Cycling fans in north Oxfordshire will benefit from a new partnership between Cherwell District Council and the elite professionals at British Cycling.
The year-long deal will see the most experienced people at the sport’s national governing body help to develop local initiatives, encouraging people of all ages and abilities to get back in the saddle.
Councillor Phil Chapman, Lead Member for Leisure and Sport, said: “Cycling brings with it so many benefits. From improvements to physical and mental health to the positive contribution it has on the air quality in our towns and villages, its importance cannot be underestimated. Cherwell already has a range of projects designed to make it easier for residents to get onto their bikes. This new partnership with British Cycling will help to develop these further, bringing the experts in the business to the district, making our activities better than ever.”
The partnership between Cherwell District Council and British Cycling officially started in June, with the delivery of training for ‘breeze ride’ leaders in Bicester. The sessions were led by coaches from British Cycling, teaching local volunteers how to plan and lead guided rides specifically for women.
Colin Walker, Lead Cycling Delivery Manager at British Cycling said: “We are delighted to be working with Cherwell to promote cycling in the local area. We’ll be working together to make it much easier for children to get into riding a bike at school, and for adults to rediscover the joys of cycling on free rides led by a qualified British Cycling ride leader.
“Win or lose, our riders have represented Great Britain at the Olympics with pride and provided the inspiration for people to dust off their bikes and get out into the beautiful Cherwell countryside. Our partnership will ensure there are plenty of opportunities to make this as easy as possible.”
Further projects planned for the coming months include: free sessions for youngsters at Banbury’s Country Park; the development of guided rides to encourage the whole family to get on their bikes together; and the development of cycle training in schools to give teachers the opportunity to lead sessions with their pupils.
Existing activities will also continue, such as the free bicycle servicing scheme, Dr Bike, and the FAST bike programme, which offers free second-hand bicycles to families in Cherwell. The first leg of the prestigious Women’s Tour cycling race will also bring an array of exciting opportunities to Cherwell, with community events planned for the lead up to the Bicester to Banbury stage on Monday 4 October.
Cherwell has a history of attracting big names to their projects, providing residents with the gold standard in sport and leisure offers. These include working with Sport England to design the hugely popular FAST programme and partnership work with the Football Association to develop walking football in the area.