The annual Bute Wheelers `Festival of Cycling’ is upon us this weekend (September 17-18), and given how popular cycling is these days it’s bound to be a busy one.
The cycling weekend attracts cyclists from all over Scotland, and some from south of the border - the racers love coming over to the island.
Every year the organisers find themselves contemplating running different types of race, only to remember once again that there is just no room anywhere within an already crowded race programme.
As ever, the organisers very much appreciate the local support this event receives, and also hope that it does generate some interest. Some of the races are certainly quite spectator-friendly: a cyclo-cross race is being held around the Meadows on Saturday at 5.30pm. The racers do seven or eight laps of a course around the outer limits of the park, lasting about one hour in total, in the longer grass and rougher borders, up and down the slopes at Lovers Lane. It’s mainly cycling but with a small amount of running involved - and, of course, plenty of mud!
The racers will be assembled at Guildford Square and escorted en masse up past Rothesay Castle as far as the gates to the Stadium, and that’s where the race starts in earnest – but the whole thing should be quite a sight.
Of course the familiar Serpentine Hillclimb is, as ever, a crowd-pleaser, taking place on Saturday morning.
The junior section starts at 10.30am, followed by the seniors. Thereafter there is a 2-up time trial around the island on Saturday afternoon, with a 1.15pm start. The Ettrickdale 10-mile Time Trial on Sunday morning starts at 10am start, and on Sunday afternoon there will be lots of cyclists out and about around the island for a series of road races.
This year the weekend is, again, kindly sponsored by VisitBute.
Lead organiser, Murray Doyle, acknowledged the importance of VisitBute’s role here: "The organisers work very hard to make this happen, and in so doing attract lots of visitors to the island; and it’s great that VisitBute recognise and support this".
Bute BackPackers and The Bike Shed are also providing very generous sponsorship of individual races over the weekend.
The Bute Wheelers award `Yellow Jersey’ prizes for the best male and female racer over the weekend, and also a Best Club Trophy, but it’s always very much about taking part, having some fun, and enjoying what Bute has to offer.
Assistance with marshalling would be very welcome, and volunteers should please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. General enquiries can also be made to the above email address.