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Council says its focus will now switch to improving cycle infrastructure

Plymouth will no longer host its traffic-free Sky Ride cycling event due to a lack of funding. However, a local Sky Ride leader has responded by organising an unofficial Sky Ride 'Farewell Ride' in May.

Plymouth City Council held four closed-road Sky Ride events in partnership with British Cycling and Sky and last year over 4,000 people took part.

These events were supplemented by a number of smaller, local led rides. Writing on Facebook, William Nel-Barker said: “I've been speaking with another ride leader, and we'd like to arrange one last unofficial "Sky Ride", inviting everyone that's ever been on one of the small Sky Rides (not referring to the 1 big event that usually had closed roads).”

The ride will take place on Sunday May 29. More details can be found here.

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Councillor Mark Coker, Plymouth City Council's cabinet member for strategic transport and planning, told the Plymouth Herald that the council had originally only committed to hosting two mass participation events over a three-year period as part of its Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) bid.

"We actually hosted four popular Sky Ride events in partnership with British Cycling and Sky, complemented by a programme of local led rides. These are among a number of LSTF-funded projects that have helped to encourage active lifestyles and brought about a 45 per cent increase in cycling in Plymouth in the past five years.

"The Sky Ride programme has now come to an end and, after a successful bid for a one-year extension, our LSTF funding also ends in March."

Coker did however add that the council would be happy to explore any proposals British Cycling may have for future cycling events in the city.

He also said that the council would now put more emphasis on improving infrastructure with £5.88million of Local Enterprise Partnership funding having recently been secured for investment in walking and cycling routes up until 2020. This money will be supplemented by £1.657 million in developer contributions and £883,000 in council match-funding.

"With the focus of government funding opportunities switching to infrastructure projects, we will be building on the progress we've made so far by targeting our resources on walking and cycling route improvements, along with other supporting measures."

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