Cycling England has given Devon County Council’s plans to transform itself into a “cycling county” a boost with a £2 million grant to help fund the promotion of cycling as a leisure activity and discover whether this gets more people to take to two wheels.
The new cash injection is additional to the £25 million that the county council pledged last month for extending existing cycling infrastructure and encouraging holidaymakers to visit Devon with their bicycles.
According to the Mid Devon Star, the latest grant, which comes from Cycling England’s Finding New Solutions project, will help the council develop cycling hubs across the county in places such as Barnstaple, Exeter, Exmouth and Tavistock, allowing access to cycle networks through a variety of modes of transport.
The money will also be used to monitor the effectiveness of those hubs in increasing levels of bicycle traffic, and in finding out what has given people the impetus to cycle in the first place, as well as improving infrastructure such as signage, bicycle parking and bike hire facilities.
Funding will also be made available for a study into how links to the national rail network can be improved to get more cyclists to take their bikes on trains. Funds will also be made available for a marketing campaign promoting leisure cycling facilities in the county.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, told the Mid Devon Star: “This is an ambitious project but we’re fortunate in Devon to already have hundreds of miles of family-friendly cycle trails.
“We already have a sizeable investment in place to improve cycle routes across Devon as part of our new cycling strategy, and this additional funding not only recognises what we have already achieved but will ensure we’re well placed to become a cycling county,” he added.
The county council is not just investing in leisure cycling either, and has confirmed that the Tour of Britain is due to return to Devon in 2010, following the success of it jointly hosting two stages of the Tour of Britain with neighbouring Somerset earlier this year. The South West will again host two stages of the race, with provisional dates of Thursday 16th and Friday 17th September.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.