Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, has opened a new family cycle centre at a former athletics track in the south of the city.
The ageing Whitchurch Stadium athletics track, once used by Olympic gold medallist sprinter Jason Gardener, has not been used since it was condemned in 2003.
But now the track is all set for its new beginning as a Family Cycling Centre, thanks to £400,000 of funding from the Department for Transport.
The centre in Bamfield, Whitchurch, which opened on Saturday 14 May, will provide families with a large off-road cycling space to perfect their skills and abilities, regardless of age, ability, or access needs.
A series of BMX stunt shows by Guinness World Record holder Matti Hemmings was among the highlights at the opening. There were plenty of cycling activities and games for the whole family, including inclusive cycling with All Abilities, Wheels 4 All Bikes, Bikeability training, Heart Health Rides and bike sales, the Ape Project’s children’s bike exchange and free bike checks with Dr Bike courtesy of the Bristol Bike Project and Lifecycle UK.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Supporting and investing in cycling is a key priority and helping to boost cycling skills across the city is an important part of this.
“I want Bristol to be an environmentally responsible city, which leads on tackling climate change, and a city that people can get around - cycling is an essential piece of this jigsaw which also benefits people’s health.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
The centre is being developed to help children and families discover the joys of cycling and will incorporate the existing all abilities facility, which has been operating from St Agnes Park in St Pauls.
It will be used for Bikeability training, which is the cycling proficiency test for the 21st century, designed to give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today’s roads. Training is organised through schools and youngsters are eligible for free sessions paid for by the city council.
The centre will have the capacity to provide a similar level of training for adults to help them develop their skills and rediscover the joys of cycling.
Much of the work to clear the site was undertaken by the council’s landscapes team, who recruited offenders completing community service.Community Payback teams from Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company (BGSW CRC) started working with the council at the old track in January.
Teams of six to eight service users were on site three times a week, clearing huge amounts of rubbish, fly-tipping and overgrown greenery from the area to bring it back to some of its former glory.