From beginners to Olympic stars of the future – a fantastic new cycling circuit in Middlesbrough is set to get people of all abilities on their bikes.
The Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit, based at Prissick Sports Hub off Marton Road, has officially been opened on Tuesday, March 15 by the Mayor of Middlesbrough Ray Mallon.
Following the cutting of the ribbon, cyclists, including students from Ormesby School, set off on an inaugural lap of the circuit.
Beginner, recreational, club or elite cyclists will be able to use the 1km enclosed circuit and enjoy the thrill of cycling on a safe, purpose built circuit.
As well as being a safe environment for beginning and novice cyclists British Cycling hope the track will unearth champions of the future to follow in the tyre tracks of Middlesbrough cycling stars David Daniell and Chris Newton.
The track is a tarmac surface six metres wide, widening out to eight metres on the home straight. It is fenced, lit with street lighting and there is a clubhouse.
The project, which cost £700,000, has been funded by the Middlesbrough Healthy Town programme, British Cycling, and NHS Middlesbrough.
The circuit will be available for both casual use or for hire by groups or clubs.
Mayor Ray Mallon said: “As a town we are all about getting more people more active and helping them to live longer, happier and healthier lives.
“The Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit is a great new facility to help us achieve that.
“This facility is for everyone and I look forward to seeing people of all ages and all abilities using it for many years to come.”
Ian Drake, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, said: “The new facility in Middlesbrough looks fantastic and it is another example of the numerous efforts we have made to develop excellent modern cycling facilities across the UK.
“This excellent circuit will provide people of all ages and abilities an opportunity to enjoy cycling in a safe, controlled and traffic free environment - from supporting the growth of our sport at the grassroots and helping us develop future cycling stars.”
Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “The Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit is a major legacy of the Middlesbrough Healthy Town programme which has engaged thousands of people over the past two years in a wide variety of ways to help them live healthier lives.
“I am thrilled that Middlesbrough has this facility and urge people to come down and try it out and get involved in cycling. It is a huge amount of fun as well as being great exercise.”
The Circuit will become a focal point for cycling activity. This includes being part of British Cycling’s new National Women’s Cycling Network which aims to get more women cycling. The fun, recreational group bike rides will be led by women for women.
The three year programme will see women trained at Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit to become local champions and ride leaders and will aim to increase significantly the number of women cycling every week.
A new recreational cycling club, the Tees Valley Riders will also be based at the circuit. The club was developed with help from British Cycling by Middlesbrough Sky Ride participants last year who wanted to keep riding together after the Sky Ride local ride programme ended in November.
The Sky Ride local rides are also returning to Middlesbrough on Sundays throughout the summer. For more info go to www.goskyride.com
Parents 4 Change, a group working to support families with children with disabilities in Middlesbrough, has contributed £50,000 of ‘Aiming High’ funding to buy inclusive cycles for use on the facility. These cycles will be available for hire to families and carers with children and young people with disabilities.
Middlesbrough was awarded Healthy Town status by the Government in December 2008 and secured £9m of funding to help reduce obesity and increase physically activity and healthy lifestyles in Middlesbrough.