Poll: Men’s Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour set to return to Suffolk - but will the major cycling events encourage more of us to bike to work?

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names. - Credit: Gregg Brown

‘Get on your bike and get riding’ was the message sent out to the people of Suffolk at today’s launch of the county’s Year of Cycling.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names. - Credit: Gregg Brown

With the Women’s Tour coming back to the county this year and the Men’s Tour of Britain also set to return, the local authority is hoping the region can benefit from a cycling boost.

Graham Newman, county council cabinet member for transport, is promoting the initiative. He has set the “ambitious” target of seeing 8% of people cycle to work. It currently stands at just 4%.

At the launch today, held at the Apex Theatre in Bury St Edmunds, he said: “There are so many benefits to cycling. This initiative is about making people realise that cycling is a great option, not just to get healthy but to save money and have fun.

“A third of all journeys in a town like Bury or Ipswich are under 2km, two thirds are under 5km. These sorts of journeys are easily and eminently cyclable.”

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names. - Credit: Gregg Brown

He also stressed the benefits for employers and employees. He said: “It has been shown that employees who cycle to work are less likely to be off sick and they also get to work ready for the day. But there needs to be support in place.”


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Supporting the event were eight Bury schools, all who are looking to encourage their pupils to bike more often.

Westgate Primary School headteacher Jim Cleaver explained the many benefits that cycling can bring schools like his.

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He said: “We all suffer congestion at our gates come pick up and drop off time. If more children took up cycling, hopefully their parents would be able to stop using the car so much as well.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names. - Credit: Gregg Brown

“There are obviously health benefits, and if the children are cycling, it is likely the parents will start riding with them.

“It (the initiative) comes at a very opportune time for our primary schools. We are all taking on extra pupils with year’s five and six starting next academic year.”

Putting their preaching into practice, a group of the Year of Cycling supporters donned their helmets and high-visibility jackets and rode nearly 17 miles to the launch event.

Alongside Graham Newman and other partners was Sustrans volunteer Anthony Wright, who braved the winds, sleet and rain during the ride from Stowmarket.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names.

Suffolk’s Year of Cycling launch event at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. No names. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The 71-year-old, from Elmswell, said: “We are supporting this initiative to promote the benefits of cycling. The people of Bury and Ipswich are very lucky to live in a town with great cycling infrastructure, and they can get out and cycle without really having to go on the road with other vehicles.

“This is great for children and what we as a charity are trying to do is really address what has become a lost cycling generation.

“There are parents who can’t bike, so don’t teach their children to bike. If we can get the infrastructure in place, to make it safer, and encourage more children to want to get out and cycle, their parents will end up going along with them and hopefully it is a domino effect.”

For more information on the programme, visit www.suffolkyearofcycling.co.uk

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