Thursday, 11 June 2015

Morecambe Bay hosts four-day bicycle extravaganza



Morecambe Bay is hosting a four-day bicycle extravaganza from today, 11th June until 14th June, to celebrate the opening of a new long distance cycle route around the Bay.

People of all ages and abilities have been on their bikes to join an inaugural ride of the route from Walney Island today, Thursday 11th June. The Bay Cycle Way then goes through the Furness Peninsula and South Lakeland, and crosses into Lancashire for the final leg of the journey on Sunday.

There will be a free musical led ride on the final stretch of the journey, from Lancaster’s Millennium Bridge to Glasson Dock at 2.00pm on Sunday 14 June (arrive earlier to ‘bling your bike’). This will be followed by a free family fun bicycle-themed celebration at Glasson Dock (1.30-5.00pm, 14th June) to welcome the riders at the end of their journey, including live music, street theatre, face painting, balloon modelling, clown bikes and storytelling.

Around 40 people will cycle the first ride of the 80 mile full route, over four days, and many more will join for local led rides and activities along the route. The new path includes many traffic-free sections and is aimed at families and leisure cyclists who want to go at their own pace to explore the distinctive culture, wildlife and food of the area. As well as traversing along serene open views of Morecambe Bay, the route winds its way past tourist attractions such as Conishead Priory, Morecambe’s art deco hotel The Midland, sticky toffee pudding capital Cartmel, Birkrigg stone circle, Gleaston Water Mill and the RSPB’s wildlife haven at Leighton Moss.

Members of the public are invited to join the ride as it progresses around the Bay – more information about start locations and signing up for free can be found at www.sustrans.org.uk/events/four-day-morecambe-bay-cycle-way-ride

Janet Barton of Morecambe Bay Partnership said: “The launch of the Bay Cycle Way is a really exciting development for the Morecambe Bay area. Visitors to the area will be able to experience the many wonders of this special place at a relaxed pace, taking in stunning views and sampling local produce and hospitality.

"Bringing cycling tourists to the Bay area will help to support and strengthen our visitor economy, creating and safeguarding jobs.”

Sustrans’ Cumbria Area Manager Nikki Wingfield said: “Morecambe Bay is a unique landscape famous for its fascinating history, unique food, and rare wildlife and we want to celebrate this with a four-day series of events to launch our new cycle path. This is a great chance to explore the hidden secret assets of the Bay slowly, at your own pace, and join in with one of the many activities and rides along the 130-km route.”

In the spirit of slow tourism the route is designed to encourage cyclists to take their time and stop to drink in the awesome views, sample mouthwatering food and see the Bay’s history and heritage come alive. Visitors will travel past stunning views and headlands across the Bay, with a chance to detour to see the stunning ruins of Furness Abbey, pause to watch wildlife such as the seals at Walney, or get a glimpse of rare birds like ospreys or avocet. A series of loops and spurs off the route, which take in even more of this special area, are also in early stages of development.

The Bay Cycle Way has been made possible with funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund. It is developed by Morecambe Bay Partnership and is the latest addition to Sustrans’ National Cycle Network - over 14,000 miles of cycle and walking routes across the country. The launch event is part of activities across the country to mark the Network’s 20th anniversary.

The Bay Cycle Way is the latest addition to Sustrans’ National Cycle Network – over 14,000 miles of cycle and walking routes across the country. The launch event is part of activities across the country to mark the Network’s 20th anniversary.

The signed path will link existing traffic-free routes and quiet lanes and lead visitors through the distinctive culture, wildlife and food of the area, including Gleaston Water Mill, Ulverston, Humphrey Head, Grange–over-Sands, Levens Hall, Arnside, Carnforth, Morecambe, and Lancaster. The route can be done either in stages as day trips or as part of a longer visit that will uncover the secrets of the Bay’s stunning land and seascape in an inspiring natural environment.

Morecambe Bay Partnership is a small orgainsation making big things happen in the Morecambe Bay area. We are a place based organisation with the aim of recognising and celebrating the Bay’s special heritage, and securing resources that will bring jobs and growth to the area. We aim to secure £10m of investment that will create or safeguard over 8,000 jobs, increasing visitor numbers by 3% equating to an increase in the visitor economy of Morecambe Bay of £15m by 2016.

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. They want to see a safer school run and believe that every child has the right to walk, cycle or scoot to school. To bring about this change, they're pushing for the government to make dedicated funding available, commit to lower traffic speeds, and transform local walking and cycling routes. Join the campaign at www.sustrans.org.uk/saferstreets

• For more information about the celebration event or the Bay Cycle Way visit www.morecambebay.org.uk

• For more information about the National Cycle Network and Sustrans visit www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/national-cycle-network


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