As well as helping Swindon Bicycle Users Group (BUG) with its website, I am also the travel plan officer for Swindon Borough Council.

I spent 18 years in Nottingham, which has a good reputation for cycling, but when I moved to Swindon in 2008 I was pleasantly surprised at how much network there is already on the ground, and how well it is being integrated into new development as Swindon grows.

Swindon received £4million from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) in 2011 and has set up a project called Swindon Travel Choices.

Successes are the loan scheme, where people can borrow a new bike for eight weeks to try cycling to work, and the “rounds” – a series of seven-mile off-road routes devised by the Swindon BUG.

There’s a good relationship between the BUG and the council; our lead member for transport and leisure (Cllr Keith Williams) is a keen cyclist and champion for the cause. We run weekly bike maintenance courses, which are over-subscribed with a growing waiting list, plus training in schools and one-to-ones for adults.

Swindon grew up in the 60s and 70s as a car town and the road layout in the town centre is a little hostile to cyclists, something we are battling to make better.

The LSTF money has enabled some small infrastructure changes, while a major regeneration project in the town will further improve things. However, busy roads with no cycle paths cut off towns on Swindon’s outskirts, such as Royal Wootton Bassett and Highworth, and due to the distance it’s proving tricky to fund the connections.

The original version of this article appeared in the Novemer 14 2013 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.

  • Mitch

    I commute everyday by having to cycle to work along Queen’s Drive – although there’s cycle lanes – they’re all ‘shared use’ & dangerous to use given all the pedestrians & students going to the schools and Colleges in the area. Which has forced me to use the busy dual carriageway – reasonably safe if heading home using the bus lane going towards the infamous ‘Magic Roundabout’ but hellish going to work dodging three lanes(!) of traffic – surely something should be done here to improve safety?

  • Deb Tremblin

    Thanks, Claire Fleming for mentioning Wootton Bassett and Highworth ! As part of the group (Highworth’s Missing Link) campaigning for a safe shared path … we are gaining momentum and increasing awareness of the great need and desire amongst those in Highworth AND Swindon. As I understand, Wootton Bassett’s link has been approved, so they are miles ahead of us…. I for one sing the praises of Swindon’s network of cycle paths! But the 2.5 mile stretch from the south end of Highworth to the wonderful newly opened path on the edge of Swindon…… it’s a heavily trafficked A road that many won’t even attempt to cycle…….

  • AndyB

    This doesn’t really say anything useful about cycling in Swindon.