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Gravesham cycle forum gets into gear

By Chris Hunter

Fancy being among the leading pack of champion riders guiding Gravesham towards a greener and fitter future?

Gravesham’s new cycle forum is set to be established on Monday September 11, and anyone interested is invited to help found the group and make Gravesham a better place for cycling.

And you don’t need to be a lycra-clad fitness obsessive with designs on Olympic gold to help out. Organiser James Willis said he was looking for champions for the cause, rather than champions likely win the Tour de France, although he probably wouldn’t turn a yellow jersey winner away.

The launch of Gravesham cycle forum. Left-right: Cllr James Willis, Peter Willis - Sustrans Ranger, Alex Hills - Gravesend Rep for Campaign for Protection of Rural England, Cllr John Knight - cabinet member for public protection.

“It’s a group of people of people who are interested in the health benefits and community benefits of cycling,” said Cllr Willis (Lib Dem), who has previously set up a similar forum in Maidstone. “What we do in Maidstone is help provide policy to encourage cycling - cycle paths and things like that to help reduce traffic on the road.
“There’s government funding for cycling - really for the health benefits.”

Cllr Willis himself grew up without a family car as a child, and says many more could get used to cycling everywhere with the right help.

He wants the group to be a “cross-party initiative” and involve organisations and individuals who are simply interested in promoting cycling.

So far the team includes Cllr John Knight (Con), Alex Hills from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and Sustrans volunteer Peter Willis - who is also Cllr Willis’ dad - but more members are needed.

Anyone interested should attend the meeting on Monday at the Cyclopark, just off the A2 at Gravesend, at 7.30pm, when a committee will be elected.

Cllr Willis said “all and sundry” were welcome, adding: “Come along. If you’re interested in cycling - either cycling for pleasure of cycling for the community benefits - just come along.

“We’re knocking on an open door because there’s government funding available for this. Let’s get that money and spend it on the right things.”

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