Three stars of cycling have said Yorkshire’s health and transport problems could be solved with a ‘world-class cycling infrastructure’.
Cycling legend Brian Robinson, who was the first Brit to win a stage of a the Tour de France, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity and Sustran chief executive Malcolm Shepherd shared their thoughts ahead of the first anniversary of the Grand Depart in Yorkshire.
Mr Robinson said: “I never expected to see the Tour de France in Yorkshire. It was fantastic to be part of the groundswell of enthusiasm here in the county.
“Cycling doesn’t just have to be an elite sport that we watch, it’s a form of transport that most people can use, whatever their age or ability. It’s easy, healthy and a lot of fun!”
Sir Gary said: “Yorkshire’s hosting of what the French called ‘The Grandest Grand Depart ever’ really got people in Yorkshire inspired and excited about cycling, but the real cycle race is only just beginning.
“We want to build on the enthusiasm of the Grand Depart to make Yorkshire the cycling capital of Europe.
“We’re a long way behind cycling cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but if bicycle travel became established it would help to tackle some of our biggest urban challenges, from low levels of exercise to air pollution to traffic congestion.”
The trio spoke at a Sustrans conference in Leeds to mark 20 years of the 14,000 mile National Cycle Network.
More than 1,000 miles of the track are in Yorkshire, the largest share of any county in Britain.
Mr Shepherd said: “Yorkshire’s 1000 miles of National Cycle Network is a fantastic base from which to build and develop a world class centre for bicycle travel.
“We think the next phase for cycle infrastructure is now in our towns and cities and commuter routes, which are too dominated by the car.
“We could double the number of high quality, safe cycle routes so more people could choose a healthy way to travel to work or university or -school.”
In a Sustrans poll taken during the Tour de France a third of people surveyed said a lack of quality cycle lanes from the biggest issue that put them off cycling.