Going for cycling gold

Date published: 06 August 2012

Greater Manchester – the home of the National Cycling Centre – is aiming to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Olympic great Bradley Wiggins and his fellow gold medal winners Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes by setting a gold standard for cycling in the area.

Transport for Greater Manchester, the 10 district councils, Sustrans, British Cycling, CTC and Manchester Friends of the Earth all have the shared goal of pushing the cycling agenda now and long into the future to make Greater Manchester the cycling capital of the north.

As part of its £50 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme, TfGM and its partners are investing in new cycling initiatives, cycle routes and cycling facilities to make the bike a realistic and attractive way of getting to work for thousands more people.

Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans include targeting investment in new cycle lanes into and around district centres, and delivering more than 10 new cycle hubs across Greater Manchester in key locations, offering, as a minimum, secure cycle parking and changing facilities at commuter destinations.

Free adult cycle training – one-to-one sessions with qualified instructors at a time and location to suit – is also available to help people regain confidence in their cycling abilities so they can saddle up for the trip to work.

Working in partnership with Rochdale Council, Link4Life and Sustrans, CTC have also provided a range of training and cycling activities to the wider community whilst supporting and encouraging the development of improved cycling infrastructure, especially the Connect2 network providing 36km of traffic free and quiet road routes. Initiatives have included National Standards Training, cycling for health, group rides as well as cycling for people with disabilities.

Working with the Hollingworth Lake Water Activity Centre they have also established a mountain bike facility, providing bikes and equipment with qualified instructors, enabling groups to experience the thrills of off-road cycling in the Pennines.

Dave Newton, TfGM’s Strategy Director, said: “We know that thousands of people will have been inspired by Bradley Wiggins – Britain’s most decorated Olympian and the first Briton ever to win the Tour de France.

“Thanks to his unprecedented successes, cycling is now firmly in people’s hearts and minds, which makes our ambitions to get thousands more people on their bikes all the more timely.

“We want to follow in Bradley Wiggins’ footsteps by setting a new, gold standard for cycling in Greater Manchester. It’s a long and challenging road, but one that we are already on and, with the support of our partners, we’re very confident of achieving our goals.”

Seamus Kelly, Cycling Development Officer at CTC, said: "The superb achievements of Bradley Wiggins and his team at the Tour de France and Olympics are inspiring more people to get on their bikes. Whether they are aiming to emulate their hero, enjoy some gentle exercise in the fresh air, cycle to school or work, or to make some of their regular journeys by bike they will all share in the benefits that cycling brings.

"At CTC we fully support the work of TfGM in enabling more people to cycle more often and more safely through training and improvements to the infrastructure."

Dr Graeme Sherriff from Manchester Friends of the Earth's Love Your Bike campaign said: "The Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme provides a welcome starting point. To encourage high levels of everyday cycling and make Greater Manchester a great place for cycling requires long term commitment, planning and funding from local councils, businesses and national government."

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