Wheels around Winchester

Around 150 cyclists took part in Winchester’s annual Cycle Cavalcade on Saturday at the start of this year’s National Bike Week (Saturday 12 – Sunday 20 June).

Judy Goodlet from BBC Radio Solent really looked the part dressed in period costume as she took the lead on an 1899 Marriott & Cooper ‘lady-front’ Olympia tandem tricycle to help raise awareness and draw attention to the benefits and pleasures of leisure cycling.

As more and more cyclists congregated for the start there was an air of anticipation and excitement and a keen desire to be on the move. Most of the cyclists taking part were local, but notably others came from Andover, Bishops Waltham, Southsea, Bournemouth, London and even Liverpool.

The Mayor Elect Councillor Mrs Cecily Sutton got things under way with a sweeping wave of the start flag and cyclists set off on a circular route which took them into Winchester Cathedral Close, past Jane Austen’s House and Winchester College, across the River Itchen before returning to the Broadway via the City Mill in Bridge Street.

The cyclists, many of whom were in family groups with quite young children, were riding an assortment of bikes, including, mountain bikes, tandems and recumbents. ‘Casey’ The Clown kept visitors amused with his ‘unrideable’ bike and Guy Heathcote towered over everyone on his unicycle. All cyclists were able to collect a certificate to say they had completed the Cycle Cavalcade and took away either a water bottle or a novelty bell supplied as give-aways by Portswood Cycles.

Bike Fair
The move this year to the area adjacent to the Buttercross was appreciated by exhibitors and visitors alike. The exhibitors, who included Sustrans, the CTC and VC Venta, Zero Cycles, the Forestry Commission and the YHA, were kept extremely busy all day with visitors to their stands. The various charities who were there to drum up support for fund-raising bike rides later in the year reported a good response and local authorities also gave out plenty of information on cycle routes and cycling schemes in the area. A display of old bikes dating from Victorian times served as an interesting reminder of how things used to be.

The VC Venta ‘Cycle Slalom Challenge’, a simple obstacle course that tests children’s skill and confidence on their bikes attracted 28 youngsters under 13 years of age. Sponsored by Exxon Mobil, the course included slalom, rumble strip, ramp, grand slalom, chicane and limbo bars with points being allocated for each foot down or bottle knocked over and a time recorded.

The winners of each age category received a £10 gift voucher that can be used at Peter Hansford cycle shops. Daniel Aylins of Eastleigh completed the course in 19.59 seconds, a course record, and achieved the fastest clear round. The next two clear rounds were by Ben Pilgrim also of Eastleigh and Lloyd Lawson of Horton Heath at 23.04 and 23.16 seconds respectively. The youngest person to achieve a clear round was Elliot Haydon of Badger Farm who is in school year one.

Sue Coles, Secretary of CTC South Hampshire, reported that a total of 25 cyclists set out on the afternoon ride from Winchester organised by club members. The ride took cyclists on a very pleasant route on minor roads to the area around Stoke Charity, Hunton and Micheldever. The 15 mile ride attracted cyclists of all ages and they rode on a variety of bikes. These included a recumbent and a trike, as well as a Mum and child on a tandem and a Dad and two children on a triplet. At only 8 years old Rebecca deserves a special mention – she completed the whole distance on her own bike!

Finally, if you have got something to raise about cycling then Winchester City Council has organised a meeting of the Winchester & District Cycle Forum for Thursday 17 June. It starts at 7.30pm at Winchester Guildhall and all are welcome to attend.

For more information about the remaining events taking place in Winchester during National Bike Week visit the website: www.winchester.gov.uk/onthemove