This is the article we submitted for the January edition of the Hayling Islander. The published article was subject to editing by the Islander. Also, depending on the timing of the Infrastructure report’s publication and the Hayling Islander deadlines, we might make some last-minute changes.
Made any New Year revolutions yet? No, that’s not a mis-print, I’m talking about pedal revolutions on your bike. I’ll be regretting all those mince pies, and looking gingerly at the weighing machine. Exercise is the best medicine.
New Year’s a great time to challenge yourself to do something positive. Why not resolve to enhance your health, your wealth and our island environment – by cycling more in 2019?
Already cycling – why not step up a gear? If you’re an occasional cyclist, step up to once a week. If you’re a weekend cyclist, try during the week. Why not try cycling to the shops, or to work, or to the pub? No waiting for buses, no traffic queues, no parking charges, no fuel bill – unless you count cakes as fuel!
Cycling is better for you, and for the environment, and often quicker, once you get organised. Try riding with a group. Portsmouth CTC is a very friendly club, at touring speeds, not racing. They run several, great and varied rides every week from The Spring in Havant.
Or right here on the island, the U3A has social rides on the first Tuesday of each month.
Why not plan a cycling holiday, perhaps even the Hayling Cycle Ride to Chartres and Bayeux in July?
Bike in storage? It’s a great time to get it out and working again. It might only need a loving wipe over with a clean rag, a squirt of oil, and air in the tyres.
There’s plenty of advice on the web, or on our Cycle Hayling website. If you’re not sure it’s safe, do take it to a bike shop – Hayling Cycles in Elm Grove will service it from £15, or there are more on the mainland.
No bike? January and February are great for bike discounts, new or second hand, as people spring clean and clear-out. If you’re not sure what you need, why not borrow or hire, or buy cheaper or second hand to help you decide?
You don’t get many car journeys for the price of a bike. Bikes come in many styles and sizes – good advice is much easier to come by these days; the web, the Cycle Hayling website or bike shops are good places to start.
Safety and equipment. Cycling is statistically safer than gardening or DIY. And it’s great exercise for the lungs, the heart, the circulation, the legs and for core strength.
Cycling is around 20 times as likely to benefit you as harm you. The biggest killer in this country, around 80,000 deaths a year, is from inactivity.
Nevertheless, we always recommend wearing a helmet – they are all tested to the same standard so you don’t need to spend a lot.
Nervous? Start on quiet back streets, or quiet car parks, or at Beachlands. Most motorists on the island are very considerate to cyclists if you’re considerate to them. It’s often more fun to start again with a cycling group or friend. And reward yourself with a coffee and a cake at one of our great tea rooms!
North-South Cycle Link – Haylink. Hayling is cut in two for cycling. The south of the island is slowly getting better, with the beach cycle route, lots of quieter roads, and an increasing number of cycle paths.
From the bridge right into the centre of Havant is a delightful, smooth, all-weather Billy Trail.
But between the two is a nightmare! We desperately need a good way to cycle from the Lidl roundabout to the bridge.
Without busy roads, without risking life and limb, without getting covered in mud. An everyday cycle path good enough for commuters, our kids and grandparents, and everyone in between.
Cycle Hayling is calling for a proper, direct, North-South Cycle Link. Haylink, for short.
The Billy Trail is a huge detour, and even with a good surface, we are doubtful that it would meet all the island’s needs.
By the time you read this, we should have the Hayling Infrastructure Report. Any consultation period is likely to be short, so please check how it supports cycling and respond.
And particularly, how it will deliver Haylink.
Cycle Hayling hits 300 signed up supporters! Cycle Hayling is a volunteer community group to encourage cycling and better facilities on Hayling. If you want better cycling on Hayling, please sign up now, it’s free!
Have a Happy New Year, and happy cycling.