Thousands of bicycles fill Glasgow streets for the inaugural Ford RideGlasgow FreeCycle event

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The streets of central Glasgow were filled with thousands of bicycles as the first ever Ford RideGlasgow FreeCycle was held in the heart of the city.

Riders of all ages and on all types of bikes enjoyed the rare treat of cycling on 5KM of traffic-free roads on a route that included George Square, Merchant City, Trongate and Glasgow Green.

Participants were able to take part in the event for free, get on and off the route wherever they liked and enjoy fun-packed Festival Zones in George Square and Glasgow Green.

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In George Square, the entertainment included thrilling demonstrations from Scotland’s cycle stunt team The Clan, a children’s bike skills track and pedal-powered Scalextric, while in Glasgow Green people tried cycle speedway with Glasgow Cyclones and cycling on adaptive bikes with local charity Sunny Cycles.

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More than 100 people arrived at the event via organised Led Rides that came in from the north, south, east and west of the city. The rides saw groups of cyclists brought into the event under the guidance of experienced ride leaders and then returned to the four corners of the city at the end of the day.

Those looking for a challenge tried out the Ford Urban Hill Climb, held in partnership with Scottish Cycling. It saw people giving it their all to replicate the stars of last year’s UCI Cycling World Championships by taking on the 14% gradient of Montrose Street with individual times being registered by Scottish Cycling. Those choosing something a bit less challenging, took the option of riding a smaller section of the famous incline as part of the Ford Wee Urban Hill Climb.

The Ford RideGlasgow FreeCycle began at 10:00 and finished at 16:00 with the Festival Zones open until 17:00. Event sponsor Ford were in the George Square Festival Zone promoting their Park the Car scheme that encourages car users to choose active travel for shorter journeys. 

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Samantha Allen, Event Lead of Ford RideGlasgow, said: “It has been an absolute delight to see thousands of people out on traffic-free roads today enjoying Ford RideGlasgow. We are very passionate about wanting to inspire more people to cycle more often and we hope by putting on this fantastic event and making it completely free to all, we will have done that today.

“The benefits of cycling are huge, not only from a physical and mental health wellbeing but also for its positive environmental impact as a sustainable method of transport. We would like to thank Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life for helping us make this happen today.”

Fraser Little was one of 26 members of the Glasgow Inclusive Cycling Club who took part in today's Ford RideGlasgow FreeCycle. The club was created in September last year following the UCI Cycling World Championships.

He said: "We started the Glasgow Inclusive Cycling Club off the back of the UCI Cycling World Championships last September to create a safe space for anyone to come along and cycle. We had five members when we started and now we have more than 100 which shows there is a need within Glasgow for an inclusive, safe-space cycling club. Today has been our biggest turn out for a single event to date with 26 of us here and it has been brilliant. The sun has come out, the atmosphere is fantastic and there is a great mixture of serious cyclists, families and leisure cyclists. It’s just nice to see people cycling in Glasgow away from the usual traffic in the city.”

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Glasgow Life Head of Events, Julie Pearson, said: “The incredible success of the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow last summer, which showcased the city’s passion for the sport to a global audience, helped build a lasting legacy that has inspired so many to make cycling part of their lives.

“The development of cycling-related activity in our communities has remained a priority, to encourage and enable more people – regardless of background, age or ability – to get on a bike for recreation, sport and travel. And we’re fortunate Glasgow not only boasts a world-class velodrome that can be used by those learning to cycle as well as elite riders, but also has many great community cycling hubs and groups helping overcome barriers and encouraging beginners and experienced cyclists alike.

“We’re delighted to have hosted the first-ever Ford RideGlasgow FreeCycle as a wonderful celebration of The Power of the Bike, and that so many people participated in what has been a fantastic, free, family-friendly event.”

Ford RideGlasgow was organised by London Marathon Events and supported by Glasgow City Council and culture and sport charity Glasgow Life. 

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