Bike fanatics set to flock to city for Bristol Cycle Festival
Bike fanatics from across the country are set to flock to Bristol today, as the annual cycling festival gets underway.
The event, which has been running since 2010, sees as many as 4,000 cyclists descend on the city to enjoy workshops, bike repair sessions and cycle speed dating.
Bristol Cycle Festival kicks off today, and runs until July 15.
Organisers receive a grant from Bristol City Council (BCC) to cover their core costs, but most of the money is pulled together through fundraising events such as a vintage bike ride held earlier this year.
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Organiser Antony De Heveningham told This is Bristol: “The theme this year is to make cycling more accessible to a wider range of people. We’re putting on events to attract older cyclists, and there is a cycle for people recovering from mental health illness. We’re trying to break down the barriers.”
The not-for-profit event requires months of preparation, Antony explained: “We do it all in our free time and it quite quickly racks up. There’s a core group of seven or eight people and then we have help from a much much wider range of people.
“We get help across the board from bike clubs donating prizes, and a design studio which does our designs for free.”
The event attracted between three and four thousand people last year. “And we hope that will continue to grow,” said Antony.
Highlights of this year’s festival include the Cycle and Swim to Portishead Lido on July 8, which will see participants cycle down the Avon Gorge to the Bristol Channel for a swim in the heated open air pool at Portishead.
Festival-goers can also take a tour around Banksy's artworks, both famous and little-known on July 10.
And for cyclists looking for love or friendship, there’s Madame Melski’s Cycle Speed Dating on July 10 for those aged 30-40.
But the heart of the festival can be found at the Showroom art gallery, at 31 College Green at the bottom of Park Street.
The gallery will be transformed into the Festival Hub for the duration of the event, providing revellers with a place to pick up brochures, find out more about the event and see Dr Bike. “It’s an information tool for the rest of the festival, a place where visitors can speak to real people,” said Antony.
To find out more, visit Bristol Cycle Festival http://bristolcyclefestival.com/