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AstraZeneca among 100 companies backing Cambridge A10 cycle lane

Pharma research giants wants safe routes for staff to ride to work

Cambridge cycling advocates are hoping that the support of local businesses including pharmaceutical research giant AstraZeneca will help bring forward the creation of a safe cycling route between the city, the town of Royston to the south, and the villages between.

AstraZeneca is one of 100 Cambridge companies that have signed a petition demanding a protected cycle lane along the A10 between Cambridge and Royston.

The drug giant and a range of other companies want funding for the £7 million project to come from Cambridge's City Deal money, according to Cambridge News.

The plan for a high-quality cycleway along the A10 was put on hold when the number of City Deal projects was reduced by the three-man executive board executive board.

Susan Van De Ven, Lib-Dem county councillor for the area around Melbourn where AstraZeneca has a facility, presented the petition to board members on Friday.

"So many businesses know exactly how many of their employees are already cycling to work, and say that many more would do so if conditions were better," she said.

"One high tech company says that its recruit profile is someone who is young and fit, will work long hours, and expect to be able to cycle safely to work as a way of getting good daily exercise. Another business says its apprentices are now cycling to work in dangerous conditions because it is their only affordable mode of transport.

"Cycle paths need to be delivered in their entirely – not piecemeal fashion, if they are to provide a viable alternative to driving. It is great news that part of the A10, from Cambridge to Foxton, has now got funding from the Cycling Ambition fund, but the City Deal project is intended to match fund and fill gaps, in order to ensure that these scheme are completed."

AstraZeneca plans to base its 2,000 employees at its new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which is linked to its Melbourn site by the A10.

All 11 companies and organisations with a stake in the Biomedical Campus have  written to the City Deal board.

In their letter, they say: "There is an urgent need to address the travel congestion on the A10, which will be under significant pressure in coming years, and will affect access not just to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, but Cambridge more broadly.

"Partners are working collaboratively in addressing travel, transport and sustainability relating to the Biomedical Campus, focusing on infrastructure, services, and communication and behaviour change.

"An important part of this strategy is achieving a step change increase in cycling and walking as the chosen means of transport to and from the campus."

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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