Remember when... On your bike

Four Gordonstoun boys set off for London on a four-man cycle in 1965. Picture: TSPL

Four Gordonstoun boys set off for London on a four-man cycle in 1965. Picture: TSPL

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ON your bikes . . . Love cyclists or loathe them, they are certainly hard to ignore.

Whether they are leading the argument for 20mph speed restrictions or demanding safer roads, Edinburgh’s cycle community has grown in numbers and in profile in recent years.

A cycling proficiency test at Balgreen Primary in 1962. Picture: TSPL

A cycling proficiency test at Balgreen Primary in 1962. Picture: TSPL

Soon motorists will have even more reason to complain about the two-wheeled warriors, with news that Edinburgh is to host the fourth stage of the 2015 Tour of Britain.

Some of the world’s best cyclists will take over the Capital’s streets in early September. Among those expected to join in are Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel.

And tens of thousands of cycling fans are expected, bringing millions of pounds to the city. Of course, the Tour of Britain 2015 teams will be on the very best, superlight, superfast bikes, armed with the latest in cycle technology – unlike in days gone by when all a hardy cyclist needed was a bicycle pump, a puncture repair kit and a bottom that could cope with the harshest of saddles.

But what’s not changed are Edinburgh vicious hills and slippery cobble stones, just as demanding on the thighs today as they have always been.

The September cycle event is expected to be watched by millions on television, showcasing the city as a cycle-friendly Capital. It’s hoped it will provide a launchpad to the biggest cycle prize of all, the chance to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.

And, sorry motorists, but as the city that also delivered one of the world’s fastest men on two wheels, Sir Chris Hoy, it looks like pedal power might be here to stay.