Edinburgh Festival of Cycling set to get under way

The festival begins with the 24-hour spin marathon to raise funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The festival begins with the 24-hour spin marathon to raise funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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SADDLE up and get pedalling – Britain’s biggest cycling festival is about to get under way.

Launching tonight with a 24-hour stationary biking endurance test, events including art exhibitions, poetry and talks will take place throughout the Capital over the next ten days.

Renowned cycling ambassador Mikael Colville-Andersen is visiting from Copenhagen, while round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont is also taking part.

The first Edinburgh Festival of Cycling begins with the 24-hour spin marathon to raise funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Festival organiser Kim Harding said: “I’m told there are a couple of people aiming to be there for the whole thing but most people are booking in hour blocks. It’ll be tough, but it’s for a great cause.”

The festival is also aiming to show that there is more to biking than just sport and exercise.

Mr Harding said: “There are all kinds of events happening – art exhibitions, poetry and special talks, including one by Mark Beaumont.

“A lot of the events are free but you do need to book, and many are very close to selling out, so I’d advise people to get on their bike, so to speak.”

One of the most anticipated events is a talk by urban mobility expert Mr Colville-Andersen, who advises cities and governments on how to cater for cyclists.

He will be giving a lecture at the Assembly Hall on The Mound tomorrow, where he will be discussing how better facilities for cyclists throughout Edinburgh’s travel network would make the city more attractive.

Other festival highlights include a Heels on Wheels ladies’ day and a course in which participants will build bicycles out of bamboo.

Mr Harding explained: “The frame is made from bamboo, which has been discovered to have greater strength than steel and greater vibration absorbency than carbon fibre. You’ll take three days and build the whole thing from scratch.

“We’re having displays of bike polo at the Jack Kane Centre and anyone is more than welcome to have a go. The Extreme Unicyclists, who do BMX-style stunts on one wheel, will also be there and there’s talk of a bike polo grudge match between the one-wheelers and the two-wheelers.

“I predict chaos, but in a fun way.”