If the curiosity piqued in those visitors who happened to be traipsing through Glasgow’s George Square yesterday could be somehow harnessed and multiplied throughout the country over the coming months, then the inaugural combined UCI world cycling championships might well turn out to be a roaring success.

That it was sunny was a definite bonus as the organisers of this summer’s “mega-event” held a gathering in the heart of the city to mark the 100-day countdown until cycling’s 13 disciplines gather in the same country at the same time for their respective world championships for the first time.

Endurance athlete Jenny Tough and YouTuber Katie Kookaburra came powering into the square all the way from Dumfries at one point after recreating the first cycle undertaken by Scottish inventor Kirkpatrick Macmillan on his treadle bicycle in 1842.

There to greet them – among a host of dignitaries, politicians and other hangers-on – were Jody Cundy, the 19-time para-cycling world champion, and Sir Chris Hoy, the six-time Olympic champion whose name adorns the velodrome across the city.

Hoy had earlier taken to the makeshift stage to ask those gathered to raise their hands “if they had ever seen artistic cycling?” which he explained was a bit like dancing on a bike. Few hands, if any, shot up, although you suspect if Scotland’s greatest cyclist had posed the same question about some of the more mainstream road and track events then he may have got a similar response from those who had stopped to listen.

In a country obsessed with football to the detriment of just about everything else, cycling has always been something that has tended to capture the Scottish public’s imagination whenever the Olympics and Commonwealth Games have rolled around without ever being able to do so on a permanent basis, and that despite producing a string of cyclists – like Hoy, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Jack Carlin – who have tasted success at the very highest levels.

Only perhaps Andy Murray outranks Hoy on the list of Scotland’s greatest ever athletes and yet the clamour to say hello to, or grab a selfie with, one of the most accommodating people in sport was relatively modest. Those sitting enjoying an al fresco beer a few hundred metres away looked up once in a while but were not suitably moved to put down their pints and come over to discover what all the fuss was about.

Some passing through the square, however, did stop to ask just what exactly was going on, with a temporary bump track and some static bikes also providing those keen enough with the chance to put in a shift themselves.

These combined cycling world championships will likely be a success whether anyone is watching or not but the organisers clearly want to bring the local population with them in the hope that the event will transcend sport to become a national talking point just as the Commonwealth Games did in 2014. Hoy agrees that will be key.

“It might take an event like this to reach a wider audience and I think it will have a much bigger impact combining all these world championships together,” he said. “That’s going to be one of the spin-off benefits, that we’re going to have a higher level of awareness among the general population who maybe aren’t into cycling as a sport. Normally a world championship will pass by without a lot of people knowing much about it but an event like that is going to have a massive impact.

“People don’t have to buy tickets to go to the velodrome or a specific venue. You can go and watch the road race or the mountain biking or just get out and about and have the cycling come to you almost. There’s going to be so many people exposed to these events who ordinarily wouldn’t be.”

The growth of cycling as a recreational pursuit in recent years is an obvious angle to tap into and yesterday also saw the launch of the 23 Million Mile Challenge where cyclists across the UK are being urged to complete as many miles as possible between now and August and log their achievements on the Love to Ride digital platform.

Recreational and elite cycling obviously travel on separate paths but Hoy believes one complements the other.

“It’s not just about producing champions of the future, it’s about getting as many people to think about cycling and to choose cycling. And just to remind themselves about how fun it is to ride a bike, going out with your kids, commuting to work, or getting some exercise at the weekend. Getting out on a bike ride is still something I love to do to clear my head for a few hours.”

Hoy will be a ubiquitous presence over the next 99 days in his role as an event ambassador but is also taking the time to pursue other projects as befits a man in retirement. He recently launched a new podcast alongside journalist Matt Majendie called Sporting Misadventures, where a comedian talks about their own athletic mishaps. So who would be on his wish list for future guests?

“Kevin Bridges would be great to have on,” he says. “We did Who Wants to be a Millionaire together so I’ll need to get in touch with him to see if he fancies it. And Billy Connolly would be the dream. If you’re going to have comedians you’ve got to aim high, haven’t you?”

Now those are two names who could help sell these cycling world championships….