Cycle retailers have been invited to get more closely involved with the Cycllng City and Town programme in an effort to further boost cyclist numbers locally and, in turn, cash in on the additional business.
The scheme originally ran across six towns until January 2008, when the Goverment pledged £140m to roll the programme out across a further 12 areas in England.
Almost £23 million is being invested on encouraging more people to ride in the Gloucester area, and the initiative organisers there have called on local bike shops to lend their support to get more bums on saddles. Two thirds of the cash is to be spent on cycling infrastructure, with the remainder being spent on marketing.
Cycle Gloucester’s Cycling City Officer Darren Little told BikeBiz that one of the key areas where cyclist numbers are being boosted is in the workplace and that’s a vital area where retailers can get involved.
Little said: “One of the next workplaces we’re visiting is the Ministry of Defence in Bristol. Evans Cycles is hoping to come along with our visit – and there are eight to ten thousand people working there – so there’s a great opportunity to add to cyclist number there.
“Vouchers and discounts are one of the key ways for shops in the trade to get involved in the project. Another way is by donating competition prizes.
Hopefully, when other stores see how the likes of Evans have been getting involved, that’ll inspire stores in the area to get involved.”
The initiative saw cycling increase by 27 per cent in the project’s first three years. The success of this second phase won’t be measured until the project ends on March 31st, 2011. Two and a half million adults and children could benefit from the scheme.
Little added: “Cambridge is a great example, not so much in terms of infrastructure, but in the culture of the place, which is supported by the university. Exeter is another city that is doing great things. It has had funding for Cycling City status for six years now, and we’ve had ours for just over a year.”
Cycle Gloucester: 01454 864056