Good week to go for ride

First published in News

In less than two weeks cyclists from the borough will be saddling up to mark this year's Bike Week.

All events in Croydon which begin on June 17 are free of charge and include a summer solstice night ride, a cyclists' breakfast and health checks for neglected two-wheelers.

Croydon has many links to the history of bicycles. Inventor William Stanley whose name was given to Stanley Halls and Stanley Technical School in South Norwood invented wire bicycle spokes while Roberts Cycles in Gloucester Road, Croydon, is still manufacturing equipmenth.

Anerley Bicycle Club which is among the oldest cycling organisations in the world this year celebrates its 125th anniversary and another the Cycling for All project bids to give people of all abilities the chance to learn to ride bikes from its base at the arena in South Norwood.

Croydon cyclists are also working with Croydon Council and Transport for London to improve the town's cycle routes to give people a viable option of getting around town quickly, cheaply and healthily.

A Croydon Council spokes-man said: "Cycling is an efficient, cheap, quiet, healthy and non-polluting sustainable form of transport and the council seeks to provide safe, convenient and clearly identified cycle facilities both on their own or as part of other traffic management measures.

"The aim of this is to reduce accidents and casualties involving cyclists and to increase the number of cyclists on the road."

The health benefits of cycling have been readily reported and it is thought regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level equal to that of a person 10 years younger.

And with many cyclists refraining from using main roads for fear of having a crash, collision figures released by the Department for Transport show that a cycling death in Britain occurs less than once every 18million cycling miles, suggesting the benefits of cycling outweigh the risk of injury.

London mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Cycling is the fastest, cheapest, most healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around London, which is why we are investing almost £20m this year to improve cycle facilities in the capital."

He added: "The number of cyclists on our roads has doubled since 2000 and we've already exceeded our cycling targets five years ahead of schedule, on top of achieving a shift from car use to public transport. I will now be looking at setting tougher targets so we can continue to build on this success and encourage many more cyclists in London."

For more information about events in Croydon during bike week go to bikeweek.org.uk.

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