Hayling Islander article September 2018

This is the article we submitted to the Hayling Islander for September 2018

Get into the habit of everyday riding!

Thanks to everyone who visited our cycling stand at August’s 3 Churches Fete. I hope you noticed our new banners! And congratulations to the winners of our 60 second turbo-challenge, who won prizes, including our new Cycle Hayling hi-vis slap wraps!

We have a dual mission at these stands:

  • Riding – as Portsmouth CTC/Cycling UK, on our regular guided rides from Havant.
  • Campaigning – as Cycle Hayling, for better cycle paths to make Hayling the everyday cycling paradise it should be.

Haven’t we had a fantastic summer? If you’re not already using your bike for everyday cycling, now’s the perfect time.

So what is everyday cycling (or utility cycling)?

It’s using a bike for journeys that would otherwise need a car, or a bus, or a taxi, or a long walk. To the shops, school, work, the library, the doctor – anywhere within your cycling range.

If you can make that a habit, it’ll be great for your health, wealth and happiness, and for the environment.

  • Health – because cycling is great exercise for your heart, lungs, legs, core body, and surprisingly for your brain. And it’s non-impacting, so kind on your joints. Regular cyclists have the health of someone ten years younger, on average. And despite what the papers would have you believe, it’s statistically safer than gardening and DIY.
  • Wealth – because cycling is the cheapest form of transport after walking.
  • Cars feel ‘free’, but every mile is one mile closer to your next fill-up, service, set of tyres, fault, your next bump/insurance claim, and your next car. You’ll be doing well if your true cost is much under 30p a mile, even after you’ve bought, insured and taxed it.
    So ‘popping in to Havant’ might easily cost a fiver.
    And try servicing it for £15 – that’s the basic price at Hayling Cycles (excluding any new parts)!
  • Happiness – because it’s just so satisfying to power your own journey, door-to-door, at your own speed, in your own time.
  • Environment – no air pollution, no CO2, no noise, no traffic jams, and a tenth of a car’s road space and parking.

You don’t need a fancy bike – anything will do in a place as flat as Hayling! In fact, the cheaper it is, the less interest to thieves.

If you haven’t got a bike, see if you can borrow one from the 49% of households that do.

Check it over with brilliant Bikeability ABCD checklist

  • Air in tyres;
  • Brakes working, Bars tight;
  • Chain oiled, gears working;
  • Dangerous and Dangley bits tidied up.

If you have any problems, Hayling Cycles can fix them (no connection with Cycle Hayling, by the way). But doing it yourself is easy with the internet.

Some tips:

  • Plan your route, away from busy roads where you can. cyclehayling.org has a great cycle map to download.
  • And don’t forget to lock it up. A simple coiled combination lock will prevent 90% of thefts, unless your bike is expensive.
  • Not needed for short journeys, but on longer journeys, a pump, a tiny toolkit including puncture repair kit and a spare inner tube are good insurance.
  • Carrying stuff is simplest with a rucksack – it works on any bike. A back rack can carry up to 15 or 20 kgs, directly with bungies, or in panniers. Or you can fit a front basket to most bikes.
  • So why not just give it a go? Just as the first minute of every ride seems the hardest, getting out on the first ride is hardest of all. It will all be downhill after that, even on Hayling!

Enjoy your riding! Do visit our websites: cyclehayling.org and PortsmouthCTC.org.uk.

Cycle Hayling is a volunteer community group to encourage cycling and better facilities on Hayling – please visit cyclehayling.org and sign up.