The chairman of Salford Cycle Club says the attitude of motorists in the city is a barrier to increased participation in the sport.
The group has recently introduced Cyclocross – a form of competitive biking, with a bike with thinner tyres that is easier for dismounting on rough terrain – and time-trialling to attract new members.
Chairman Martin Ince said: “Sadly there are a number of reasons why cycling in general has not taken off in Salford yet, but a major point would have to be many motorists’ attitude towards cyclists when it comes to sharing the road.
“So often as cyclists we are still met with animosity from motorists and these attitudes mean that for many cycling on the roads is still seen as too dangerous an activity.
“I personally feel a real cultural change is needed before we really see a major increase in participation in the sport. This is a real shame given not just the health benefits cycling can provide but also the positive effects on our environment on the whole.”
The club was established in 2015 “as a way for like minded cyclists in the local area to meet up and ride together socially.”
The club is also welcome to all genders, although the age limit is restricted to 18.
“We do have a number of female members across a wide range of ability levels. We as a club are always looking for ways to increase participation by all genders as part of our vision for creating an inclusive club.”
According to cyclinguk.org, 1.0% of the UK road traffic is made up of cyclists, with the vast majority being cars and taxis that equates to 76.9%
Martin praised Salford for its facilities for both lone cyclists and clubs: “Salford itself has a number of great off-road cycle areas- the looplines being a great example which is absolutely fantastic, however the roads around Salford itself do tend to be quite busy.”
After shocking revelations in adult obesity rates in 2016 stated that 40% or more adults in Salford are at stage 3 obesity, Martin says it is important to keep the city fit.
“With increasing traffic and the dire state of our environment encouraging people to get out and active is such an important thing.
“Cycling is great for keeping fit and is a great way to do low impact exercise which is obviously great for our health.”
“We find most people live within the local area as it makes it easier to stay involved with club rides. There is absolutely nothing stopping people from further afield from joining in, but often there are more convenient clubs people can ride with.”
What would Martin say to those thinking of joining the club? “I would say simply – come along and give it a go!
“We absolutely do not require you to have a flash bike or be the next Chris Froome, all you need to get involved is a working bike and to be able to ride about 30-40 miles (with a coffee break in the middle) at about 12 miles an hour.”