My Week: Martyn Brunt gets on his bike in search of cycle routes

The development manager for the National Cycle Network at Sustrans recounts his week

Martyn Brunt
Martyn Brunt

Monday: I'm on the 7.30am train from Birmingham to Leeds for a meeting with our regional director for Yorkshire, one of our most prolific regions for new cycle routes. We're going through the plan for the National Cycle Network in the region, which involves looking at maps of our proposed routes and asking lots of questions: is the route agreed? Have we got planning permission? Is there funding? Is there a signing plan?

Tuesday: I'm in Swindon to visit the impressive headquarters of the National Trust to talk about opportunities to work together. I'm not due there until lunchtime, though, and as it's a part of the network I don't know well, I go exploring to see what it is like cycling round the area. The pouring rain dims my enthusiasm slightly, but I've had enough days in my life staring out of an office window and I know where I'd rather be.

Wednesday: Today I'm visiting Erith in south-east London with local Sustrans colleagues and a member of Bexley Council to look at a route in Crayford Ness. The traffic-free path runs alongside the Thames and then the River Darent. We look at the standard of the route, assessing it for things such as signage, width and quality of surface, and checking to see what improvements or maintenance might be needed. There's an elaborate and completely pointless barrier at the end of the path, the removal of which I am now plotting.

Friday: After four days of travelling - I was in Bristol yesterday - I'm back in the office in Birmingham with loads of emails waiting for me. But it's not all doom and gloom because I get out for a meeting with a nice chap from British Waterways on the towpath of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. We are looking at what resurfacing and widening needs to be done for it to be incorporated into the network. It's already popular, but some small improvements could make it an important traffic-free corridor into Birmingham. It's a nice route and you'd never know you were in the centre of England's second city.

Sustrans promotes walking and cycling for local journeys and manages and develops the National Cycle Network

Martyn Brunt is development manager for the National Cycle Network at Sustrans

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