Edinburgh prides itself on being the City of Festivals, there are festivals for The Arts (and their attendant Fringe), Books, Films, Science, and even Storytelling. Edinburgh also has ambitions to be a cycling city, it is the only city in the UK to have signed the Charter of Brussels and is committing 5% of the city’s transport budget to cycling. So with Edinburgh bidding to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2017, could this be the time to start an Edinburgh Festival of Cycling? I get the feeling that it is, we could aim to have something up and running in 2013, so that by 2017 (and the possible TdF Grand Depart) it would be well established.
To be a proper Edinburgh style festival, it would have to be a city-wide event over at least a week, as a real showcase for all aspects of bicycle culture and the host city. Most Festivals of Cycling seem to revolve around the sport side of cycling, with a race or two, maybe a sportive and a family event tacked on the side. But there is so much more to riding bicycles than this! An Edinburgh Festival of Cycling wouldn’t just have a few cycle races and a closed road ride for families. It wouldn’t be about “Cyclist“, it be about people who use or who would like to use a bicycle for what ever reason, therefore it would have to involve a range of cultural events, across the city. These could include:
- a range of cycling films being shown in cinemas across the city
- exhibitions of bicycle art and photographic exhibitions
- a Cycle Chic fashion show
- a bicycle polo tournament in Festival Square
- Danny MacAskill revisiting “Inspired Bicycles“
- unicycle stunt displays
- talks about different aspects of cycling
- or even poetry readings
Other ideas could involve a bike breakfast for commuters and a Munich style night ride, a time trial around Arthur’s Seat, or how about Danish style cargo bike racing on the Shore in Leith, or even a Tweed Ride, so really something for everyone!
So who thinks this is a good idea? Who wants to help make it happen? Please get in touch.
Addendum: Since coming up with the idea last night, it has been pointed out to me that Melbourne has a four week Bikefest festival, which has some interesting ideas. Also, that there was an Edinburgh Cycling Festival last year, which was a one-day event, but it hasn’t been repeated. So, I have started thanks to a few other people to organise The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling affectionately known as EdFoC.
[Update] #EdFoC has run in June every year for seven years from 2013 until 2019, COVID-19 prevented the running of the Festival in 2020 and 2021. There are now plans to bring the festival in June 2022. You can also find out more about EdFoC on Twitter @edfoc, Instagram and Facebook.