Surging number of adults taking to two wheels, as Norwich places in top 10 cycling cities

Cyclists ride together at Heartsease Recreation Ground to celebrate the improvements to the Norwich

Cyclists ride together at Heartsease Recreation Ground to celebrate the improvements to the Norwich cycle network. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Cycling has today been hailed as 'the new rock'n'roll' as figures show that surging numbers of adults in the region are taking to two wheels.

The recent visits of the Tour of Britain, which saw delighted crowds cheering on cyclists as they journeyed through Norfolk, have been hailed as helping inspire people to saddle up.

And Olympic cyclists such as Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Becky James and Mark Cavendish, who have thrilled with their medal success in Rio could inspire even more to switch to pedal power.

The organisers of this weekend's Tour de Broads say cycling is 'the new rock'n'roll' and Norwich sits in the top 10 of adults cycling at least once a month,

More than a quarter (26.1pc) ride at least once a month, while the city has climbed from 11th to fifth in the country for people cycling five times a week.

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According to the Department for Transport figures for 2014/15, 8.1pc of adults in the city cycle that regularly, up from 5.4pc for the previous 12 months.

But the surge to saddle up is most pronounced in south Norfolk, which had the highest annual cycling increase in England in the percentage of adults cycling at least once a month. It soared by 10.6pc, up from 14.6pc in 2013/14 to 25.2pc in 2014/15.

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South Norfolk councillor Clayton Hudson, cabinet member for stronger communities and leisure said: 'This is fantastic news and a great achievement for our district. The health and well-being of our residents is a priority for South Norfolk Council and we are working hard to encourage cycling in the district.

'The council has brought the men's professional cycling Tour of Britain to South Norfolk since 2011 and this year the Women's Tour travelled through the district for the first time.'

Across Norfolk as a whole, 18.2pc of adults cycled at least once a month, higher than Suffolk's 16.2pc, but lagging behind Cambridgeshire's 28.3pc.

Just under 13pc of adults in Norfolk cycled at least once a week, compared to 10.8pc in Suffolk and 21.5pc in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridge skews the Cambridgeshire figures, where a whopping 51.9pc of people in the city cycle at least once a week, but Norwich City Council is hoping the multi-million pound Push The Pedalway scheme will improve the city's figures further in future years.

Changes, some of them controversial, have been made to the Norwich cycle network following two successful grant applications to the Department for Transport's Cycle City Ambition fund.

The first wave of the project saw work begin on £5.7m of improvements to Norwich's eight-mile pink pedalway, which crosses the city from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia, through the city centre, to Heartsease and Broadland.

The second wave of funding secured further £8.4m of funding to make further improvements to cycle routes across the city.

Two of the other seven cycle routes to benefit from this grant include the yellow pedalway between Norwich International Airport and Lakenham and the blue pedalway from Sprowston to Wymondham.

Hilary Cox, Norfolk County Council's member champion for cycling and walking said: 'It's great to see more and more people getting around the city by bike.

'Bit by bit, I'm sure we'll see Norwich raise its status even further as one of the country's top cycling cities.'

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email

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