Tour de Ordinary

Gavin Corbett argues that the Tour de France needs a real legacy for ordinary cyclists in 2014.

Ever since I watched footage of Scotland’s Robert Millar cresting a Pyrenean col en route to stage victory in the 1983 Tour de France I have loved the event.  I have watched avidly through the years since, even though the worst of the doping scandals made it hard work at times.

So if Edinburgh is successful in getting the Grand Depart in 2014 I will certainly be one of the spectators at the barriers as the cyclists come past at hurtling speed.

But there is a cost.  This week at full Council we are being asked to contribute £1.03 million from the city’s coffers to bring the start of the Tour to Edinburgh, on the basis that new revenue many times over will come to the city on the back of the event.

I am not so unimaginative as to carp at that case.  But it is also crucial that we have more than a short term hit and a boost to the speed ‘n’ lycra brigade.  We need a legacy that is real and lasting.  That is why I’ll be submitting an amendment to the Council report asking that for every pound going to the Tour de France, another pound is put to infrastructure or cycle safety, on top of existing commitments (which, by 2014-15 should already see the cycling budget stand at 7% of the net transport budget).

The test of success will not be whether Mark Cavendish takes the prologue but whether more ordinary citizens are inspired to get on a bike and find a cycling infrastructure which matches their expectations.

If you agree, make sure you email your councillors before Thursday (13th) and ask them to back the Green amendment to the Tour de France report.