South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes wants to see Spalding a “capital of cycling”.
The town’s cycle action group is confident its ambition for better promotion of cycling and its benefits will be heard in the corridors of power, following a meeting at the South Holland Centre last Friday.
Mr Hayes was at PEDALS’ forum entitled Shifting Cycling Up A Gear in Spalding and says he will report back to Westminster.
Representatives of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, Spalding Cycling Club, Lincolnshire County Council, South Holland District Council and Lincolnshire Police joined PEDALS members for three hours of talks.
Leading PEDALS member Roger Smith felt positive and hopes the forum could lead to some traction with better promotion of the environmental and health benefits of cycling.
He said: “We have learned from each other about activities which are going on and how we can move the agenda on.
“We also learned that it’s a matter of changing attitudes – we need a more pro-cycling mindset and to encourage people away from using the car for every journey.”
Mr Smith was keen to dismiss the myth that PEDALS has a dislike of cars and motorists, and insisted that the group’s aim was “not just about providing cycle routes”.
He added: “It’s about how we can work together for the benefit of cycling.
“One highlight for me personally is finding out how much Spalding Cycling Club is doing on the sport and leisure fronts of cycling.”
He was disappointed that the government has cut funding to Sustrans – “a catalyst for making things happen”.
Friday’s forum was set up to draw upon a statement by the Prime Minister last summer.
David Cameron said: “This government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle, as well as encouraging far more people to take it up, and businesses, local government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this.”
Mr Hayes, a Minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office, told the Voice that he had been impressed by the forum and wanted to make it an annual event.
“This government has put more resources into cycling than any of its predecessors and this Prime Minister is one of the few in modern times who is a regular cyclist,” he said. “As a local MP what I have learned today is just how much is being done by PEDALS, by Spalding Cycling Club and the local authorities.
“The challenges are that it is communicated well and is co-ordinated. It needs a holistic approach to how we treat cycling, with the agencies and authorities working together.
“So what I suggested is that we should do this annually. I’m going to take back to the government what was discussed at the forum and I hope to be able to make Spalding a capital of cycling.”
Mr Hayes had found that one of the many benefits of cycling is “a greater appreciation” of our environment.