The UK bicycle trade has grasped the nettle and responded in numbers to get behind the CTC and Open MTB’s Trails for Wales campaign.
Cube, Giant, Greenover Sports, Howies, Raleigh, Silverfish, Storck, Swift Carbon, Trek, and Whyte have all just announced their support for the campaign, as it is reported the Welsh Government consultation into open access has received more responses from cyclists than any other interest group.
Trails for Wales is the rallying cry for the UK’s leading cycle bodies as they respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation “Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation” which runs until 2 October, and call for open access to the rights of way network as enjoyed by Scotland.
The campaign hopes to follow in the footsteps of the greater access rights that now exist in Scotland, since 2003. Increased mountain bike access benefits the Scottish economy by £46.5 million a year, with indirect expenditure of up to £119 million and generates over 1,300 jobs.
As the campaign winds down to its 02 October deadline, over 3,600 off-road and mountain bike enthusiasts have written to the Welsh Government in support of “Trails for Wales”. This high level of engagement is reportedly the most the Welsh Government has ever had with the off road cycling community.
CTC’s Trails for Wales Campaigner, Gwenda Owen, said: “Trails for Wales has enjoyed a huge ground swell of support from all types of cyclists and now the cycle industry has signed up too.
“The Welsh Government has confirmed they’ve heard the off road community’s call for increased responsible access, which proves what can happen when cyclists come together for a common cause.
“It’s too soon to celebrate at such an early stage in the consultation process, but CTC is confident we can achieve our collective end goal of opening Trails for Wales for everyone’s enjoyment.”
The coalition of cycle groups are calling on everyone to write to the Welsh Government in support of their response, which can be done through a simple online tool.
Sadly, in England the appetite appears to be to restrict and throttle off-road cycling in (at least some) forests. According to a road.cc article, Epping Forest is the latest battle ground where forest managers, the City of London, are running a consultation on whether cycling should be banned or if no cycling areas should be introduced.