Routes create riders

More people would cycle if there were more traffic-free and traffic-calmed routes. Thats the (unsurprising) finding the research company MORI found when it interviewed nearly 2000 people on why they do and do not cycle. The research was commissioned by Sustrans, which today takes centre stage as cyclists converge on Birminghams Centenary Square
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Sustrans has today released new research conducted by MORI to coincide with the Grand Opening of the National Cycle Network.

The research was conducted as part of MORIs May Omnibus, with a nationally representative sample of 1,920 adults using face-to-face interviews and weighted to represent the national population profile.

There is widespread public support for projects such as the National Cycle Network - 87 percent of people, nearly nine out of ten, say they would like the Government and Local Authorities to create more safe cycle routes.

Cycling is an immensely popular activity - 35 percent of people, over one third, say they cycle sometimes, and 18 percent, nearly one in five, cycle often, at least during the summer. Yet DETR figures show that only 2 percent of journeys in Britain are made by bike.

The MORI poll gives a very strong indication as to why this might be 66 percent of respondents said safety concerns on roads put them off.

Nearly a quarter of adults, 23 percent, representing ten and a half million people, say the National Cycle Network of routes will encourage them to cycle more.

Heres the full press release from Sustrans announcing todays events...

NATIONAL CYCLE NETWORK OPENS TODAY

Today, the Longest Day of the Millennium year, is the start of UK-wide celebrations to mark the opening of the National Cycle Network [1]. The Culture Secretary, Rt. Hon. Chris Smith, will officially open the 5,000-mile Network at 11.00am in Birminghams Centenary Square. There will be parallel events in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Sunderland (details below).

Earlier in the morning, in London, Under Secretary of State for Transport, Keith Hill MP will launch the London legs of the Longest Ride on the Longest Day which start with a symbolic Revolution of the Wheel (beginning 06.45am), on the British Airways London Eye. A number of capsules are reserved for media interviews. Riders will then depart for Epsom, Windsor, Rochester, Lea Valley and Gatwick, the first wave breaking through a giant paper banner.

John Grimshaw, Director and Chief Engineer of Sustrans, the charity that has co-ordinated the project, said, "The inauguration of the Network is the beginning of a rediscovery of the bicycle as an efficient, sustainable and thoroughly modern form of transport. All our partners can feel proud they have contributed to this new national resource".

The Ride the Net [2] celebrations, forming part of the Millennium Festival of Cycling, take place across the UK. Up to 5,000 riders embark on the Longest Ride on the Longest Day. Over 250 rides fan out from 70 towns and cities to ride the whole of the Network, including an extra 5,000 miles planned for 2005. The official opening is followed by the Cyclethon, four days of public events involving up to a million people, many organised by national and local charities.

The National Cycle Network is a Millennium Commission project supported by £43.5m of National Lottery Funds. It is the only project reaching the whole of the UK.

The Network includes 5,000 miles of safe, attractive and high quality routes for cyclists and will provide a major new amenity for walkers and wheelchair users.

The Network will be extended to 10,000 miles by 2005. The National Cycle Network is a partnership project involving over 400 local authorities as well as businesses, landowners, environmental bodies and others.

Information on your nearest Network route is now even more accessible thanks to Halfords [3]. Sustrans is working in partnership with the UKs leading cycle retailer to bring the National Cycle Network to you. Every Halfords superstore is now an information centre for the Network.

For further information please contact the Sustrans Press Office on T: 0117 927 7555, by e-mail: press@sustrans.org.uk. All Sustrans News Releases are available on the Sustrans website www.sustrans.org.uk

Beta background footage available on request.

ISDN line available for radio interviews

NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] More information on the National Cycle Network in your local area is available by calling the Sustrans Public Information Line on Tel: 0117 929 0888 or by visiting www.nationalcyclenetwork.org.uk.

www.ridethenet.co.uk.

Ride the Net, with The Longest Ride, Cyclethon, Ride for Health and Varietys Right to Ride Parties, is part of the Millennium Festival of Cycling 17th-25th June The largest celebration of pedal power the UK has ever seen, part funded by the Millennium Commission. Includes: Dr Bike Day, MPs Bike Rides and Bike to Work Day! Co-ordinated by the CTC for the UKs cycling organisations.

Information: Tel: 09068 995 577 www.cyclingfestival.org.uk

Email: cyclingfestival@ctc.org.uk

[3] Halfords Press Office, Vanessa Dean Tel: 01527 513 272 Fax: 01527 504 780 e-mail vanessa.dean@halfords.co.uk

OPENING OF THE NATIONAL CYCLE NETWORK

On Wednesday June 21st the National Cycle Network opens across the UK.

The 5,000-mile Network has been assisted by £43.5m of Lottery funds

BIRMINGHAM

Culture Secretary, Chris Smith officially opens the Network at 11.00am in Birminghams Centenary Square. The MC for the occasion will be newscaster, Jon Snow.

Riders from the four capitals of the UK will converge in Birmingham bringing the final pieces to complete a huge mosaic of the Network.

UK

At the same time, as part of the Ride the Net celebrations, those who have helped to create the Network will fan out from 70 towns to cycle the 5,000 Millennium Miles as well as a further 5,000 miles planned for 2005. The 5,000 riders, on 250 rides, will be welcomed at nearly 400 local receptions to make up the Longest Ride on the Longest Day.

A CD of still images is available on request.

Beta SP Background footage also available

LONDON

Earlier in the morning, between 6.45 and 8.45, there will be a symbolic Revolution of the Wheel and reception at the London Eye. Transport Minister, Keith Hill will address hundreds of guests and cyclists who will take part in four rides emanating from the Capital, forming the London legs of the Longest Ride.

BELFAST

A ceremony at the Waterfront Hall at 11.15am, will follow the launch of the NI Cycling Strategy at 10.30am, organised by the Roads Service. A senior government representative will send riders off on the Longest Ride.

BRISTOL

Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr.Graham Robertson and TV celebrity Adam Hart-Davies will send riders off from the @Bristol site Anchor Square at 10.40am

CARDIFF

A ceremony and reception at Cardiff City Hall. Sue Essex AM, Assembly Secretary for Transport, Planning and Environment will see Longest Ride cyclists off at 10.00am.

EDINBURGH

Lord Provost, Eric Milligan JP and Alasdair Morrison MSP, Deputy Minister for Highlands, Islands and Gaelic will send off riders from City Chambers at 10.00am..

SUNDERLAND

Hilary Armstrong MP, Minister for Local Government and the Regions will send riders off from Sunderland AFC Stadium of Light at 10.40am. Riders will then set off on the North East legs of the Longest Ride.

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