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Off yer bike

AFTER more than 30 years as home to London's cycle-racing scene, the Eastway Cycle Circuit in London's Lee Valley was closed in November to make way for the 2012 Olympics.

When the Olympic and Legacy planning permissions were granted in 2004, one of the conditions for the main Olympic Park site in Lee Valley was that the Olympic strategy should "ensure the continuity of suitable circuit facilities throughout the Olympic Construction"

As well as being open to any cyclist or roller-skater wanting to exercise without contending with traffic (and with bikes available to hire), the mile-long road-racing circuit was home to several racing leagues and a youth cycling club trained by top coaches There were facilities for mountain biking and BMX-ing around the outside of the circuit, and schools used it for cycling proficiency lessons.

So where will the keen cyclists - perhaps even Olympic hopefuls - be training and racing now? Er, nowhere The London Development Agency has just got around to submitting a planning application for a site at Hog Hill in Redbndge It says that "if successful", the circuit will open in September/October 2007 The LDA says it is also investigating the "possibility" of opening an interim road cycling circuit on its land in the Royal Docks, from next March, but this too needs planning permission.

So much for better sports facilities thanks to the Olympics - and all this as London prepares to welcome the Tour de France next year.

Source:Private Eye 1173, 8th-21st December 2006

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