Wheels are in motion to transform the Peak District National Park into a centre for cycling enthusiasts.
At a meeting last week, members of the Peak District National Park Authority agreed to go ahead with the Wider Peak District Cycle Strategy.
The aim of the strategy is to turn the national park into ‘one of the premier places to cycle... using the iconic landscapes of the Peak District as the inspiration for a diverse cycling experience for everyone, encouraging sustainable travel and delivering lasting health, economic and community benefits’.
The authority plans to do this using four themes.
The first theme is to ‘increase the network of connected routes’.
A report into the strategy states: “We recognise that one of the biggest drivers for encouraging new and returning cyclists is the availability of traffic-free, convenient cycle routes connecting to cities.
“These would build on the Peak District’s network of dispersed cycle routes, with the aim to increase their connectivity, with fantastic multi-user trails and iconic routes at the centre of the experience.”
The second theme is to ‘support cyclist infrastructure to stimulate the cycling economy’, meaning the authority will ensure the area has facilities to meet cyclists’ needs.
The third theme is to ‘promote the Peak District cycle experience’ via targeted promotion, advice and support.
The report continued: “We aim to encourage new, returning and occasional cyclists to become regular cyclists.
“We will encourage people to explore more of the Peak District and not just the most popular destinations.”
The final theme is to ‘develop sustainable transport linkages’. This would be done by providing reliable alternatives to cars, based on better sustainable transport linkages, facilities and information to enable more people to be less dependant on cars.
Julian Gould, who owns Zepnat Cycles, on Smedley Street, Matlock, and is a coach for Matlock Cycling Club, said: “I’m all for anything that supports cycling.
“It’s a good idea, the biggest barrier however will be land access for off–road cycling, because people from the Peak District have probably got the best terrain for cycling but you have got to go to Scotland to go off–road.
“It’s great cycling on the roads, but the roads are so busy. I think people cycle here naturally because we have got fantastic scenery and good terrain and the infrastructure of cafes.
“If you had traffic-free lanes you could cycle on, it would be idyllic, but I don’t see how that would happen.”