The charity SUSTRANS built our National Cycle Network in just twelve years — 12,000 miles of substantially off-road bicycle paths, complete with signage, robust surfacing, and volunteer rangers. It’s a triumph of the sort of practical volunteering spirit that can move mountains on a shoestring budget, outwitting pettyfogging bureaucracy and red-tape along the way. Find out where your local paths are with this interactive map of the Midlands.

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Stoke-on-Trent – 100+ miles of mostly off-road paths

The modern bicycle was, of course, invented and refined here in the West Midlands (Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton), and is about as English as it gets (i.e.: looks theoretically impossible, but works in practice — as long as it keeps going forwards).