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Potholes and Pavements: A Bumpy Ride on Britain’s National Cycle Network by Laura Laker

Potholes and Pavements: A Bumpy Ride on Britain’s National Cycle Network by Laura Laker

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'Just wonderful – two wheels good, Laura Laker brilliant. Part travel diary, part love poem to Britain's cycle network ... it's difficult not to be inspired by this fabulous book.' Jeremy Vine

'With a passion for both cycling and words, there are few more qualified to paint a picture of the NCN's potential than Laura Laker.' Chris Boardman

A unique journey around the UK’s National Cycle Network and one journalist’s quest to investigate the state of our country’s cycling.

What if we were less reliant on our cars? What if there were safe cycling paths to take us places instead? What if those paths led to the next town, the next village and the countryside beyond? This was the dream of a group of Bristolian idealists in the 1970s when they founded Britain’s National Cycle Network, which now runs to nearly 13,000 miles across the country. Journalist Laura Laker sets off on an odyssey around the UK to see where the NCN began, and where it is now. What has gone right – and wrong – with this piece of national infrastructure? Why is it run by a charity whose CEO once admitted ‘we’ve had enough of it being crap, we need to fix it’? Laura lifts the lid on this maddening, patchy, and at times dangerous network, and the similarly precarious politics and financing that make it what it is.

She discovers beauty, friendship and adventure along the way, from the Cairngorms to Cornwall, from the Pennines to the South Wales coast. On her mission to pin down what the NCN is and what it means to those who use it, she also meets up with high-profile travelling companions, including Chris Boardman and Ned Boulting. In a country where 71% of trips are less than five miles, two thirds of Britons say they want to cycle more and doing so could help our climate, health and wellbeing.

Laura is on a mission to see if we can make that dream a reality.


Paperback
Publication: 9 May 2024, Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781399406468

Extent: 288 pages

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