CYCLING is to be given a huge boost following an historic partnership between a council and cycling’s governing body.
Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones pledged to make cycling more accessible when she took office last year.
Now the council has joined forces with British Cycling to put on guided bike rides to promote the benefits of pedal power.
And she hopes it will get people out of their cars and on to their bikes – to benefit their health and ease congestion.
Later this year roads will be closed for a cycle ride led by British Cycling-trained leaders.
And it is hoped next year Portsmouth may become one of the cities to host the Sky Ride – large-scale, traffic-free rides.
The partnership follows a push by Portsmouth Cycle Forum for safer cycle routes and more participatory events.
Cllr Jones said: ‘This is all about building road safety and confidence.
‘The joint working we’ve done with the Portsmouth Cycle Forum has led to us joining today with British Cycling.
‘We’re hoping to have a round-the-city bike ride in September on a Sunday where parents, children, young and old can get on their bikes and cycle safely around the city.’
The partnership has not brought any money for new cycle routes but instead efforts will be going into promoting cycling, putting up more signs for cyclists and letting people know where they can ride safely.
And with British Cycling on board, which has sponsors such as Sky, Adidas and Fiat, it is hoped the city will have more power when it comes to bidding for cash for new cycle routes.
Cllr Jones added: ‘This partnership is about marketing cycling and encouraging people to get out of their cars and on to their bikes.
‘It does two things. Not only does it help ease the congestion in Portsmouth, which we know is a very densely-populated city, it also helps with the health agenda. People getting on their bikes, getting their cardiovascular system working, even if it’s once or twice a week. It really, really helps.
‘There’s so much to see around the city being on a bike.’
Jo Downing, from British Cycling, said: ‘Cycling is a way for you to get involved – from big traffic-free events, to local guided rides, from women-only rides and support, to tips, ideas and great routes.’