Sustrans has been awarded £360,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to keep the Olympic and Paralympic cycling spirit alive in communities across the UK.
In mid-August, the charity will organise a UK-wide cycle tour – Pedal on UK – running from London to Glasgow over three weeks, where celebrities, Olympic and Paralympic Games Makers, community groups, schools and volunteers will take part as ‘The Ride’ travels through their area.
A core team of volunteers called ‘The Ride’ will lead the communal tour, travelling along many of the newly-opened walking and cycling routes on the National Cycle Network.
Events and festivals along the route are in the works too, designed to raise awareness of the impact of cycling on obesity, community cohesion, and improving access for everyone.
“We are delighted to be beneficiaries of this important funding which will support our drive to get everyone out and about on their bikes following the success of 2012," enthused Sustrans chief exec Malcolm Shepherd. “Over the last five years Sustrans has helped millions of people travel by foot and bike by extending good walking and cycling routes on the National Cycle Network into the heart of towns and cities.
“Across the UK, people of all ages and abilities can now use cycling and walking routes to easily reach schools, shops, work and friends by bike, foot or wheelchair. We are proud to be organising Pedal On UK which will help people across the UK enjoy these routes and have some fun.”
Sustrans is one of four UK-wide initiatives to receive a total of £5.3m funding from the Lottery Fund, including Get set to Make a Change; Join In and Britain’s Personal Best. The cash is being splashed ahead of the Big Lottery Fund’s £40 million endowment of the ‘Spirit of 2012’ Trust formed late last year.
Chair of the Big Lottery Fund Peter Ainsworth added: “Over £5 million pounds of activities will kick off in the months ahead, starting with Sustrans’ Pedal On UK, a mass participation cycling event, and continuing with a myriad of activities right through to summer next year. The aim is to accelerate and continue the changes in people’s attitudes and behaviours inspired in 2012 – ensuring they continue to impact on communities and individuals across the UK.”