CYCLISTS and cycling organisations from across the district and beyond packed into City Hall's banqueting hall to hear how the pastime is to make a huge impact on the area this coming year.

The Cycling Summit, held yesterday evening, was organised through Active Bradford and b-Spoke and supported through Bradford Council and CityConnect.

It showcased all that was going on in the district to attract more people to the sport and pastime while encouraging more visitors to the district.

One of the organisers, John Davies, who is involved in Active Bradford, said the aim of the evening was to broadcast the increase in cycling as well as the exciting year ahead.

"It shows the variety of cycling activities and events available to people and also highlights what's coming up in 2017, such as the Tour de Yorkshire and the launch of the Bradford Cycling Strategy," he said.


A number of speakers highlighted the importance of cycling and how Bradford was developing as an ambitious centre for cycling.

Tom Jones, transport planner with Bradford Council said there were several ideas being looked at to increase cycle routes, with feasibility studies already undertaken in areas such as around Otley and Burley-in-Wharfedale, and around Steeton and Silsden.

"There are already ideas being looked at as part of the cycle strategy and the plan is to build on them. Some are already in place, such as the cycle superhighway between Leeds and Bradford and the towpath between Shipley and Leeds."

He said other areas are being looked at such as in Bradford, Keighley and Ilkley and he was looking for pockets of funding to carry out studies.

Another cycle project which was growing was the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries.

The initiative invites people to donate their old bikes for people to use. The libraries form a network of cycles that are free to hire.

Project manager Rachel Davies said there were 34 bike libraries throughout Yorkshire and 51 donations stations. Currently there were four libraries in the Bradford district with a further three to be opened this year.

Also speaking was Nora McWilliam of Queensbury Community Heritage and Action Partnership. She was highlighting the Queensbury Tunnel Campaign. The disused railway tunnel measuring a mile-and-a-half long, connects Bradford to Halifax and is under threat of being left to collapse.

"It would make a great cycle route and would be a huge asset to the district," she said.

Other bodies represented included the Bikeability scheme which is funded by central government and helps youngsters learn to ride from reception age upwards. This year 300 children will reach level one but that number rises to 2,700 reaching level one and two.

Tim Curtis, an artist and cycling coach, spoke about the Inclusive cycling scheme which is based at Lister Park and makes cycling accessible for the disabled of all ages. It works with Choices4All, Bradford Youth Service and Bradford Disability Sport and Leisure.

Also speaking at the event was Sandra Corcoran, director of Pennine Cycles.

"We urge people to use and support their local bike shops because they offer genuine support, advice and knowledge.

"They are enthusiasts themselves and know what they are talking about," she said.

He said the aim of the cycle strategy was to make Bradford the capital of cycling, art and culture.

Peter Dodd, commercial director of Welcome to Yorkshire, said the coming year was exciting for Bradford with the Tour de Yorkshire taking place.

"It is a huge opportunity, not only for people to enjoy watching the sport for free, but for the massive boost to the local economy such a renowned event brings," he said.