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Darlington sees increase in people taking up cycling
More people are using bikes in Darlington
More people are using bikes in Darlington

In 2005 Darlington became a "Cycling Demonstration Town", one of just six throughout England.

It meant that the town benefited from a pot of £10 million to encourage locals to ditch their cars and pick up a bike instead.

Money was spent on increasing numbers of cycle routes and persuading children that cycling is fun.

And with an increase of 27% more bike journeys being made, it has been hailed as a success.

BBC Tees' Jonathan Swingler has been meeting the locals to see if they've noticed a difference...

Darlington does have traffic problems - you notice this when you get stuck in the slow sludge that is rush hour here.

It is not uncommon to find yourself staring enviously at a cyclist as they race past at what seems like an obscene speed. This is a town that can at times look like London as we slowly crawl around the roads.

When Darlington became a "Cycling Demonstration Town", money was spent on doubling the amount of cycle routes, and putting on world champion mountain bikers displays to encourage children to take up bike riding.

A few years ago less than 1% of all journeys were made by cyclists in Darlington, so new claims of a jump up to 27% should be quite a big deal, and something you'd notice.

Stewart Clark and Lee Robson are two men who are obsessive about cycling. Lee is a builder who sold off his car so he could save money. Stewart is not working at the moment and the pair of them built their own bikes from parts they could get their hands on.

Lee says: "There's not really a lot of people who use bikes in the town. There's too many cars we think".

The pair have even approached the police and asked them whether they can have the bikes that come into their possession. Such is their enthusiasm for getting others onto two wheels that they want to fix those bicycles up and give them away for free.

Stewart says: "On an average day we only see about 20 people on bikes. That's at the most. That's on a good day."

Cycling England are pleased with the progress they have made. But there is still a Catch 22, because there is so much traffic here many people are being put off from using a bicycle and using their car instead.

Work starts on town's cycle plan
06 Dec 06 |  England
Views sought on town cycle trial
31 Oct 08 |  England
Cars dropped in favour of cycling
18 Mar 07 |  England


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