SIR Chris Hoy will make his first public appearance in the Capital following his record-breaking Olympic success at a national campaign aimed at getting one million people on their bikes by 2013.
The six-time gold medallist will be in town a week on Saturday to spearhead the inaugural Sky Ride Edinburgh, which encourages cyclists of all abilities to pedal a 10K circuit around the city – taking in its most iconic landmarks – in traffic-free streets.
It is understood the council has ruled out staging its own Olympic parade featuring Sir Chris on the same day as the Sky Ride, with festivities now likely to be held after the official celebrations in Glasgow on September 14.
Traffic will be barred from the Sky Ride route from 9.30am to 3.30pm so cyclists can ride at their own pace, and with no official start point or start time they can cover as much or as little of the distance as they wish.
Speaking about the cycling campaign debuting in the city, Sir Chris said: “I’m really looking forward to coming to Edinburgh and supporting my hometown’s first Sky Ride City event.
“For the last four years I’ve been proud to support Sky Ride, which gives people the inspiration to get out on their bike and the unique opportunity to enjoy cycling with family and friends on traffic-free streets.
“It’s been a great summer for cycling and I can’t wait to see everyone motivated by Team GB’s success come together to enjoy a fantastic event – I hope to see you there!”
Also promoting the event, alongside Britain’s greatest Olympian, is broadcaster and Sky Ride ambassador Edith Bowman.
Councillor Steve Cardownie, festivals and events champion for the council, said: “With the huge success enjoyed by Team GB’s cyclists, I can think of no better time for us to be hosting the Sky Ride here in Edinburgh and, of course, I am delighted that our double-gold medal hero, Sir Chris Hoy, will be coming home to join in the event.
“We look forward to welcoming him back again in the very near future to receive the Freedom of the City award, when we will also celebrate the achievements of all Olympians and Paralympians associated with Edinburgh. Full details will be announced in the coming days.
“The Sky Ride will be a fantastic way for people to see the stunning sights of our city in a whole new way, enjoying a fun free day out with friends and family, and I’m sure our residents will join in their thousands to make the event a huge success.”
In the last three years, the partnership between British Cycling and Sky has inspired almost 700,000 people to cycle regularly.
Craig Burn, chief executive of Scottish Cycling, said: “Last year, over 200,000 people took part in Sky Ride events across the UK and it’s great that there is now a Sky Ride City event taking place in Edinburgh.”