Saddle swap plan rolls out to honour Sir Chris Hoy

A MASS “riding of the bicycles” is being proposed in Edinburgh to capitalise on the Sir Chris Hoy effect.

• Event similar to mass horse riding event Riding of the Marches suggested to honour Sir Chris Hoy

• Lib Dem councillor Paul Edie behind plan

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A motion suggesting an event like the Riding of the Marches, but for two wheels rather than four hooves, is set to go before city councillors this week.

Nearly 300 riders took part in the traditional equestrian event, which was watched by around 2000 spectators, earlier this month.

Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Edie, who is behind the plan, believes a cycle version would be just as successful.

He said the idea came from Melrose, where bikes were used instead of horses during the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001, and proved so popular it has been staged ever since.

Cllr Edie said: “I have a lot of family down in the Borders and I’ve seen the Riding of the Marches, and the Melrose Festival Bike Ride, many times.

“When the biking event was first held, so many families took part that it was clear it was much more inclusive – more people have access to bikes than horses.

“I am asking the council to look into holding a common riding event for bicycles, which I think would be a very pleasant community event. We’re just kick-starting the process at the moment so routes haven’t been discussed, though the one taken by the horse riders may not be appropriate for bikes.”

The idea is already proving popular among biking 

Anthony Robson, the editor of City Cycling magazine, said: “It’s a fantastic idea, very much like Pedal on Parliament, in which I was involved, but on a much bigger scale. A ride like this that was sanctioned by the council would be absolutely fabulous. Plus it’s the best time ever to capitalise on the popularity of cycling with the Olympics having just finished, and seeing the tremendous reaction our Olympic heroes, especially Sir Chris Hoy, were given on returning to Edinburgh.

“We would definitely support this.”

Former world champion boxer Alex Arthur went further and said the event should be held in honour of Sir Chris.

He said: “They should name the bike ride after Sir Chris. It would be a fitting tribute and I would definitely back that.

“Nothing is too great an honour in recognition of his achievements. He’s a remarkable man who has turned in astounding performances time and time again.”

Douglas Hardie, the joint-chairman of the Melrose Festival, said he was pleased to hear that the bike ride could be coming to the Capital.

“We’re more than happy for Edinburgh to follow Melrose’s example. We were the first, Galashiels followed – if the Capital wants to be third that’s fine by us.”