One big growth area as a result of the lockdown has been the interest in cycling, for leisure, utility and health reasons.
Many more cycling
Every day there are more enjoying the lovely countryside, going for exercise, or visiting the shops. Now that cafés have opened as takeaways numbers of visitors have become more noticeable, and with greater easing of the lockdown restrictions due next month these are sure to increase.
Coffee, cakes and shopping
Cycle shops have seen a boom in trade as more take to two wheels. While riders sup their coffees, eat their cakes and fill up with energy from the shops, the new cycle racks help keep shop fronts and doorways clear of obstructions while the seats outside the Town Hall are well used for a rest and enjoyment of ice creams.
Others are dusting off their bikes from the backs of sheds and using them for trips for local shopping. With less traffic, cleaner air, convenience and no parking problems, the benefits are clear.
Countryside paths and bridleways
With so many riding there has been pressure on some of the local countryside routes and riders are reminded that not all rural footpaths are available for cycling unless they are designated as Bridleways (which are open to walking, cycling and horse riding).
At the present time the only direct Bridleway status in town applies to the path north from Bloswood Drive out past the St Cross Allotments and towards Egbury.
This lovely ride is also part of the Hampshire County Council’s Whitchurch 23 mile-Off-Road route that includes the Bourne valley, Ladle Hill and Watership Down. It is quite ‘challenging’ but can be done in parts and it links into some other lovely areas of the countryside.
CYCLING IN HAMPSHIRE
Currently there are also proposals being made to redesignate the walking-only footpath westwards from Webbs Farm Close as a Bridleway (on which there will be local consultation).
All other rural footpaths such as the ones by The Weir to All Hallows and through the ‘Hangings’ to Bere Mill are for walking only and cyclists (and horse riders) are asked to respect the law on this, as well as keeping to the Countryside Code: COUNTRYSIDE CODE
However there is a mass of lovely tranquil lanes surrounding the town, making leisure riding a wonderful activity, with Sustrans National Cycle Route N246 just a few miles to the west: SUSTRANS NCN 246
Local information and support
Today, social media plays a large part in communications and there are several cycling related groups and pages. If you want advice or to go for a ride, there is a lot of freely available advice available.
W.H.A.C (Whitchurch Hampshire Adventure Cycling)
Whitchurch Hampshire Adventure Cycling (Facebook)
Whitchurch Cycling – Hampshire
Whitchurch Cycling (Facebook)
Advice on repairs and local cycling is also available through:
Whitchurch Cycle Repair Café which is currently available as a local ‘fix for charity’ donation scheme.
Currently contact is via firstname.lastname@example.org
Need some advice? Coming soon:
Coming soon there is also an opportunity for anyone new to or returning to cycling to have an informal and friendly get-together (social-distancing catered for) to learn about getting the most comfortable position and how to undertake necessary repairs such as punctures, and taking spares for a local cycle ride.
Other support on cycling can be provided too.