Pedal power set to take over as town gears up for inaugural bike event

PUBLISHED: 08:01 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 09 August 2019

The Tour de France in Saffron Walden in July 2014. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

The Tour de France in Saffron Walden in July 2014. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

2014 Roger King

Roads will be closed and the crowds are expected to turn out for a bike-race extravaganza, the very first Saffron Walden Grand Prix on Sunday, August 25.

The organisers hope this will become a major race on the British cycling calendar.

It will start off with a community fun ride for families which will be open to all.

The centre of Saffron Walden will be closed to traffic.

The circuit will start and finish in High Street, taking in Gold Street, Market Hill, and Church Street up to St Mary's Church.

The day will include races for both amateurs and elite riders.

The family bike ride will be from 10am to noon before the racers take to the circuit.

Both the fun and the serious racers can sign up online.

The event has been set up as the long-held ambition of former Saffron Walden County High pupil, Owen Lake.

He says a circuit is more entertaining for the crowd, unlike races like the Tour de France for example, where the cyclists seem to pass by in 30 seconds. At 26, he has stepped down from racing as a semi-professional with the Richardson's Trek Race Team and is now concentrating on organising races.

He is passionate about the benefits of cycling for all and says: "It's a cliché but I want to give something back to the town I grew up in.

"I have seen the benefits to a local community of high-level cycle races.

"They emphasise a green, pollution free mode of transport, bringing visitors and money into the local community. But, most of all, they can provide a fun-filled, car-free day for families to enjoy the local roads."

The day opens at 10am with the community bike ride until noon. This is non-competitive. The amateur women's race is at 12.20pm, the men's at 1.30pm, both last 40 minutes. The elite women's and elite mens' are at 2.30pm and 3.45pm, each lasting an hour. The non-profit event is being funded by private individuals. No public money is involved.

Mr Lake said: "The community race costs £1 per person just to cover the insurance. I wanted it to be free but this is as low-cost as I could get it this time."

The event is being organised by Monument Cycling in association with British Cycling.

Sign up for the races at: www.monumentcycling.com/saffron-walden-grand-prix.

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