A thousand new racks to be installed as it's found that more than half of Cambridge residents cycle...

Cambridge is to meet a 'chronic' shortfall in cycle parking by installing up to 1,000 new racks in the city centre in the next year and a half.

The plans, that will cost half a million pounds (we assume that's if the full 1000 racks are installed), were unveiled after it was announced that 52 per cent of Cambridge's population cycled at least once a week - the highest rate in the UK.

The council has acknowledged that

Cllr Tim Ward, the executive councillor for transport, told the Cambridge News: “It is definitely good news that so many people use a bike to get around the city. For us to cope with growth, we need to prepare for this to be more and more the case.

“One facet is cycle parking, which clearly gets under pressure in common destinations and can at times become chronic in the city centre.

“Providing for this is not only necessary for the cyclist, but also for the pedestrian who is obstructed by poorly-parked bikes.”

However Councillor Ward cautioned that, “Providing more cycle parking facilities is going to be no easy challenge.

“Overall space is constrained in lots of places and the installation of racks typically requires negotiation with the county council and sometimes with private landowners.

“However, by making a significant sum of money available we aim to leverage the contribution of other partners and create a focused effort to find ways to make a really positive difference.”

The on-street parking will be in addition to a 3,000 space cycle park at the city's railway station, cycle parking at the station has been a long running source of controversy both in terms of capacity and the design of facilites for cyclists - earlier this year it was announced that bicycle gutters installed at the station as part of a £16.8m revamp would need to be replaced. Fears have also been expressed that the 3000 extra station spaces would be charged for - despite denials from train operating company Abellio which operates the Greater Anglia rail franchise.

The council is also seeking a location for a third major cycle park in Cambridge, similar to the existing facilities at the Grand Arcade and Park Street multi-storeys.

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.