Delight at increase in bike rides

The team behind the revamped Morpeth to Newcastle road race have welcomed a study highlighting cycling’s booming popularity.

Organisers of next summer’s mass participation event have hailed a new study by North Tyneside Council that reveals a 250 per cent rise in cycling journeys in the last decade.

Phil Gray, of event organisers TRi, said: “The route we have chosen will provide safe, traffic-free, closed roads as well as ensuring a fantastic atmosphere and crowds that you certainly won’t get in your daily commute.

“North Tyneside Council has supported us from day one and there will be thousands of cyclists passing through the borough next summer, enjoying the new Morpeth route.

“These figures are fantastic news. But we believe more and more people are turning to cycling every week and understanding its benefits.”

Mr Gray faced criticism from the running community when it was revealed cyclists would be able to join road racers in entering next July’s new-look Morpeth To Newcastle.

He added: “The report backs up our feelings that cycling is becoming hugely popular and is exactly why we introduced it to the Morpeth to Newcastle event.

“We wanted all those taking up cycling – and experiencing the excitement and thrill that it can give you – to be able to take part in an event celebrated in the region.”

Figures show North Tyneside is streets ahead within Tyne and Wear when it comes to the number of journeys made by cyclists between 2004 and 2015.

The borough saw a 250 per cent increase in the last 11 years.

with recent findings painting an even more positive picture.

In journeys made Monday to Friday during the past four years, North Tyneside has seen an increase of 83 per cent – from 680,000 in 2010 to 1,250,000 in 2014.

Further investment has been planned after the success of a scheme in 2000 that saw more than £2m of government funding used to revitalise former waggonways and transform then into cycle paths.

“There are more and more opportunities for people to get on their bikes – whether they’re commuters or cycling for fun – but this is just the start,” added Gray.

“We are looking into more ways in which we can satisfy demand for safe cycling on the region’s most picturesque routes but the Morpeth To Newcastle is a positive first step.”