The world’s greatest cyclists head to Scotland from 3 to 13 August for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in what’s set to be the biggest cycling event in history. For the first time ever, 13 different UCI World Championships will take place at the same time, in Glasgow and across Scotland.
Eight of these 13 UCI World Championships will be contested at five Glasgow venues: Glasgow Green (BMX Freestyle Park, BMX Freestyle Flatland and trials), Glasgow BMX Centre (BMX Racing), Emirates Arena (indoor cycling), Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome (track and para-cycling track) and George Square (road race finishes).
It’s going to be a fiesta of cycling in one of the world’s most historic cities – a city that not only offers much to cyclists but one that also offers a huge amount to the thousands of spectators who will descend on Glasgow for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. Beyond world-class cycling competition, here’s a sample of what visitors can expect from the fourth largest city in the United Kingdom…
Away from watching defending UCI World Champions such as Annemiek van Vleuten (road), Alexandre Léauté (para-cycling) and Jack Carthy (trials) battle it out for gold, visitors can enjoy a host of attractions to suit every cultural palate, especially for those who like a bit of history.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum opened in 1901 and is a firm favourite with locals and the annual three-million visitors alike. Its 22 galleries feature everything from art to animals, Ancient Egypt to architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery also hosts Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of Saint John of the Cross’.
Further cultural highlights include paintings by renowned 19th-century French artists like Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas at The Burrell Collection.
Other standouts include the Hunterian Museum and Gallery that first opened its doors in 1807; Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall; the legendary Old Fruitmarket music venue that, as the names suggests, started out life as a wholesale fruit market; and the famous Barrowland Ballroom, that has hosted the biggest bands in music including Oasis, U2, Foo Fighters, Muse, The Smiths and many more.
In fact, Glasgow’s musical heritage is legendary. In 2008, Glasgow was named the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music with musicians to come out of Scotland’s biggest city including Lewis Capaldi, Paulo Nutini, Amy McDonald, Lulu, Texas and Simple Minds. But special mention must go to Deacon Blue, whose drummer Dougie Vipond is a keen road cyclist, and Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian, who’s also a big cycling fan.
Glasgow’s also spawned sons and daughters who’ve made their names in the worlds of sport and acting. Legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson grew up on the streets of the Govan district of Glasgow, while former Doctor Who Peter Capaldi also grew up in the city and learnt his craft at Glasgow’s School of Art. Stars of cult film Trainspotting, Kelly MacDonald and Robert Carlyle, were born and raised in Glasgow, too. (For cycling historians, this isn’t the Robert Carlyle who is credited as being the first person to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats back in 1879.)
Come and watch the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and you can also feed your curiosity at Glasgow’s Science Centre; enjoy a wee dram at The Clydeside Distillery; enjoy the sun, wildlife garden and woodland walks at Pollok Country Park; and step back in time aboard the restored three-masted barque, the Glenlee, which was launched from Bay Port Glasgow in 1896.
Old meets new
There’s so much to do to complement your cycling experience that it’s no wonder Glasgow is the cultural capital of Scotland – a place where old meets new.
The old… The Glasgow that we know today was officially founded in the sixth century, long after the Romans had left their outposts. St Mungo established a church on the Molendinar Burn on the site that is now Glasgow Cathedral, which eventually attracted pilgrims who wanted to visit St Mungo’s final resting place after he died.
The new… Glasgow has the third-highest GDP per capita of any city in the UK with thriving sectors including software and digital technology; medical and life sciences; engineering and technology; and space.
The food and drink industry is also very important to Glasgow. While the cyclists and para-cyclists will fuel themselves on energy gels and electrolyte drinks, you can watch the action while chowing down on a Morton’s roll, all washed down with a can of Irn Bru.
The eclectic nature of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships is symbolic of the city of Glasgow itself. One moment, Glasgow’s hosting the world’s first official international football match (in 1872), the next Bob Dylan is buying a set of bagpipes in the city (in 2011. He also owns a mansion in the Cairngorms).
All in all, Glasgow is a legendary city and perfect host for the biggest cycling event in history. It has world-class venues to let the world’s finest showcase their talents. And it’s those venues that we’ll detail and dissect very soon…