ATHLETES, parents, supporters and volunteers turned out on Sunday, heeding the call of former national cyclist Michael Phillips to help clean a portion of the Diego Martin Highway.
Phillips is the mastermind behind Keep Moving Family and Fitness Sundays, an initiative supported by an act of Parliament, that allows for part of the highway between Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard and Sierra Leone Road to be closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays from 6 am to 9 am. This allows a safe space for riders, runners and other fitness enthusiasts of all ages to exercise or train.
A section of the highway was recently milled to help prevent cars skidding off the road, but has now made it almost unsuitable for road cyclists. In a Facebook post last week, Phillips said, “Since the road was milled, there has been a drop in participation, especially among cyclists. We have seen the fall-off in participation in the last couple of weeks and we are very concerned that people may feel discouraged that their only safe haven for cycling may have been taken away.”
He said that in the 12 years the programme has been running, “We have taught many to ride a bike and given a great space for people to meet their neighbours while exercising. We have also enjoyed great support at times as well as we have had our major challenges.”
Phillips made an appeal for people to help clean the two-kilometre stretch of the highway to clear a smooth lane for faster cyclists to ride safely and comfortably.
In an interview with Newsday, Phillips said, "We still not finished, we still have some more to do, but we got quite a few people that came out today, which we were very grateful for, and they were happy to be involved as well. So I can't complain at all." Phillips said approximately 100 people supported the initiative.
Blue Waters, Subway, Republic Bank and MP for Diego Martin Central Symon De Nobriga were among those showing support.