New British Cycling campaign hopes to reinvigorate grassroots bike racing

The national governing body says that millions of adults are ready to start racing

British Cycling has launched a new grassroots racing campaign
(Image credit: Huw Williams/British Cycling)

A new British Cycling campaign has been launched to reboot grassroots bike racing in the UK, in the hopes of getting more people into the sport.

The national governing body for cycling in Britain has announced the Everyone Wins campaign, which will celebrate the health, wellbeing and community benefits of racing to make competitive cycling more welcoming. 

According to research carried out by British Cycling, 2.2million more adults want to start riding their bike competitively, while there are concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a drop in the number of young people involved in sport. 

Everyone Wins will focus on a group of novice riders from a variety of backgrounds,   as British Cycling tries to change the perception of what a bike racer looks like. 

British Cycling’s 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.”

While grassroots cycling returned on March 29, British Cycling says around 4,500 events have been lost since the first lockdown. 

Racing is now allowed under coronavirus restrictions, the governing body says the sport still faces challenges are organisers try to get find venues and get permissions to host races. 

As part of its new campaign, British Cycling says it wants to increase the number of women competing by 40 per cent and the number of under-16s by 50 per cent by 2026. 

British Cycling’s delivery director Dani Every said: “The publication of our first long-term plans for each of the disciplines is a real watershed moment for our organisation, and I would like to pay thanks to the thousands of people at all levels of the sport who have shared their thoughts and experiences through the process.

“We now begin the job of bringing the plans to life and helping the sport to recover from the challenges of the past year, and we look forward to sharing details of some exciting new initiatives over the months ahead.”

Everyone Wins has been developed in consultation with the cycling community since December 2019. 

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Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy, who recently set up his own grassroots racing academy, 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.”