Here’s what we submitted for our Hayling Herald September 2022 column, with online links and more pictures …
- Better cycle paths
- New map
- Small is beautiful
- Don’t forget the Hayling Cycle Safari
Better cycle paths
I’ve just returned from cycling in Germany, where just about everybody seems to use their bike as the natural way to get around. That’s because their cycle paths make it easy, fun, and safe. So there’s less car traffic, less emissions and air pollution, and less wear and tear on roads (and people). And a lot of very fit, healthy-looking people. What’s not to like?
Good quality, smooth cycle paths go everywhere, well integrated with the roads and junctions. That’s because they’re managed by the same teams. Unlike Hampshire, where the local roads are managed by Hampshire Highways, and the cycle paths are not really managed at all.
Boris Johnson’s best legacy might be his huge investment in cycling and walking, but it hasn’t reached Hayling yet. We all want to cut Hayling’s traffic, get bikes off the main road, and get people healthy exercise from everyday cycling.
Saving JUST ONE Hayling resident from a wheelchair would pay for good, safe cycle paths all over the island forever, for everyone. That’s an investment worth making.
But it’s not just about investment. With mostly segregated cycle paths, German cyclists and motorists don’t have to mix much, but when they do, at junctions, they are massively respectful to each other.
So here’s my challenge to Hayling Islanders – let’s be massively respectful to each other here too!
Until we get perfect cycle paths, you can find the quietest, safest cycle routes with Cycle Hayling’s 2022 Jubilee edition Cycling and Walking Map! We were a couple of weeks later than planned but it should be out now.
We called it the Jubilee Map to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but it was also the Tin Jubilee for the map itself. If, like me, you need to Google ‘Tin Jubilee’, it’s the tenth anniversary since Sue Underwood’s brilliant original map.
And this is our biggest ever update, with the Round Langstone Harbour route, lots of new cycle paths and routes, and high-lighting quiet streets. And lots of hints and tips to get everybody cycling around the island and into Havant. Find out where to get it (free!) or download it at cyclehayling.org.uk/map. If you’ve got a smartphone, check out the QR codes. And please support the advertisers that helped pay for it.
Small is beautiful
Even in Germany, train travel with a bike isn’t always easy. But it was with our new Bromptons. I’m a huge fan of folding bikes – my Brompton is my fifth and best by far. Yes, they’re expensive, but an investment – it’s saving me a fortune in petrol, and in taxis and parking at each end of a train journey. And my wife’s first Brompton was still worth nearly as much as she paid for it 15 years earlier.
It’s like a full-sized bike to ride, but when folded is smaller than one wheel of a normal bike. And the chain and dirty bits fold into the middle to keep oil off your clothes. We have a tiny transit bag in case it gets wet or muddy. It even fits under train seats, in the corner of a car boot, or anywhere in a house or shed. One New Yorker keeps his on his bookshelf. Try that with an ordinary bike!
Best of all, you can clip a special Brompton Bag on the front below the handlebars, without affecting the steering. It’s big enough for my clothes for a week away.
And they’re great fun to ride, and the small wheels mean great acceleration. Some say the steering is twitchy, but you soon get used to it. We’ve ridden fifty or sixty miles a day quite comfortably, including some rough surfaces. One of my best ever investments. Recommended.
Don’t forget the Hayling Cycle Safari
The Hayling Cycle Safari It runs to the end of September, give it a go. Details on the Cycle Hayling website at cyclehayling.org.uk/safari. Happy cycling!