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Lovers in a spin over Valentine’s bike ride

Two is the magic number for any romantic and as far as north Down’s cycling community goes, their wheels were the object of their affections as they gathered for the Friends of the Earth Valentine’s Weekend Love Your Bike event last Saturday.

More than 20 people used pedal power to travel to Bangor Bus and Rail Station and then embarked upon a mass cycle around the town for the event, in the hopes that the town would get the BF message – Bike Friendly rather than Best Friend, that is.

The mass cycle ended at Bikeworks Balloo for the launch of the North Down Cycling Manifesto. Organised by Friends of the Earth North Down & Ards group and supported by Sustrans, the event attracted a lot of attention from Saturday shoppers and motorists alike.

Friends of the Earth activist and Sustrans Cycling Ranger Andrew Muir stated: “It was great to see so many cyclists on Saturday determined to put the wheels in motion towards a bicycle friendly borough. Young and old, male and female, everyone was firmly committed to ensuring North Down becomes a place where more and more people can safely Love their Bike as the quick, cheap, convenient, healthy and environmentally friendly way to get from A to B.

He said the group presented its eight point cycling manifesto on arrival at Bikeworks. “People were enthused about the prospects of a borough which better serves the needs of cyclists and agreed to take forward each of the points with future mass cycle rides planned to put cycling higher up the agenda of decision makers.”

The manifesto calls for:

Upgrade of the final section of the coastal path to link to the National Cycle Network, Titanic Quarter and Belfast city centre

Creation and signposting of a North Down Cycling Network incorporating roads, North Down coastal path, Ulster Way, parks, rights of way plus bus and rail services benefits both walkers and cyclists alike.

Provision of tourist cycle hire scheme at Tower House, Bangor

Education and awareness raising programme directed at the general public promoting the benefits associated with cycling

Safer cycling in North Down through improved awareness of key issues by all road users including motorists and cyclists

Relaxing of no cycling bylaws

Increased and improved secure cycle parking facilities in Bangor and Holywood town centres

Cycle path markings along A2 dual carriageway from |Groomsport to Belfast

Belfast Telegraph