A cycling revolution for South Holland

Chris Froome in Tour de France action
Chris Froome in Tour de France action
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By MP John Hayes

With the Tour de France getting under way in Yorkshire this past weekend – the fourth time that race has included stages in this country – clearly, we are living in a golden age for British cycling.

The previous two Tour de France winners have been Britons – Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome; following hot on the heels of the Great Britain cycling team’s dominance of the 2012 Olympics, with a record gold medal haul.

Having all this in mind, I was delighted to chair a recent forum at the South Holland Centre to discuss cycling in our area.

Organised by Pedals, the cycling group based in Spalding, and attended by district and county councillors, Lincolnshire Police, Spalding Cycling Club and transport charity Sustrans, we considered ways to increase participation in cycling locally and making our roads safer for those who cycle.

We’re very fortunate to have such advocates locally, and perhaps even more so to be able to explore the extensive flat Fenland landscape on two wheels.

The Prime Minister’s pledge to deliver a “cycling revolution” is most welcome. This Government has invested more money per year in cycling than any of its predecessors, and I am particularly proud of the extension of the Bikeability scheme – aimed at teaching children the importance of cycling safely – which will reach an additional 600,000 children.

Investment in infrastructure is crucial too – the recently announced Pothole fund will see £168 million spent on improving road surfaces. In total, the Government is making the biggest investment in our roads since the 1970s – good for cyclists and motorists too.

Albert Einstein once said that ‘life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving’.

I’m glad that we are developing a coordinated, holistic approach to cycling to which participants, advocates and authorities are all contributing.

Cycling forums annually – which I am happy to chair – would measure progress towards making South Holland a capital of cycling.