As the world's biggest ever cycling event drew to a close in Glasgow today (13 August) with the culmination of the women's road race at George Square, Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken, declared it had been a magnificent 11 days for the city and said: "From the first race to the last; riders, fans and officials have been telling us that the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will go down in history as not only the biggest, but one of the greatest ever held.
"The UCI approached Glasgow to pioneer this new 'super' World Championships because they understood what a great events city this is; what an amazing passion for sport it has - and they knew we were the safest pair of safe hands when it came to making it all work.
"The faith they showed in Glasgow to host a truly global event was remarkable and I'm delighted the city has been able to repay that faith so emphatically - surpassing their expectations and even our own.
"The sport has been fiercely competitive, with racers needing to be at the very peak of their powers to be in contention for medals - and it has drawn huge audiences, on the road, in venues and across the world on television.
"There is nowhere quite like Glasgow when it comes to creating an atmosphere and people who are ready to throw themselves into an event, heart and soul.
"One of the big themes of this event has been 'The Power of the Bike' - and I think these Worlds have also resonated because they have given people an opportunity to rethink their ambitions for what our city can be.
"For Glasgow, the last eleven days has demonstrated that The Power of the Bike is making an already great city more vibrant and healthier; accessible, active and connected."
Well over 500,000 spectators enjoyed the world-class sporting action in Glasgow either lining the streets or at the city's five cycling competition venues, and the GO LIVE! programme of more than 50 free cultural and community participation events proved a huge hit. From the official fan zone in George Square, where 65 acts took to the stage showcasing the best of Scottish arts and culture, to family days in communities across the city, the varied programme of activity ensured there were ways for everyone, whether sports fans or not, to get involved, soak up the atmosphere and have some fun, whilst connecting with this world-class event.
Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life said: "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 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships has been viewed across the world, showcasing Glasgow's passion for sport to a global audience and everyone involved should be extremely proud."
She commended the contribution of the 1,800 fabulous volunteers, known as the Champs Clan, who 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 these wonderful individuals who give so generously of their time to support others and the unique personality and energy they bring to the event. 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.
"And going forward our focus is on making sure the people of Glasgow enjoy a lasting legacy from hosting this event."
Glasgow is committed to making cycling accessible and inclusive and the city along with a range of partners 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.
From the schools participating in 'Getting Glasgow's Girls on Bikes', BMX taster sessions, and making use of the Learning Through Cycling cross-curricular resource pack, to the refugees and asylum seekers living in the city, who are members of community cycling groups benefiting from the Go Cycle Glasgow Fund, already we are seeing 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 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 recently on board as the fund's official partner, there is now an additional £50,000 to support even more projects.
Bailie Christie added: "The idea of inspiring people is clear 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, or aspiration."
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, that favours the use of the bicycle for getting around whether for commuting, leisure, tourism, or sport, now that the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships is over.
Across Glasgow there is now a total of 415.8km of cycling infrastructure and in the past five years £42m has been invested, with plans to invest a further £100m to extend the City Network with a further 270km of safer infrastructure over the next five years, subject to funding being made available. This will enable people to reach any part of the city by bike in 30 minutes, with the aim to ensure that no-one in the city lives more than 800 metres from a safer route by 2030 with no schools more than 400 metres from the City Network.
Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport, said: "The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships have been a superb advert for cycling in Glasgow and across Scotland as a whole. The past week has been a unique opportunity to see world class competitors at close hand and they have helped to create a real buzz about cycling in the city.
"The remarkable feats of the elite athletes really are inspirational, and we need to build on the feel-good-factor from the championships by continuing efforts to make cycling an everyday, realistic option for travel and leisure even after the world-class competition ends.
"In the last year alone, we have seen significant progress on our plans for a comprehensive City Network of safe, segregated cycling infrastructure across the city. We've seen improvements to key routes - extending the East City Way to the Emirates Arena, the South West City Way to Pollok Park, and the South City Way now running from Queen's Park to the Clyde.
"The new active travel bridges at Sighthill and Stockingfield in the north of the city are also fantastic additions to the city's cycling network, while construction is underway on the new link across the Clyde between Govan and Partick/Yorkhill.
"All across Glasgow, our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme is identifying new local projects, while neighbourhood-based active travel schemes like Connecting Woodside and Connecting Battlefield will soon be progressing at pace.
"Glasgow's cycling infrastructure is finally beginning to join up right across the city, and we are continuing to progress design and delivery of new infrastructure alongside our ongoing efforts to work with communities to promote behaviour change and make cycling an attractive option for everyday journeys.
"Glasgow secured a UK first in 2019 when it was awarded UCI Bike City Status for its commitment to cycling and it's a status that we are determined to live up to long after the cycling world championships are over."