The National Cycle Network now stretches for 13,000 miles – more than the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole.
Created by Sustrans in 1995, the network hit the 13,000-mile mark after the opening of routes from Lincoln to Sheffield, adding another fifty miles of Valleys Cycle Network in south Wales and the new Route 50 through Buckingham, Daventry and Leicester.
The network, which passes within two miles of 79 per cent of the population, carried 203 million bicycle journeys in 2009, and 199 million by foot.
But Sustrans director Huw Davies is not resting on his laurels and believes the network will continue to give users an alternative to using the car.
“From very little to 13,000 miles in sixteen years is fantastic and with hundreds of millions of journeys on it every year, it is clearly working for people,” said Sustrans director Huw Davies.
“But 13,000 miles isn’t the end point. Over two-thirds of journeys made by car are under five miles and, with petrol prices rocketing, the cost of those short journeys is significantly rising for people.”
“Making short distance local connections do-able on foot or by bike – like putting in the walking and cycling bridge Pont Y Werin in Cardiff – is vital for communities. We are now working with local councils across the UK to ensure the network is maintained, expanded and an inherent part of their transport systems.”
The Sustrans website – www.sustrans.org.uk – has a free online map to discover how to get around everyday by bike.