Well, Hayling Island is the right place to be. There are some that claim there is a ‘hill’ in St Peter’s Road but it’s an undulation at most.
Once you get off the island, however, it’s a different story. We have some fantastic cycling in the South Downs Country Park but hills are virtually unavoidable if you want to enjoy the scenery, or commute any distance.
Let’s be clear about one thing: there’s no shame at all in getting off your bike and pushing it up a hill. None at all. Everyone’s had to do it. If you’re not used to hills, the chances are you’ll be pushing at some point. Don’t let it spoil your ride.
I’ve written an article that explores different aspects of cycling hills. You can read it here.
There’s no such thing as absolute bike security. Given time and access, any system can be broken. You are therefore aiming to make it sufficiently difficult for a potential thief that they decide to move on.
Analysis of recent bike thefts on Hayling Island reveals that:
- Hayling Island is second only to Leigh Park in the local area for bike thefts
- The large majority of thefts were of unsecured bikes visible to passers-by
- Using a grotty bike is little protection – thieves seem to go for any kind
It would be nice to think that Hayling is a relatively safe place to leave a bike, but that’s unfortunately not so. Having said that, we do have plenty of places to secure a bike and it seems that any lock – even weak ones – can be a deterrent to an opportunistic thief.
The follow sections discuss various aspects of bike security…
There’s no such thing as a good, cheap lock or a good, light lock. Good locks come at a price and are heavy. Unfortunately, just because a lock is heavy and expensive does not mean it is a good one.
Instead look for a ‘Sold Secure’ rating. This is an independent assessment of how long it should take a thief to overcome the lock. Ratings are Gold, Silver and Bronze.
When you secure a bike with a lock, try to secure the frame of your bike to something fixed – such as a bike stand or a lamp post. You might be tempted to secure your bike by a wheel, but that’s unlikely to be effective – most bikes have a wheel release mechanism that makes it easy to detach the wheel and take the rest of the bike.
Tip: if your lock comes with a key, keep it locked so you have to unlock it to use it. That way you won’t lock up your bike only to find you’ve left the key at home!
There are five basic kinds of bike lock:
- ‘Coffee shop’ locks – these are small, light locks with thin cables. They are designed to deter an opportunistic thief. A sharp tug is, however, all it takes to break this kind of lock. Avoid this type of lock if you leave your bike unattended for any length of time.
- Combination locks – have the advantage that you can’t lose the key. Unfortunately, all but the best combination locks are easily undone. Avoid if there is any play between the ends of the lock. Instead – if you want to use this type of lock, look for a good name with a good ‘Sold Secure’ rating.
- Padlocks – are a good compromise between security and weight/bulk. They consist of a chain and a padlock or a lock fixed to a cable at one end and that locks the other end. It’s easy to thread cables and chains through railings, around lamp posts and other fixings.
- D-locks or U-locks – they’re the same thing. They are – in effect – very large padlocks made entirely out of solid metal. You can also get cables that attach to this type of lock so you can secure your wheels to the frame. These are the most secure types of lock but they are heavy and can be difficult to secure to fixings. Commuters often leave their locks at work (or locked to a fixing) so they don’t have to carry them on the bike.
- Alarmed locks – all types of lock can be used with an alarm that goes off if someone tampers with the lock. These are not very practical when out and about, but can be a useful extra protection at home or at work.
Skewers are used to secure your bike’s wheels to the frame. Most modern bikes come with ‘quick release’ skewers that allow you to remove your wheels quickly, without tools. A lockable skewer uses a special kind of nut that can be undone only with a suitable key (like lockable car wheel nuts). They can be very inconvenient if you suffer a puncture, though.
While out and about, you might be tempted to try to hide your bike away so it’s not easily spotted by a thief. Unfortunately, that makes it easier for the thief since they can be reasonably sure they can work on your bike without interruption. It’s safer to use a public place where lots of other bikes are secured:
- There’s safety in numbers. If you’ve gone to the trouble and expense to lock your bike securely, there’s almost certain to be an easier target for the thief.
- If there are people around, a thief will be worried you are returning to your bike.
- If the parking place is overlooked by shops, bars and restaurants, a thief will be worried you might be watching your bike.
Space can be a problem when storing your bike at home. To save space, you can buy bike hooks that allow you to store bikes vertically or even hang them as decoration! You might have several choices of location:
- In your house or flat – probably the most secure location if you have room. You’ll need to protect carpets and floors from oil and water drips.
- A garage – you can combine both bike and car security.
- A garden shed – usually not as good as a garage because doors can be wrenched open or fixings unscrewed.
- An open area – but you will be reliant solely on on your bike security.
- An open area visible from the street – but you will be offering an invitation to a bike thief.
When storing your bike at home, you’ll need something to secure your bike to. If you have nothing suitable, you can buy an anchor that is fixed to a wall or concrete floor. Your lock passes through the anchor to secure your bike.
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s fixing instructions. In particular, you need to be sure the thief cannot simply unscrew the fastening bolts to remove the anchor.
Record details about your bike
That does nothing to prevent your bike from being stolen, but might help you recover it. Make a note of the frame number (usually stamped into the metal below the pedals) and log anything that makes it unique (take a photo of chips and scratches).
Check your insurance
You might find your bike is already covered by your household contents cover. More likely, however, you will need to tell your insurance company about it, and there might be an additional charge. Compare costs with specialised bike insurance policies; they will probably be more expensive but offer additional benefits such as transport to home in the event of a serious problem.
Postcode your bike
This is a free service offered by the Hayling Island Police’s Safer Neighbourhood Team. A discrete band is attached to your bike recording your postcode. That makes it more difficult for a thief to dispose of your bike,
Look out for SNT attendance at local events or get in touch and arrange a time and place to get your bike postcoded.
Use bike security web sites
These sites allow you to record details of your bike so that:
- If your bike is found, Police can find out who owns it, and return it to you
- Potential buyers of your bike can use the sites to check the credentials of the seller and find out if the bike has been stolen from you
- If you want to sell your bike, a registration more than a few months old provides some evidence you are the rightful owner
- You prevent a thief registering your bike to claim ownership
Police forces usually rely on a single site. Hampshire partners with Immobilise.com. The other main site is BikeRegister. Both sites offer a range of services:
- A free registration service that allows you to record details about your bike so that others can check its status and, if necessary, get in touch. The sites would obviously prefer you to pay for a service, so you will need to be persistent to get to the free service.
- A sticker that can’t easily be removed that advertises your registration to thieves and potential buyers.
- ‘Smart water’ encoding that covers your bike and components in tiny dots that link your bike to its registration on the web site.
We suggest you register with both sites. If you decide to use one of the paid for services, however, it’s not worth buying the same service from both sites.
Take care when online
If you are not careful, you can provide a thief with clues of where to find an expensive bike. In particular, if you participate in a cycling social networking site like strava.com, make sure you do not record routes that accurately describe your home location.
There is no uniform for bike riders. You don’t need to wear any special gear to go cycling, and many people don’t. The health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks. So, if worrying about clothing is holding you back, just get cycling!
We’d like to encourage you, however, to spend some time thinking about your comfort and safety on the bike.
Continue reading “I don’t know what to wear”
You first need to decide whether it is worth fixing, or not.
Just about everything on the bike can be brought back into service, or replaced, but the cost could be more than getting a good, replacement bike.
More important, of course, you need to be safe.
It is hard to provide useful, general guidance about whether a bike is serviceable, or not. We might be able to help if you get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some photos might help. You might also consider a trip to the Portsmouth Cycle Centre – a local group of volunteers prepared to help you with bike maintenance.
On the other hand, if all your bike needs is some attention, we provide advice for looking after your bike here. We cover using a specialist bike shop and describe ways to ‘do it yourself’.
The Highway code has two sections for specifically for cyclists. They are clear and offer good advice.
You read them at the gov.uk web site:
If you have no experience on the road, see if our Bikeability and cycle training project can help.
There are several groups that provide advice on inclusive cycling. For example:
We have direct experience of battery-powered cycles in the group. These are particularly useful for people who lack the stamina for longer rides. They do, however, require pedalling. If you have any specific questions about battery-powered bikes, we’d be happy to try to answer any specific questions you might have here.
Similarly, we have experience with trikes – and even battery powered trikes. They’re particularly useful for people with balance or mobility problems. Again, we’d be happy to answer any specific questions you might have here.
We don’t have any direct experience of other forms of inclusive cycling, however. If you do, please get in touch.
We’ve created a cycle map of Hayling that you can download from this site. You can get a printed copy from several locations on the island including the Information Centre at Beachlands and the library.
Portsmouth City Council publish several cycle maps that include Hayling Island or are within easy reach of the ferry (which has provision for bikes).
We’re running several projects campaigning for improvements to cycle provision on the island. If you’d like to support our efforts, please subscribe to the supporter’s newsletter.
Hayling Island is in a great position for the leisure cyclist. We have the South Downs national park right on our doorstep.
The best way is to join a group. That way you can:
- Learn routes that avoid main roads
- Enjoy exploring the countryside with like-minded people
- Stretch yourself knowing you have support from the group if you get into trouble
- Get god advice about clothing and equipment
- Find out other cycling possibilities in the area and further afield
Continue reading “I’d like to cycle for pleasure”
Commuting by bike is a great way to get regular exercise and save money at the same time.
Here’s some things to think about:
Continue reading “I’d like to start commuting”
This article is for people that think they might need a bike, or a better bike, or just a different bike, whether you’re new to cycling or not.
If you don’t want to spend money until you’re sure it won’t be wasted, read on! You don’t want a terrible bike or the wrong type – that might put you off cycling for life and be a total waste of money. And you need to be safe!
Bike types can be very confusing – there’s a great summary of the different types at dailybiking.com/2014/08/types-of-bicycles-explained.html
If you don’t find the answers here, or you want advice on starting a different type of cycling (such as commuting to work, or joining a cycling club), you can always ask a specific question here.
Continue reading “I need a bike”