Praise for Cambs as active travel champ Chris Boardman backs ‘Winter Wheelers’
Olympic gold medallist turned England’s active travel Commissioner, Chris Boardman, has praised the work that Cambridgeshire & Peterborough is doing to improve life on the road for anyone choosing to leave their car at home.
And the cycling legend backed the Combined Authority’s Winter Wheelers campaign as he joined Mayor Dr Nik Johnson for a walking, e-biking, and public transport tour in and around Cambridge, the city he places at the heart of cycling in Britain and says is leading the country in active travel.
Chris Boardman MBE, Commissioner, Active Travel England:
“I’ve come to what is arguably the home of cycling in the whole country – where half the journeys are already cycled or walked – to see how they are investing in embedding active travel in all of their future plans to help people get around under their own steam, now and long into the future.”
Appointed National Active Travel Commissioner in June 2022 by the Transport Secretary, Chris Boardman leads Active Travel England – the body which awards funding to create and improve facilities to help more people opt to walk, wheel or cycle journeys often made by car.
Active Travel England has given the Combined Authority and its partners a high rating for active travel ambition and delivery of projects like the pedestrian and cycling footbridge at Peterborough’s busy Nene Parkway.
And it has already awarded nearly £4m, in the latest active travel funding round, towards projects across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including the recently completed Buckden to Brampton scheme and the Thorpe Wood Cycleway in Peterborough.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson:
“We’re really proud of the work that we’re doing with our partners to deliver improvements in active travel, not just in the city of Cambridge but across the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – and to have Chris Boardman, an Olympic hero with us, celebrating and acknowledging the work that we’re doing is really special for the Combined Authority.”
The Mayor and the Active Travel England team discussed the challenge posed by the mix of terrains within the Combined Authority area and their ambitions for creating greater active travel opportunities for people in rural communities.
The Mayor and Commissioner cycled the green, scenic Chisholm Trail and also took the Guided Busway from Cambridge North to the new town of Northstowe to see for themselves some of the active travel infrastructure being designed from the ground up into a settlement of the future.
The first phase of the Chisholm Trail, from Cambridge North Station to Coldham’s Lane, was completed in 2021. Funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, it includes a new bridge over the River Cam, a wide underpass beneath the busy Newmarket Road, and an upgraded riverside jetty link.
The second phase, from Coldham’s Lane to Cambridge Station, is expected to be completed in 2025.
The day’s tour began at Cyclepoint at Cambridge Railway Station, the biggest dedicated bike park in the UK, open for free, 24 hours a day, and protected by CCTV. With space for 2,850 bicycles, it also includes a special ground-floor area for cargo and adaptive bikes.
Mr Boardman said that Cambridge was on a ‘winning’ path when it comes to cycling and walking.
“Cambridge is already leading the country. All the policies and processes in this area make cycling and walking the easier and logical choice to get around and it’s just great to see them building on that legacy.
“When you see parents riding around on cargo bikes with kids you know you’re on a winning route. It’s about de-carbonisation, it’s about embedding health in every day, it’s about making nicer places to live.”
The Commissioner praised the efforts made by colleges and local authorities to make walking and cycling easier and he joined the Mayor in urging people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to saddle up in December’s Winter Wheelers campaign to help more people choose to cycle some journeys.
“It may be December but anybody can be inspired to sign up to the Winter Wheelers campaign so think about joining and signing up at the website,” said the Mayor, who has himself clocked up miles on the Winter Wheelers online encouragement platform run by Love To Ride and supported by the Combined Authority.
The Mayor’s message was shared by Chris Boardman. “Even on a chilly day like this it’s a nice way to get in and out of town – so give it a go!” said the active travel champion.