7:30am Tuesday 27th August 2013
By Gina Bebbington
A ENTICING summer of sunshine and high-profile cycling success mean there has rarely been a better time to hop back in the saddle in the UK.
But there is still much to be done to make sure cycling is a viable way to navigate Great Britain’s highways.
In this week’s Pedal Power campaign, which aims to encourage mid Cheshire residents to get on their bikes, we talk to Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans about the Get Britain Cycling campaign and family bike rides.
BRITAIN needs to think bike at every level of road design and maintenance to encourage more people to cycle, according to a Cheshire MP.
Graham Evans, MP for Weaver Vale, is keen to get involved in the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group on his return to Parliament in September after a summer holiday of family cycling.
The dad-of-three said: “I’ve been inundated with requests to go on the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and I’ll be going to it when I go back to Parliament.
“As a nation really we haven’t scratched the surface.
“The whole of each local authority highways department has to think bike if we’re going to be serious about this.
“The safer you make it the more people will cycle.
“With any newly designed road highways engineers have to think bike, and not just when they build it but in the maintenance of it.
“There are millions of miles of existing road and when they come to be resurfaced we need to look at what can be put into the design, can it be laid differently to last longer for cyclists?
“There’s a cost to that but maybe we can change working practices to limit cost.”
Graham said potholes are a problem that could be solved by a different style of maintenance.
“When you’re cycling along the highways potholes and grids are a big issue.
“When councils put contracts out what thought is given to the sides of the roads which get a lot of wear and tear and water run-off?
“As a nation we have to think about road design, resurfacing and cycle lanes.
“I think our children will look at cycling in a different light but it’s about getting town planners to think differently now.”
The Evans family enjoyed a holiday in Sheringham, in Norfolk, where Graham got out on his bike with daughter Sophie, six, and sons Tom, 10, and George, 16.
“We’ve invested in a proper bike rack for the car, which makes it a lot easier to fling on and means the whole family is up for cycling.
“Last year Sophie only had a baby bike and was having trouble with roots on the ground in the forest but this time, with a bigger bike, she kept up with us and is a real competitor.
“Cycling is such a good thing to do in terms of exercise, health and wellbeing and a nice thing to do as a family.”
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