With 50 days to go until the Olympic Games, British Cycling have launched a new drive to reboot grassroots racing following the disruption caused by lockdown restrictions.
In a bid to make the sport more accessible and diverse, the ‘Everyone Wins’ campaign will follow the journeys of a group of novice riders from a range of backgrounds.
The aim is to challenge perceptions of what bike racers look like, showcase the breadth of opportunities to get involved in and celebrate the health, wellbeing, social and community benefits of cycling.
British Cycling CEO Brian Facer said: “Grassroots bike racing is the foundation of our sport, and it is essential that everyone from all backgrounds can feel comfortable and welcome at events, whether they are competing, volunteering or supporting.
“Our Everyone Wins campaign will help to showcase this alongside personal stories as riders start their competition journey, regardless of where they finish in the race.
“Over the last year we have seen the number of people riding bikes skyrocket. As grassroots events begin to get back up and running over the coming weeks and months we want to broaden the base of individuals who take part, breaking down barriers and perceptions and widening access to help us to lay the foundations for future success.”
British Cycling has ambitions to achieve a 40 per cent increase in the number of women competing and a 50 per cent increase in under-16s – all by 2026.
Figures from British Cycling’s independent market tracker show that 2.2m more adults would like to start riding competitively.
Worries remain over the impact of the pandemic on the activity levels of children and young people, with new research supported by British Cycling last week showing almost a quarter (23 per cent) are playing less sport than before.
Supporting the campaign, three-time Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy said: “As a nation we’ve enjoyed incredible success over the past few decades, none of which would have been possible without the dedication of the local clubs, organisers and volunteers who work tirelessly to provide riders with their first opportunity to experience the thrill of racing.
“Through the Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy I know just how much grassroots sport can benefit young people, far beyond the skills to win bike races. As we build towards this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, I hope that the campaign can inspire even more riders of all ages to have a go themselves and discover the unique thrill of racing.”
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