It’s that time of year, as we usher out the old and look ahead to the new.
With the Tour de France and the Olympic Games timed in close succession last year, there was certainly a healthy dose of cycling coverage in the media in 2012.
In the UK, cycling hit a mainstream audience when Bradley Wiggins achieved both a Tour de France Yellow Jersey – the first for a British rider – and an Olympic gold. Wiggins went on to become the country’s BBC Sports personality of the year, inspiring 1.6 million callers to pick up their phones to vote for him – good news for bike awareness. Even if the media has focused on the competitive aspect of riding, the popularity of the Games themselves saw the capital’s successful cycle share scheme – famed for its distinctive blue Barclays Bikes – hit a record 47,105 trips in a single day.
So what lies ahead for 2013? Inspired by this Olympic glory, there’s Ride London 2013, a weekend of pedal-powered events, from traffic-free family rides to amateur and professional races. Also in the capital, Nightrider 2013 promises to be a memorable 100km moonlit charity ride past the city’s iconic landmarks, aiming to raise £2 million in a single night.
In fact, there’s a wealth of multi-day festivals all over the world – on England’s idyllic Isle of Wight , in the rolling Welsh hills of Abergavenny, in the Tuscan capital of Florence, in Ireland’s rustic County Cork , in the Greek capital of Athens and as far away as the lakeside shores of New Zealand’s Roturua .
2013 will doubtlessly bring the habitual hype in the latest must-have technology. But should you shun carbon in favour of steel, then L’Eroica may well be for you. This alternative bicycle sportive takes place on the first Sunday of October 2013, with rides ranging from 38 to 205 kilometres in distance. First held in 1997, L’Eroica is a celebration of classic bicycles, vintage components and the spirit of yesteryear – no newfangled technology allowed. Last year 5,500 riders donned retro attire and pitted themselves on the dusty, chalky roads of Italy’s Chianti.
If both bicycles and movies are your passion, why not catch one of the screenings at the Bicycle Film Festival, which aims to create a ‘catalyst for the rise of city cycling internationally?’ The festival takes places annually in over twenty cities around the globe, rotating throughout the year with a celebration of films, concerts, artwork and bike rides. After wrapping up 2012 in Mexico City, the festival will be running from January 10-13 2013 in Hong Kong, before eventually making its way to London by October. Past cities have included Buenos Aires, Helskinki, Istanbul, Moscow, New York and Tokyo. Additionally, there’s the Filmed By Bike Festival , held in the US bike mecca of Portland and now in its eleventh year.
Moving on from the craft of making movies to that of creating bicycles, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show finds a home in Denver, Colorado this year, in the last weekend of February. A gathering of the finest custom fabricators from the US and around the world, the show is sure to dazzle with its array of meticulously made bicycles that transcend both form and function. Furthermore, NAHBS has inspired Bespoke Bristol, the UK’s handmade bicycle show, held in April and aimed at promoting the country’s independent builders.
Another date for your diary is the European Mobility Week . Held from the 16th to the 22nd of September each year, the Mobility Week is a campaign to promote sustainable urban mobility, namely the use of public transport, cycling and walking. This year, 2158 cities celebrated the event, in country’s as diverse as Brazil, Croatia, France, Iceland, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey and the Ukraine, to name but a few. In a similar vein, Vienna will be hosting Velo-City 2013 in June, an opportunity for advocates from around the world to join forces and share practices, as well as providing a platform for the Austrian capital to showcase it’s bike-friendly infrastructure.
Alternatively, how about announcing a New Year’s resolution to commute to work by bicycle, or challenging yourself to a cycling vacation in 2013? Other ideas include joining your local advocacy group, helping out at your bicycle co-operative, or volunteering your support in maintaining the bike trails in your neighbourhood.
For now though, chime in the New Year by signing a pledge. The US’ People For Bikes aims to gather a million names in support, ‘to speak as one, powerful voice – to make bicycling safer, more convenient and appealing for everyone.’
As New Year declarations go, that sounds like a noble ideal to us.
Images: visitlondon, Bikes Belong, Roturua Bike Festival, Nightrider 2013, Bespoked Bristol, European Mobility Week