Devon County Council has been awarded £2 million by Cycling England to explore the links between leisure cycling and encouraging everyday cycling.
The council wants to find out whether the same factors that motivate people to cycle at the weekend can be used to get them to cycle to work, school or the shops.
It is looking at a variety of measures to test this out including the establishment of ‘cycling hubs’ in centres including Barnstaple, Exeter, Exmouth and Tavistock. These would be easily accessible by various modes of transport and would serve local cycle networks.
Also under consideration are improved cycle access to holiday parks, improved access to the rail system with improvements to other cycle routes, better signage, secure cycle parking and bike hire. More cycle training would also be provided.
The Cycling England money will be supplied over two years under the Finding New Solutions programme, which is designed to identify future large scale cycling investment programmes.
It follows in the wake of the county council’s recent announcement that it is to invest £25 million up to 2012 to make Devon a premier destination for cycling tourism.
Devon already has some well known leisure trails – particularly the Tarka Trail round the Taw estuary and down past Great Torrington. The Devon Coast to Coast cycle route is also hugely popular and others are being developed including the Stop Line Way (another coast-to-coast route), the east-west Ruby Way inland from Bude and the Exe Estuary trail. Exeter is a Cycling Demonstration Town and has been doing things to encourage bicycle commuting.
If a proposal under consideration is achieved, all 28 market and coastal towns in Devon would be linked to the National Cycle Network and to railway stations where feasible, improving life for cycle commuters and leisure riders alike.