11 August 2023

This is our chance to create a lasting legacy

Glasgow Life Chair, Bailie Annette Christie, is excited by the prospect of creating a legacy from hosting the inaugural Cycling World Championships.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Bailie Annette Christie

How Glasgow plans to harness the Power of the Bike

I’ve had the enormous pleasure of being out and about in my home city over the last 11 days. It’s been an incredible experience, and from the many conversations I’ve had, I know I’m not alone.

The people of Glasgow, and all those who have visited the city during the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, enjoyed a spectacular display of skill and stamina from the world’s best cyclists, competing at the very pinnacle of this exhilarating sport.

My heart swelled with pride as I joined the passionate crowds cheering and clapping for every rider. The atmosphere was electric, something I will always remember. It pushed competitors on to break records, which in turn rewarded audiences with a thrilling spectacle. A spectacle that has been viewed across the world, showcasing Glasgow’s passion for sport to a global audience.

Glasgow has a strong track record of successfully hosting major international events like the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2018 European Championships. These Championships were always going to be a fantastic showcase for Glasgow. Delivering a successful inaugural championship - the single biggest cycling event in history - will live long in the city’s memory.

And going forward our focus is on making sure the people of Glasgow enjoy a lasting legacy from hosting this event.

Crowds line Montrose Street in Glasgow during the Elite Men's Road Race of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships
Crowds on Montrose Street in Glasgow
"Glasgow is committed to making cycling accessible and inclusive. We are working hard to provide more opportunities to enable everyone to get on a bike."

The idea of inspiring people is evident in the motto for the championships, The Power of the Bike. There are a multitude of benefits from cycling, so many reasons to give it a go, be it improving health and wellbeing, financial, or to help the environment. And whilst it may seem a leap from the men and women in Lycra to the ordinary Glaswegian in the street, the beauty of cycling is that the bike offers something for everyone, regardless of age, ability, and aspiration.

Glasgow is committed to making cycling accessible and inclusive. We are working hard to provide more opportunities to enable everyone to get on a bike. To support this aspiration, the city has invested £3m in an activation programme and legacy projects, including the Go Cycle Glasgow Fund.

The Go Cycle Glasgow Fund is one of several community-focused initiatives created by Glasgow Life as part of its 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship activity. It aims to support community groups across Glasgow to create cycling projects that are both accessible and sustainable. Already 29 community groups have benefited from more than £160,000 of funding and with Buchanan Galleries owner Landsec now on board as our official partner, there is certainly more to come.

I had the honour of visiting some of the initiatives it supports. It was genuinely inspiring to meet schoolgirls and coaches from Getting Glasgow’s Girls on Bikes, and refugees and asylum seekers living in the city, who are part of Glasgow Afghan United’s Women’s Empowerment Project. I saw first-hand the positive impact these initiatives are having, inspiring more local people to try out or return to cycling, and importantly making it an activity for life. The joy, the freedom and sense of wellbeing that riding a bike can bring was so clearly evident.

A BMX Racing champion signs a young spectators t-shirt
Cycling is for all ages

Glasgow is also working with the Scottish Government and other partners to reap wider legacy benefits from these Championships across transport, tourism, and industry.

Glasgow is the first UK city to be awarded UCI Bike City status which recognises cities and regions which host major UCI cycling events and invest in developing community cycling and related infrastructure and programmes. Indeed, Glasgow will continue its journey to become a bike-friendly city, whether for commuting, leisure, tourism, or sport, now that the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are over.

Our vision is to create a vibrant bike city where cycling is accessible, safe, and attractive to all, continuing Glasgow’s commitment to deliver a tangible legacy for local communities from staging major events like this.

I’m often out and about and it’s wonderful to see people using the city’s active travel network. Glasgow has prioritised cycle infrastructure, with more than 300km across the city, helping us on our journey to reach our net zero targets. For more information on cycle routes, racks and hire visit Glasgow Maps.

A cyclist cycling on a Glasgow street
Cycling in Glasgow

The legacy of the Championships will be felt in many other ways.

Around 1,800 fabulous volunteers, known as the Champs Clan, played a vital role in supporting everything that went on at competition venues and across the city. Major events like this simply couldn’t operate without them and the unique personality and energy they bring. We will look to capitalise on the skills these volunteers have at future city events and, from speaking to lots of them over the last two weeks, I know they will benefit personally from this special experience.

Like the people of Glasgow and visitors to the city, many of the volunteers, enjoyed watching world-class athletes compete in many different cycling disciplines in their city, inspiring them to get on their bike. Five impressive world-class venues across Glasgow, including the BMX centre at Knightswood and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome came to life and shone like a beacon, reminding people of the outstanding sporting facilities permanently on offer across Glasgow, which are ready to welcome those who want to try something new.

If you have been inspired by what you have seen at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and want to find out more about the opportunities to get involved in cycling, check out the Glasgow Life’s website. For more ways of getting into cycling in the city, visit People Make Glasgow.

If you fancy joining a local cycling club or learning more about a specific cycling discipline, take a look at Scottish Cycling’s new activity finder.

As we reflect on an incredible 11 days of sport I’m left thinking, what a Championships, what an opportunity to continue to build a legacy. So, I hope you will pump up your tyres, get back in the saddle and that I’ll see you on our cycle routes soon.

Bailie Annette Christie

Chair of Glasgow Life