In the 1990s, the cycling levels in Stoke-on-Trent were similar to the national average with cycling accounting for less than 2% of all trips. However, public interest and the fact that more bycycles than cars were sold each year showed that there was undoubtedly enormous potential to increase the number of trips made by bicycle across the city. The Stoke-on-Trent city government decided to seize this opportunity and began a long-term strategy work in 1996. The aim was to promote cycling together with a wide range of interested organizations, groups and individuals. The strategy was targeted at all citizens of the city and consisted of various measures including promotional work, infrastructure improvements and the development of the close to non-existent cycling network of the city.
Turning a low-cycling city area into one that supports cycling takes a lot of time and effort. After more than a decade of hard work, Stoke-on-Trent is finally on its way to transforming from a no-cycling city into a procycling city. Any city pondering on whether or not to carry out this kind of strategy work should be prepared for a long-term commitment, as the transformation does not happen overnight. In addition, it is vital to make sure all levels of the city organization support the undertaking. Moreover, determination, strong funding expertise and cross-sectional cooperation are instrumental to keep the work on the right track.