Redbridge Cycling centre is open to the public as of today following Boris Johnson cutting the tape yesterday. The London Mayor, a keen cyclist himself, was joined by commissioner for sport, Kate Hoey and Sydney gold medallist Jason Quealy in trying out the state of the art £4.5m centre, built by the London Development Agency for community and competition use.
The 2km circuit and off road trail is the first piece of the planned sporting network in London linked to the 2012 Olympics. The track replaces Eastway Cycle Circuit, which is being turned into the VeloPark for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. After 2012 the VeloPark will return to community use meaning London will have two of the best cycling facilities in the country.
At yesterday's opening, people received free coaching by British Cycling through the LDA’s Summer of Sport programme. SoS offers more than 600 free sporting events across London to increase sport activity in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Cycling is a fantastic way to travel - it's good for the environment, it's good for the health and it's good for the wallet.
“The opening of the Redbridge Centre could not have happened at a better time - this being London's 'summer of cycling'. One of my key ambitions as Mayor is to see London become a real cycling city by encouraging the estimated 1.1 million Londoners who own bikes but don't use them regularly to get back in the saddle.
"So now there's no excuse because not only is this superb facility the place to come to practice your cycling skills and if you don't own a bike they'll lend you one - just turn up and pedal."
Peter Rogers, Chief Executive of the London Development Agency, said:
“The LDA is committed to delivering an 2012 legacy now and I am delighted by the amount of interest we have already had from young people wanting to use this centre. We hope the medals in Beijing will have a similar effect on cycling that Wimbledon has on tennis participation and people will take advantage of this wonderful facility.
“Redbridge Cycle Circuit is an example of how the LDA is working with the boroughs to deliver lasting benefits to London.
“We have helped everyone to relocate from the Olympic Park site including Eastway Cycle Circuit which is being turned into the VeloPark. After the Games, it will go back into community use meaning London will have a new cycling centre.”
Commissioner for Sport Kate Hoey said:
"It is encouraging to see the first practical example of the 2012 Olympics ensuring a legacy site for one of our most successful sports. This track will provide cycling opportunities for people with all levels of cycling ability and will be a truly accessible facility."
The facility, which is run by Redbridge Council, also has a state of the art pavilion containing six changing rooms, a gym floor, function rooms and a cycling workshop containing around 100 bikes that are available for public use.
Peter King, Chief Executive of British Cycling:
"British Cycling is pleased to join the opening of the Redbridge Cycling Centre which will provide a first class facility to encourage community and competition participation in cycling. It provides a fantastic traffic free facility to introduce young people into cycle racing through our Go-Ride programme and local club network.
“The LDA and British Cycling have worked closely together to ensure that the best possible solution was found in the interim period between the closure of Eastway and this opening, and we look forward to a thriving coaching and competition scene here for many years to come.
“The GB Cycling Team in Beijing are achieving incredible success, and facilities such as the Redbridge Cycling Centre will help the sport of cycling grow in the future and underpins the future success of our elite athletes."
Cllr Linda Huggett, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and the Olympics, said:
"I am delighted to have this first class cycling facility in our borough of Redbridge which I hope will be used by all residents of all ages.
"This is the first piece of Olympic sporting legacy in London linked to the 2012 Games and we hope it takes cycling to a new level. Not only is it an excellent example of our commitment to healthy lifestyles but we hope it will help potential Olympians build on the success of the cyclists in Beijing and go on to win medals in London 2012. I would also like to say well done to our cycling GB team, they have had amazing success in Beijing and we are proud of them all."