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FAQs

How did it all begin?

Sustrans began life as Cyclebag, a charity set up in July 1977 in response to an energy crisis that was encouraging the whole world to look at different ways of travelling. Cycling was seen as an obvious energy efficient way of travelling short distances. It became immediately clear that sustainable transport was the wider framework within which cycling and also walking would become increasingly relevant, and Sustrans (blending the words sustainable transport) was born.

How is Sustrans funded?

Sustrans is a charity so we rely on funding from a variety of sources including charitable trusts, lottery funding, government and the private sector. The National Cycle Network was made possible with a lottery grant of £43.5 million. Sustrans' 40,000 supporters provide vital core funding.

How do you develop the National Cycle Network?

The National Cycle Network currently runs within 2 miles of 75% of the UK population. Sustrans would ultimately like the Network to be accessible to as many people as possible and to pass through every city, bringing communities together and providing links to shops, schools, work and to other towns and cities.

To help us achieve this aim we work with local people, local authorities, partners and other landowners to identify potential new cycling and walking routes. Once a proposed route is identified we follow a consultation process that involves all interested parties. New National Cycle Network routes can follow existing roads, or cycle paths. As part of the process, surveys are carried out which assess the impact the path would have on, for example, the local environment. Anyone can make a suggestion for a cycle route they'd like to see in their area. Our aim is to develop popular routes that are useful to local people and visitors alike.

How do I find out about routes near me?

Our online mapping facility features National Cycle Network regional and national routes as well as other cycle routes. Details of many easy rides and longer distance routes are available and you can also browse routes to find those in your area. You can also call the Sustrans National Cycle Network information line on 0845 113 0065 (UK local rate).

How can I get involved?

Volunteers help Sustrans in many ways. This has enabled us to achieve much more, and it has also given our volunteers a stake in our work, ensuring that our practical projects are responsive to the needs of local communities. 

By becoming a Sustrans supporter you can help us to get more people cycling and walking. You'll also receive regular newsletters and information on Sustrans' work.

Where can I buy Sustrans maps and books?

You'll find the complete range of Sustrans maps and books in our online shop. Sustrans maps can also be bought from Stanfords map suppliers in Bristol, London and Manchester.

How do I know when I'm on the National Cycle Network?

The National Cycle Network is made up of National and Regional routes. National routes are high quality linear routes that link major towns and cities, and have a blue and white sign and arrow and a red number. Regional routes are also built to a high standard and tend to link up smaller urban centres, often as a network of circular routes. These have a blue and white sign and arrow and a blue number.

Is the National Cycle Network just for cyclists?

No, it is popular with walkers, wheelchair uses and horse riders. Half of all trips made on the National Cycle Network are walking trips and one third of the Network is traffic-free.

Can I visit Sustrans?

No. We are available by telephone from 9am to 5pm weekdays (except bank holidays) on 0845 113 0065.

Where can I find out about taking bikes on trains?

The website atob.org.uk has information on all train companies and their policies on bike carriage.