Cyclists have gathered in Aberdeen for the official launch of a new city cycling festival.
The GetAbout Aberdeen Cycling Festival will involve a “fun-packed” day of cycling activities in celebration of the Tour of Britain departure from the city.
The start of the 2022 event in Aberdeen is the furthest north the race will ever have begun and is expected to draw large crowds of spectators to the north-east.
The festival will involve a mixture of youth, adult and corporate cycling races, as well as family friendly, active and sustainable transport themed activities, to take place on September 3.
It will end with the Scottish National Criterium Championships for senior and junior riders, the first to be held in a city centre since 2016.
The festival is being organised by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with GetAbout, Scottish Cycling, Sweetspot Group and several Grampian cycling clubs.
Celebrate what Aberdeen has to offer
Aberdeen councillors Martin Greig and Jessica Mennie attended the official launch outside Aberdeen Art Gallery, alongside local cyclists and Tour of Britain mascot ToBi.
Education convener Mr Greig said he was “delighted” Aberdeen would once again be the focus of the major cycling event.
“This will really throw the spotlight on the city, and it’s an opportunity for us to encourage and support cycling for all ages and people of all backgrounds,” he said.
“We are very keen to work with people to become more active, with getting more people into physical and sporting activities a key priority.
“The Tour of Britain is a high-level professional event, but at the same time, our aim is to enable and support cycling in all communities in the city.”
Mr Greig also said it is important to invest in the city’s walking and cycling infrastructure to encourage more people to get out and about.
“We want more big ticket events in the city but they also have to have an impact on the daily lives of citizens.”
Vice committee convener Ms Mennie said: “Last year’s Tour of Britain event was a great success, and this year will be bigger opportunity to showcase our city region as a must-visit tourist destination and celebrate all that we have to offer.
“This is also a fantastic opportunity for our city’s businesses to benefit from this event as we extend the main event over the weekend as we attract people back into Aberdeen’s city centre and its attractions.”
Building on past success
The GetAbout Aberdeen Cycling Festival will be funded by Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP), which is Paths for All’s programme to increase active and sustainable travel.
The programme, funded by Trabsport Scotland, offers grants to organisations looking to encourage more people to walk, cycle or use sustainable transport.
Graham McQueen, SCSP manager at Paths for All, said the event will highlight cycling in a “positive way” and hopes it will inspire more people to get on their bikes.
“The combination of the inspiring racing and the support and encouragement to leave the car at home encourages healthier living and will also help to lower emissions and improve air quality for everyone,” he said.
Chief executive of Scottish Cycling Nick Rennie added: “The culmination of last year’s Tour of Britain in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire was an excellent spectacle, and it is fantastic to build on that success this year with a Cycling Festival ahead of the maiden stage.
“Using high profile events to inspire others to get on a bike is a great additional benefit and the cycling festival provides that perfect opportunity. I am looking forward to joining in and getting on my bike on the streets of my home city.”