The sixth Edinburgh Festival of Cycling takes place between 7 – 24 June 2018. The festival, listed as one of the top ten cycling festivals, offers you the opportunity to join rides and outings, but it is also an occasion when you can go a little beyond cycling itself. There are films and talks and family workshops to enjoy. At the end there is a jumble sale at the Pleasance of a load of bike stuff that someone else does not need and you might want.

The festival is longer than ever with 18 days of all kinds of things to celebrate the bicycle.

Local politicians at the 2017 SPOKES Bike Breakfast

On 13 June 2018 the SPOKES Bike Breakfast takes place at the City Chambers. This is always a popular event when local politicians get to tell everyone how much they like cycling and what they are doing to improve cycling facilities in the city. This annual event attracts thousands of cyclists who go along to have their breakfast and talk about bikes.

2017 Bike Breakfast at the City Chambers

There is a wide-ranging programme of events including the Outlander locations cycle tour which begins at the City Chambers too and takes place each day around the Edinburgh locations of the hit TV series. Entry to Craigmillar Castle is included with the tour which is approximately 10 miles long and will take around 3 hours. It is suitable for hybrids or mountain bikes and while there is some on-road cycle riding the guides will use off road cycle paths as far as possible.

We spoke to EdFoc director Kim Harding about the upcoming festival highlights. He said : “The Bike Breakfast tends to be a thank you to those who cycle already and gives the politicians a chance to have a moment of talking to the public directly and telling them about the wonderful things they plan to do for us. There is progress in Edinburgh, but it is still a bit slow.

“One of the highlights in our festival programme is a talk by Morten Kabell, the transport and environmental mayor of Copenhagen for several years. He will be talking about how we can Copenhagenize Scotland. He now works with a company which redesigns cities to make them people friendly. His boss spoke at the very first festival six years ago and he was instrumental about changing the mind of Edinburgh’s then Transport Convener, Lesley Hinds about cycling in Edinburgh.

“A Dutch film called “Why we cycle” will offer a different perspective  on biking in the Netherlands and I think it should be quite interesting.

“Last year we were named one of the top ten cycling festivals in Europe and hopefully we will maintain that reputation.  This is I believe the biggest cycling festival in the UK now.”

Parking Space Takeover

On Saturday 16 June one of the more controversial events takes place when members of the public are invited to reclaim parking spaces to celebrate the urban space by painting a vision for a future beyond the private car. You are invited to use deckchairs, bunting and bookcases to show how a redesign of the public realm could improve air quality and community spirit.

Friends of the Earth explain that air pollution affects everyone no matter which city you live in, with traffic being the main culprit. In the days around Clean Air Day in June they are making a bold and loud challenge to the dominance of the private car by turning parking spaces into Pop-Up parks. In Edinburgh you can join the campaigning group on George Street from 11am to 2pm where they will take over 20 suspended car parking spaces between Castle Street and Frederick Street. There will be yoga, singing juggling and hula-hooping to keep you amused!


Some of the highlights : 

Peter Walker talking about his book Bike Nation : How Cycling can Save the World

Morten Kabell former transport mayor of Copenhagen on how we can Copenhagenize Scotland on 21 June

Dutch documentary – Why we cycle, think you know why the Dutch cycle so much? Think again

The Adventure Syndicate’s Divided documenting the attempt by Lee Craig, Commonwealth Games mountain biker and Rickie Cotter, 24 hour champion, to ride the Tour Divide Race from Banff to the Mexican Border along the spine of the Rocky Mountains.

Kate Rawles a member of the Adventure Syndicate will talk about her biodiversity ride in South America on a bamboo bike she built herself.

Andrew Sykes will talk about Cycling Europe.

Michelle Brideau will reveal the three things you need to know for riding across a continent.

Lorena Jones discusses recovery from a broken spine and pelvis to riding the Trafalgar Way from Falmouth to London in under 24 hours.

Gabriella Gratrix talks about her recovery from breast cancer and how cycling helps that process.

Richard Lord will run a workshop on how cycling can help treat depression.

Screening of Riding Through the Darkness – a mental health project in the Scottish Highlands.

Rides : 

The Original Edinburgh Night Ride a magical mystery tour of East Lothian.

The Ride to the Sun on 23 June when riders set off from Carlisle in the evening aiming to arrive at Cramond for sunrise.

Family events include the bike curious events in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow aiming to get families on bikes.

HSBC/British Cycling are organising a Let’s Ride event on 24 June offering you the chance to ride on roads closed to traffic.

Beat the Seat on 17 June is the chance to really show off your fitness by seeing how many laps around Arthur’s Seat you can fit into 12 hours while raising funds for St Columba’s Hospice.

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