Monday, 8 December 2014

Everybody Active, Every Day

Public Health England’s (PHE) new “Everybody active, every day’ is an initiative aimed at addressing the nation’s physical inactivity ‘epidemic’ that’s responsible for 1 in 6 deaths at an estimated annual cost of £7.4 billion.  A staggering 45% of women and 33% of men are not active enough to maintain good health.

PHE’s aim is to get more adults taking at least 150 minutes of physical exercise a week. Providing a better infrastructure for cycling and encouraging more to cycle is high on PHE’s list of five steps local areas should be focusing on.

It’s no coincidence that the two countries with the best activity rates, Holland and Germany also have high rates of cycling and far healthier populations.

Push Bike!, is working to encourage the County and District Councils to take these issues seriously and start to reverse decades of poor planning decisions and highway design that have only served to encourage car dependent and sedentary lifestyles.

In doing so it will be important for planners, highway engineers, schools and primary care practitioners to work collaboratively in delivering the step change that’s needed if local health outcomes are to be improved. Local businesses, supported by the Chamber and LEP, could also be doing their bit to encourage employees to be more active and walk or cycle to work.

Push Bike! is specifically calling for the County Council, with its Highway and Public Health responsibilities to take up the invitation in the Government’s new Cycling Delivery Plan to set out long term ambitions for substantially increasing cycling (and walking) levels in Worcestershire.

That said none of us need to wait for public intervention. Its important we all take greater personal responsibility for ensuring we adopt more active and healthier lifestyles. So, as New Year approaches why not set yourself the target of getting a minimum of 150 minutes physical activity every week. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Cycle Delivery Plan

On 16th October, the Department for Transport (DfT.) issued the long-awaited draft
of a cross-departmental document, the "Cycling Delivery Plan" (for England)
( and
there followed a period of four weeks for consultation, with Push Bike!
being present at the East/West Midlands event, therefore able to provide
opinion and ideas for change/improvement.

The Plan attempts to set out a background from which there will follow a
substantial increase in cycling, as witnessed in London, thereby benefiting the
rest of the Country. A ten year vision is assumed and this will especially involve
partnership with local authorities. However, there is a glaring omission, on the
aspect of funding, for which a minimum spend of £10 per annum per head of
population, had been envisaged by the major cycling organisations/charities in
England. Current spending, outside London, averages only £2 per person, less
in areas which have not set a budget for cycling. The Chancellor's Autumn
Statement is scheduled for 3rd. December and, along with other groups,
Push Bike! has been campaigning for the allocation of meaningful and sustained
funding for cycling, rather than the occasional bursts, much of which finds its way
to the larger cities or national parks.

This investment would enable us to catch up with Germany or Denmark,
where levels of cycling are currently substantially higher than the UK's 2%.
The overall total for such expenditure would be a very small percentage of the
commitment to the roads programme (£24bn.) or HS2 (£40bn.) and would bring
economic, health and tourism benefits, also allowing people to move around the
Country in a more environmentally friendly way. 

The Plan falls short on a number of other factors, not least the lack of design skills,
amongst those responsible for highway infrastructure and, thus, cycleway provision.

With the consultation period having now ended the DfT. is set to produce a
reworking of the Plan, in which it is hoped many (if not all) of the ideas and
comments emanating from the Consultations will be adopted. If so, the future for
Cycling in England looks more promising.


On the campaign front, please contact your local councillor and persuade she or
he to sign up to "Space for Cycling" (look at to find
out more). Over 1,200 councillors across the Country have now become involved,
providing cyclists with greater support and influence.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Investment in cycling would save the NHS billions

By 2020 its estimated 24% of UK adults will be obese. Treating Type 2 diabetes alone will be costing the NHS £10 billion a year.

 Two recent studies have highlighted how increasing cycle use could deliver significant savings for the NHS. One from British Cycling, undertaken by Westminster University, stated that if cycling levels in the UK were improved to Danish levels then the NHS would save £17 billion over two decades.

Investing in cycling

British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “this paper shows that more cycling would touch the lives of all Brits in a positive way – whether they themselves choose to use a bike or not.”

A similar study carried out by Leeds and Cambridge Universities for the Cyclists’ Touring Club shows that increasing investment in cycling to £10 per head and boosting the proportion of trips made by bike form 3% today to 10% the NHS would be saving £1billion a year by 2025, with wider health benefits worth £6 billion.

The investment being sought equates to £600 million a year. It is based on the Government endorsed “Get Britain Cycling” report.  It doesn’t even ask for preferential treatment for cyclists as its only 3% of the total transport budget.

In recent market research 87% of adults taking up regular cycling stated health and fitness as the prime motivation. If you want to improve your health why not consider using a bike rather than the car for more of those shorter journeys.

Its not brilliant, but Worcester already has a reasonable cycle network. Possibly why cycle levels in the City are already 50% higher than the national average. You can download a free copy of the Worcester Walking and Cycling map.

Winterproof your bike session in Worcester

On Wednesday 19th November we will be running a winterproof your bike session in Worcester at Npower. Most likely 10am – 2pm.
There will be a Sustrans information stall and advice about lights, reflective materials, mudguards, staying warm, planning routes on gritted roads when it’s really cold, not riding through puddles that could be hiding potholes etc.
The aim is to talk to existing cyclists to motivate them & provide support & guidance to keep them cycling over the Winter.
Phil Northall from Sustrans will be running the stand but is looking for some extra volunteer support.
We are looking for a volunteer(s) who cycle(s) over the Winter.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cycling to work 'improves wellbeing'

The physical health benefits of regular exercise are well known. A new study reinforces the idea that switching from driving a car to cycling or walking to work has positive psychological effects too.

Cycle commute along the riverside in Worcester
The Universities of East Anglia and York have just published the results of an 18 year study of 18,000 UK commuters.

Those who cycled or walked to work were found to have a higher level of
wellbeing than those who went by car or public transport.

When analysing those who swapped the car or bus for cycle or going on foot they found they became happier after the switch.

The study looked at feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights and being unable to face problems. The researchers allowed for factors that are known to affect wellbeing, including income, having children, moving house or job and relationship changes.

A more surprising finding was that commuters even felt better travelling by public transport, compared to driving. Lead researcher Adam Martin from UEA’s Norwich Medical School said ‘Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing’.

With growing concerns about congestion in Worcester this study gives yet another reason why it makes sense for employers and the City and County Councils to encourage more commuters to leave their cars at home.

This is what cities such as Bristol have been doing. As a result commuting by car is no longer the norm for the under 40’s. By 2011 57% no longer drove to work and cycle commuting for all age groups increased to 7.5%.

If you’d like to improve your own health and wellbeing then why not give cycling to work a try?

You’ll find links for downloading local cycle maps on the Push Bike! blog. There’s also lots of information on local cycling events and clubs and the many benefits of getting around the City and Worcestershire’s wonderful countryside on a bike.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Charity bike rides

Most weeks, we read stories in the Worcester News of cyclists who have taken on a major challenge to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats or a more local charity ride around Worcestershire’s wonderful countryside.

In some cases, these are people who have never ridden much at all or are returning to cycling. In either case, they were inspired to re-start cycling to support some worthy cause.

If the challenge has hills and long day rides, much training should be done in advance. A one hour cycle ride in jeans will soon suggest that cycle clothing would be a better choice. Anyway, having acquired the kit, fitness becomes a high priority and a “regime” starts. Many miles are burnt on the roads, punctures repaired, gears adjusted and saddle sores dealt with.

Quicker than you think, the day of the event arrives. Off you go with others who have experienced the same preparation. An immediate esprit de corps is generated as you all find a common cause and face the same challenges. The ride itself becomes a very sociable experience.

Having got into the habit of cycling regularly in training, its good to continue the momentum. Its true to say that every time you finish a cycle ride, you feel the benefits of the fresh air, of companionship, the sights and smells of the countryside and most of all the after effects of good exercise.

To help you find your own local challenge Push Bike! produces a regularly updated “What’s On”. This lists most of the local charity rides. You can download your free copy here.

A charity ride suitable for the whole family is the annual St Richard’s Hospice ‘Sanatahon’ at Top Barn Activity Centre on Sunday 30th November. Cycle, run or do both around a 4 or 8 mile route. Santa suit provided! You’ll find a registration form on the St Richard’s website or on the What's On page of this blog.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Worcester St John's Cycle Club

Worcester St John's |Cycle Club stand at the Tour of Britain 2014

Established in 1888, Worcester St John’s Cycling Club is one of the oldest clubs in the UK. Former members have won a Gold medal at the 1908 Olympic Games, played football for Manchester United and won European stage races, long before Team Sky became so dominant.

From the outset the club has focussed on the competitive side of cycling and is affiliated to British Cycling and the CTT.

Every Sunday, regardless of the weather, there are two club rides. The first starting at 8.00am is a quick group ride while the 9.30am offers a steadier pace.

For those new or returning to cycling there is a monthly café ride where a steady spin around the local lanes is rounded off with a stop for a chat and a slice of cake.

For the more competitive and experienced rider there are weekly time trials. These run every Tuesday from April to September over a variety of distances and terrains. Other group training rides and indoor winter training sessions are used to improve and maintain fitness.

The club organises two major local road races every year, one in spring and the other late summer. These can draw some of the biggest names in cycling, as demonstrated when Bradley Wiggins entered and won in 2001.

Some of the hardier souls take part in Cyclo-cross racing during the harsher months when the road race and TT seasons end.

There are also a large number of rides that our members undertake to raise money for charity. One to look out for next year is Dave Preece, who will be riding from Lands End to John O’ Groats on his Penny Farthing in support of the National Deaf Children’s Society.

A new event for 2014 is the first ever open hill climb time trial to be run at Shelsley Walsh, the World's oldest motor sport venue. It takes place on Sunday 5th October and promises to be an outstanding day of competition. Spectating is free so please come along and give your support to the local riders.

If you would like information on taking part in cycling activities, or are interested in becoming a member of our club, go to and click on the contact tab at the top of the page. Alternatively you could visit our Facebook page for more information on rides and events.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Tour of Britain: Stage 4 Worcester start

Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain race from Worcester to Bristol ran last Wednesday (10th September) and Push Bike! were there at the start at The Hive in Worcester. We had cycle route maps, advice leaflets, Tour of Britain programmes, and more, to help you to get out cycling in Worcestershire, be that a 10 minute cycle commute through town, a day ride with the kids, or training for the next Tour of Britain!

Push Bike! at the Tour of Britain

Push Bike!

Whilst we awaited the start, police motorcycles lined up along The Butts, and crowds gathered on the bridge over the road from The Hive.....

Tour of Britain Stage 4 start
Stage 4 start on The Butts, Worcester

Tour of Britain organisers were set up ready on the other side of the bridge.

Stage 4 Tour of Britain
Stage 4 start outside The Hive, Worcester

The Hive cafe were also getting into the spirit of the day with bicycle muffins and cakes....

Bicycle cakes (Photo courtesy Carol Copson)
Staff were also gearing up for the event...

Hive staff awaiting the Tour of Britain (Photo courtesy Carol Copson)

Go Bradley (photo courtesy Carol Copson)
Numerous stalls were set up outside for visitors...

Breeze Bike Rides, who also run Women on Wheels

Respoke Designs
And they're lining up.........

Stage 4 Tour of Britain 2014

Sebastian Lander
Sebastian Lander
See more photos on our Tour of Britain page.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tour of Britain: Made in Worcestershire

You may have heard Bradley Wiggins and the Friends Life Tour of Britain cycle race will be coming to Worcestershire on 10th September. What you're probably not aware of is that one of the key people behind organising The Tour is local Bromsgrove resident, Mark Leyland.

For six years Mark worked for Worcestershire County Council promoting Sustainable Travel. In 2011 he set up his own business, Just Ride. His company offers cycle training and bike maintenance courses for individuals and companies. Just Ride also stage the popular ‘Dirt Run’ cyclo-cross, mountain biking, running and duathlon events at Top Barn, Hallow.

Mark Leyland
Mark Leyland
It was Mark’s involvement in helping to stage the Tour of Britain starts from Worcester in 2007 and 2008 that led Sweetspot, the Tour of Britain organisers, to ask him to work for them. Initially his contract was to stage the Tour Series of professional city centre cycle races including those held in Redditch for the past three years. He’s subsequently been handed responsibility for all stage starts for the Tour of Britain and the new Women’s Tour.

Mark and his team will be arriving outside The Hive at 4am on Wednesday 10th September to lay out the Cattle Market Car Park for the 20 teams involved in this year’s race, erect the stage start podium and put out the barriers on The Butts.

It’s a major logistical exercise that has already involved considerable pre-event planning with the four local councils, the Police and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. Mark is especially pleased to be helping bring the Tour back to his home patch. "It's fantastic for the county to be hosting Britain's biggest bike race once again, and I'm certain that the people of Worcestershire will line the route in their thousands"

Push Bike! has been doing its bit to support the Worcestershire stage. You can get your free copy of the local Tour of Britain programme and other information here on our blog on our Tour of Britain page. We’ll also have a stand at the start, so why not pop along and find out what we’re doing to “Get Worcestershire Cycling”.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Push Bike! at the Worcester Show 2014

Push Bike!
Push Bike! at the Worcester Show
Push Bike! had a busy day at the Worcester Show in Gueluvelt Park recently. We had many people visit our stand which was packed with advice leaflets and route maps. We did our best advise on where buy or hire bikes or cycling equipment (including some unusual bike parts), on cycle routes and much more. Our other attractions were:

  • Free bike checks by Andy from Barbourne Bicycles 
  • A 'Guess the number of faults on this bike' competition
  • Secure cycle parking
  • Two afternoon led rides
We had several visitors sporting vintage or unusual bikes.

Worcester Vintage Cycle Club
Ladies of the Worcester Vintage Cycle Club
Vintage tricycle
Vintage tricycle
Two's company on a tandem
The afternoon led rides were popular:

Push Bike! guided ride
Push Bike! afternoon ride
And, finally towards the end of the day, there was time to sit down with a cup of tea....

See us again at the Stage 4 Worcester to Bristol Tour of Britain, starting at The Hive,Worcester on 10th September 2014


Monday, 25 August 2014

Bike to Work

In 2011 2,087 Worcester residents cycled to work. At 4.2% of the workforce that's over twice the County average. There's a good chance that numbers have increased since, but even more could be enjoying the many benefits of using two wheels rather than the car for the daily commute.

Cycle commute (Patton on Flickr)
  1. Feel Happier Exercising in daylight helps set your circadian rhythms, boosts levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, rids your body of the stress hormone cortisol and enables you to get a better, longer regenerative sleep.
  2.  Live Longer Building regular exercise into your daily routine can significantly lower risks of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. Regular cyclists live 2 years longer and are as fit as someone 10 years younger.
  3. Travel Cheaper With no fuel costs, parking fees and much lower maintenance and depreciation costs cycling is a cheaper and faster way of getting around Worcester’s congested streets. Saves on gym fees too.
  4. Get Leaner Jogging is a great way to burn fat, but cycling is much kinder to the body. Cycling raises your body’s metabolic rate to burn calories and fat during a ride, but also for several hours afterwards. This effect increases as you get fitter and if you include a few faster intervals.
  5. Save the planet It takes around 20 times less materials and energy to build a bike than a car. There's almost zero air and noise pollution and you'll be getting up to 3,000 miles per gallon.
Oops, lost a shoe - but I'll still get there in time (Tejvan Pettinger on Flickr)
Still not convinced its for you? Here are a few more facts that may help inspire
  •  Per mile travelled you’re no more likely to get killed than a pedestrian
  • Health wise its 20 times less dangerous than not cycling
  •  Its twice as fast as a car in traffic and 3 times as fast as walking
  • There’s about a 3% chance of getting rained on
  • Arriving more punctually and taking fewer ‘sickies’ is likely to impress the boss and improve your promotion prospects
  • If your employer offers the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme you can get a new bike and kit at up to 42% off
The 4th September is National Bike to Work Day. So why not take up the challenge and register your first cycle commute

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Join the movement

Think of "sustainable transport" and then condense the words to form Sustrans, now the leading Charity enabling people to choose how they travel, suggesting alternatives to the car. Although the Charity first evolved in 1977, from the ideas of a group of cyclists in Bristol, it was not until 1995 that meaningful work commenced on the National Cycle Network, courtesy of a substantial Lottery grant, now resulting in over 14,000 miles of signed cycle route across the UK. and a twenty year celebration arriving next year. Whilst the main office is still in Bristol, there are regional centres around the Country, helping to generate further initiatives for pedal power.

Cycle into the city
The Charity has over 3,000 volunteers and 40,000 supporters, 75% of the UK. population lives within two miles of the Network; the aim is to halve that distance and bring the Network within one mile (or, with more support, closer still).

However, it is not just about cycling and more can be found on

So how does Sustrans work in the Worcester and County area?

Many will be aware of the Diglis Bridge, opened in 2010, and providing an ideal traffic-free crossing on the Severn, shortening journeys and making for a more pleasant way to travel to work or for leisure purposes. Now used for over a half million journeys, vastly exceeding expectations, the Bridge has become an integral part of the City's alternative transport system. The Bridge was constructed as a result of Sustrans winning a national public vote in 2007, securing a Lottery grant totalling £50m., which covered nearly eighty projects across the UK., connecting communities, especially where difficulty occurred with transport links. An essential part of the bid for funding was the provision of a number of feeder routes to ensure easier travel, all of this in partnership with the City and County Councils.

Sustrans, through its volunteer groups (three in Worcestershire), maintains the cycle routes out into the countryside and through towns, so the next time you are out on the bike' and see a blue-background sign, with a red patch number on it, cycle symbol and, possibly, a route destination, you are using part of the National Cycle Network. To discover more about the Network, have a look at the mapping section of the website or, if you are riding locally, maps for various routes are available from the County Council (at County Hall), the Environment Centre in Gheluvelt Park, Tourist Information or local bike' shops.

Sustrans, bringing you the National Cycle Network, closer to home.

What's on: advance notice for the  Worcester Show in Gheluvelt Park on Sunday 17th. August, from 1 until 5pm, plenty of attractions and a definite cycle theme. On the same day the Charity, Acorns has a sponsored Acorns Severn Valley Cycle Challenge ride along the Severn Valley (part of the National Cycle Network), from Bridgnorth (check

Enjoy your Summer cycling.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Cyclist Battalions in the First World War

This is the cap badge of a little known corps of the British Army, which fought during the First` World War. Bicycles revolutionised the way in which people moved, at the turn of the century. They were light, safe and cheap. The motor-car was in its infancy, even in 1914. The British Army (like other armies) still used many horses for heavy transport and troop movement.

WW1 Army Cyclist Corps cap badge

WW1 soldiers on bicycles
These soldiers are preparing to ride fully equipped bicycles. Note the rifles slung along the cross bar and the hot, sweaty and itchy woollen battle dress – complete with long puttees round their legs. No lycra then
The very first complete bicycle unit (the 26th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers) was raised in 1888; the same year as Worcester St johns Cycling Club was formed. There were 14 cyclists battalions on the eve of World War 1. Most were Territorial Army Units.

However, The Army Cyclists’ Corps was formed up in 1914 and fought throughout the First World War. All of the new army divisions raised under Lord Kitchener's instructions in 1914 included a cyclist company.

Pay was to be the same as that of the infantry. Proficiency pay would be given to men who qualified as a proficient cyclist and who had the necessary physical endurance. 

The primary role of the cyclists were reconnaissance and communications. They were armed with rifles and fought as infantry. 

This is a recruiting poster during the war. It's interesting to see that dental health was apparently a big issue then.

WW1 recruiting poster

Sadly, like all the divisions, which fought in this terrible conflict 100 years ago, many cyclists were killed. The very first British fatality of the war was 16 year old John Parr, a military cyclist. He joined the Middlesex Regiment under age in the hope that The Army would give him a better life than struggling in poverty in London. He was killed near Mons in one of the first skirmishes of the War. 

This is a picture of one of the Headstones of another cyclist in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission graveyard.

WW1 headstone 660 L CPL J White

If you are local to Worcester, and want more information on cycling, you might be interested in the Worcester Show coming up. We will be there along with other cycling organisations, so do come along.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Charity Bike rides - Don't Knock Those Middle-Aged Men in Lycra

Most days, we read stories in the newspaper of (mostly men) cyclists  who have taken on a major challenge to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats or London to Paris.

In some cases, these are people who have never ridden much at all or they are people who have returned to cycling. In either case, they were inspired to re-start cycling to support some worthy cause.

If the challenge has hills and long day rides, much training should be done in advance. A one hour cycle ride in jeans will soon suggest that cycling clothing would be a better choice. Anyway, having acquired the cycling clothing, you can soon see how unflattering it is. Every ounce of surplus flesh is exposed; there’s no hiding place. Fitness becomes a high priority and a “regime” starts. Many miles are burnt on the roads, punctures repaired, gears adjusted and saddle sores dealt with.

And of course, the parallel challenge is raising money for the cause. Potential donors are constantly approached by other charities and donor fatigue is a big factor. Anyway, coffee mornings, concerts, football matches and cake sales all bring in the money for the charity, eventually.

Quicker than you think, the first day of the event arrives. Off you go with some others who have experienced the same preparation as you. An immediate esprit de corps is generated as you all find a common cause and have faced the same challenges. This spirit tends to prevail and ( in my experience) long term friendships are formed.

I have also found that, having got into the habit of cycling regularly in training, I needed to continue the momentum. It’s true to say that every time you finish a cycle ride, you feel good. You feel the benefits of fresh air, of companionship ( or your own company), the sites and smells of the countryside, often a good tea stop and most of all the after-effects of good exercise.

As a youth, I cycled all day and every day – eventually graduating to a ten-speed Hercules in the sixties and, in the seventies, a lightweight Carlton. Both of these British firms are defunct now. Now I have ended up with a mountain-bike, a “hybrid” (half way between mountain and road bike) and a very light road bike, with no less than ten sprockets on the back (you can get eleven!). I ride with a group of senior men and ladies from Worcester St John’s Cycling club every week and ride most days for shopping, visiting or just for fun. I am hooked again.

The cycling revolution is catching on in Britain and it’s not just because of The Tour de France; it’s been happening slowly for a number of years. The only frustration now is the lack of cycling infrastructure in our county. That’s a great pity because it has some spectacular scenery. It rivals Yorkshire, in my view.

There are some really good bike shops in the County. I like to support the Trotmans in Malvern Link. They have a good café now too.

So don’t knock those “MAMILs” (Middle Aged Men in Lycra). They won’t stay tubby for long, if they keep at it and they are all buying expensive bicycles and cycling kit in local bike-shops as well as keeping the cafes busy with their demand for team and cakes. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Push Bikers ride for charity

Mike and Jan Skan and Sue from the Push Bike! group have been riding for charity.

They have completed the London Brighton Cycle ride on 15th June, when both Mike & Sue were celebrating birthdays, and the 48 mile Worcestershire Bike Ride  on 29th June in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

This is a photo they took outside the Wheelbarrow & Castle pub at Inkberrow.

If any one wishes to donate to the British Heart Foundation this is the link to Mike and Jan's Just Giving page:
Both were excellent rides!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Women cycle in style

Courtesy IStock

Want to get on your bike but don’t know what to wear? Or, is cycling lycra not your look? Don’t be put off, you can cycle in style.

Unless you are trial or audax riding, you can be flexible around what you wear. For cycling around town, or cycle commuting, everyday clothes, shoes or boots are generally fine.  Just a little thought is all that is needed, and fashion need not be cast aside. More or less anything goes but you may want to think about:

  • When wearing boot-leg or wide leg trousers you may need cycle clips, velcro ankle bands (slap bands) or legwarmers around the ankle on the chain side of the bike.
  • Need I say, peddle pusher trousers are ideal for this time of year.
  • Skirts just need to be comfortable, but if you like them long and flowing, then clipping with a peg should keep them away from the chain.
  • Breathable waterproofs stuffed into a pannier or handlebar basket are so useful.
The warmer months present fewer clothing issues than in winter, but watch this space for an article later in the year on artfully layering up for autumn and winter cycling.

For longer day rides and cycle touring you can find clothing that allows you to cycle through a light shower and dry off quickly, and minimise that clammy or sweaty feeling. Cotton is best avoided, but lycra isn’t essential. If you prefer to stop at a cafe or tea shop and blend in, there are many outlets selling outdoor, travel and holiday wear that are ideal for holiday cycling. 

Courtesy IStock
Rohan are particularly good for smarter breathable, showerproof and non-crease clothing. When panniers are your wardrobe, clothes that crush down to the size of a crisp packet and unravel crease-free are a boon.

Most of the above clothing is made from hi-tech synthetic material, but if you prefer natural materials then wool is hard to beat. Even at this time of year fine wool clothing can keep you cool. It is a natural fibre -  breathable, insulating, good for wicking moisture away, renewable, biodegradable and looks good. Andy Kirkpatrick, a mountain climber, sings its praises as a forgotten hard to beat natural performance fabric for demanding outdoor sports in ‘The wonders of wool’ ( If it’s good enough for mountain climbers.........

Useful for ‘Women who want to cycle’ is the Sustrans Bike Belles guide ( For cycling related events and gear check out the Malvern Outdoor Festival in Victoria Park on 20th July (

For more information and advice on cycling in Worcestershire visit our blog at

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Cycling, It's a lot safer than you think

Road safety is a major concern for cyclists. It's the main reason given for not cycling. The statistics do however show the risks to be significantly lower than most people perceive.

In Britain there’s one cycling fatality per 31 million miles cycled. To put this in perspective a cyclist would need to cycle over 12,000 times around the world or for 21,000 years (at an average of 4 miles per day) before being involved in a fatal collision.

The latest Government statistics reveal that per mile travelled a pedestrian is just as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a cyclist.

Add into the equation that a regular cyclist is as fit as someone 10 years younger and likely to live 2 years longer and there’s a case for saying its actually safer and certainly healthier to cycle than not to cycle.

Urban cycling courtesy of

 Here’s how to cut your chances of an accident even further:

  • Keep your bike and especially your brakes in good working order. Many cycling accidents don’t involve other traffic.
  • Learn how to ride your bike well, assertively and with confidence.
  • Know and respect the Highway Code. Always be polite and considerate to other Highway users.
  •  Be aware of the traffic around you, think ahead and check over your right shoulder before giving clear signals and changing your road position.
  • Ride in a position where you can see and be seen and especially at junctions and roundabouts. If possible make eye contact with other road users.
  • Don’t cycle in the gutter or too close to parked cars. Give yourself a metres space to your left in case you need to move into it or avoid a car door or pothole.
  • Never ‘undertake’ large vehicles or cars that are or could be turning left at a junction. This is how most serious cycling accidents happen.
  • At advanced stop lines wait in a central position, even if turning left.
  • Use lights and wear bright or reflective clothing especially in towns, at night and in bad weather.
  • Consider wearing a helmet to protect against low impact collisions, but don’t expect it to do much more than that.
  • Watch out for pedestrians and ring your bell or give a polite audible warning to let them know you’re there.

 The definitive training manual on safe and enjoyable cycling is “Cyclecraft” by John Franklin. Push Bike! members have also been working with the Safer Roads Partnership to help raise awareness with cyclists and motorists about how to make cycling safer locally.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Women on Wheels

Cycling as a sport, leisure activity or simply for getting around the City is predominantly a male preserve. A Worcester group that’s determined to make a difference is Women on Wheels.

Women on Wheels
Join the group (Photo by Women on Wheels)
Women on Wheels was established in October 2012 by Rachel Vann and Amy Taylor, a social cycling group for women run by women. It has already proved extremely popular with very little publicity. It was set up as part of British Cycling’s “Breeze” programme which aims to close the historical gender gap by getting 1 million more women on bikes by 2020.

“We wanted to create a social cycling group where women locally could come and ride in a nurturing, safe and supportive environment with other women”, said Rachel Vann. “We started off with just a few beginner rides on traffic free paths and gradually built people’s confidence onto busier roads and we always finish with a cup of tea and cake!”
Women on Wheels
Out on a ride (Photo by Women on Wheels)
Women on Wheels now have a whole host of activities from: • Weekly fitness rides • Beginner rides • Challenge rides
• 1:1 and group cycling lessons
• Learn to ride
• Coaching sessions
• Bike maintenance workshop

Heather Warner started cycling with the group in May 2013. “I was really nervous about joining my first ride. I had lots of worries. What clothes should I wear? Will I be able to keep up? Will my bike be ok? I hadn’t been on a bike for over 20 years! Rachel and Amy were really friendly and welcoming and completely put my mind at ease as soon as I arrived. There was a really nice mix of ages and our lovely 8 mile pootle around the river in Worcester was relaxing, fun, enjoyable and above all safe. My job is stressful and I find the Women on Wheels rides give me a chance to enjoy the fresh air, blow away the cob webs and emotionally and mentally prepare me for the week ahead.”

All women are welcome to join our group rides. To sign up visit or just turn up to one of our rides:

Every Wednesday - Fitness ride. 6.30pm start. Meet at Broadheath or Hanley Swan.

Sunday 22nd June – A traffic free 6-8 mile beginners ride. 9.45am for a 10am start. Swan Theatre Car Park, Worcester.

For more information about Women on Wheels 

Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter: @women_onwheels
Email us:
Visit our website: (launching July 2014!)

Women on Wheels is just one of the local cycling groups working with Push Bike! to improve cycling facilities locally and encourage more people to enjoy the many benefits of cycling. For more information about Push Bike! visit

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The HandleBards present The Comedy of Errors

Your last chance to see this is tomorrow at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton (near Evesham). How often do you see bards on a bike travelling through Worcestershire?

The HandleBards present The Comedy of Errors Sunday 8th June, 7pm. Tickets £10 (£8 concessions, £30 family) - BUY NOW 

After last year's success with 'Twelfth Night', we're delighted to welcome back The Handlebards with The Comedy of Errors.

4 actors, 4 bicycles, 40 characters and a 926 mile adventure. For two months the HandleBards - a four-strong, all-male troupe of travelling players - will be pedaling from Glasgow to London, carrying with them all the necessary set, props and costumes needed to perform.

This won't be your average tour! Presenting the plays with only what they can carry (on a journey equivalent to Land's End - John 'o Groats), the HandleBards will perform with bicycle-powered sets, a lot of surprises and eight very sore legs! 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

From the City on easy-wheeling routes

One of Worcester's (and the nearby countryside's) cycling secrets is about to be revealed - read on to discover more. 

About five years ago, the County Council, in conjunction with Sustrans ( and Cyclists Touring Club ( planned, developed and signed five leisure routes, ranging from nine to fourteen miles, some of them with shorter loops, taking in the scenic delights of an easy ride along pedways and canal towpaths, around the City's boundaries, to a slightly more challenging trip onto the lanes around Crowle. In between are three other routes to Broadheath/Hallow, Northwick/Ladywood and Kempsey/Norton.

Cycle path
Bike path (courtesy
Start points are the Countryside Centre off Spetchley Road for three of the trips and one each at the Environment Centre in Gheluvelt Park and Worcester University, so plenty of opportunity for refreshments, before you set off.

The routes, which have been newly signed, generally follow quiet lanes, pedways or towpaths and are indicated by coloured symbols on a blue background, with a cycle logo. Each map will provide detail of the symbol to follow, whether taking a main or shorter route.

These make ideal rides for anything from an evening trip to a full day out, with numerous places to eat, on the way or at the start/finish.

Autumn cycling (courtesy

Besides a reliable bike, all you need now is either to download a map from the County Council website ( or why not call at your local 'cycle shop, where a pack of maps for all of the routes is available, free of charge.

The retailers in the City are:

Barbourne Bicycles, 35, Barbourne Road
The Green Bike' Company, Bromyard Road, St John's
Peddlers, 48, Barbourne Road and
Worcester Cycle Centre, 8/9, College Street.

Additionally, both the Countryside and Environment Centres have a stock.

The maps are full of detail, including not only the symbols to be followed and full route, but also refreshment points. So why not get out on two wheels and enjoy the wonderful countryside in this part of the County. 


Events coming up are:

3rd. June Pearl Izumi Tour Series comes to Redditch, 2pm. onwards. Professional Town Centre racing. More on or                  

9th to 13th Bike to School Week, why not leave the car at home and use the bike.

14th - 22nd National Bike Week. Worcestershire events on 

15th Malvern Three Counties Sportive commencing 7am. 

Push Bike! working for cycling improvements.
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