Herts County council encourages people to get cycling... as it proposes £700k a year of cuts to its bus servies

Berkhamsted mayor Peter Matthews proved he’s a real smoothie when he tried out an exercise bike with a difference during the Big Herts Cycle Challenge.

The smoothie bikes work through pedal power – the faster you pedal, the quicker the fruit in the blender becomes a tasty smoothie.

Cycling event in Berkhamsted

Cycling event in Berkhamsted

Mr Matthews said: “It’s a great way to get your five a day whilst keeping fit!”

The mayor said he is a great supporter of what Herts County Council has described as its ‘sustainability programme to get more people cycling’.

The news came at the same time that the authority announced plans to make up to an annual £700,000 worth of cuts to the area’s bus services

Highways cabinet member for Herts County Council Terry Douris said: “This is a great idea that combines a healthy lifestyle message with a fun activity.

“The Smoothie Bikes help give people ideas on how to reduce their food waste by using up over-ripe fruit to make a healthy drink.

“They are also a fun way to promote a love of cycling. Research has shown that if you can get childhood cyclists back into the saddle for as little as ten minutes, as many as 40% of them will take it up again.

“Challenges like the Big Herts Cycle Challenge are part of Hertfordshire’s Year of Cycling which aims to promote cycling as a great way to get and stay fit, and a cheap travel option that helps reduce traffic and pollution.”

Mr Matthews’ Berkhamsted challenge was one of many being rolled out by the council in partnership with Challenge for Change.

The scheme offers great prizes sponsored by local businesses to those that log at least one ten-minute cycle during the challenge period from Monday, June 30, to this Sunday.

Mr Matthews says: “Congestion is becoming an increasing problem, especially in ancient market towns like Berkhamsted, which has seen a steady increase in development over the past few years.

“Cycling offers a healthy pollution-free solution which we are keen to promote.”

Prizes include a hybrid bicycle valued at £645, a Champneys Day Spa ticket for two and a free meal at Brasserie Blanc.

To sign up for the challenge, click here

The Big Herts Cycle Challenge is part funded by BigHertsBigIdeas, a package of projects currently being implemented in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead to encourage local economic growth, improve sustainable transport options and reduce carbon emissions.

This follows Herts County Council securing £11.7million from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).

The LSTF money is being supported by match funding of £3.3 million from the county council and other local partners and is being spent on a number of schemes in the three areas up to March 2015.

Mr Matthews is not a member of Herts County Council.