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Colchester cyclists celebrate 20 years of pioneering group

We should be more like the Dutch, says CCC's founder...

A campaign for better cycling around Colchester that was started in response to a huge upturn in car ownership is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.

The Colchester Cycling Campaign (CCC) was set up by Will Bramhill – with his friend Hugh Ward – to make sure that his children enjoyed cycling as much as he'd done as a child.

Today, the CCC can claim credit for helping to establish helped establish the 2.5 mile Wivenhoe Trail, as well as cycle routes beside the Avenue of Remembrance, Ipswich Road and Lexden Road, amongst others.

Members were also instrumental in the Essex local transport plan of 2001, where they convinced officials that money should be set aside for cycling in the county.

And they celebrated in 2008 when Colchester officially became a Cycling Town, receiving £4.2 million in Government money to set up new routes and provide training for adults and children.

“I had just become a dad for the first time to Jack,” Mr Bramhill told the Essex County Standard. “I wanted him to be able to cycle in safety and have as much fun as I did when I was a kid.

“We also wanted people to be able to ride bikes rather than hop in the car for trips of two miles or less.

“Other concerns were that cyclists were being pushed off the road by the increasing number of cars, and the cocktail of pollutants being created.”

But while cycling is experiencing a resurgence today, Will believes that Britain should follow Holland's lead and develop a cycling infrastructure fit for the 21st century.

He said: “Unfortunately we don't have the room in this country now to copy the Dutch and have separate paths everywhere. We would have to get rid of road-side parking to do that. But we are hopeful of getting high-quality facilities alongside other fast or busy roads where people are afraid to cycle.”

* The Colchester Cycling Campaign meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Bricklayers Arms, Bergholt Road at 8pm.

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