Cycling has always played a big part in Margaret’s life. Here, she tells us about why the National Cycle Network is so close to her heart.
I’ll ‘fess up straight away... I am a National Cycle Network addict.
I became one partly because I have been fortunate to live only 1km from a major arterial National Cycle Network route for 25 years.
It has drawn me in as an easy, quiet, traffic-free, non-congested, mind-freeing way to get to work and more importantly, home.
When our local council opened a safe route through our park during the evenings that was it; there was simply no contest between a 20-minute bike-ride, a 40-minute walk or over 40 minutes by bus.
The National Cycle Network makes it so easy to plan and, for the most part, provides a trusted standard of often traffic-free and almost always clear routes, as well as signs to guide you on your way.
Here in South Wales, I am very aware of how lucky we are to have cycleways up most of our Valleys, nearly all with a reasonable surface.
I think I’m passionate about the National Cycle Network because I’ve always cycled. I am lucky enough to have been brought up with a family whose only mode of transport was bicycles – although I may not have thought I was lucky at the time.
As soon as Margaret's local council opened a safe route through the park during the evenings she began regularly commuting by bicycle.
In those days we pretty much stuck to local routes that we knew, venturing further afield could be tricky; unknown terrain required lots of mapping, measuring and examining how close the contours were.
Now, with online mapping and other digital means, it is easy to follow pre-set routes and trails and examine route profiles before venturing out.
You see, that’s the thing: the National Cycle Network takes you to places you never thought you’d visit, delivers views beyond description, nearly always involves a café, and ultimately draws you into its network.