September 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Ipswich went cycling mad at the weekend as huge crowds turned out to watch some of the sport’s elite riders – and have a go themselves.
The town was the focal point for a trio of events which showcased top cycling action, and encouraged people to find out the benefits and excitement of getting on two wheels.
Yesterday streets were sealed off to create a safe route round the town centre and Waterfront to enable hundreds of people of all ages to take part in the Sky Ride mass participation event.
David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said hard work over the past few years in bringing major cycling events to Ipswich had culminated in the Ipswich Cycling Weekend and had put the town firmly on the map for the sport.
He said: “It’s been an absolutely amazing weekend and great to see so many people taking part in the Sky Ride and Ipswich now has a firm reputation as a cycling town.
“Everyone who has been down here today has had a fantastic time.
“For people to see the elite riders, too, has been fantastic and so inspiring, and I would like to think that some of those taking part in the Sky Ride today, especially the youngsters, will have been inspired and hopefully one day we may see them racing as elite riders.”
The Sky Ride was a great chance for families and people of all abilities to cycle the town’s streets in safety – with mums and dads taking children along to enjoy the atmosphere and fun of taking part.
Many of the riders set themselves a challenge of seeing how many laps they could do of the course, which was open between 11am and 3pm.
The weekend’s events began on Saturday with the Crafted Classique challenge giving people the chance to ride 100km or 100 miles.
The ride started out from Neptune Marina and took riders through Suffolk’s rolling countryside, including as far as Thorpeness and Aldeburgh, before returning to the Waterfront late in the afternoon.
Tom Gillman, head of sales and marketing at Crafted said it had been a fantastic weekend.
He said: “From our point of view, it has been a great success.
“There has been a brilliant atmosphere throughout at all the events and this has been such a wonderful venue. The people who rode through the Suffolk countryside were all saying how much they had enjoyed it – cycling through such great scenery as well as taking part in an incredible celebration of cycling.
“We are hoping to be back again next year and are really excited about the partnership we have with Ipswich Borough Council and everyone involved inthe weekend.”
As well as the Sky Ride, yesterday also saw the 200km Ipswich Coastal Grand Prix pro cycle race, the final grand prix race of the year in the British Cycling Elite Road Race, which involved some of the UK’s top riders.
James Young, events manager for Ipswich Borough Council, said: “It’s been great to see so many people enjoying themselves over this fantastic weekend.
“Encouraging people to get on their bikes was a key driver for us and it was brilliant to see so many people taking part, and also so many people coming to watch the elite riders.
“The council has worked very hard over the past few years to attract major cycling events to the town and we are very proud of how this has grown and we are continuing to develop this and make Ipswich Cycling Weekend a big reason to come to Ipswich.”