration of cycling at all levels.
Starting at the Royal Sandringham Estate near King's Lynn, the National Championships - Time Trials drew hundreds of spectators to the estate and surround areas to watch as cyclists set off individually to achieve the fastest time over the 25.4 mile course (men) and the 16.5 mile course (women, Under 23 women, and Under 23 men). Spectators were able to enjoy an action packed day of racing, with a 10am start for the Under 23 men's race, and finished just before 6pm with the Under 23 women's race. The men's Time Trial champion was Alex Dowsett (who rides for Katusha-Alpecin), while Alice Barnes (Canyon // Sram Racing)) secured her first senior national title as women's champion.
On Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th the Cross-Country concluded its 5-round series at Thickthorn, near Norwich. The elite mountain bike series sees Britain's best mountain bike riders test themselves over a variety of challenging trails and courses across the country. The Wychwood area near Thickthorn was the setting for Ben Wadey (Clee Cycles) to secure his first victory in this discipline, alongside Kerry Macphee who took her second ever women's title.
Sunday 30th also saw the Road Races start and finish from Norwich city centre. Thousands of spectators flocked to the city centre to see some of the biggest names in cycling, and watched as two cyclists took their first titles - Ben Swift (team Ineos) and Alice Barnes. The double win marks the first time a female rider has won both the Time Trial and Road Race events since Emma Pooley took the double in 2010.
Alongside the Road Races was the closed-road family friendly Let's Ride, which saw thousands of young riders taking to the traffic free streets and enjoying the festival entertainments. Alongside cycle confidence building installations like the Go Ride there were BMX stunt bike demonstrations, travelling circus, face painting, live music and street food on offer in Chapelfield Gardens.
In the run up to the Festival, there were a range of wider community impact projects designed to motivate and enthuse young and old around the cycling. These included a business window dressing competition, a seated cycling challenge for care home residents across 4 NorseCare residential sites, and a schools challenge pack that was specially designed for Key Stage 2 children to help them learn more about cycling and how the sport can contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle. There were also a number of school assemblies offered, and Norwich-born professional cyclist Sophie Wright helped to bring the sport to life through her engaging presentation about her career and - especially enjoyable for the children - her injuries.
The Great British Cycling Festival was sponsored locally by the UEA and Pushing Ahead, the Department for Transport funded project that supports cycling and walking initiatives in the Greater Norwich area and Great Yarmouth.