Pedal power is fast turning Preston’s award-winning Guild Wheel into one of the city’s biggest attractions.
New figures show almost 100,000 cyclists a year are now using the 21-mile circuit which encircles the city.
And co-founder Peter Ward admitted: “We knew it would prove popular, but we didn’t expect the interest to be this great. We’re delighted.”
Figures compiled by Lancashire County Council show the most popular stretch is the Boulevard, near Avenham Park, where 97,820 riders have been clocked in the past 12 months. The section in Valentines Lane, Cottam has been used by 68,255, according to the statistics.
“Not included are the large number of people, not cycling, who enjoy the Guild Wheel regularly,” explained Peter. “Schools, charity events, commuters and families are using the Guild Wheel in ever larger numbers.”
To make the route an even more enjoyable experience, the Guild Wheel Users Group has been funding the planting of wild flower bulbs and seeds along with the city council and with the part-time help of former parks manager Jim Parks.
“The number of cyclists using the route is very pleasing, especially after some sceptics never thought the idea would work,” added Peter. “There were those who felt we were spending a lot of money and we didn’t have any guarantee the Guild Wheel would work.
“But I believed, from my experience of cycle routes in other parts of the country, that we had a chance of success. And thankfully that is looking to be the case.
“It is already well beyond what we thought. We thought it would be good, but we never realised it would be as popular as it is.”