The first All Party Group of MPs in the Welsh Assembly is to be the All Party Cycling Group mirrored on the MPs cycling group at the Houses of Parliament

Bikes to basics

The All Party Cycling Group will meet for the first time this evening when it will receive a letter from its Westminster counterpart stressing the importance of cycling.

Assembly Members Jane Davidson, Deputy Presiding Officer for the Welsh Assembly, Michael German, Liberal Democrat leader, Plaid Cymru representative Phil Williams and Conservative Peter Rogers will be at the launch at Crickhowell House, the National Assembly building in Cardiff Bay.

The Welsh Groups priority will be to encourage cycling, improve safety for cyclists on Welsh roads and increase the number of novice cyclists. They will also be urged to examine the volume of highways traffic and consider more sustainable forms of transport.

Jane Davidson, a regular cyclist, will host the launch. She said: "As someone who has ridden the same bike for 20 years and who still rides regularly with my family, I am particularly keen to support this initiative.

"We will be encouraging people to appreciate the advantages and benefits of cycling. I am delighted to be hosting the launch."

(Somebody please give her a new bike, still using a 20 year old machine isnt good for new bike sales!)

The CTC was instrumental in setting up the All Party Group which will also work with the Welsh Cycling Union (WCU), the Welsh Cycling Association, Sustrans and the Cardiff Cycling Campaign.

The environmental trust, Groundwork Wales, the Wales Tourist Board and the Sports Council for Wales will be represented at todays launch.

Jake Griffiths, CTC and WCU Researcher, said: "This group has been set up help meet the targets of the National Cycling Strategy and promote cycling but also improve the environment as a whole so that we have a better Wales for all.

"It is excellent that we will be given a strong voice and that our views will be taken on board. With the Assembly Members involved being cyclists we are confident that pressing issues can be resolved."

The All Party Group is to meet four times a year. A National Assembly Cycle Ride is planned and will coincide with Bike to Work Day on June 20, which is part of the 4,000-event Millennium Festival of Cycling. It will follow the official opening of the first 5,000 miles of the National Cycling Network the day before.

Griffiths said: "Until recently cyclists have been given little consideration by local authorities but that is changing. The Assembly is allocating more money to cycling and some authorities are now starting to come forward to ask for money for cycling projects."

Ben Hamilton-Baillie of Sustrans said: "Wales is now beginning to set the pace of the development of safe routes to cycle and the emerging National Cycle Network.

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