The Birmingham Mail has thrown its weight behind the city's bid for £17 million of cycling funding - launching its own Cycle City campaign.
The campaign aims to showcase the people and businesses that are already making use of existing cycle inrastructure, while highlighting the need for more.
Birmingham Mail Editor in Chief David Brookes said: “Cycling is an activity which can transform lives.
“It gets people out of their cars, provides exercise and has a really beneficial effect.
“But it is clear that people need more than just encouragement to take the plunge.
“If successful this bid would lead to a revolution on the roads, offering safer routes, drastically improved facilities and the chance to make commuters feel cycling to work is a genuine option.”
Council cycling champion Councillor James McKay told the Birmingham Mail: “If we only ever do these things year-by-year, we’re never going to be able to make real progress. In the past we weren’t thinking about that really long-term transformational stuff.
“It will always be about the softer stuff like bike training and bike facilities, but never about infrastructure because three, four or five years isn’t enough to deal with that.”
Plans for the cash include:
* Introducing marked cycle lanes and shared-use footways along eight of the main routes into the city,
* Upgrading and extending off-road “green routes”, including the Rea Valley, Cole Valley and Tame Valley, for leisure cycling and commuting,
* Making extensive improvements to towpaths along the canal network, to make them suitable for all-weather cycling,
* Significantly extending Birmingham’s 20mph zones,
* Creating city centre cycle routes, a bike hire scheme, similar to London’s “Boris Bikes”, and new bike parking and hubs.
While two or perhaps three cities are set to benefit from £30 million of “Cycle City Ambition” funding announced by transport minister Norman Baker in January, the number of bids is believed to run well into double figures, including submissions from Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Birmingham is not currently top of the league table, as its numbers of regular cyclists has not risen in recent years, but is faring better than Nottingham, where numbers have dropped.
Birmingham City Council has set up a web page where you can register your support for Birmingham's Cycling Revolution at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr.
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.