Cyclists looking forward to Critical Mass returning to Wellingborough this Friday

The town's first ride of 2021 starts at 6.30pm on Friday (May 28)

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 5:30 am

Cyclists are looking forward to Critical Mass returning to Wellingborough tomorrow (Friday).

The town's inaugural ride held last July saw 60 cyclists of all different ages and abilities take part.

It then continued on the last Friday of each month right through to November but Covid-19 restrictions and the winter weather setting in led to it being put on hold.

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Cyclists at Wellingborough's first Critical Mass last year

However, Critical Mass is set to return this week with its first ride of 2021.

Cyclists should meet at 6.30pm on Friday (May 28) near the tree just outside Castello Lounge in Wellingborough town centre, with the ride leaving at 7pm.

Samuel Shoesmith, who is helping organise the event, told the Northants Telegraph: "I am so pleased Critical Mass Wellingborough is returning.

"As the restrictions have been lifted, the ability to meet up is now possible and this event, cycling in the fresh air in the great outdoors will be a lovely opportunity to safely be at a community event.

Cyclists taking part in Wellingborough's Critical Mass last year

"Our first ride saw people come for such a wide range of reasons.

"It is a chance for some to exercise, to celebrate cycling, a chance to safely enjoy our public space by pedal power but for some it is certainly a protest.

"Critical Mass is about reclaiming the space on the street and demanding the council take action to make it safe, convenient and easy to cycle.

"For decades the councils have neglected cycling.

Wellingborough's first Critical Mass took place last July

"The first lockdown last year saw the roads empty of cars.

"The government advised people to exercise and people were getting out cycling.

"The surge was enormous as people got out too for essential shopping and later for leisure activity."

The former Northamptonshire County Council received £351,000 from the government for temporary measures and later a further £1.33 million to make permanent radical changes to road space to encourage and enable walking and cycling.

But Samuel feels not enough was done with this money to improve cycling provision in the area, including Wellingborough only getting 'a few crumbs.'

He added: "I asked for a cycle lock up near Market Street close to the Swansgate entrance and that was put in, but it was put in the wrong location, hidden out of sight of CCTV and with no roof.

"Importantly, where are the radical infrastructure changes in Wellingborough?

"Nothing.

"As lockdowns have eased, more and more people are driving, making conditions worse.

"The noise pollution and air pollution as well as the risk of danger is increasing all the time.

"Cycling needs to be encouraged and enabled.

"It should be possible to make short journeys by bicycle.

"At the moment, it is not safe nor convenient so jumping in the car seems to make sense to many.

"This needs to change."

For more information about Wellingborough's Critical Mass meeting taking place tomorrow (Friday), click here.