So far as cycling is concerned I count myself lucky to live in Shrewsbury. I'm not sure how, or why, but Shrewsbury had dedicated cycle paths 40 years ago. The cycle path network has been extended and improved over the years so that much of the town is accessible with minimal direct contact with vehicles. Outside of Shrewsbury I try and avoid 'A' roads as much as possible, especially the A49, but again I'm fortunate that I can disappear down some Shropshire lanes and not see another vehicle for hours.
I'm another returning cyclist after a 30 year break! I always used to go out on Sunday club rides in my youth but someone made the rather obvious point the other day. Quiet Sunday rides have been ruined by the relaxing of the Sunday trading laws. Now we have 7 days a week shopping and 7 days a week traffic