Take the Cathedral Challenge

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

Spring has sprung! What better way to banish those winter blues and get fresh air and exercise than a bit of cycling?

Did you know Havant has one of the best cycle touring clubs in the country? If you have a bike and reasonable confidence riding on roads, our Cathedral Challenge rides are a great introduction.

They’re friendly, led by experienced ride leaders, and they’re not races – we don’t leave people behind. Last year our oldest rider was 84 and our youngest was 11.

The Challenge starts on the 8th April with a short, gentle, flat ride and progresses gradually each week through longer and more hilly rides, building up to the end of June final challenge ride to Winchester Cathedral and back.

You might think that’s impossible for you – but we’ve had many people complete the final ride who thought it was impossible too! But you can choose which rides to do.

Rides are free to Cycling UK members, and you can try three rides before you need to join.

Do check out our website, www.portsmouthctc.org.uk/cc

You may have seen that Cycle Hayling has won £16,000 of council funding for a cycle path from Saltmarsh Lane to the Hayling Billy Trail.

This will be a key part of the East-West cycle path from St Mary’s Church to the Billy Trail, avoiding a mile and a quarter detour to the Station Theatre or along the busy West Lane. It will also add some more interesting circuits for people to ride on the Billy Trail.

We’ve also been working with Havant Borough Council on their latest cycling improvement plans, funded by the Halyards development at Beech Grove. Hayling has been waiting a very long time for better cycle routes, and we hope to see steady progress over the summer and autumn.

If you’ve been put off riding the Billy Trail by the dangerous layer of 2 inch stones from the sea defence repairs, they’ve been removed, so it’s a lot safer now.

But it’s still very muddy and bumpy for anything other than leisure riding in good weather, and it’s still vulnerable to erosion from the sea. We need a long term commitment from Havant and Hampshire councils to maintain and improve it, if we’re going to attract more commuters off the congested main road.

It was great to see Mill Rythe Junior School’s Year 5 out on the roads in March, doing Bike-ability training. Learning to ride safely and responsibly is a key life skill. Mengham Junior will be doing theirs in September, and hopefully they’ll continue to be free to parents. Get your child’s name on the list.