Shropshire Star

New cycle surface installed at Shrewsbury centre where dozens of riders suffered falls

The cycle track at Shrewsbury Sports Village is testing a new surfacing treatment to help prevent damage and improve the experience for cyclists.

Picture: Shropshire Council

After areas of the track deteriorated and cracked, Shropshire Council appointed contractors to carry out repairs and are trialling a ‘glass asphalt’ surface on the affected areas.

It is expected that the new material will allow the surface to flex and avoid damage caused by earth movement beneath.

News of the work followed complaints last month that things had reportedly got so bad at the track that a total of 32 people had to be treated after falling off their bikes at two events held there earlier in the year.

That’s a figure much higher than former British Cycling team manager Dave Mellor would expect and he put it down to the slippery condition of the track.

Councillor Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and digital, said: “Our cycle track is a fantastic facility and we are fortunate to be able to host cycle clubs as well as individual riders at Shrewsbury Sports Village.

"It is unfortunate that the surface has cracked due to the quality of the ground beneath, and we expect the new asphalt will provide a solution to that problem by flexing rather than cracking.

“We have worked efficiently to limit the number of sessions and events that have been affected by the necessary repair work.”

Trees alongside the Shrewsbury track are also due to be cut back to limit leaf fall and to prevent the track from becoming slippery.

Cycling is booming at Shrewsbury Sports Village. In May the outdoor closed-road 1km circuit saw a 300 per cent increase in use on February 2023.

Picture: Shropshire Council

Rhys Collins, partnership manager for Shropshire Community Leisure Trust, said: “I would like to express thanks to Shropshire Council for funding these improvements to the closed-circuit cycle track at Shrewsbury Sports Village.

"This part of the facility has seen huge growth in popularity in 2023, thanks to the work of our cycling development lead, Ioan Said, who has worked tirelessly to promote the sport in the region.”

Various sessions for cyclists are held through the week, including a popular Inclusive Club for people with disabilities, which runs every Tuesday between 10am and 3pm, and the Mid-Shropshire Wheelers Go-Ride sessions for young people, which are held every Saturday at 11am.

Councillor Macey added: “Cycling is excellent both for fitness and getting about, and we are delighted so many people are now taking part in activities at our sports village and recognising what a unique opportunity the centre has to offer.”

Councillor Kevin Pardy, Shropshire councillor for Sundorne, added: “I am very pleased that the cycle track at Shrewsbury Sports Village is once again operational. It is especially pleasing to think that the new surface is designed to overcome the problems that the track has had in the past.

“The track is a wonderful facility for the people of Shrewsbury and the rest of Shropshire, I have witnessed people of all abilities and ages taking advantage of the circuit, and I very much thank those volunteers who ensure that these people have a structure which involves pleasure and competition. More and more people are turning to cycling as an alternative to using cars for travelling and are feeling the health benefits of doing so. I would encourage people to visit the sports centre and enjoy using the cycling track as part of their health regime.”

Shrewsbury Sports Village, along with The Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre in Shrewsbury, Oswestry Leisure Centre and Market Drayton Swimming & Fitness Centre, is operated by Shropshire Community Leisure Trust in partnership with Serco Leisure, and on behalf of Shropshire Council.