Thursday, October 20, 2005

PRESS RELEASE: Cycling "Demonstration Town" Grant a Chance that Must be Taken

Darlington Cycling Campaign today welcomed the news that the town is to receive £1.5million from central government for new cycling initiatives. Darlington is one of six towns that have won the cash. But it warned that the local authority now has to be bold in its approach if it wishes to encourage people to leave their cars and take to their bikes.

The town's Cycling Campaign has actively supported the local authority in its aims. Said campaign chair Richard Grassick, "We now hope that, with this award, a genuinely attractive, safe and direct cycling network will be developed in Darlington. Cyclists have until recently been a relatively small political voice in the town. But we know people want to cycle, and to do so safely. This will only be achieved if the priorities given to cars in the town are now challenged. It is a very straight forward engineering solution, but one that most politicians can't face. The bullet must now be bitten - cars should give way to cyclists and pedestrians where they cross paths, not vice versa".

Darlington Cycling Campaign has been particularly vocal in arguing for better, and safer, everyday cycling provision. "Political thinking has often been very muddled in relation to cycling. It is interesting that the government's comments on these awards focussed on the health benefits of cycling", said Mr. Grassick. "Of course cycling is very healthy, but it is also an everyday means of transport. Once politicians understand that we want to cycle to work or school in our everyday clothes safely, and not just dress up in sporty lycra at weekends, we will be on the right track. We now have three years to really make a difference in Darlington. We hope that by 2009, most parents will feel that it is safe to allow their kids to cycle to school, and that most commuters will feel it is quicker to cycle to the town centre than to drive. When we achieve this, we will surely have demonstrated to the country that cycling is a safe and healthy way to get around".

The funding from the Department of Transport will be used over the next three years, coinciding with the period of development currently being funded by the Town on the Move initiative.

Ends

Darlington to get share of £17m to improve cycling

DfT announces cycling demonstration town winners: "Six 'bike beacon' towns in England will share £17m to promote cycling. The Cycling Demonstration Towns are Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Lancaster and Aylesbury."

Sounds like good news. Hopefully, some worthwhile work will get done; big issues, not the easy ones.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Darlington Cyclocross - Results

Results are up, and I came 46th out of 50 finishers, with 6 who Did Not Finish. I did the same number of laps as last year. The winners only did 8 laps this year, compared to 9 last year; I got 6 both years, so that may be an improvement. I just missed out on getting a seventh lap in, after being overtaken by the winners on their final lap.

It was a great race, with an excellent course, and seemed really well organised, though I’ve not really anything to compare it against. I’ll be back next year: middle third on the table…

At the end, someone asked me if I was Mike, and if I beat last year's position. Don't know if it was someone who reads this, or someone from a forum.

I think I spotted Anthony spectating.