Cycling boost for Leeds families as Grand Départ legacy rolls on

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LEEDS is set for another major funding boost for cycling, as the city continues to benefit from the legacy of hosting the 2014 Grand Départ of the Tour De France.

The city is one of several being earmarked to receive £5m of funding from the Department for Transport’s Bikeability Plus initiative, a scheme to encourage children and parents in England to take up cycling.

The project teaches safe riding and cycle maintenance education to families and is a key part of the Government’s ambition for Britain to become a cycling nation. Nearly 20,000 children have already participated in pilots of the project, but an additional 200,000 are now set to be reached.

One focus of the scheme is to introduce cycling to children and parents in disadvantaged communities who may not otherwise cycle.

Cycling Minister and Yorkshire MP Robert Goodwill said: “We want Britain to become a cycling nation and Bikeability Plus will be important in getting more children cycling safely and with confidence.

“There is no better way to make sure future generations of cyclists use healthy and green transport options.

“Bikeability has trained more than 1.5 million children to cycle since 2010. This new training will help children, including those from disadvantaged communities, to experience cycling for the first time.”

The funding is part of the wider £50m Bikeability investment in cycle training for 2016 to 2020. Schools will be able to offer the new training scheme to pupils from September.

A Department for Transport spokesman said it is also supporting cycling with £114m for eight Cycling Ambition Cities in England.

Leeds has already submitted a bid for the funding, with Bristol, Cambridge, Birmingham, Norwich, Newcastle and Oxford also in the running.

The money will be used to help each city improve and expand cycle routes between the city centres, local communities and key employment and retail spots.

The department is also providing £15m for more than 7,500 new bike spaces at train stations.

Leeds’s new CityConnect cycle superhighway is already under way, with phase one linking Leeds and Bradford almost complete and phase two expected to start later in the year.

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