Festival of Cycling - Launch
posted: 20 November 2005
Festival of Cycling - Launch
Whether commuting, competing or recreating, Christchurch has long been recognized as the most cycling-friendly centre in New Zealand. But on the first weekend of December, the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling will make Christchurch the epicenter of the sport in this country.
The second Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling is scheduled for December 2nd and 3rd and promises to be bigger and better. Held for the first time last year, it launched a new concept for cycling enthusiasts nationwide. Every city has a fun ride of its own and some cities have a major top class cycling event. But none bring both sides of the sport together like the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling.
This exciting new concept brought world class and recreational cyclists together for a weekend of riding around Christchurch’s iconic landmarks. It opens with the Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride, a 75km fun ride around the spectacular Port Hills and Lyttleton bays. The following day riders and spectators alike get a taste of cycling Euro-style with the Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium.
This Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride has been the must-do ride among Cantabrians since the 1930s. Known within cycling circles as “Long Bays”, the challenging but achievable route has become the benchmark for Olympic medalists and mere mortals alike. In Canterbury, you’re not a cyclist until you’ve ridden “Long Bays”.
The Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride rolls all that history and hubris into a celebration of cycling where weekend warriors rub shoulders with world champions around the regions icon ride.
The concept was dreamed up one summer’s day when Hollander was riding the route with a few mates. They got to wondering why there wasn’t a major event celebrating this historic route. Hollander decided to do something about it, and thought the only way to celebrate the historic ride was to bring together cycling enthusiasts of all age, ability, experience and aspirations.
In time Hollander hopes the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling might fund special memorials for famous cyclists who cut their teeth training and racing on this route. The event is also a fundraiser for the Cure Kids New Zealand charity.
The Harbour Ride isn’t the only feature of the weekend long festival. Sunday’s Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium promises a world-class display of European-style racing on a closed circuit outside the Oxford Terrace café strip.
Most of New Zealand’s top riders will once again be on the start line. But this is also a fun-filled day for riders of all experience. Along with novice and graded races there are Penny Farthing demonstrations, kids races and a celebrity tandem event where people can bid to race with celebrities. Proceeds go to the Festival of Cycling charity, Cure Kids NZ.
The inaugural Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling attracted almost 1000 participants, including world champion cyclists Greg Henderson and Katie Mactier. Hollander hopes to see more than 1500 participants for the 2006 event.
Mactier and Henderson are both returning and with the national criterium titles at stake Kiwi Olympic and Commonwealth Games riders Fraser McMaster, Robin Reid, Jason Allen and Hayden Godfrey are among the early entries.
Hollander is excited at the interest from these world-class riders, saying that the concept has always been to create an event where recreational riders could rub shoulders with Olympians and world champions.
Katie Mactier, who won world championship gold last year for Australia, loved the concept, saying last year: “It’s a beautiful ride and it was great to see so many other riders and spectators out on the course. I really enjoyed it. I’d like to come back.
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