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Cambridge’s Chisholm Trail opens – a triumph of persistent campaigning

Jim Chisholm conceived the cross-city cycling route 23 years ago – and cut the ribbon this week to inaugurate it

Nearly a quarter of a century after he came up with the idea, Jim Chisholm yesterday cut the ribbon on a cycle route running across Cambridge that bears his name – The Chisholm Trail.

The veteran campaigner conceived the route back in 1998 – a year in which the Tour de France started in Dublin, the Blair government was still in its honeymoon period, and Arsenal won the World Cup – and the final section, the new Abbey-Chesterton pedestrian and cycling bridge across the River Cam is now open.

Chisholm – pictured below with his wife, Jane – was joined at the opening by Councillors Dave Baigent and Neil Gough from the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board and Councillor Peter McDonald, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee.


Besides the new bridge connecting East Chesterton to Barnwell, the route also includes an underpass crossing beneath Newmarket Road, and new paths have also been built connecting Cambridge North station with Coldham’s Lane.

Roxanne De Beaux, executive director of Camcycle, the cycling campaign group for Cambridge and the wider region, said: “This is a fantastic Christmas present for local communities who have waited so long for this route to be finished. It will be the perfect place for children who have received a cycle from Santa to test out their new wheels and a vital new link from residential areas to local schools, shops, jobs and activities.

“Thousands more people now have new options for their everyday journeys that involve cycling or walking away from busy roads,

Chisholm said: “My professional background in transport modelling helped me realise that providing high-quality active travel routes in and around Cambridge would enable many more people to leave their car at home.

“It’s predicted that around four thousand walking and cycling trips will be made on this new route each day, bringing health and wellbeing benefits to individuals and reducing congestion and air pollution for everyone in the city.

“I have always envisaged this route as a ‘linear park’, suitable for everyone, and look forward to seeing a wide range of people walking, cycling and wheeling along the route in the coming months,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Dicey | 2 years ago
1 like

Twenty years and what a disaster. Okay I admit its better than nothing but it is unsegregated unlike proper schemes in Europe. That is just Nuts. It means prams, toddlers, and dogs all share a narrow strip of concrete with cyclists. It is only a matter of time until cyclists get a bad name for going too quickly along it (do we really need more bad press?) And just wait until the teenagers with un restricted e bikes start hammering up and down it (as happens on the other cambridge cycleways). What a shame!

chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like

A great effort and I'm sure this will be quickly in good use.

Just imagining if cycle infra was unremarkable (1, 2), standard, planned in and dealt with by the local authorities. Instead of a rare achievement, always bespoke, retrofitted around road / rail (even for new developments) and essentially reliant on individuals / charities to make it happen.  Even if money can be supplied by the authorities.

Is this a UK "heroic underdog" thing?  Just because we work down the list of car / lorry, rail, bus and beyond that our authorities have stopped thinking? Is it that the cycle industry / infra doesn't generate the large sums of cash that the motor lobby can boast or appear in motoring / large rail projects?

Nixster | 2 years ago

Chapeau/ kudos/well done to Jim Chisholm. A triumph of persistence over bureaucracy. And a great legacy for Cambridge. 

Rich_cb | 2 years ago

Nice to have a good news story amid the doom and gloom!

Cardiff is very lucky to have a bike path running the length of the city, I'm sure it's the reason that cycling is, relatively, popular here.

Hopefully this new trail will allow Cambridge to become even more bike friendly.

Kudos to Jim.

tomascjenkins | 2 years ago

Meanwhile most other cities stumble blindly on when it comes to sorting out cycling infrastructure

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