Southampton set for a celebration of cycling

South coast city benefits from healthy living strategy

by Tom Henry   June 2, 2009  

Southampton Water

Southampton is the venue for a celebration of cycling later this month which aims to get people out on their bikes around the area.

Riders of all abilities will gather at Weston Shore, by Southampton Water, on June 14 to take part in the Big Bike Celebration 2009. The event has been organised by StreetTread – a BIG Lottery funded project led by Sustrans. It follows last November’s inaugural event, which attracted more than 300 people despite a heavy downpour.

StreetTread Project Coordinator Natalie Gledhill said: “Everyone really enjoyed last year’s celebration and this time we will have even more entertainment on offer – as well as hopefully better weather.

“This event is all about encouraging people to have fun on a bike regardless of their age or ability. Everyone will be able to choose from various activities, as there will also be some bigger challenges for more experienced cyclists.”

Southampton is part of a portfolio of projects being delivered by a consortium of the leading walking cycling and health organisations and funded through the Big Lottery Fund's Wellbeing Programme. The programme provides funding to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve wellbeing.

Sustrans is leading the consortium, which includes British Cycling, CTC, Cycling England, Living Streets, London Cycling Campaign, the National Heart Forum, the National Obesity Forum, the Ramblers’ Association, Campaign for Better Transport and Walk 21. It is delivering a portfolio of projects that will enable two million people nationwide to become more physically active.

The event is in sharp contrast to Southampton’s neighbour Portsmouth, which yesterday announced that cyclists would still not be allowed to use the promenade at Southsea, despite a huge campaign in favour of lifting the existing ban.

On June 14 guided bike rides along sections of National Cycle Network Route 2 will be led by volunteers, with bikes available for free hire.

People can get their old bikes serviced to make them roadworthy - with the help of Hargroves Cycles and the Neighbourhood Wardens’ bike maintenance group Recycled Cycles - and post-coded for security at the police stand.

The Big Bike Celebration 2009 takes place from 10am to 5pm. For more information, call Natalie Gledhill on 02380 515206, email natalie.gledhill@sustrans.org.uk or visit www.sustrans.org.uk

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