FORMER Olympian Chris Boardman opened a new learners’ cycle circuit in Tameside to support more children and adults to enjoy using bikes.
Tameside Cycle Trax, based at Bennett Street Youth Centre in Hyde, looks like a giant children’s play mat featuring a road layout and has been developed by the council to offer schools, clubs and the wider community opportunities from learning to ride a bike to improving skills and confidence.
The ultimate aim is to get more people of all ages regularly using their bikes in their everyday lives as a sustainable and healthy means of transport.
The track, which is run by Tameside Council Youth Service, includes roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and other common road features, markings and signage to mimic the highway and provide budding cyclists with the opportunity to practice in a safe off-road environment.
Various activities are on offer including: Bikeability training, bike health checks, fleet bikes for those who don’t have their own bike and adapted cycles for young people who have a disability. The youth service will also organise ride to school days for any schools that book a training package with them.
GM Cycling & Walking Commissioner and Olympic Gold Medal winner Chris Boardman attended the opening of the track alongside Tameside Council Executive Member responsible for youth services Cllr Leanne Feeley and Cllr Peter Robinson, who originally helped to secure external funding for the project.
Chris Boardman said: “If we want thousands more people to get on bikes and leave their cars at home, we need to ensure they have the confidence to give cycling a try. Facilities like Tameside Cycle Trax will play a role in helping people take that first step, by giving Greater Manchester residents the experience they need to use the city region’s Bee Network as it comes on line.”
Cllr Feeley said: “We have long been passionate about cycling and our youth service runs lots of ongoing cycling events and activities. However, we realised there are many children who still can’t ride a bike and, if we really want to support cycling as a sustainable and healthy method of transport, we needed to do more to skill up and empower our children. Tameside Cycle Trax provides a fun and safe means to give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to use and enjoy bikes more and make cycling a habit for a lifetime.”
The track is open for all young people to use every Tuesday evening, no need to book. Schools and clubs can contact Melissa Hopwood on 0161 342 3799 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss requirements.