Council budget cuts mean Cardiff’s annual festival of cycling will not be able to go ahead this year.
The money, usually used for the event, which has attracted hundreds of people to the city for the last three years, will be used to improve cycle infrastructure in the city, the council has claimed.
Last year the festival ran over 16 days in June, to coincide with National Bike Week. Events such as Bicycle Ballet and Bike 2 the Future have been particular highlights.
Paul Van Steeland, owner of Cardiff Cycle Tours, told Wales Online the absence of this year’s festival in the cycling calendar was a “real pity”.
“It’s obvious to me that cycling is a victim of the cuts,” he said.
“Last year [the festival] was a bit up and down, some of it was really bad, some of it was quite good but that doesn’t mean it should be stopped.
“In terms of cost I don’t understand why the council have to drop it because it wasn’t really a huge investment – they’re probably only going to save a couple of thousand.
“It’s a real pity that the council is not able to see the long term benefits of the festival as cycling does make the city more attractive. There’s definitely an economic benefit to it which I think not everyone really understands.”
He added: “This does however provide companies such as myself an opportunity to work with each other to provide something similar albeit on a smaller scale.”
A Cardiff council spokeswoman said: “To focus on the delivery of a £1.5 million new cycle infrastructure in the capital by spring 2014, it has been decided to rest the Cardiff Cycle festival this year.
“We aim to resume our involvement in the Cardiff Cycle Festival in 2015.
“In the meantime we would support any external organisation who might wish to take the lead in organising a Cycle Festival for 2014 and would be happy to participate in this event.”
Legal obligation to provide infrastructure
Late last year, we reported how Wales’s ground-breaking Active Travel Bill was passed by members of the Welsh Assembly at the Senedd in Cardiff this evening.
It places a legal duty on local authorities to develop and maintain an integrated network of cycling and walking routes.
Sustrans Cymru, which hailed the Bill as a "world first" has been closely involved in campaigning for the legislation over the past six years.
Besides making it easier for people, whether on foot or bicycle, to travel between workplaces, hospitals, schools and shops using traffic-free routes or cycle lanes, it also aims to improve the nation’s health by reducing car dependency and encouraging them to get active.
Sustrans Cymru said the legislation could save the NHS in Wales more than half a billion pounds over the next two decades so long as it is implemented effectively.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.