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Olympic stars Choose Cycling

7th May 2014

Beryl Burton cycleway, Harrogate

Fourteen Olympic and Paralympic stars are supporting British Cycling's Choose Cycling manifesto by writing to their local councils. The athletes involved include Chris Boardman, Victoria Pendleton, Jess Varnish, and Chris Hoy. 

As we reported on 10th February this year, British Cycling launched a ten-point manifesto, Time to Choose Cycling aimed at encouraging more Brits onto their bikes. Now the Olympians and Paralympians are calling on their home councils to commit to implementing three key recommendations of the manifesto - accommodating cycling into the design of all new roads and junctions, meaningful and consistent levels of funding, and political leadership and measurable targets.

The athletes involved are Dani King (Southampton), Liam Phillips (Bristol), Becky James (Cardiff), Laura Trott (Essex), Victoria Pendleton (Bedfordshire), Jess Varnish (Birmingham), Annie Last (Derby), Chris Boardman (Wirral), Sarah Storey (Manchester), Lizzie Armitstead (Leeds), Chris Newton (Newcastle), Chris Hoy (Edninburgh), Joanna Rowsell (Surrey), and Katie Archibald (Glasgow). 

British Cycling has this quote from Chris Boardman: 'Britain is now one of the most successful cycling nations in the world but you wouldn't know this from looking at the state of our nation's roads and junctions. We're getting it right on the world stage but the work that is being done at a local level is falling far short of the mark. If we truly want to convince the British public to choose cycling as their preferred form of transport and create healthier, more pleasant places to live, we need local leaders to make some radical changes and to be far more enterprising about how they are using their public spaces.' 

'It's fantastic to see so many of the world's most famous cycling commuters join me today by writing to local leaders to urge them to make a sustained and substantial commitment to prioritise cycling.'

Chris Hoy said, 'If we want to inspire a transformation in communities across Britain - making them happier and healthier - cycling needs to be prioritised. There has never been a better moment to do this and councils must make some bold decisions now before it's too late. We desperately need Britain's roads to accommodate the needs of cyclists to encourage people of all ages to get on bikes.'

Joanna Rowsell said, 'Riding on the roads is a significant part of my training and it's clear that conditions on the road just aren't welcoming for people who choose to get around by bike. The problem is that our towns and cities just haven't been designed with cycling in mind. We need to do something bold about this now - especially with another fantastic summer for cycling...This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.'

In her letter to Sir Richard Leese of Manchester City Council, Sarah Storey urged him to support Time to Choose Cycling, writing, 'I believe that making it easier for people to choose to travel by bike is the solution to many issues facing the city including improving health, reducing congestion and making it a better place to live and work.'


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