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A day without cars in Ilkley as residents try cycling and walking

Ilkley residents came together to mark Car Free Day with a special event last Saturday, celebrating the diverse styles of cycling and walking that have taken root in the town.

The Grove in Ilkley is regularly closed for market days, but celebrating Car Free Day, which takes place on 22nd September each year, provided an opportunity for residents to imagine a future where it would be easier to walk and cycle short journeys more often.

This year’s Car Free Day Festival theme was active travel, with opportunities to learn about different kinds of cycling and walking available in the town, from cargo bikes to e-bikes to social walking clubs. These opportunities in Ilkley are provided by local organisations in Bradford district, that are funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Car Free Day is a great way to highlight the benefits of walking and cycling in our region.

“We’re building on this through the launch of our new Walk it Ride it campaign and the roll-out of the Leeds e-bikes – providing people with easy, simple and greener transport options.

“Thanks to initiatives like these, we’re creating a better-connected West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Starting out from Shipley and travelling to Ilkley by electric cargo bike, Bradford Capital of Cycling challenged themselves to make their whole day car free. They brought donated cycle clothing, which they distributed at the event in exchange for donations.

Dave Robison, Director at Capital of Cycling, said: “At the event itself we were able to distribute dozens of items for adults and kids, including to one Ukrainian family who were all on their bikes.

“A few people offered to bring us donations of used bikes that they no longer needed. This kind of donation is particularly useful to us as we're able to get bikes out into less affluent areas, or use them for community based projects.”

Shipley Active Travel Hub were also there on the day, providing a “Dr. Bike” service, educating people about bike maintenance and helping out with basic repairs.

Hayley Beasley Dye, Active Travel Hub Co-ordinator at Climate Action Ilkley, said: "Car Free Day is a worldwide demonstration of how pleasant it can be to occupy spaces which are temporarily less dominated by traffic. By closing The Grove in Ilkley for the day, it allowed the community to dominate this space with play and a variety of community stalls.”

Experience Community were also present at Car Free Day, speaking with Ilkley residents about adaptive bikes, and the low-cost training sessions they run at Leeds Urban Bike Park in Middleton.

Read everyday stories of walking, cycling and bus, learn about all the support available, and be inspired to make the change by visiting


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