Getting provision for cyclists in the Moorlands has always been an uphill struggle but MCA members are continuing to press for improvements, switching down the gears for more traction.

Participants at SMDC working groups continue to push for the issue to be on the agenda, as do those on Leek Town Council’s climate group.

Official cycle route provision is the responsibility of the County Council; despite pressure none of the monies available to the council under the cycling and walking initiative were allocated to the Moorlands. The reasons: topography, of course, but mainly the argument that there was no existing public transport or commuting connectivity to plug into.

Nevertheless, MCA members are continuing to examine the possibilities of mapping a future cycle route between Leek and Cheddleton. This could generate commuting, recreational and tourist use in this area, and take advantage of the planned extension of the Churnet Valley Railway into Leek. A future rail link to the Potteries is also under consideration.

We already have new information on the ownership structure of the railway land between Leekbrook and Leek, and understand that a public right of way, tunnels notwithstanding, is viable.

One issue is, of course, that the entry route into Leek from the South terminates at the rather dowdy and out-of-the-way Barnfields industrial estate. The Town council may at least renew the recreational signing to town from the old railway track and Leek Branch Canal Basin.

Separately, the Town Council Climate Group was told of an initiative to install a (privately sponsored) cycle repair station in the town centre. There are issues to be overcome (precise location, for example) but it is a small but encouraging sign.

Meanwhile, in Germany, two MCA members were surprised to be treated as ‘climate heroes’ when, on a not so recent cycling holiday, they were merely looking to park their bikes! For those who don’t read German, the sign says ‘Reserved for Climate Heroes – Brain On, Engine Off!   For zero carbon on short distances’.