Time to get your bike ready for spring

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

Spring is not that far away. Will your bike be ready? Winter is tough on bikes, whether you ride them or they’re sitting idle. Rain and salt on the roads plays havoc with the chain, gears and other metal parts. Tyres go soft.

If you haven’t checked yours for a while, now is a good time to think about servicing it. It’s easier than ever to do it yourself. The Cycle Hayling website ‘Get Cycling‘ menu offers help, or you can use YouTube.

But if that’s not for you, it’s worth booking it into a bike shop before they get inundated in spring. Hayling Cycles (no connection to Cycle Hayling!) is our local cycle shop, in Elm Grove. Their basic service is £20 plus parts. You don’t get much of a car or bus journey for a fiver these days, so just saving 4 or 5 of them could pay for the bike service, and get you fit at the same time.

The Halyards development in Beech Rd earned our council nearly half a million pounds to improve the local transport infrastructure, and they’re working on the detailed designs right now. Please ask your councillors to make sure that cycling gets its fair share.

Havant’s Local Plan 2036 and Infrastructure Delivery Plan will set in stone how Hayling develops over the next 20 years. We only have until 16th February to give feedback.

Whether you’re a cyclist or a motorist (or both), it’s in everyone’s interests that cyclists are off the roads, and onto separate cycle paths. Our cycle map of Hayling still has many gaps, especially getting between the north and south of the island. In Holland, nearly 50% of journeys are by bike, because it’s easier than driving – they started building their cycle paths 40 years ago.

It may take us another 10 or 20 years, but we could do the same on Hayling. That would cut traffic, cut pollution, and cut the strain on the NHS. If you want to see that, please tell the council today!

Well done if you’re one of the hardier souls who keep cycling through the winter! It’s easy to be put off by the weather, or by thinking that cycling is dangerous. But remember, you’re 20 times more likely to get health benefits from cycling than be harmed – it’s an easy and fun way to keep fit, and much cheaper than gym fees. And you can improve your odds still further:

  • Make yourself visible, with hi-vis clothing and lights.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Ride on cycle paths and quieter roads when you can.
  • Brake and turn gently, especially on slippery surfaces and manhole covers.
  • Respect other road and path users.

Good cycling!