Vote for your favourite National Cycle Network route

Sustrans is asking the public to choose their favourite route on the National Cycle Network, as part of celebrations to mark 20 years since the Network opened.

Sustrans has shortlisted ten popular long distance and ten shorter sections and is asking everyone who uses the Network to vote for their favourite in both categories. The long distance routes range from the Cornish Way between Land’s End and Bude in the South, to the Oban to Campbeltown route in Scotland. Shorter routes include the Bath two tunnels circuit and the Monsal Trail in the Peak District.

The vote will run until the end of August with the winners announced in September.

Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans Chief Executive, said:

“The National Cycle Network is 20 years old in 2015 and we know many people have their favourite sections. We want to give people the chance to vote for the route they love the most, whether they use it every day for their commute or have just used it on holiday. The shortlist covers the length and breadth of the UK showing how the Network has grown over the years.”

Routes under 30 miles:

Camel Trail, Cornwall. This beautiful route passes through the wooded countryside of the upper Camel Valley and alongside the picturesque Camel Estuary – an absolute paradise for birdwatchers.

Bath Two Tunnels Circuit, Somerset. From the centre of picturesque Bath, this route takes you on a circular tour through the Somerset countryside. Along the way you pass the spectacular Dundas Aqueduct and travel through the now famous Bath Two Tunnels, Combe Down Tunnel being the UK’s longest cycling tunnel.

Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex. This peaceful tour through broadleaf woodland, open grassland and arable farmland is a must for families. It gained its name from an old Sussex tradition of releasing a cuckoo at the Heathfield Fair.

Mawddach Trail, Gwynedd. Taking you along the old Ruabon to Barmouth railway line from the historic town of Dolgellau to the popular seaside town of Barmouth, you see stunning views of the Mawddach estuary and Cadair Idris.

Lodes Way, Cambridgeshire. The quiet, uncluttered landscape of the fens is showcased in all its glory on this route from Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve to Bottisham. Passing Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, the surrounding waterways are a haven for wildlife.

Monsal Trail, Peak District. One of the jewels in the crown of the Peak District National Park, this route travels from the historic market town of Bakewell through the stunning limestone dales.

Peregrine Path, Wye Valley. Straddling the Wales/England border and following the River Wye, the route travels from pretty Monmouth to Goodrich in Herefordshire.

Newry Canal, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. A canal side route rich in wildlife that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. At Moneypenny’s Lock you can explore the history of the canal at the restored lightermen’s bothy and stables.

Aire Valley Towpath, West Yorkshire. This perfect route takes in beautiful countryside, rich industrial history, stunning scenery, galleries, shops, museums and Saltaire, a world heritage site.

Union Canal, Edinburgh. Taking you from historic Edinburgh the trail quickly opens out into beautiful countryside, passing over spectacular aqueducts and under pretty bridges, through the towns of Broxburn and Linlithgow with its palace, and onto Falkirk.

Long distance routes:

Sea 2 Sea (C2C). Commonly regarded at the most popular long distance ride in the UK, can it still maintain its crown? The C2C takes you all the way from Irish Sea to the North Sea. You can start at either Whitehaven or Workington and then travel to Newcastle or Sunderland.

Way of the Roses. A spectacular coast to coast cycle route which was created to celebrate 15 years of the National Cycle Network passes through both the red rose county of Lancashire and the white rose county of Yorkshire.

Devon Coast to Coast. This route combines the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with the lush green valleys of evocative West Country rivers. It also skirts round the western flank of Dartmoor, offering superb views of Cornwall

Cornish Way. A glorious route that travels between Land’s End and Bude. It takes you past stunning coastline and through the history and heritage of pretty towns and fishing villages and over wild and captivating moors.

Hadrian’s Cycleway. A ride through some of England’s most dramatic and wild countryside, taking in magnificent coastal views, and Roman forts. Starting at Glannaventa Roman Bath House, Ravenglass and ending at Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum at South Shields this route is perfect for history buffs.

Lon Las Cymru. Taking in three mountain ranges, this route is tough but worth all the effort. From the rural lanes of Anglesey and the woodlands of Coed-y-Brenin Forest, to the valley of the River Wye and the panoramic views through the Black Mountains, this route really has it all.

Celtic Trail. Stretching from the Irish Sea to the English Border, this epic route takes in the stunning Pembrokeshire coast, the rural countryside of Carmarthenshire, and the picturesque Valleys, that powered the industrial revolution. The route shows the diversity of Welsh culture and history as well as some of Wales’ finest tourist attractions.

Oban to Campbeltown. This route offers adventurous cyclists the chance to explore the spectacular peninsula of Kintyre, Knapdale and Lorn. Truly challenging, but wow, the rewards are magnificent!
Trans Pennine Trail. This exciting route links the North and Irish seas, passing through the Pennines, alongside rivers and canals and through some of the most historic towns and cities in the North of England. It’s also largely traffic free so perfect for first time tourers.

Coast and Castles South. This cycle route links the Forth and Tyne estuaries, joining Newcastle and Edinburgh via miles of unspoiled coastline and some of Britain’s best built and natural heritage.

Kids to be encouraged to cycle by Flying Fergus books by Sir Chris Hoy

Britain’s most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy is to team up with award-winning author Joanna Nadin to produce a series of children’s books about cycling. The books will feature a character called “Flying Fergus” and will be aimed at 5-8 year-olds. Sir Chris joins a crowded market for children’s cycling books but his celebrity status will almost certainly ensure the mainstream success of the Flying Fergus series.

The first two books will be published in March 2016, with further titles in July, October of that year. Another book in the series will be released in January 2017. The October fiction will be accompanied by a non-fiction book to encourage children to have fun cycling, and record their cycling adventures.

The books will be promoted with a major national marketing and PR campaign, including a website hub for the books and a tour of events across the UK.

Rights for six books were acquired by Emma Matthewson, editor-at-large at Hot Key, who previously edited the Harry Potter series at Bloomsbury.

The synopsis is this: Fergus is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary imagination. All Fergus wants for his ninth birthday is “The Sullivan Swift”, a top of the range bike that will ensure his success in the local time trials, but ever since his dad disappeared, years before, his mum and granddad have struggled financially to raise him and can’t afford such an expensive present. Instead he inherits his dad’s old rusty bike, but when he heads out to test it at the park with his best friend Daisy, he discovers there might be more to the bike than meets the eye …

Since retiring from professional cycling, Sir Chris has been eager to devote his time, knowledge and experience in working with the next generation of cyclists. He has brought his experience to bear with the launch of Hoy Bikes, in partnership with Evans Cycles.

Sir Chris Hoy said:

“My hope is that Flying Fergus excites and inspires children, opening their eyes to the freedom and adventures two wheels can offer with just a little hard work.”

Joanna Nadin is best known for her Rachel Riley series of books.

Sir Chris won his first Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004. Four years later in Beijing he became the first Briton since 1908 to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. In 2012, Chris won two gold medals at the Olympics in London, becoming Britain’s most successful Olympian with six gold medals and one silver. In December 2008, Chris was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and he received a knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours List.

Active travel is good for the economy, cycle and pedestrian organisations tell HM Treasury

Sustrans, CTC, British Cycling, the Bicycle Association and Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrians’ Association) have submitted a joint document to HM Treasury in an attempt to influence the chancellor to spend more on “active travel” in his Autumn Statement.

The joint submission is called “Accelerating a cycling and walking revolution” and was delivered to HM Treasury yesterday. The policy document starts by saying “when more people cycle or walk, public health improves, obesity reduces and roads become less congested and safer.”

It further promises that “by changing how people travel, we can create places where people want to live, work, shop and do business. We can make people healthier, happier and wealthier. We can reduce costs to our NHS.”

According to the five organisations too many people in the UK feel “they have no choice but to travel in ways that are dangerous, unhealthy, polluting and costly, not just to their own wallets but also to the public purse.”

The organisations stress that urgent action is required to address Britain’s chronic levels of obesity, heart disease, air pollution and congestion.

“In towns and cities, creating cycling and walking environments defines a 21st century city,” asserts the joint document, emphasising the economic benefits of more active travel.

“Across the world, from Paris to New York, from Edinburgh to Dublin, forward-thinking cities are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in making their cities places where travel choice and quality of life are at their heart, knowing that well-designed places can attract people, business and visitors, delivering benefits far greater than their relatively modest costs.”

Currently, HM Treasury eyes up the money generated by Britain’s “car culture” and tends to ignore the economic, health and well-being benefits of spending less time in cars.

Sustrans, CTC, British Cycling, the Bicycle Association and Living Streets want to impress on the chancellor that in The Netherlands, 27 percent of journeys are made by bike, followed by Denmark on 19 percent.

“Britain however languishes towards the lower end of the European league table, with less than 2 percent. At the same time, we are seeing a long term decline is walking rates,” state the organisations.

“Funding schemes like the Local Sustainable Transport Fund have lit the way, and proven that investment in cycling and walking can return dramatic results … Our economy is in recovery, but if this growth is to be sustained it is vital that we are able to compete internationally to attract inward investment to our shores, offer a transport infrastructure that supports business and re-engage the most economically inactive members of society.”

The organisations worry that “more and more people are interacting with the world around them from behind the wheel of a car or from in front of a computer screen” and stress that “public spaces that are dominated by traffic and pollution or blighted by out-dated design and poor maintenance are actively deterring people getting out and about – and hastening our change to a society where different social/cultural groups exist in parallel, with little understanding between them.”

The joint submission calls on the Treasury to fund a “coordinated programme of high profile cycling networks which provide convenient and desirable routes linking the urban centre, business district, shopping areas and transport hubs to the suburbs to ensure cycling is a viable alternative to public transport and car travel for journeys under 5 miles.”

Further, it wants the government to extend the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grants up to 2021 and to include cycling and walking.

“Widening the existing programme would build on the 2012/13 -2014/15 investment of £77m already invested in 7 cities that now each have a 10 year ambitious programmes,” says the joint statement.

9000 children took part in British Cycling’s Tour de France themed Go-Ride events

British Cycling has revealed details on the 240 Go-Ride Tour events which took place to celebrate the UK stages of this year’s Tour de France.

In July, British Cycling’s Go-Ride youth development programme organised a Go-Ride Tour tied in with the Yorkshire, Cambridge and London parts of this year’s Tour de France.

129 Go-Ride Clubs across the country hosted 241 entry-level events throughout the month of July. The come-and-try sessions were delivered to 9000 riders, of which 3,800 were taking part in cycle sport for the first time. 54 Go-Ride Clubs that had never delivered an entry-level race before, decided to host a Go-Ride Racing event as part of the Go-Ride Tour. Of those 54 clubs, 29 have continued to deliver entry-level racing events.

British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme is supported by the Bike Hub Fund, a voluntary levy scheme organised by the Bicycle Association of Great Britain.

John Mills, British Cycling’s director of coaching, education and development, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number of young riders inspired to take part in the Go-Ride Tour and the efforts of dedicated volunteers across the country hosting so many events.

“They have contributed significantly to cementing the legacy of the Tour de France visiting our shores and the growth of the sport as a whole.”

In addition to Go-Ride Tour events hosted by clubs, British Cycling’s team of Go-Ride Coaches also held come-and-try events at festivals around the stages of the Grand Depart, giving even more young people the opportunity to get involved with the sport.

Jason Kenny, a world champion who was talent-spotted whilst riding for Sports City Velo Go-Ride Club, said: “It’s unbelievable to hear about all the young people inspired to get into cycling after watching events on the world stage and the Go-Ride Tour is a brilliant way for clubs to harness that inspiration and get more kids involved.”

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Pic credit: Jason Lock Photography

Football Association teams up with British Cycling to get more women pedalling

British Cycling and the Football Association have joined forces to get more women involved in their respective sports, both governing bodies have announced.

Kick Start Your Ride is an initiative from the two governing bodies to encourage more women to cycle to matches. It includes organising guided Breeze bike rides for women attending England Women’s World Cup qualifiers, FA Women’s Super League matches and The FA Women’s Cup Final.

Great Britain Cycling Team stars Jess Varnish and Vicky Williamson launched the initiative today at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester alongside England women’s football internationals Gemma Bonner and Fara Williams.

The initiative will begin at England’s next FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 qualifier against Montenegro, at the AMEX Community Stadium in Brighton, on Saturday 5 April.

Olympian and Breeze Ambassador, Jess Varnish, said:

“It’s easy to get into a routine of getting in the car to drive to events like football matches. However, we want to see more women try something different by getting on a bike to ride to the games. Breeze rides are led rides with other women and so they are the ideal way to build confidence and are a great way of socialising.”

England star Fara Williams, said:

“I’ve always enjoyed cycling since I was young, so I’m really pleased to see an initiative like this being launched around women’s football. We see lots of families at England and WSL games so it’d be great if some of them can travel down on bikes together to the Montenegro game in Brighton next weekend.”

Commenting at the launch, British Cycling’s Women’s Network Project Manager, Natalie Justice, said:

“This is about two sports coming together to inspire women to try something new. The opportunity to go on a group bike ride with friends, mums, daughters with the prize of getting to watch some exciting football at the end of it has all the ingredients of a fun day out and we hope to see hundreds of women getting involved over the coming season.”

Kelly Simmons, Director of the National Game and Women’s Football at the FA, said:

“This unique partnership shows the benefits that two National Governing Bodies can bring when working together for one common aim – getting more women active. Participation levels are crucial for all sporting bodies and we’re delighted to work with British Cycling to get more women into both football and cycling.”