Sheffield building on Tour legacy
09 July 2014
Sheffield is aiming to build on the excitement generated from successfully hosting one of the world’s top sporting events.
It is estimated that at least 1.5 million people watched Stage 2 of the Tour de France as the world’s top cyclists swept through Sheffield on Sunday, with viewers from over 180 countries around the world following the race on TV.
Several projects are already in hand to build on this enthusiasm and the massive boom in cycling in recent years to improve the quality of life in Sheffield and people’s general health.
The City Council is aiming to build on their investment in hosting this year’s prestigious event by using it as a platform to encourage more people to take to their bikes. The legacy plans will build on existing work with key partners such British Cycling, Cycle Yorkshire, Sheffield Cycle Boost and Pedal Ready.
There are significant economic, health and environmental benefits that an increase in cycling would bring to Sheffield. A number of innovative schemes are planned to improve the local infrastructure and make more use of the city’s green cycle routes. This would link into the existing cycle network, mainly along the main radial routes and also into the 20 mph zones.
Among the initiatives already in place are the Cycle Boost scheme that allows more people to try cycling to work and Pedal Ready free cycle training to increase confidence and safety on a bike. At the moment around two percent of people cycle to work and the aim is to double this by 2024. The intention is to increase the number of bike trips in the city by around 10 percent by 2025 and to increase this to 25 percent by 2050.
Cycling will be made easier and safer and the local cycling provision will also be reviewed and improved, including cycle parking in key locations and ‘Bike Doctor’ sessions to help cyclists maintain their bikes.
Both Yorkshire stages of Tour de France route are now signed with special brown signs to help cycling enthusiasts try all or part of the route themselves and to celebrate the Tour visiting the region. Sheffield’s four King of the Mountain Climbs have also been sign posted to highlight the challenges this section of the route pose.
Facilities for bike hire will be extended to build on the work by the University of Sheffield. These will be based around the city centre at the transport interchange, both university campuses and student residential blocks, both private sector and university-owned.
Funding is being sought to provide more bike hubs following the recent opening of the first at Sheffield Station. These provide secure storage, changing facilities, maintenance and repair, and bike hire. One of these would be located alongside the Olympic legacy National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine at the new Graves site.
A series of cycling events are being held and are in the pipeline for 2015 including festivals, challenges, organised rides and sportives. These will sustain and increase the profile of cycling in the city.
British Cycling will be leading rides across the county every Sunday until November, with over 50 in Sheffield alone. More details can be found at www.goskyride/sheffield.com
There was an impressive 80 per cent increase in the number of Sheffield residents cycling to work between 2001 and 2011 and cycling doubled in the city in the same period.
Councillor Isobel Bowler, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said: “The Tour de France generated so much excitement and has raised the profile of cycling in this region. It is our aim to build on the tremendous interest generated by this successful international event.
“We want more local people of all ages and backgrounds cycling for transportation and for leisure, in urban and rural areas. Regular cycling increases fitness, reduces the risk of serious diseases such as heart attack and stroke, and improves sense of well-being
"Replacing car journeys by a bike journey is also good for our environment. More people cycling helps reduce air pollution and traffic congestion.
“There has been a major increase in the number of people wanting to cycle in our city and it is in everyone’s interest for us to help make it easier and safer for them to do so