Work has begun on a £5m development at the University of Leeds, which will enhance cycling facilities in the region.
The 1.6km (one mile) outdoor cycling circuit, which has been part-funded by British Cycling, will be situated on the university’s Bodington playing fields in north Leeds, and will provide a traffic-free environment for local cyclists.
The 6m-wide, tarmac-surfaced circuit should be ready early next year for university students, staff and the wider community to use for all levels of cycling including recreation, coaching and competition.
John Mills, director of coaching, education and development at British Cycling, said:
“We’re very pleased that the closed road circuit is now a step closer. We look forward to continuing to work with the University of Leeds on this exciting project, which will provide a traffic-free facility for Leeds residents to cycle on for both sport and recreation.”
Earlier this month, some 8,000 people took part in the Leeds Sky Ride, and Angie Foley, a volunteer at Leeds Mercury Cycling Club, says that the new facility will help capitalise on the obvious appetite for cycling within the city.
“This is a really exciting time for cycling clubs across Leeds. Our club currently uses a car park for coaching young children, which is a huge barrier for progression, stopping many from cycling beyond the age of around 12.
“The new purpose-built facility at Bodington will help us to keep young people cycling through their teenage and well into their adult years.”
The proposals, which are part of the university’s sports and physical activity strategy, have been drawn up in partnership with British Cycling, British Triathlon, UK Sport and Leeds City Council.
Partnership funding from Sport England, British Cycling and UK Sport is contributing £1m to the project, with the remaining funding provided by the university.
The development will also include a refurbishment of the sports pavilion, which will create a home for British Triathlon’s world-leading Leeds Triathlon Centre, providing strength and conditioning training, physiotherapy and other support services.
Charles Johnston, Sport England’s property director, said:
“When Sport England invests in facilities, we make sure everyone can benefit, regardless of ability. This centre is no different. I’m looking forward to seeing our top athletes and members of the community all using and enjoying these fantastic facilities for years to come.”