THE Lang Toun is preparing to go bike crazy with two of the country’s biggest two-wheeled events about to hit the town within five days of each other.
And thousands of visitors are expected to watch the only Scottish leg in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series on Tuesday - and then return for the thrilling sands racing at the weekend.
The popular pro cycle series, which took Kirkcaldy by storm last May, returns with around 80 of Britain’s top cyclists racing around the town centre.
The Tour Series brought around 2500 visitors to Kirkcaldy last year when it was the first Scottish town to hold part of the prestigious race - and organisers are expecting even bigger crowds on Tuesday.
Ten of Britain’s top British cycling teams compete over five weeks on a variety of courses in town centres around the country, all hoping to follow in the tyre tracks of Endura, the 2012 winners in Kirkcaldy.
Kirkcaldy4All have been working with the organisers to stage a thrilling race through the town.
Bill Harvey, manager of the town’s BID company, said: ‘‘Events such as the Tour Series do much to showcase Kirkcaldy town centre both locally and nationally.’’
The main race starts at 7.00 p.m. on the Esplanade, but it will be preceded by various community events with youngsters from local primary schools being invited to try out the course before a procession of bikes, prams, skates, scooters and other wheeled methods of transport makes its way around the course.
In addition there will be stalls and demonstrations in the High Street area to make it a real family event.
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, said: “This event showcases Kirkcaldy on a local and national stage and I hope everyone in the town is looking forward to it taking place again.
“I hope as many people as possible come along and enjoy what will no doubt be a fantastic spectacle and a great free day out. As well as coming along to watch what’s going on, there’s also a chance for local people take part in the community parade.”
SCHOOL PUPILS JOIN IN THE FUN
KIRKCALDY youngsters are getting excited about the Pearl Izumi Tour Series coming to town with preparations in place to get involved and make the most of this unique opportunity.
Pupils from many Kirkcaldy primary schools are doing their bit to help raise awareness and enthusiasm for the event on Tuesday.
Sinclairtown and Pathhead Primary Schools are taking part in a range of activities over the coming weeks including poster competitions, helmet designs and playground cycle skills in the buildup – all helping to increase awareness of the race.
Employees and volunteers from the Sustrans and Fife Council initiative ‘Make Your Move Kirkcaldy’ will be putting on a ‘cycle train’ which will allow schools to be escorted down to the track by bike during the day and give them the chance to try the race route before the evening’s main event.
Over 30 pupils and teachers from St Marie’s, Pathhead and Torbain Primaries will make the most of this opportunity to head down and experience the route which will be raced by the pro riders at night.
Councillor Mark Hood, executive committee member said: “We want this event to have a big impact on local school children and getting them involved in the buildup has already had a positive effect with lots of them showing a keen interest in cycling.
“Giving them the chance to try out the track will be a special opportunity that they won’t forget in a hurry and I’d urge people from across Fife to come along on the day and see what’s on show before the professionals take to the track.
“A community parade is due to take place at 4.30 p.m. and will offer everyone a chance to get involved. All wheels will be welcome – bikes, roller skates, wheelchairs, buggies – anyone can come and take part!”
BIKES ON THE BEACH
THE annual Kirkcaldy Sand Races event was huge in the motor racing calendar from the late 1920s until 1948 when Kirkcaldy Motor Club started up the Grand Prix event in Beveridge Park.
And now it is back - in the heart of our town.
The roar of the engines will be heard once more on Saturday, May 18 as it is resurrected by the long-standing club after a very successsful demonstration event on the beach and Esplanade area last year saw around 6000 people flocking to see the various events.
The action kicks off at 10.00 a.m. when Fife Police will close off the Esplanade for most of the day to allow crowds to move around safely.
Youngsters aged seven years and over can try the mini-motos on a track around the Basin car park at the west end of the Esplanade, and there will also be a motor cycle trial obstacle course at the same end near to the old bus garage.
Fife Kustom Klub, a group of motorbike enthusiasts who have customised their bikes and who regularly hold events for local charities, will also show off their magnificent machines. The club has come on board after being involved in last year’s demonstration event - and this year it is the venue for its first custom show.
There will be ten trophies up for grabs on the day, with riders from all over Scotland expected to attend.
In addition there will be a display of classic bikes, and anyone with any old bikes is invited along to take part.
The actual sand racing will take place on the town’s main beach from around 1.00 p.m. when the tide goes out, leaving enough sand to mark out the tracks for the motocross, speedway and grass track bikes to compete. There will also be trade stalls and information stalls from other biking groups in and around Fife.
Hugh Ward, club chairman, said: “Last year was a pilot project to see how it would go and it was such a huge success that we decided to do it for real this year, with a view to making it an annual event.
“There was a fantastic turnout then and we are hoping for even more on May 18.”