Hayling Island has a long history of cycling, and since 1986, has hosted the Hayling Charity Cycle Ride.
The inspiration for Cycle Hayling came from a public meeting organised by Paul Fisher, then Chairman of the Hayling Island Residents Association, on the subject of Cycling on Hayling in January 2010. The main speaker was a representative of Sustrans, who provided a video presentation.
Sue Underwood and two fellow cyclists at the meeting already knew how difficult it was for their children to cycle to school, and decided to form Cycle Hayling, with the goal to turn Hayling into the cyclist’s paradise that an island with a highest hill of 15 feet should be.
In 2011, Sue published the first free Cycle Map of Hayling, which became an instant hit with cyclists and non-cyclists alike, and especially at the Beachlands Visitor Centre. The first print run of 5,000 copies went within a few months. We drew up our first ‘wish list’ of improvements, and starting pushing it with Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council. The number of members started to grow rapidly from word of mouth, and with publicity from the map and the Hayling Islander.
In 2012, we printed the second edition of the map with three new rides, the circular rural ride, the harbour view ride and the seafront ride, and it is now in it’s third edition, having printed over 15,000 free copies, which we give away at the Tourist Office and many other popular outlets. We can only do this with the support of our local advertisers and Havant and Hampshire Councils. We also erected three cycle map signboards at each end of the Billy Trail and at the Ferry Boat, with a grant from Hampshire County Council. And we got agreement for our first new ‘route to school’, upgrading the old ‘cinder track’ to a proper tarmac shared cycle path. At the end of the year, we had over 50 signed up supporters.
Now in 2013, our supporters have already nearly doubled to almost 100, and still growing rapidly. Our first new ‘route to school’ is due for completion in the Spring, this new website has gone live, and we’re building up momentum to get more people on bikes and make Hayling Island more cycle-friendly.