Bicycle routes
Bandiera Cycling in Britain
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Photos and information
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Britain is one of few European countries to have a national network of well-signed bike trails (National Cycle Network), with uniform signage consisting of a blue background for the sign itself and with white numbers on a red background for the route numbers, like the one at the upper left corner of this page; route numbers are indicated with an N followed by a number; for example N20 is the bike route from Brighton to Crawley.

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Britain certainly does not have a network of bike paths comparable to those of the Central European countries; but, in recent years the situation has improved, thanks largely to the advocacy of Sustrans [sustainable transport], the nonprofit charity that promotes sustainable journeys, and above all increased bicycle use.

These routes are partly on dedicated bike paths and partly on local roads with little traffic. As in other European countries the bike paths are often constructed on the rail beds of decommissioned railroads, for example the Cuckoo Trail south of London.

In the big cities the situation is far from that of Copenhagen or Amsterdam, or even from that of Vienna or Berlin; London, all the same, has made considerable progress in recent years, the number of urban cyclists is constantly increasing and the Greater London Authority is building a substantial project, that of an East-West Cycle Superhighway which will cross through central London along the Thames. During 2015 construction sites for this project were active and clearly visible.

During 2012, the year of the London Olympics, the Paris-London route opened that crosses the English Channel between Dieppe and Newhaven, and once within England uses routes N2, N21 and N20.

Remember, people in Britain drive on the left side of the road, not the right, which is confusing and even dangerous for cyclists. Particularly disorienting and hazardous is trying simply to cross a street: one must first look to right and then to left, not the other way around!

A useful complement to bike use in Britain is to transport one’s bike by train, a service which is available and free on almost all British trains.

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