More could be done to promote cycling legacy in Uttlesford after 2014 Tour de France
- Credit: Archant
While the legacy of the Tour de France has seen more people getting on their bikes, promotion of the sport is lagging behind, it has been argued.
The race, which ran through Felsted and Finchingfield a year ago today, has caused an influx of Dunmow residents favouring to cycle to work rather than take the car.
Stuart Carmichael, from Flitch Bikes, told the Broadcast: “The Tour has always helped promote cycling enthusiasm, but more so since it came to the UK, noticeably helped by British cyclists such as Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.
“Cycling has increased here as there are various events for all types of riders. It is no longer perceived as an elitist sport, but a sociable hobby offering health, fitness and the chance to enjoy our beautiful countryside.”
Despite an increase in cycling from the race and resident-run events, business owners say the council could do more to boost the sport.
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Mr Carmichael added: “I don’t think the council do enough for promoting cycling. Considering the Women’s Tour of Britain, a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) world class ranking event, came through ours and neighbouring counties only at the beginning of June, we heard so little about it beforehand.”
For Mike Barnard Cycles, sales have decreased by almost half in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, which the owner puts down to online services as well as a lacking of council involvement.
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Owner Mike Barnard said: “The council does not do much to promote bikes. I do not know why less people come in now, but maybe it is because most people go online for bikes, and probably maintain them themselves.
“I have got bikes in stock which are three-years-old and reduced the prices, but no one wants the old models.”
Essex County Council, however, is keen for residents to recognise its recent achievements in pushing the sport, particularly with their work in conjunction with Active Essex.
Councillor Ray Gooding, cabinet member for sport and physical activity, said: “Active Essex has been increasing the opportunities across the county for people to get involved with cycling and have set up various initiatives including successful led rides as well as women only sessions and bike maintenance workshops.
“We have recently been lucky enough to have another successful international competition on our doorstep with the Aviva Women’s Tour which started in Braintree and finished in Clacton on June 18.
“Hadleigh Park, the 2012 Olympic mountain bike venue has also just launched and is open to the public and the trails are free to use. Hadleigh Park is already attracting national competitions and we hope to attract many more large cycling events in the future.”