Anyone walking through Stirling last week would hardly need to be Sherlock Holmes to sense the buzz of the famous old town which is home to an extravaganza of the world’s best time trialists. From the packed cafes and restaurants doing a buzzing lunchtime trade, the pubs full of celebrating Belgians toasting Remco Evenepoel’s victory on Friday, to the booked accommodation and packed caravan parks — the event brought an extra energy to the area for three days grimaces caused by cobblestones.
And the numbers back it up, with Stirling Council celebrating an extra 75,000 people visiting the city center compared to the same days last week, bringing “permanent economic and social benefits”.
😃 Stirling is celebrating after a record crowd attended @CyclingWorlds events in the area including:
Read more: https://t.co/i4XG76VIEj pic.twitter.com/C2s5lWW228
— Stirling Council (@StirlingCouncil) August 14, 2023
Speaking to locals on the side of the road, the outlook was equally positive, with one resident enjoying some of Wednesday’s U23 action on his way to the shops and pointing out that you only have to look at the number of people visiting, spending money in the town to see the benefits… “especially after Covid, lockdowns, Brexit”.
> ‘It was like the Tour de France’: Was Scotland’s World Championship a success? We ask riders, fans and locals
And what about those who say road closures aren’t worth it? “In three days they can all go back to their boring lives.” In fact, so overwhelmingly positive was the vibe of the roadside party, walking back down the hill from the castle among throngs of onlookers young and old, it would be easy to forget all about the road closure talk we heard back in the day. over the course of many build into the world of cycling by going down to scotland.
The finish of the Gran Fondo, hosted in Perth, was moved due to complaints of road closures, while in the days leading up to the event locals faced the “embarrassment” of a “100-mile detour” to go through another town on the route.
Elsewhere in Dumfries, where the para-cycling events took place, residents criticized the “ridiculous” traffic restrictions, complaints which led the council to amend its plans for the event to allow residents of one street to access a nearby road via a car supermarket park.
So even with the cheers of the Stirling crowd still ringing in our ears, it’s no surprise to hear more of the same reported, with the Daily Record suggesting that villagers on the time trial were “left frustrated” by road closures and diversions.
A resident of Cambusbarron, a village near the end of the time trials, said the pre-race drop-in sessions held by Stirling Council to talk about road closures were “an apology session with little content or information”.
> Scotland could soon host Tour de France stages after ‘successful’ World Championships
“However, we believed we could leave and drive into our home during restricted access periods,” they said. “The reality belied this information. On Wednesday we tried to leave at 1.10pm which was in the 12.45pm-1.30pm access window in the middle of the road, a car was behind it.
“He motioned for me to stop what I was doing, he asked me where I was going and I replied out of the village, he replied that I needed an escort from him, I asked when this rule was introduced as it was not in the information he released. the council or at the various meetings.
“He instructed me to wait for two minutes while he escorted a car out of the village to the west, and at no time did he present himself and explain by whose authority he could question and curtail my civil liberties.
“As we waited, three groups of cyclists with backup cars and motorbikes passed us. This in the ‘safe access period’. Why were the cyclists still on the road during this period? I had been allowed to continue unrestricted for the 500 meters to the barrier I wouldn’t have encountered the cyclists at all. If the cyclists were still on the road at this time, why wasn’t it specifically mentioned in the information?”
The newspaper also heard from a trader in Thornhill, affected by the para-biking events, who said his earnings had fallen by almost 30 per cent. Another business owner in the village said they had not been properly informed of the event, while another resident described information about road closures as “discontinuous”.
However, back to the people we spoke to in Scotland, the picture was again more positive, one Glasgow resident, Kyle, summed up the situation nicely: “In Glasgow it rains about 300 days a year and then when it’s sunny we find a way to moaning about it, you know?’
Laura, a veteran Commonwealth Games and European football championships volunteer, added: “People have been so friendly. When we stop them at crossing points they say, ‘oh we understand’ and we just explain the system to them if they’re a bit aggravated, it’s for their safety as well as the safety of cyclists.
“We know a few people in town are upset. But the majority of people come with their families, sit with their kids and wave at the cyclists as they go by. It’s so nice to see. The atmosphere has been absolutely wonderful. I’ve volunteered for a few things and I feel a blast.”
For more reactions to the World Championships, check out Ryan’s in-depth look at how the race was received by riders, fans and locals…
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