The Original Bicycle Festival, the region's Homecoming Cycling celebration, came to a dramatic close in Dumfries on Sunday (24 May 2009) with the second of Scottish Cycling's town centre Criterium road races. The Criteriums provided an exciting and highly visual end to the 16-day festival.
The packed programme of more than 50 events was promoted and staged throughout the region by independent and committed event organisers, their support teams and volunteers; with the backing of a consolidated and integrated national marketing campaign. This has not only created a sense of cohesion amongst the region's enthusiastic cycling community but it has also encouraged cycling development in the region, contributing to a year round portfolio of new and established cycling events that will be well supported in the future.
Councillor Ian Carruthers, the Events Champion for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: 'Dumfries & Galloway Council is very pleased that the solid partnership of government agencies, community groups, sporting agencies and the region's committed cycling community has worked so well in producing such an exciting mix of participative and competitive events for the Original Bicycle Festival. The Festival does appear to have been a very enjoyable experience for all who got involved.
'The Council is committed to cycling. The Original Bicycle Festival has been a great showcase through which to promote access to and participation in cycling in all its disciplines throughout the region for residents and visitors alike. It has been the catalyst for continuing cycling development in the area and will assist us to take forward our great portfolio of cycling events.'
One of the main aims of the Festival was to promote the region's rich cycling heritage from its status as the birthplace of the pedal cycle, invented by Kirkpatrick 'Pate' Macmillan (1813-78), together with the region's contemporary cycling success stories: the world class 7stanes mountain bike trails and the area's links with the Tour of Britain. The UK and regional print, broadcast and online media have fully supported the Festival with widespread positive and sympathetic coverage of Festival events, Kirkpatrick Macmillan and other cycling related news stories and travel features. This has helped create a greater understanding of Macmillan and his place in the pantheon of Scottish inventors whilst building towards the long-term success of cycling tourism in the area.
A number of individuals captured the true spirit and unique atmosphere of the Festival. 26 year old actor Fraser Boyle played the part of Kirkpatrick Macmillan in 'The Devil on Wheels', a specially commissioned 25-minute monologue that celebrated the inventor's life and heritage - 21 school and public performances at 14 different venues in only nine days! Then there was Danny Macaskill, the daredevil stunt cyclist who recently took YouTube by storm, and The Clan cycle stunt team who wowed the crowds with five amazing shows throughout the Festival. Macaskill charmed everyone who came to see him, both fans and media alike.
Graeme Obree - 'The Flying Scot' - double World Pursuit Champion (1993 and 1995) was a very supportive presence at many festival events. At the podium ceremony of the Dumfries Criterium he delivered the perfect festival finale. Obree announced that he is in serious training again and will make an attempt to break the world one hour distance/time trial record in November, most probably at the Manchester Velodrome; a record that he broke in 1993 and 1994 on a bicycle he designed and built himself.
The Original Bicycle Festival, as promised by the organisers, was full of surprises.