Though many cyclists may be excited about the prospects of a national network of cycleways connecting up different areas of the country, mountain bikers have more to fear.
How would you feel if that nice technical rock-infested bridleway that you love (in both directions) was flattened and smoothed out for use by skinny tyred bikes and learner cyclists?
Sustrans, the Sustainable Transport people who are charged with setting up the National Cycle Network, claim only 1% of National Cycle Network will be on bndleways. But what if for you that 50% or l00% of the bridlewavs you ride on? Throughout the country, Sustrans have already tarmacced over bridleways and byways reducing natural terrain to little more than man-made black-top.
So, get busy... Join your local bridleways group (if you can put up with all the 'I love my 'orse' chat), or if that doesn't take your fancy, contact your local authority and ask if they have a cycling development officer and have a chat to him. Also, the local authority may have a Rights of Way Liaison Group - ask the Rights of Way Unit - if so, make sure you go along and ask whether there are any cycleway proposals and if so are any bridleways involved.