Sustrans, creator of the National Cycle Network, will be celebrating 25 years of achievements this Sunday. Originally known as Cyclebag, a local campaign group, the Bristol-based charity went on to becoming a major force in British cycling

Happy Birthday, Sustrans

The celebrations will include the opening of Bristol’s ‘Millennium Mile’ in Millennium Square, Bristol; the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable

Development) by the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol in Queens Square; and a cycle ride along the Bristol to Bath path for a picnic and music in Bath’s Royal Crescent.

In 1977 the Bristol wing of Friends of the Earth had planned a major rally to launch a campaign designed to persuade local authorities to make more provision for cycling. Local resident and civil engineer John Grimshaw addressed the gathered enthusiasts. Shortly

afterwards, on the seventh day of the seventh month in 1977, a meeting was held where another resident, George Platts, came up with the name ‘Cyclebag’ for the embryonic Bristol organisation, which was to lead to one of the largest and most effective action

groups in the UK.

The first project for Sustrans was the Bristol & Bath Railway Path that carries over 1.5 million journeys per year.

Sustrans has an international reputation and liases with organisations across Europe and the rest of the world.

This year, Sustrans was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) for its work on the National Cycle Network. It was the only charitable organisation to win a Queen’s Award in any category.

As well as its head office in Bristol it maintains offices in Newcastle, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast with many regional and local officers. As well as full and part-time staff, Sustrans also has 40 000 supporters who provide much

of the core funding for the organisation, and maintains 1300 Community Volunteer Rangers who help to look after sections of the National Cycle Network at a local level.

John Grimshaw, executive director and chief engineer, said: "I’m not sure that we would have started at all if we had known that it was for 25 years! But there is no question that commitment over time secures results, and Sustrans has the benefit of

fantastic staff and supporters who have this commitment to continuity.

"We look forward to the next 25 years of fantastic change when the world will surely have to come to terms with its extravagant exhaustion of resources and adopt a much more

sustainable lifestyle, particularly in transport."

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