Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Three days riding with Pedal On UK was both a privilege and fun. It was fun because it was I like doing best and that is going on a cycle tour. I was one of a group of 17 Sustrans volunteers who cycled from Newton Abbot via Exe Valley Trail, Sidmouth, Blackdown Hills, Somerset Levels, Wells to Bath and Bristol. The story is told on Pedal On UK Tumblr.
I was one of the Ride Reporters and my highlights were wide and varied. For me, these were special:
a) We cycled many miles on dedicated cycle/walking paths. These were hugely popular. There were families with young children, older people, disabled people and those who simply enjoyed being out in the countryside in a traffic free environment. The story that had most meaning were the Appleton and Miller families near Chard on the Stopline Way. Grandparents, their children and grandchildren all enjoyed the route. But one child was disabled and the smile on her face was a treat to see. These dedicated paths are genuinely cycling for everyone.
b) Sustrans commissions artwork on all its routes. All tell a story about the local area. Can you see Brunel hiding behind us in the image above?
c) I learned some new IT skills with a new phone that downloaded my stories straight on the website.
d) Last Dr Dawn Harper allowed me to take her picture as seen on the website. She was very friendly and genuinely supportive of Sustrans work.
So, where next? I am off to the Hebrides in October to enjoy fantastic scenery, outstanding wildlife and ride a few miles
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Cycling should be for everyone. It is a wonderful way to experience the countryside and wide open spaces. This is why I passionately support Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity who promote walking and cycling. Their concerns are like mine. There is too much traffic on our roads yet somehow Sustrans is creating a network across the whole country of safe cycle and walking routes.
Last Friday Sustrans linked with London Gamesmakers to celebrate their acheivements over three weeks with Pedal On UK. In its first few days it was on prime time BBC1 and Channel 5. Already Dame Kelly Holmes and Paralympic gold medallist, Dave Stone have joined in. There is more to come across the country.
I am Ride Reporter for Stage 4 Newton Abbott to Bath and Bristol on 24 -26 August. I have received my reporter's pack and have a mixture of excitement with a twitch of nervousness as I report on this ride. Will I meet a celebrity? That would be exciting.
Equally exciting will be cycling with 16 like minded people alongside South Devon's wonderful coast, across the Blackdown Hills, the Somerset Levels, into Bath and finishing in Bristol.
Locally to me Sustrans have worked hard and now Devon has an extensive network. Fellow Pedal On rider, Nicki and myself were out yesterday and again tomorrow training for our ride and, of course, we are on the network.