Wednesday, 16 March 2011

National Trust puts cycling at hub of new initiative

Pic from original Guardian story, link below
The Guardian reported today that the National Trust is making a nationwide push to have a greater focus on its coastal and countryside sites – and cycling is at the heart of this initiative. There are more than 200 trust properties within a mile of the National Cycle Network. For the more adventurous cyclist, the National Trust is developing two bespoke mountain bike facilities in the south-west: one at Plymbridge on the outskirts of Plymouth and another in Cornwall.

Surprisingly - or not, to regular readers of this blog - some people think this is a waste of time. Here is what one of them said, and my riposte. Or, link to full Guardian article and comments below.
Actually there's quite a good national network of cycle routes in place already: we call it "the road system" and it's perfectly accessible to anyone with enough brains to read an OS map. In fact you don't even have to pay to use it. "Graded way-marked routes" and "skills areas" (whatever those might be) are not required.

You sound like you know a thing or two about cycling. Around 1- 2% of trips are made by bike in UK. In Utrecht: 33%. Our struggle in UK is to engage with those people who too scared to cycle, either because they are worried about traffic and safety, or because they worry they are not fit enough. We have to make cycling attractive to non cyclists.
In order to promote 'modal shift' to 'sustainable transport' we need to campaign for stricter liability laws in case of accident, 20mph in urban areas, AND an enabling environment for timid cyclists, children and those who would like to get out of their cars but don't know if they can. That means segregated cycling on main routes AND easy encouraging access to country side.
You may be a road warrior, but we must construct an environment that encourages all to cycle and walk more. Then congestion and pollution and energy consumption will ease - as if by magic.
Support the NT initiative, don't belittle timid cyclists!
Link to Guardian Story on National Trust cycling initiative

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