Residents are being encouraged to get in their bike saddles to pedal off the excesses of the festive period.
Over the next few months, Swindon Borough Council will be running competitions, roadshows and information events to promote the benefits of cycling and highlighting the numerous traffic-free routes that are available across the Borough.
Cycling has many health benefits and is a great way to work off the surplus calories accrued during Christmas and New Year. It can be a truly invigorating and liberating experience, enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life.
It is also has environmental benefits and is a cheap form of travel, enabling people to cycle to work, to the shops, or see friends without filling the fuel tank or paying to park.
To kick off the new year, a brand new Swindon cycle map has been launched, which can be viewed and downloaded via the Swindon Travel Choices website: www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk
Paper copies of the map can be picked up at libraries, bike shops, and can be posted out if people email their address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the campaign, the Active Swindon Challenge has been reopened for a three-month competition between January and March. To incentivise trips by bike, competitors can register at http://www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk/activechallenge/ and log the journeys they do to be in with a chance of topping the leader board and winning a prize.
Residents who were lucky enough to receive a new bike this Christmas are encouraged to get it security marked. Local social enterprise Recycles will mark bikes for a voluntary donation and the bike will then be registered on the national database used by the police. Simply take the bike into their shop on Princes Street during opening hours.
Cycling roadshows will also be held around the town, where you can pick up maps and information, and get bikes marked. Dates and locations will be listed at http://www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk/events/
In Swindon a total of £3.75m has been invested in the Borough’s cycle network, thanks to government funding via Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
This has seen the creation of key cycle routes including the Western, Southern and Eastern Flyers, with the final section of the latter completed last autumn. The work involved the widening of pathways to enable shared use by cyclists and pedestrians; new lighting and CCTV on long, isolated stretches and the reconstruction of uneven and worn sections of key routes.
Swindon also benefits from National Cycle Route 45 that comes through the Borough, linking Cricklade and Cirencester to Marlborough and Avebury.
There are more than 100 miles of traffic-free paths in Swindon and, in partnership with volunteers from Swindon Cycle Campaign, three seven-mile traffic-free ‘rounds’ have been created as well as a 17-mile ‘urban round’ which consists of a circular route around the town. Further details can be found at: www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk/cycle/the-swindon-rounds
Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, said: “We are very lucky in Swindon to have a fantastic cycle network which we have enhanced in recent years by creating the Western, Eastern and Southern Flyers to make it even easier for people to cycle into the centre of Swindon.
“We want to use this cycling campaign to get even more people onto their bikes and out of their cars so we not only benefit the air quality in Swindon, but we improve people’s health and wellbeing.
“So if you are looking for a new challenge in 2020, or thinking about doing some extra exercise following the festive period, why not pick up a bike and start pedalling towards a new lifestyle?”