Dean Kirby

August 11, 2012

PACESETTER: Transport chiefs want commuters to follow in the trail of Sir Chris Hoy and fellow bike heroes

Cyclists are expected to make 2.5 million extra trips a year on Greater Manchester’s roads as transport chiefs promise to pave the streets with Olympic gold.

They have vowed to make the region the capital of commuter cycling in honour of the gold rush by Britain’s bike stars.

The cycling team, based at the Manchester Velodrome since 1994, won seven gold medals. Now transport bosses want to use it as a launchpad for encouraging people to ride on the region’s streets.

Plans are being drawn up by Transport for Greater Manchester to create cycling ‘hubs’ with secure bike parking in Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Sale, Salford, Stockport and Wigan. New cycling routes are also being developed to provide easier access to jobs.

There will also be more cycling facilities and training offered after the region was granted £32.5m from the government for ‘sustainable travel’. They would cut 170 tonnes of carbon a year and save businesses £1.4m by reducing sickness.

Dave Newton, from Transport for Greater Manchester, said: "It’s a long and challenging road, but one that we are already on and, with the support of our partners, we’re very confident of achieving our goals."

Ian Drake, chief executive of British Cycling, said: "The people of Manchester have made a great home for British Cycling. Much of the great success we have seen at the Olympics, the Tour de France and in simply getting more people on bikes comes from here."

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