Peace Plus is an EU funding project that despite Brexit still provides funding to Northern Ireland. Bangor currently has a cycling-related project under consideration that is worthy of our support.
The Bangor Cycle Park is a proposal to convert the underused Sportsplex site (owned by ANDBC) into a world-class cycling training facility. The site will include
· A Learn-to-Ride area to teach riders of all ages how to ride a bicycle, leading to their passing a Cycling Proficiency/Bikeability Test.
· An Inclusive Cycling Area providing a safe area for riders of all abilities to ride their bikes, whether they are young and inexperienced, visually impaired or disabled, relying on cycling on a trike.
· An asphalt pump track which would provide a stepping stone for riders keen to improve their bike-handling skills
· A community bike workshop: Community Cycle Hubs are a well-established social enterprise model in GB, offering cycle repair services, maintenance courses and cycle training. They have proven to be particularly successful as a diversionary activity to prevent Anti-Social Behaviour.They are an invaluable source of advice and information about cycling and bikes, including local cycle routes and maps, news about locally led rides and cycling opportunities and advice on bike parts and maintenance and serve as an ideal place where anyone can meet new friends and share/learn skills and are particularly popular with older people.
The proposal will utilise currently underused spaces within the former landfill site and transform them through the installation of
· Cross-country trails around the perimeter of the site that allow riders of all ages to ride safely without having to worry about traffic.
· A National Standard BMX race track that already has Cycling Ulster support and would elevate the site to the cycling equivalent of the Olympic-size pool at the Aurora Leisure Centre. The BMX track provides an opportunity for kids of varying community backgrounds to meet through a shared interest.
One of the biggest benefits of this project is that everybody can use the space, regardless of age, ability, demographic, community, race, religion or gender. Bangor Cycle Path will cater to keen cycling enthusiasts seeking competition just as much as to someone wanting to try leisure cycling for fitness or transport, and to those simply seeking some fun. It will be a place to learn new skills, get exercise and meet new people. The potential health-benefits for everyone are huge, regardless of community background, age, gender, or ability.
The facilities have been selected to appeal to the broadest range possible, from a 2-year-old on a balance bike to an elite level athlete aspiring to compete at the Commonwealth or Olympic Games. In addition, they cater to adults of all abilities who simply wish to develop their cycling skills in a safe environment. There truly is something for everyone at Bangor Cycle Park. People from all communities come together as volunteers in the café, bike workshop or helping run coaching session - creating a community space in which to meet new people and learn new skills. The community workshop will refurbish and sell/donate low cost bicycles to the community - ensuring access to safe, affordable cycling to many.
Please contact your local Councillors (some of whom are on the Peace Plus committee that makes the final decision in the next couple of weeks) and MLAs and ask them to support this visonary project. Click on the links to find your representatives. Please share this post on social media. Together we can get this fantastic proposal over the line!