COLUMN by Robin Layfield, vice chair of Stroud District Council's environment committee. 

I have just spent a wonderful afternoon at Rodborough Bike Day, where the playing field was transformed with bike basics training from Access Bikes, free bike checks from The Bike Drop and secure bike marking with our new PCSO Mel Oliveira.

Bikes are some of the most efficient machines ever invented, able to transport a person at many times walking speed while using very little energy.

They are practical, convenient, non-polluting, great for physical and mental health, don’t take up too much space and connect you directly to world around you.

Stroud is such a lovely place to ride with exciting and challenging hill climbs, gorgeous views, great cafes and beautiful descents down to the Severn Plain.

My favourite journey is from Rodborough to Nailsworth along the multi-use path where I can easily take the kids along a carfree level route.

They love leaving Stroud and popping up in a different town!

At council we are gearing up for Cycle September - an initiative from Love to Ride that challenges individuals and workplaces to cycle as much as possible, for commuting, shopping or pleasure.

There are big prizes up for grabs and workplace leaderboards show you how well you and your team are doing.

You can sign up here: www.

On September 9 we have the Tour of Britain Stage 7 coming right through the district, racing through Wotton to Dursley, across Selsley Common, through Stroud and on to Painswick.

Stroud Valleys Cycling Club is organising a ride out to a top viewing spot on the day and you can find out more from their website at www.

The Bike Drop will be holding a Festival of Cycling on that day at Brimscombe Mills where you can watch Stage 7 live on the big screen.