Pedal power puts the Peak on tourist maps

BBC Breakfast reporter Jenny Hill interviews David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, on the Monsal Trail. Photo contributed.

BBC Breakfast reporter Jenny Hill interviews David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, on the Monsal Trail. Photo contributed.

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Cycling has cruised into top gear in the Peak District and Derbyshire – where a chain of eco-friendly initiatives is encouraging people of all ages and abilities to take to two wheels.

The reopening of four former railway tunnels on the traffic-free Monsal Trail, nine new circular cycling routes and the launch of the Electric Bicycle Network – the first of its kind in the UK – are transforming the area into a pedalling paradise.

And its emerging role as a superb location to cycle has been showcased on BBC Breakfast, BBC 1’s morning news programme, which regularly attracts around seven million viewers per day.

David James, Chief Executive of official tourist board Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, was interviewed about electric bicycles and the current and potential contribution of cycling to tourism and the area’s economy by BBC Breakfast reporter Jenny Hill on Friday.

“We’re keen to spread the word that cycling is for everyone – from children on their first bike to adults who’ve never sat in the saddle, but are keen to have a go - and Jenny’s report on breakfast television certainly reinforced our message,” said David.

“This week’s reopening of four railway tunnels on the Monsal Trail is great news for cyclists, walkers and horse riders, reinstating some stunning views that were lost when the former Midland Railway line closed more than 40 years ago.

“And electric bicycles offer visitors an active, stress-free way of enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Not only do they promote health and well-being, they’re also environmentally-friendly – so will be a key element in our quest to promote sustainable travel and tourism through initiatives that help to tackle traffic congestion and pollution.”

Visit Peak District & Derbyshire has been working in partnership with the Peak District National Park Authority to promote cycling as part of the £2.25 million Pedal Peak District project, funded by the Department for Transport.

A new leaflet, Pedal the Peak District, highlights nine cycle-friendly routes across the area, from Hathersage in the north to Ashbourne in the south.

Printed copies are available from tourist information centres, or individual routes can be downloaded from the tourist board’s website at www.visitpeakdistrict.com/cycleroutes.

Electric bicycles can now be hired and charged up at a comprehensive network of points throughout the Peak District.

Added Mr James: “The Peak District and Derbyshire offers some of the best traffic-free cycling in the country – not only on former railway routes such as the Monsal, Tissington and High Peak Trails, but also in other, perhaps less well-known areas, such as the Transpennine Trail in Longdendale, the Five Pits Trail in north east Derbyshire, the Manifold Trail in the Staffordshire Moorlands and also in the National Forest, further south.”