The Chair of CycleWight, Tim Thorne, outlined the past year's activities including the Mince Pie Ride and the Group's participation in the new-look Cycle Forum. Although the first three meetings were disappointing, the latest one provided a good discussion about the challenges ahead for cycling, especially that Sue Cracknell's post as IW Council Cycling Officer is about to be cut.
Will Ainslie spoke about the Wight Wheels Cycle Challenge in July which brought 57 employers of all sizes of business to encourage 838 employees to get on a bike for a minimum of 10 minutes over 3 weeks. Will had great support from Island Bike Shops and in 2011 it will be bigger and better and will take place from May 7th to May 27th. The website is http://www.wightwheelschallenge.org.uk/ and you can contact Will at firstname.lastname@example.org - tel 294014.
Next year's Randonee will be on Sunday May 1st (over 2000 participated this year).
One achievement for CycleWight was the efforts to stop the proposed 3 month closure of the Newport to Cowes Cycleway by mobilising enough pressure from members to the powers-in-charge.
Sue Cracknell spoke of the importance of the Local Access Forum and the fact that there was no cycling representation at the moment. National Bike Week will be in June and it is hoped that a cycling fund-raising event for the IW Hospice will take place then.
Tim then raised the subject of the changing role of Local Government and the need for CycleWight to be more pro-active in promoting improvements to the cycling infrastructure. Martin Gibson who works for Natural Enterprise and as a Fundraiser described the work he was doing with the Parish Councils identifying enhanced cycling facilities ( eg Brading and the link to St Helens and Bembridge and with Shanklin Town Council and the Shanklin to Wroxall track) and finding alternative funding sources. The cross Newport route can be funded from Section 106 money. The evidence was clear for the growing numbers of cyclists on the Island and mention was made of the 400 CTC members on I.W. CycleWight would need to become more pro-active and pragmatic.
Two important consultation documents were flagged up.
a) The IW Council's Core Strategy - comments are needed by 10th December. You can find out about it here: http://www.iwight.com/living_here/planning/Planning_Policy/Island_Plan/Core_Strategy/
b) The Island Transport Plan will be the subject of a 12 week consultation period from 12th November to 4th February 2011. Find details here: http://www.iwight.com/living_here/environment/Transport_Strategies/LTP3/default.asp
A more formal constitution for CycleWight and links with CTC was widely discussed and the CycleWight committee will be meeting soon to progress these topics.