Cycling campaigners have pledged to keep Colchester on two wheels, even though funding to promote the use of bikes is about to run out.

The borough was designated a Cycle Town in 2008, with a £4.2million grant funding measures to promote cycling.

Money from Cycling England and Essex County Council has paid to increase and improve official cycle routes and trained hundreds of people in safe riding.

It runs out tomorrow, when Cycling England becomes one of dozens of bodies scrapped by the coalition government.

Its demise had left cycling groups hunting for alternative sources of cash.

Will Bramhill, chairman of the Colchester Cycling Campaign, said he was confident local cyclists would get money from other Government budgets.

He said: “It’s a shame this is the end of the money, but with the general cuts going on, you have to be realistic.

“We have had £4.2million, but it just goes to show how much you need to invest to develop infrastructure. We’ll never get levels of cycling, like the Dutch have, overnight.

“In the good times, a lot of councils thought nothing of putting millions into plans for dual carriageways which were never going to happen. They could have spent a lot more on cycling and encouraging people to cycle.”

Mr Bramhill said the loss of funding would mean Cycle Colchester would more or less disappear.

Its place would be taken by community-based cycling groups, which would continue to encourage the use of bikes but might not have the ability to put forward new schemes.

Mr Bramhill added: “One of the main successes, although it has been criticised by some, is the cycle lane in Crouch Street.

“It is the first two-way route across the town centre since the Fifties.

“The other big success is the huge number of cycle parking spaces we have at the station.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. There are people in the town who cycle now, when three years ago they never thought they would.”

Colchester was one of 18 towns to be given special cycle status three years ago, with the aim of getting more people riding and improving the cycling infrastructure.

Pam Nelson, a volunteer for cycle charity, Sustrans, said: “This is just the start for cycling in Colchester.

“We have a really active cycle community who are keen to carry on the good things achieved to date and truly put cycling at the heart of life in our town.

“Of course, it’s not going to be like it has been over the past three years, but we’re very positive about it.

“There are still plenty of things volunteers can do and we now have more people to do it.

“Because of the publicity Cycle Colchester has brought, we have lots of new cycling friends – many of whom wouldn’t normally have been cycle champions but have discovered a passion for it.”

Some funds may be available from a bid Essex County Council is putting together to the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which focuses on greener, alternative modes of transport.