Comment: Festival of Cycling will be the best yet

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The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling Ltd is a not-for-profit social enterprise, which runs the festival as part of Edinburgh’s annual festival programme.

The festival has been listed as one of the UK’s best cycling festivals by The Guardian and Total Women’s Cycling in 2014 and 2015.

It was first run in 2013, and in 2014 it already offered over 80 individual events at 46 different venues, with people from around the world participating in it.

The Festival is a real showcase of all aspects of bicycle culture, and we are all excited about what is the biggest and most diverse festival programme we have put on so far.

For me it doesn’t matter what kind of cyclists or non-cyclists we attract – what matters is that we encourage the people of Edinburgh to get involved and help us to truly celebrate the bicycle in all its forms.

We hope that the festival, now in its third year, will get the word out there that cycling is the way forward for Edinburgh, as it has ambitions to be a Cycling City.

Edinburgh was the first city in the UK to sign the Charter of Brussels, and is currently committing eight per cent of the city’s transport budget to cycling. As such we feel this is a good time to hold an Edinburgh Festival of Cycling.

The jam-packed ten-day programme for this year’s event will not just feature bike rides and races, but talks, films, drama, art & photography exhibitions, family events, and workshops.

Among the rides there are several new strands, including the inauguration of the Capital Trail, a long-distance mountain biking challenge for experts, and two new Audax rides which are aimed at beginners and families.

There will also be rides and events for children and families. The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling is very inclusive and its flagship event, the well-regarded Night Ride, had 40 per cent women participants last year, which is highly unusual for any cycling events.

And away from the cycling itself, this year’s festival will feature a wealth of inspiring speakers, such as Shannon Galpin, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and Juliana Buhring, who is the fastest woman to cycle round the world.

Kim Harding is the director of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling