Created by Sustrans in 1995, the National Cycling Network is set to celebrate its 15th birthday next month, and the sustainable transport charity has highlighted some of the key facts and figures behind the network, which was originally planned to cover 2,500 miles but now extends to more than five times that distance.
In Sustrans’ own words:
1. The National Cycle Network was officially launched on 11th Sept 1995 when it received £43.5million from the National Lottery Millennium Commission - with rock legend Meatloaf handing over the cheque on national television.
2. The Network now extends over 12,600 miles .
3. It carries 1 million walking and cycling journeys every single day.
4. There are more miles of National Cycle Network routes in the UK than there are of motorways, and the Network is the most widespread construction project since the building of the motorways.
5. The Network passes within 1 mile of over 57% of the population.
6. Per mile an average motorway costs a staggering £29.9 million (Hansard, 30 October 06), whereas the National Cycle Network costs around £45,000 per mile to build - not only more sustainable but cheaper too.
7. Urban traffic routes account for 26% of the Network but carry an astonishing three quarters of all trips - showing that the Network is a key way that people make local everyday journeys.
8. There are around 2,000 bridges, 10,000 seats and 50,000 signs on the Network.
9. The first route to be created on the Network was the Bristol to Bath Railway Path - a 17-mile traffic-free trail along a disused railway.
10. The highest point on the Network is Black Hill on the famous Sea to Sea (C2C) route - 1,998ft above sea level.
11. The newest complete route is the 'Way of the Roses' - a 170 mile coast to coast ride from Morecambe in Lancashire to the seaside resort of Bridlington in Yorkshire, passing through magnificent landscapes including the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the Forest of Bowland and Nidderdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
12. The three most challenging routes are Lon Las route which runs the length of Wales, the Pennine Cycle Way from Derby to Berwick upon Tweed, and the Sea 2 Sea route which is a whopping 234 mile challenge.
13. Almost 3000 volunteers help Sustrans maintain and promote the Network.
14. The Network hosts the largest collection of outdoor art and sculpture in the UK - over 2,000 pieces from over 300 artists over the last 20 years.
15. The Network even goes international - Route 1 is part of the North Sea Cycle Route, which travels down through Norway, Sweden, Denmark (through Odense - the Danish "cycling capital"), Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, across to England and up to Shetland. A staggering 6000km through eight different countries and the longest signed cycle route in the world.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.