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I’ve got a bike.
You can ride it if you like.
It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good.
I’d give it to you if I could,
but I borrowed it.

Syd Barrett

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Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a blacksmith, built the…

…world’s first mechanically propelled bicycle at his forge in Keir, Dumfries. Described in a newspaper report of the time as ‘a velocipede of ingenious design’, it had iron wheels and a wooden frame.

Macmillan was also the first cyclist to be prosecuted for a traffic offence, after he ran down a pedestrian in Glasgow in 1842. A plaque on the smithy wall reads, ‘He builded better than he knew’.

In ancient Greece, each team competing in the Olympics brought with them a homing dove. These were released at the end of the Games so that they could fly back to the athletes’ city, with messages tied to their legs warning the families to prepare a victor’s welcome. Or not.

Since long before classical times – since a dove returned to Noah’s Ark carrying an olive twig as proof that land was nearby – doves have been associated with peace. The story of mass communication that brought us to the internet and the mobile phone, and which includes the postman and the paperboy on their bicycles, begins on the wings of a dove.
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At every Games, the Athletes’ Parade is…

…led by Greece to honour the birthplace of the Olympics. They’re followed by teams from the rest of the world in alphabetical order, with the exception of the Host Nation who conclude the Parade.

So this evening, that’s Team GB. For the 10,490 athletes from more than 200 nations this is the moment when the years of training are behind them and the excitement of the Games ahead – 26 sports, 34 venues and 302 medal events.
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10,490

athletes will compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games, through not all of them take part in the Athletes Parade.

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204

The number of National Olympic Committees at the Games.

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120

The number of beats per minute the music is played to encourage the athletes to walk just that little bit faster!

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‘Abide With Me’

was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn and was played by the band on the Titanic when it sank.

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Abide With Me lyrics

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The beautiful hymn ‘Abide With Me’ was…

…written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1847 on his deathbed. He passed away three weeks after finishing it. Its honest expression of the fear of approaching death has made it popular with people of all religions and none.

It was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn and it was the hymn that the band was playing on the Titanic when it sank. It has an indelible association with sport. It has been sung by tens of thousands of spectators at every FA Cup Final since 1927 and every Rugby Challenge Cup Final since 1929.
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Emeli Sandé

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