12:00 Thursday 26 December 2013

Council cycling success boosts Olympic legacy

Written byROB SMYTH

THE number of people taking up cycling has jumped by more than 40 per cent in East Staffordshire following significant investment.

East Staffordshire Borough Council put the massive increase down to a link up the Sky Ride to scheme to improve the amount of bike ride routes on offer and also work to improve facilities in the area.

The authority had made improving the amount of people getting in the saddle a priority following a surge an interest in the sport following the Olympics and recent Tour de France victories by Britons.

Bernard Peters, deputy leader for service commissioning, said: “These results are incredible.

“We knew it would be popular but little did we know when we became partners with the Sky Ride programme that it was going to be as successful as it has.

“Through the healthy borough initiative thec is committed to offering programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents.

“We are happy to say that we will be continuing this fantastic partnership throughout 2014.”

The Sky Ride Local Rides scheme saw 15 new routes established and saw participation increase by 41 per cent.

Councillor Peters added: ““The continued high profile of cycling across Britain – thanks to the successes of the Great Britain Cycling Team and our network of local, accessible cycling opportunities for sport, fun and fitness – are inspiring thousands of people and we remain ambitious to grow cycling even further over the next three years.”

To coincide with the success of this partnership the council unveiled its new Adapted Cycling Centre.

This project, launched in summer 2013, saw 16 brand new adapted bikes and 16 non adapted bikes available for hire at Shobnall Leisure Complex.

Councillor Peters added: “The bikes available offer disabled people the opportunity to join in this fantastic sport by either riding or being transported on a bike.”

British Cycling’s chief executive Ian Drake said: “We’re thrilled with the results and the support we have.”

More information is available online at www.goskyride.com or www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk

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