Can London 2012 inspire more people to cycle?

It’s now less than a year until the London 2012 Olympics get underway and while there’s much work still to be done to deliver the event on time and on budget, British Cycling are looking ahead to the success of London 2012 being marked by the number of new cyclists that are inspired to take up the sport.

“Winning medals is huge and being the best is the key aim of British Cycling and our  partners,” says British Cycling’s Chief Executive Ian Drake. “But we have a much wider role than that and our whole plan is oriented around inspiring participation and using our elite success to drive more people to get into sport. The opportunity to host an Olympic Games brings with it the tremendous responsibility of legacy. Our vision is clear for legacy – we want to get to 2012 and have a nation of active cyclists watching British cyclist succeed, and not a nation of couch potatoes.”

British Cycling has vowed to get one million people cycling regularly by 2013, and key to this aim is to get young people involved in cycling with the high profile Go-Ride series. It also aims to involve clubs and through its Sky Ride series people of all ages and abilities.

“Our events calendar is expanding at a phenomenal rate across all the competitive cycling disciplines and non-competitive events such as sportives so there never has been a better time or opportunity to give cycling a go. In fact however you ride your bike you can do it with British Cycling and that’s really powerful,” adds Drake.

But its the success on the track, road and mountain bike circuit that is hoped will encourage more people to get into cycling. A number of riders from Britain’s World Championships winning women’s team pursuit squad have been sharing their views on the prospect of competing at a home Olympics.

Dani King said: “It’s incredible. Before the Worlds I didn’t think it was really going to be achievable but it’s been an absolute whirlwind for me. I came in with not that much preparation and I’ve suddenly become a World Champion and I think London’s a realistic goal now. Sometimes it’s hard to get your head around but I’m just going to keep training really hard and hopefully I’ll be in that team. It’s hard to put into words what it will be like if I’m selected. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced before so it will be just amazing. I can’t wait.”

Whilst Jo Rowsell comments on how the level of competition within the GB squad acts as a key motivator for her: “It drives me on loads having such competition because when I’m out training on the road not only am I thinking about beating the rest of the world, but I’ve got to be in that final three for the GB team.”

Do you think the London 2012, success or not, will inspire more people to get into cycling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

www.britishcycling.org.uk.

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