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Penmaenmawr - Anti or Pro Cycling ?

    It is reported in the North Wales Weekly News that Penmaenmawr Community Council has been consulted on fresh options for taking route 5 of the National Cycle Network through the town. For those unfamiliar with the locality, the existing route from Conwy travels along the coastline to the promenade where there is a sign for cyclists to dismount. A short distance beyond is an exit/entrance tunnel under the A55 carriageway, leading up a steep hill to the town centre.

    On the other hand if you proceed along the prom for about a km you will soon pass rented bathing chalets, and beyond those a free public car park. Cars are permitted access to the chalets through a barrier control, but seemingly not cycles as evidenced by the NO CYCLING signs.

    According to the press report, Cllr Ron Tee, President of the Penmaenmawr Tourist Association is fervently against cycling on the prom and is distributing papers making a case for retaining what he describes as a 'traffic free' prom. In point of fact he appears to have overlooked the large chunk of prom allocated to parking 47 cars and the access road to it.

Typical image of prom' cycling. Relaxed and safe for all.

    On the other hand Cllr Les Jones sees merit in making cycling accessible and the Lady Mayoress, Cllr Eryl Davies, comes out fully in favour of the bicycle and draws attention to her experience of Berlin where it is widely recognised  and respected as a means of transport. She also points to the burgeoning popularity of cycling on other promenades in North Wales.

    Outside the council chamber the reality is that cycling on the prom is becoming the norm for old and young alike, and there have been no reports of conflict. It is now common to see adults and children enjoying the freedom to cycle in safety beside the beach. For many this involves pedalling from home to linger awhile or to set off to Conwy along the coastal cycle path. Either way it's becoming an important route for commuter and leisure cyclists alike.

    CTC Cymru's view is that it is difficult to see where the opposition to cycling is coming from. Patterns of tourism, leisure, and utility travel are making a dramatic transformation. People are now wanting a break from their cars. They are turning to bicycles for their exercise, relaxation and transport needs.

    Penmaenmawr has much to delight the discerning traveller, and has some of the friendliest folk you're likely to meet anywhere. For its own sake we only hope the town council sheds its image of intolerance to cycling and wakes up to the interests of its residents and trades people alike.