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Now, just over 100 years later, the tide seems to be turning. On Tuesday morning, politicians and transport officials chose the city to announce the launch of a new 500-mile cycling vision for the West Midlands – the Starley Network. It pulls together existing routes and towpaths, proposed new cycling infrastructure and pop-up lanes.
Named after the “father of cycling” in the UK, James Starley, and his family, all the routes on the network will be dedicated to “active travel”, with the ambition that the routes will either be traffic-free away from the highway, or within roads but physically separated from traffic.
Hoping to emulate the success of Manchester’s Bee Network and the Cycleways in London, politicians say the Starley Network represents a new era for the region, which has seen a surge in people taking to their bikes since the coronavirus pandemic.
West Midlands to gain 500-mile cycle network | The Guardian
Starley network to provide vehicle-free routes or lanes separated from traffic
Nazia ParveenTue 11 Aug 2020 16.55 BST
Coventry is famous for its motor industry heritage but long before this, from the 1860s onwards, it was considered England’s bicycle city – and it gained an international reputation for quality engineering and fine craftsmanship.
However, in the late 19th century, with the motoring industry snapping at its heels, this thriving industry, with 450 bicycle makers in the city, slowly began to decline.