Claire Critchison (CC) IWC Events Team
Will Downer (WD) Wight Mountain
Martin Gibson (MG) Natural Enterprise
Steve Goodman (SG) Cyclewight, Sustrans
Robin Lang (RL) National Trust
Alex Lawson (AL) Cyclewight & Wayfarers
Valerie Lawson (VGL) Cyclewight & Wayfarers
James Lord (JL) IW Mountain Bike Centre
Rachel Mills (RM) IWC Highways– Integrated Transport
Martin Pay (MP) Cyclewight, National Trust, Tandem Club
Tanja Rebel (TR) Orchards, Cyclewight
Malcolm Ross (MR) Cyclewight
Tim Thorne (TT) Cyclewight Chairman
Tracey Webb (TW) Road Safety Officer IW Fire & Rescue
Apologies were received from Cllr David Pugh, Cllr Edward Giles, Cllr John Hobart, Kevin Burton, Louise Gray, Jenifer Smith, Nick Farthing, Sue Hawley, Andy Newman, Mike Jordan, Martin Tig, Margaret & Alexander Hopkinson-Wolley.
Tim Thorne thanked Tracey Webb for providing the venue.
The IW Junior Cycle Club had over 100 participants in the Youth Criteria at the college and over 90 at Robin Hill.
The Wight Wheels Challenge had been expended for a week due to website problems.
TT IW Council are applying for Coastal Community Fund support for tourist related projects
2. Local Sustainable Transport Fund
As has been announced Rachel Mills and her department have been successful in this bid. The formal detailed offer from DfT will arrive next week, and funding in September. RM outlined the plans for routes as follows, although land ownership issues may intervene. Newport to Ryde. Newport to East Cowes. Newport to Sandown upgrade. Sandown to Wroxall. Brading to St Helens. St Helens to Ryde (maybe).
They would be working with Natural England to develop routes. One issue is long term sustainability and flood risk for example could be a factor in this.
The aim is to bring about economic development of the tourist sector: hence links to rail stations & ferries will be a priority.
The overall funding is £3.95 M, but the budget for capital works is £800K plus matching council money including section 106 money. Questioned by TR & SG, RM said there is some flexibility between capital & revenue budgets e.g. signage could be moved to infrastructure. She added that anyone could email her with route suggestions.
MR asked if the Brompton Hub as adopted by SW Trains could be included. RM said this was appropriate to commuting rather than tourism. Instead they were in touch with cycle hire companies on the Island. VGL pointed out that Bromptons could be taken on a bus. RM said that they were negotiating with Southern Vectis to remove seats on some services and to take bikes: but there were conditions to be met.
RM went on to explain that most Highways staff would transfer to the PFI provider when this gets underway, apart from a couple of staff including herself. New route proposals would be outside the provider remit. It is expected that a programme manager would approach the design section of the PFI provider to request a quotation, and the council may or may not take this up.
AL asked about the East Cowes to Newport plan. RM replied that the proposed route had turned out to be liable to flooding, and the alternatives involve engineering work and land ownership issues. They are consulting with Natural England and Sustrans. Schemes would be vetted by third parties in respect of value for money. MP noted that the Exemouth to Topsham cycle route crosses marsh areas on elevated beds.
MG complimented the bid team led by Rachel on their efforts, endorsed by all.
3. Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre
The IW Mountain Bike Centre is on Cheverton Farm owned by Andrew Hodgson. James Lord has been involved, and gave a progress report. Previous work by Bill Pewsey for the Island Games was followed up with the permanent mountain bike track. This has been built with regard to the existing farm features, by building bridges over field boundaries and careful location of gates.
The centre was opened to the public at an inaugural Six Hours of Hurt ride. This was very successful although promotion was deliberately limited. About 130 people entered, and were enthusiastic about the circuit. Improvements are now being planned, to be ready for an event in September. There is also a plan for a longer circuit using adjacent bridleways, which would not be used for the core race.
TW is considering a competitive event with Bikeability riders and asked what age limits apply. JL said normally riders are expected to be over 15, but could perhaps be over 13 when not in competition with adults.
JL said charges were £2 for a day of riding and £20 for a season pass. This pays for signage and other things. The community provides voluntary labour and the centre is not for profit. WD said they have Wight Mountain promotion signs (approved by AONB) and they sell passes at the shop in Newport.
TT said the IW centre was visited by a British Cycling officer, for licensing purposes, and was compared very favourably with similar centres on the mainland. He added that the Health Promotion department has put some funding into the centre.
RM said it might be possible for funding from revenue part of the LSTF to be committed to promotion as a tourist feature, especially if the bus company agreed to provide space for cycles on the route passing the centre. JL confirmed that car parking was possible but limited at the farmyard.
The web site is http://www.isleofwightmountainbikecentre.co.uk/
4. Cycle routes on National Trust land
National Trust Ranger Robin Lang outlined plans to create cycle routes on National Trust land at Mottistone Common and over Tennyson Down to the Needles. The Trust has recently developed an “Outdoor Vision” which recognises cycling as one way of enjoying the countryside in its care. At the same time there is a growing problem of cyclists using footpaths leading to conflict and complaints.
They would carry out work to clear and widen paths and to install gates and signage, making the paths suitable for for mixed use. The paths would become permissive cycle routes.
At Mottistone Common the proposed route on Trust land would link up with an existing bridleway from the Tennyson Trail, providing a through route to Strawberry Lane.
At Tennyson Down the proposed route would involve work to widen the path and to change or install gates allowing cycle passage. The route would avoid the public footpaths from Freshwater Bay onto the down, by making use of existing bridleways. It is hoped that suitable gates and no cycling signs together with an alternative route provided for cycling will be effective.
RL asked for input from the Cycle Forum regarding the plans. Have they got it right and are there any suggestions? They are also consulting IWC RoW, Ramblers, Equestrians, Parish Councils and local residents. Martin Pay who is on the National Trust IW Committee was present at the Forum.
RM said the 1984 Rights of Way Act may soon be repealed, making it easier to apply permissive status.
VGL said very simple signage was needed to indicate shared use and alleviate conflict. MP said National Trust rules would have to be considered.
TT said the IWC Highways leaflet Bikes Boots and Hooves was produced to give guidance for multi-use paths. RM said she would locate stocks of the leaflet and make it available to Wight Mountain and Bikeability.
MG said individuals from whatever group who cause problems, but he thought most cyclists considerate.
VGL said a map of IW bridleways was needed. WD said that Wight Mountain are often asked for information, and they had done some work several years ago. TT said at Wight Cycle Hire they act as an unofficial tourist information bureaux.
RL elaborated on the details at Mottistone and said they needed advice, perhaps from Sustrans, and practical help on the ground. RM said the IW Beacon could be used to ask for help. AL said the Cyclewight web site could also ask for help.
Tracey Webb, Senior Road Safety Officer with Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue explained the role to provide cycle training particularly to schools. The service bid to DfT for funding was successful, and they hope to handle at least 300 each year for three years. Fire-fighting staff have been trained as instructors by British Cycling, and year 6 schoolchildren have been through the course. There has been a good take up and a good relationship between the schoolchildren and firemen. They also do training outside schools and over the summer holidays, and she hopes to organise more events at Cheverton Farm.
Initially only fire service personnel were used as instructors as there was no mechanism to reimburse outsiders. However British Cycling found that the firemen became excellent instructors and will encourage other fire services to follow suite.
The course starts in the playgound at level 1 with basic cling ability, starting & stopping, plus checking bike condition. At level 2 on the road the course covers signalling, junctions, road positioning etc.
Level 3 includes traffic light, roundabouts etc. & is more aimed at adults.
In answer to VGL, TW confirmed they have the whole Road Safety remit, and discussion followed about driver behaviour. MP expressed the view that few drivers read the Highway Code once they qualify.
TW will be on the local radio Breakfast Show some time next week.
6. Cycle Festival
Claire Critchison gave an update on the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival, to be held on 22 to 30 September 2012. There will be 60 events in 9 days including a four hour enduro at the Mountain Bike Centre. There will be smoothie bikes provided by Incredible Edible Wight Food.
Several cycling magazines will do advance features including Cycling World. The Programme is being printed and will be circulated shortly.
7. Wayfarers' Randonnée
TT said 1700 riders participated despite poor weather. A lot of money was raised for charity, both by riders and at the checkpoints organising refreshments. There were complaints received regarding loose stones on the route. Blackgang was a concern because of the poor state of the roundabout. It was repaired, to a very high standard but was only finished on the Friday leading to real concern to the organising committee of the Wayfarers. Vectis Roads who also held an event over the same weekend had also raised their concern with highways. The Cowes Chain Ferry was also an issue, although it was run on the day with no cars due to staff problems.
VGL said the popularity of the event and increasing numbers each year were a safety concern. The anti- clockwise circuit next year could see 700 cyclists crossing in 2 hours.
TT said the West Wight Sportif was able to have roads closed for their event, and discounted travel from the ferry companies. The Wayfarers have asked about discounted travel and had a negative response. MP said however that local hotels may have guaranteed funding to make these arrangements.
RM said she would help to contact people within the council regarding arrangements for the Randonnée.
8. Any Other Business
TT said the Mountbatten Hospice were looking for marshals for an event the next Sunday 1 July.
SG said there was a talk by Canadian environmentalist on Wednesday 4 July at the Riverside.
9. Date of next meeting
Wednesday 10th October 2012 6pm, Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service HQ