One of Britain’s long-running sustainable travel projects is the National Cycle Network. Set up and run by Sustrans, it has been quietly building and networking the country with cycle paths since 1995, using cycles lanes, bridleways and disused railway lines. The latest round of expansion has added 84 new routes, bringing 4 million more people within a mile of the network.
The initiative works. As more and more workplaces, shops and services become accessible through the network, people choose to travel differently. In the places where the latest routes have opened, research shows a 73% increase in walking and cycling. That works out as 1 million fewer car journeys.
The summer is a good time to get out and explore the network where you are. You can browse the map online here, or support Sustrans by buying a hard copy. It’s particularly worth checking it out now because a three-week cycling tour sets off tomorrow in London, traveling the country using the network and joining together a whole series of local bike rides and festivals. It’s called Pedal On UK, and here’s their video: