Published: 22nd Aug 2023 Images: Scottish Cycling

From performance to participation, inspiring and supporting more people into cycling

Scottish Cycling recreational led-rides were on the ground across the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships have been hailed a great success, Glasgow and Scotland delivered a first-class event, worthy of its global audience.

Watching the professionals’ gutsy performances, whether on the road, track, trails or arena, can be both inspiring and intimidating. Elite sport involves feats of strength, skill, courage and endurance, all built upon years of training and dedication to nutritional and other lifestyle choices, such as sleep. But events take place on roads, tracks and trails also available to recreational and amateur sport cyclists. And all you need is a bike … and perhaps a few other items to help make your ride feel comfortable and safe. But essentially a bike, whether it has one wheel, two, three or four, will get you cycling.

As part of our role as an official activation partner for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, we asked our Guided Rides and Breeze ride leaders to organise led rides at different Championships locations, to provide cycling opportunities for people new or coming back to cycling, possibly inspired by the Championships taking place on their doorstep.

We delivered 28 rides across six different locations, Glasgow, Perth, Peebles, Edinburgh, Stirling and Dumfries, all taking place on competition days, providing a chance to celebrate and possibly catch some of the action taking place.

We asked ride leaders to provide easy-going, accessible rides that anyone could attend, and everyone would feel welcome. As ride leaders for Breeze and Guided Rides, this was an easy task, since the aim of both programmes is to support more people into cycling under the guiding principle of ‘we never leave anyone behind’.

Leaders from both programmes linked up to deliver friendly, fun and supportive rides, with some rides utilising the same roads ridden by the professionals during the competition. 19 leaders supported 95 participants on rides from 5 to 15 miles, enjoying local routes, local attractions and when possible, the best local café stops.

Attendees included local residents and people visiting for the Championships. It included regular participants and people new to Guided Rides and Breeze. In Dumfries, Kiera the local Breeze mascot teddy bear joined in, in Glasgow Guided Rides and Breeze leaders jointly hosted rides, Perth riders caught some of the Gran Fondo action, whilst riders in Stirling paused to cheer on time trial riders whizzing by. In Edinburgh there was time to catch the men’s road race depart, whilst participants in Peebles rode at a more leisurely pace than the mountain bike marathon riders competing at the same time.

Whilst the competition may be over, our recreational cycling opportunities remain. We have around 140 volunteers across Breeze and Guided Rides in Scotland, organising and delivering supportive led rides in their local communities, supporting new and returning cyclists to build their cycling confidence, skills and stamina, broadening their cycling horizons and helping them to achieve personal goals. You can search for local Breeze or Guided Rides here. We need more volunteers to support both programmes, to help more people to (re)discover the delights of cycling. For more information visit here for Breeze and here for Guided Rides.

Our Community Groups programme supports social cycling groups to organise and market their rides, you can search for and join local groups, or even create a social cycling group of your own.

Scottish Cycling clubs are varied and diverse, and many offer recreational cycling opportunities, alongside training rides and coaching support. Search for a local club here.

Our Rock Up & Ride initiative provides access to bikes for young people and under-represented groups, working in partnership with clubs and community organisations. Find out more here.

Cycling is for everyone, and we provide these opportunities to help more people to give cycling a try, even if it has been a while. So if you have been inspired and enthralled by the excitement of the racing, the beauty of the Scottish landscape and the energy of the riders, why not give cycling a go for yourself?

For more information, please email: [email protected]