KENDAL is experiencing a cycling boom.

Cumbria County Council’s annual traffic count has revealed an 11 per cent increase in the overall number of cycling journeys in the town between 2007 and 2010.

There has also been a surge in the use of Kendal’s canal cycle route since it was resurfaced in 2008 with a 52 per cent rise in activity.

A number of groups which have worked together to encourage cycling have hailed the benefits of travelling on two wheels instead of four.

Liz Ashburn, transport group co-ordinator for South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC), said: “These figures show that providing good cycle routes is an extremely effective way of tackling congestion, air quality and climate change at the same time as improving health for people of all ages.”

Members of SLACC organise events including CycleFest and the Workplace Cycle Challenge to entice drivers to switch to bikes.

Interest has also been sparked by the group visiting schools to highlight the benefits of travelling by bike and providing ‘bikeability’ training.

Kendal and District Cycling Scene also stages regular rides at weekends.

Firth Wood, a bike technician at Halfords in Kendal, said: “I have worked here for about a year and I think there has definitely been an increase in people buying bikes – especially commuter bikes for cycling to work.

“I have been surprised at how many people have been in during the winter months buying bikes.”

Meanwhile, CCC remains keen on bringing better cycling provision to Kendal with a new cycle route.

A spokesman said the council was awaiting views from South Lakeland District Council’s consultation document on the future of the New Road area.