In a speech to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos today (26th January 2012), the Mayor will describe his ambition to create one of the world’s leading cycling events in the capital in August 2013. The Mayor will highlight figures which predict that the weekend festival could attract over 200,000 visitors from outside the capital to London for the weekend and generate tens of millions of pounds in economic benefit.
The first day of the festival will involve a family fun ride for up to 70,000 cyclists on an eight mile loop of closed roads around London’s iconic landmarks. The following day up to 35,000 amateur, club and world-class elite cyclists will tackle a 100 mile course that will begin in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and be based on much of the same route of the 2012 Games cycle road race, incorporating the scenic county of Surrey.
The Mayor’s team will now launch a tender process, through Transport for London and London & Partners, inviting potential bidders to become the commercial delivery partner for the event.
In his speech the Mayor will also herald the thousands of jobs that are a legacy of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. By the time the athletes are in the starting blocks for London 2012, the Games will have helped to deliver, during one of the toughest economic climates of the last century, the rapidly accelerated regeneration of east London and 200,000 jobs; including work for 32,000 previously jobless Londoners, as well as 8,000 permanent jobs at Westfield Stratford City and a massive £2 billion boost to the capital’s economy.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company has played a key role in plans for the festival of cycling and in the creation of new jobs. Today (26th January 2012) they confirmed that the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will open in phases from July 2013 to allow people back into the Park as soon as possible after work is completed to return it to public use. The festival of cycling will be the first mass participation event to be held in the Park following its reopening to the public.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said:
“This spectacular event will help ensure that the 2012 Games are just the start, not the end, of the benefits of hosting the Olympics. We are already creating long lasting opportunities for the Park and the capital, which will showcase London to the world, attract more visitors, create more jobs and support the economy.”
The international promotion associated with what will become an annual cycling festival will bring millions of pounds of economic benefit into London through national and international participation, plus hundreds of thousands of spectators and worldwide TV audiences. It will provide a long-term source of income for investment into improving conditions for cycling in London and provide opportunities to channel people to other cycling initiatives.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company will also organise a full weekend of wheel-based activities on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to support the festival of cycling. They will aim to bring local communities together through events, competitions, workshops, music, food and film.
Baroness Margaret Ford, Chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said:
“The London Cycling Festival is just the kind of event that fits into the family ethos of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Thousands of people will get the chance to enjoy our most beautiful parkland in an event that will bring people together and encourage healthy living.
“Through our advanced planning work we are able to be in a position to schedule the phased opening of the Park within a year of the 2012 Games finishing. This is a huge achievement given the scale of construction work that is needed following the Closing Ceremony and another example of how legacy plans for the Park are more advanced than any previous Olympic host city.”
Beyond the 2012 Games hundreds of hectares of land, much of it contaminated and reclaimed as part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will be transformed into the capital’s newest district with up to 11,000 new homes including East Village and over a million square metres of new and improved commercial floor space offering a multitude of investment opportunities. Thanks to the work of the Mayor and the Olympic Park Legacy Company, London is on track to achieve what no previous host city has done by having long-term operators agreed for all the permanent venues before the Games have even begun.
The cycle festival will support the delivery of the Mayor’s cycle revolution in London. The Mayor has overseen a 15 per cent increase in cycling over the last year alone. Six thousand hire bikes are on the streets of central London, which are used for 500,000 journeys a day and a massive expansion of the scheme eastwards will be launched later this year.
Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events at London & Partners and the Project Director for the festival of cycling added:
“After months of planning and feasibility studies we are now ready to seek proposals from the world’s best event organisers to deliver this world-class event. They will have the support and resources from partners across the city and Surrey to make this exciting vision a reality.”
Brian Cookson OBE, President of British Cycling, said:
“British Cycling has been involved in this exciting project right from the beginning. It fits in really well with the range of our activities, from leisure cycling right through to elite level competition. The time is right for this event, with burgeoning ‘sportive’ participation levels demonstrating the mass appeal of our sport. This event will celebrate the new place of cycling in British culture, right in the heart of the capital.”
Mark Cavendish MBE, current cycling World Champion, said:
“This is the ideal legacy not only for our world-class team of cyclists and paracyclists, but also for thousands of amateur cyclists who will hopefully be inspired by our performance at the Olympic Games. This event will be a fantastic opportunity to show Britain at its best and to share our Olympic cycling heritage.”
Denise Saliagopoulos, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said:
“Surrey will be the cycling capital of the UK when we host the Olympic road races and cycling time trials. This event will help us build on the Olympic legacy. It’s going to be fantastic; it will allow cycling enthusiasts like Boris Johnson to follow in the tracks of Olympic greats. It will drive tourism, boost the Surrey economy and encourage residents to get on their bikes and lead healthier lifestyles.”