Cycling in the UK

An introduction to the National Cycle Network

29 October 2009

  • Over a third of bikes in the UK are used less than once a month
  • Men use their bikes more than women
  • Nearly half of bike owners ride less than 5 miles per month

A recent survey conducted by the AA, has found that over a third of the country's bikes get taken out less than once a month. Of almost 19,000 respondents in the AA/Populus poll, 52% said they owned a bicycle, but, 39% of these bike owners admitted they use their bikes less than once a month.

An Introduction to the National Cycle Network People in the South and East Anglia are the most likely to own a bike (58% and 60%) with those in the North of England least likely to opt for pedal power. Over a quarter (26%) of men use their bikes at least once a week compared to just 16% of women. Though 77% use their bikes for pleasure, nearly half ride less than 5 miles per month even though 75% of the UK population lives within 2 miles of the National Cycle Network.

To help get the great British public cycling, the AA has joined forces with Sustrans, the leading sustainable transport Charity, to launch a new book – Cycling in the UK, an introduction to the National Cycle Network.

Cycling in the UK is a highly photographic book with detailed route maps, for a variety of cycle rides including trails through ancient woodland, over industrial viaducts and alongside re-invigorated promenades. For the novice cyclist there are expert, practical tips on issues such as what to wear, how to stay safe and basic bike maintenance, together with essential information for planning a cycling trip including what to take, difficulty rating and points of interest along the route.

The book contains more than 50 fully mapped day rides across the UK broken into regions as well as features detailing routes to National Trust properties, Artworks, Industrial Heritage Routes, Coastal Routes, Holiday and Challenge Routes. A foreword by Alistair McGowan reveals his passion for cycling and experiences on the National Cycle Network.

AA President, Edmund King, said, "As a keen cyclist myself I know the benefit that bike rides bring. It is a great way for the whole family to enjoy a day out together while getting some great exercise and enjoying some wonderful scenery. This book allows the cyclist to select the routes that are close to home and also suitable for their abilities."

Sustrans Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd said, "The National Cycle Network is inspiring millions of people towards a healthier lifestyle, and this book is a fantastic introduction to many of our very best routes. It illustrates how easy it is to pedal through some of the UK's most breathtaking landscapes, from Cornwall's Camel estuary to Scotland's rugged Highlands and everywhere in-between."

There is a route in the book for every type of cyclist, from beginners and biking families to the more experienced, adventurous cyclist making Cycling in the UK the perfect book for all bike owners.

Cycling in the UK is published in hardback by AA Publishing RRP £20.00 and is available from The AA Shop

About Sustrans

Sustrans is the UK's leading sustainable transport charity. Its vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. It is achieving this through innovative but practical solutions to the UK's transport challenges.

Sustrans' flagship project, the National Cycle Network, is now around 12,000 miles and runs within one mile of 55 per cent of the UK population. During 2008 a total of 386 million trips were made on the Network. There are around 2,500 rangers helping to look after the National Cycle Network.

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29 October 2009