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Celebrating 20 Years of Cycling Excellence in West Berkshire

West Berkshire Cycle Forum proudly commemorated two decades of cycling achievements

Posted by: Communications team on 13 September 2023 11:06
2023- 20 years of cycle forum

History was made yesterday (12 September) as the West Berkshire Cycle Forum proudly commemorated two decades of unwavering commitment to advancing the cause of cycling within West Berkshire.

Established on 12 September 2003, a group of individuals, including our current Executive Member for Planning and Community Engagement, Councillor Tony Vickers, gathered to establish what would become the driving force behind cycling progress in our district.

The group saw the potential for the forum to bring together policy, infrastructure delivery, and training and education to unite the vibrant cycling interest groups within the Council. This vision, in a nutshell, is exactly what has happened over the last 20 years!

The West Berkshire Cycle Forum's legacy has a multitude of achievements that have shaped the cycling landscape. It's difficult to summarise the achievements of 20 years but a few highlights are:

  • Most Improved Highway Authority at implementing Cycling Measures (2004): A reception at the Houses of Parliament, graced by then-MP David Rendel, witnessed the recognition of our remarkable contributions.
  • Year of Cycling in 2012: A milestone year that celebrated the spirit of cycling through a diverse selection of events and activities. From cycling treasure hunts to the epic 'Worlds End to John O'Gaunt' ride, BMX extravaganzas, and invaluable assistance with maintenance and security.
  • Introduction of Bikeability Cycle Training Program: A step that transformed cycling education in West Berkshire. In 2022/23 alone, an astounding 3,188 young people benefited from this program, further enhancing our commitment to nurturing future generations of cyclists.
  • Cycle Maps, Infrastructure Enhancements, and Parking Facilities: We established initiatives such as comprehensive cycle maps, vital infrastructure connections, and the expansion of secure and convenient cycle parking. Our contributions extended to shaping critical policies like the Local Transport Plan and the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).
  • The Eling Way Link: An aspiration of the forum, the Eling Way link between Hermitage and Hampstead Norreys, transformed the historic railway line to an attractive traffic-free route for cyclists, walkers, and horse riders, solidifying our dedication to a greener, more accessible West Berkshire.

Special mention must be made to West Berkshire SPOKES who have shown the highest dedication to the forum. They have taken on the support function of running the forum meetings in recent years, kept the momentum up, carried out the cycle counts that the Council needs to do several times a year, and been an advocate for engagement by encouraging others to get involved. 

Furthermore, a number of partners have also demonstrated their commitment to our shared vision over the years. Allow us to recognise a few among the many:

  • Newbury Road Club
  • Sustrans
  • Newbury VELO
  • Canal & River Trust
  • PAWS (Pangbourne and Whitchurch Sustainability Group)
  • Reading Cycle Campaign

The Council has consistently shown its dedication through the active participation of officers from various teams. These dedicated teams encompass Projects (engineers), road safety, countryside, rights of way, public health, and transport policy. Elected Councillors, including a Cycling Champion, have also played pivotal roles in our forum's evolution.

As forum members gathered to celebrate two decades of cycling excellence, Councillor Tony Vickers, Executive Member for Planning and Community Engagement at West Berkshire Council, said:

"This is a great milestone for the Cycle Forum which has seen a huge amount of dedication from its members over the years. We express our gratitude to every member, past and present, whose tireless efforts have enriched our community and propelled West Berkshire towards a brighter, more sustainable future."

Current Cycling Champion, Councillor Martin Colston, who was at the helm of the meeting last night (12 September), said:

"Developing infrastructure to make cycling safer is a long-term activity. When we look back over the last 20 years we can clearly see major progress in terms of building a network of cycleways.

"The safer people feel, the more likely they are to use a bicycle to get around. Using a bike for short journeys rather than a car saves money, reduces pollution and congestion, and improves health.

"I'm delighted to be able to champion the development of more cycling routes for the residents of West Berkshire so that more and more people will get on their bikes more often for local journeys."

If you would like to know more, or get involved in the Cycle Forum, you can do so via the contact form on the West Berkshire SPOKES webpage where you can also find information from past quarterly meetings.

The following have available for purchase, at low cost, reconditioned bikes:

We look forward to another two decades of cycling excellence in West Berkshire!


Photo (left to right): Clive Tombs, Cllr Tony Vickers, Jenny Graham, William Pitt (Chair of West Berkshire SPOKES), Cllr Nigel Foot, Alec Gore, Cllr Martin Colston

Last modified: 14 September 2023 11:14

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