Commuters are being urged to give up one car journey this week to mark the birthday of the UK's biggest bike charity. Cycling campaign and action group Sustrans turns 30 this month. The organisation is laying on a series of events in celebration, but is also calling on people to improve their travel habits.
Impressionist Alistair McGowan is among celebrities taking the "Change Your World" challenge. He is one of thousands who have pledged to give up one car journey between July 1 and 7. If everyone in the UK signed up, it could cut car traffic across the country by 10 per cent, Sustrans say.
TV presenter and science guru Adam Hart-Davies is well known for his eccentrically bright cycling clobber. He will be getting on his bike even more than usual, and also letting the train take the strain. McGowan, meanwhile, will be forgoing some of his regular cab journeys.
If you're stuck for ideas on how to cycle even more, how about these?
- If you're meeting a friend for coffee, get on your bike, and buy a lovely cake with the money you would have spent on a bus or driving. You'll have earned it.
- If you work a long way from home, consider taking the train and cycling back one evening. Just make sure you check the weather forecast first.
- Use your local shops, and avoid the chore of the weekly mammoth expedition to your nearest supermarket.
And if you're reading this and thinking: "Pah, I don't have a car", you can still sign up anyway, and register your car-free status. Anyone taking part can contribute photos to the scheme's "Show Us Your World" gallery. Keen snappers are being asked to send in pictures of the weird and wonderful things they notice when not stuck behind a steering wheel. You can also enter photos into a competition to win a mountain bike worth £449.
To find out more and sign the pledge, visit www.changeyourworld.org.uk
Events being held by Sustrans as it marks its anniversary this month include:
- Some 150 riders taking part in the Sustrans Channel Challenge, cycling from Bristol into Wales, Somerset and Devon. They left on June 29 and are due back on July 7, when they will head straight to...
- Party On The Path, Castle Park, Bristol. To celebrate the formation of Channel Your Calf & Leg Energy Bristol Action Group (CYCLEBAG) - the organisation which eventually became Sustrans. Including bands, DJs, bar, food stalls and pedal powered machines. Plus, that essential, a solar-powered organic ice cream maker.
- London to Southend Bike Ride on July 15. You can find out more about all of these, and download an events calendar at www.sustrans.org.uk