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Beginners Boost for City’s Cycling Revolution

An underused concrete amphitheatre has been transformed into Liverpool’s first purpose-built children’s learn-to-ride facility.

A group of young children launched the “Mini-Roads” scheme today, in Everton Park, taking the first laps of a new cycle track, designed to imitate a realistic road lay out, with junctions and crossings.

The £380,000 scheme, funded by both Liverpool City Council, through its Active Travel fund and Section 106 monies, and British Cycling, via its Places to Ride scheme, is a half a kilometre long facility which aims to attract and encourage thousands of youngsters to get cycling.

Highways contractor Dowhigh Ltd has delivered the Mini-Roads scheme, working in close partnership with Cemex and Shell Construction and Road. This is the partnership’s first successful largescale application trial of Shell’s Bitumen CarbonSink, a new bio-component binder which locks carbon into asphalt to reduce the carbon footprint.

As well as new carbon-friendly asphalt and soft-play surfacing, the project will also involve the installation of railings, tables and benches to provide an all-year round community asset. These works will be completed by Autumn.

The new facility, which will focus primarily on children aged two-seven, is part of Liverpool City Council’s ambition to be a UNICEF child-friendly city. It is also a key element in the city council’s active travel and clean air strategies and will link up to the existing cycle network in the north of the city, to enable other cyclists to use the scheme.

As well as the Mini-Roads project, work on a new cycle lane to connect Everton Park to nearby routes has also been created, with the city council set to deliver a further six permanent new cycle lanes across Liverpool.

The new learn-to-ride facility will be publicly accessible, including for those with adaptive cycles.

The city council has joined forces with the not-for-profit community organisation Peloton Liverpool – which already operates the BMX track in Everton Park – to host and deliver a programme of cycle sessions at the facility over the next five years.

As part of the agreement, Peloton Liverpool will be provided with a container, workshop tools, balance bikes and associated accessories to host the cycling sessions.

Other key elements of Liverpool’s Active Travel programme this summer include:

Liverpool’s Active Travel programme is also currently delivering six new permanent corridors, with the design brief for a further upgrade to The Strand in the city centre set to go out to tender later this summer.

Cllr Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Transport and Connectivity, said:

“We want Liverpool to be a great cycling city, and to do that we need to provide facilities which encourage our youngsters to get on their bike and develop a life-long habit of enjoying being on two wheels.

“I’m delighted this Mini-Roads scheme has opened. It is going to provide a fantastic learning experience for our children to become confident riding around the city. This is a long-term investment which should benefit many thousands of children in the decade to come.

“As we all as this Mini-Roads facility, we’ve also connected Everton Park to the wider cycling network to further improve cycling options in north Liverpool.

“There’s more to do, which is why we’re investing in more cycle lanes, but the jigsaw pieces are beginning to fall into place and this will have a huge impact on people’s health and Liverpool’s air quality.”

Daniel Robinson, Managing Director of Peloton, said:

“The primary purpose of the Mini-Roads is to support the early learning for young riders and be useful and attractive to people that need a safer place to learn to ride, practice or build confidence.

“Alongside offering the general public a unique facility we’ve been working with local schools to develop fun and learning opportunities for primary school age children as well show them how a bike can be used for more than just fun.

“The Mini-Roads will be the best of its kind in the North West, reanimating a fantastic space, a facility worthy of Everton Park and it’s community. Thanks to Liverpool City Council and British Cycling for keeping this idea alive throughout the pandemic.”

Rob Pickering, North West Regional Manager from British Cycling, said:

“We’re delighted that British Cycling, as the National Governing Body for cycling in the UK, has been able to support and co-fund alongside Sport England’s Places to Ride fund and Liverpool City Council’s capital programme, this fantastic new learn to ride cycling facility at Everton Park.

“It is class leading and offers a significant new dimension to the facilities already offered in the park.

“The learn to ride facility will introduce many people, particularly children and young people, to cycling for the first time, help them learn to ride and experience the joy of cycling in a safe, off-road environment. It will hopefully allow them to make cycling a key part of their lives for many years to come.

“We’ve been delighted to work with the city and its stakeholders to bring this to reality.”

Scott Jones, Director Asphalt and Paving Solutions EMEA, Cemex, comments:

“Everton Park’s new cycle track surface features a ground-breaking technical carbon sink, creating a hard wearing asphalt road surface for thousands of future road users to enjoy for many years to come.

“With no compromise on quality or longevity, the new asphalt road is recyclable, and most of this carbon will not re-enter the atmosphere, even at the end of its life. Cemex is committed to reducing environmental impact by lowering the carbon footprint and increasing circularity
– Everton Park has provided the perfect opportunity to showcase our expertise in this field.”