Glasgow’s famous emblems may need updating to ’the bike, the tree, the fish and the bell’, after the city was awarded recognition for making cyclists of all tribes welcome.

As a result of its achievements on two wheels, Glasgow has been given the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Bike City Label, the first place in Scotland to achieve the honour and only the second in the UK.

The prestigious award was granted during the 2019 UCI Road WorldCycling Championships in Yorkshire – which was given the same accolade last year.

The label recognises places where cyclists are welcomed at all levels – from the commuter to the leisure cyclist but that also plays host to top-level competitive events.

UCI said Glasgow had an established vision of creating a vibrant cycling city where cycling is accessible, safe and attractive to all. Hosting elite cycling events at the city’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, mountain bike courses at Cath kin Braes as well as on the city’s roads is part of raising interest in cycling more generally, it says.

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The precursor to the city’s current cycling strategy, launched in 2010, was linked to the hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games – and helped increase cycling by 200 per cent, with spending doubled and the cycle network increased to over 300km of routes.

Councillor David McDonald, Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said he was delighted with the recognition. “As the only city in the world capable of hosting all four Olympic cycling disciplines within the city boundaries, Glasgow is in a unique position to offer citizens the chance to practice, train, and improve their cycling skills on world-class facilities which are also regularly used by elite athletes,” he said.

“We know there is an intrinsic link between major events and an increase in grassroots sports, and spectators at elite cycling events are more inspired and motivated to either try out or get back into cycling themselves.”

Glasgow has seen a surge in people taking up cycling in the last decade, he added: “We want to continue this growth well into the future. Both the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and the new UCI Bike City label will help us achieve that goal.”

A key part of the strategy has been the plan to build a network of protected, segregated cycling routes; with £17m having been dedicated towards cycling infrastructure projects over the past four years. Since 2006 the cycling network has expanded by 160 per cent, with an emphasis on connecting all areas of the city and opening up access to the centre. Cycling chiefs say they hope to have 400 km of bicycle track network in place by 2025.

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Additional measures to contribute to making safer include 20mph zones – which now cover more than 12 per cent of the city’s roads – while cooperation between the city and police has seen regular road safety campaigns.

Investment in cycling infrastructure has continued since the Commonwealth Games and a £4.8m partnership between Glasgow Sport, HSBC, British and Scottish Cycling will run until 2025, to support cycling amongst young people from under-represented groups

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “To be the first city in Scotland and only the second in the UK to be awarded the UCI Bike City Label is a wonderful accolade for Glasgow. It recognises the city’s commitment to delivering both world-class cycling events, and an ongoing legacy from each one they host.

“Events play a key role in our society by helping to bring strong social and economic benefits to communities and the country as a whole,” he said.

Glasgow and Scotland have been chosen to host the first ever UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023, and planners hope the Championships will have as big an impact as previous events. The championships, described by UCI as a ‘mega event’ will be a first to host competitions in all cycling disciplines – road racing, mountain biking and BMX – at the same event bringing together up to 13 different cycling world championships. Venues are likely to include Glasgow’s velodrome, the Cathkin Braes off road trails, and the Glasgow BMX Centre in Knightswood as well as Fort William and Glentress.

Glasgow’s credentials for using events to promote sport and active travel was underscored when Glasgow was named Best City for Legacy in the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City Awards 2018.