Hayling Islander article December 2018

This is the article we submitted for the December edition of the Hayling Islander. The published article was subject to editing by the Islander.

We were saddened by the death of Tony Higham, a long term supporter of HIRA, Hayling and of Cycle Hayling. His knowledge, quiet tenacity and engineering skills were at the heart of the crusade to protect Hayling from being over-run by commercial and house-building pressures. Our thoughts are with his family.

Tony’s traffic modeling provided key inputs to the Hayling Infrastructure Report, due to be published in mid-December. It’s a tragedy that he did not live to see it published, and it is up to all of us to make sure that his work lives on.

The Infrastructure Report will affect you, whether you’re a cyclist, a walker, a lover of nature, worried about the environment and climate change, or just someone who cares about Hayling, and preserving it’s unique semi-rural character.

Cycle Hayling will be judging it against cycling, and particularly, how it delivers Haylink, the Hayling North-South Cycle Link: a safe, child-friendly, all-weather cycle route from the Mill Rythe School roundabout to the bridge, without big detours, and avoiding the busy main road.

As part of national Road Safety Week, the Cycling and Walking Minister, Jesse Norman, has announced a 2 year action plan to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians, including a long-awaited review of the Highway Code. I hadn’t realized that 5 times more pedestrians are killed on Britain’s roads than cyclists – you don’t hear about them, do you?

It’s part of a bigger program to improve air quality, encourage healthy exercise, reduce obesity and boost high streets and economic productivity.

We’re all for that, and especially, the encouragement for councils to spend 15% of their transport budget on walking and cycling.

Cycle Hayling is making steady progress with our Denhill Close project. We’re upgrading the public footpath from Denhill Close to the Billy Trail to be a full cycle path. It will join up with the east-west cycle path the council is building from St Mary’s Church to Manor Rd.

At the moment, you’d have to ride on busy West Lane or Manor Rd, so it will be a lot safer and more pleasant, as well as cutting a mile or more off some journeys. Cyclists don’t like detours!

We have some Christmas present ideas for cyclists, from £1 upwards!

Hayling Cycles in Elm Grove do good offers, advice, and bike maintenance. Places like Hayling Hardware, Tesco and Wilko offer great value, Aldi do special offers, and there’s Halfords and Evans, or online.

A bell starts at £1, and pedestrians and dog walkers will thank you.

Be safe, be seen, and be warm, with hi-vis clothing and lights. Hi-vis velcro ankle straps start at a couple of pounds, while a hi-vis gilet or rucksack cover can be not much more.

We love head torches, and USB rechargeable LED lights, slow flashing for better visibility and battery life. I’ve seen them from £1.50, but £10 to £15 might be a better quality.

Keep them charged up, like your phone, so they’re always ready.

Look for ones with rubber straps, for instant fitting and removing.

A puncture repair kit, a cyclist’s multi-tool, or even spare inner tubes are good stocking presents. Modern tiny hand pumps are good to carry with you, but for home use, you can’t beat a track pump with a pressure gauge.

Keep warm and dry with hi-vis gloves and a cycling rain jacket. Fully breathable GoreTex jackets are great, but for everyday cycling up to 3 or 4 miles, semi-breathable jackets will do the job for much less. Tiny pack-away jackets are great to throw in your pocket in case of rain.

A cable combination lock is good for quick locking in safer places. If your bike is valuable, or you need to leave it in dodgier places, we’d suggest a D-lock of a good brand, rated ‘sold secure’ gold or silver.

Having both lets you loop the cable through wheels, or attach to bigger anchor points, such as fences or trees. If they clip to the bike you can’t forget them.

New bikes have never been better value. For everyday cycling on a flat island, a cheaper bike will get you there almost as fast, with less worry about it being stolen.

Why not a folding bike for commuting or if you’re short of storage space? It could pay for itself in no time. Decathlon folders offer fantastic value, starting from £139. In the £400+ range, Tern and Dahon have a good reputation.

But for commuting and brilliant folding, you can’t beat Brompton; they’re expensive, but they hold their value very well.

Christmas and New Year are quiet on the roads, so it’s a great time for a ride with family and friends, try your presents out and burn off all that Christmas pudding. Have a merry Christmas.

More on our website: cyclehayling.org. And for rides: PortsmouthCTC.org.uk.

Cycle Hayling is a volunteer community group to encourage cycling and better facilities on Hayling – please sign up for free.