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 Freepik.com


 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. www.whatmattersmost.org.uk

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 www.goskyride.com/breeze 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: www.facebook.com/wearewomenonwheels
Follow us on Twitter: @women_onwheels
Email us: womenonwheelsworcs@gmail.com
Visit our website: www.women-on-wheels.co.uk (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 www.pushbikecampaign.org

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!

www.peculius.com/handlebards.html 

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 (www.sustrans.org.uk) and Cyclists Touring Club (www.ctc.org.uk) 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 Freepik.com)
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 Freepik.com)


Besides a reliable bike, all you need now is either to download a map from the County Council website (www.worcestershire.gov.uk/cms/cycling/cycling-maps.aspx) 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  www.chooseredditch.com or www.tourseries.co.uk                  

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

14th - 22nd National Bike Week. Worcestershire events on www.bikeweek.org.uk 

15th Malvern Three Counties Sportive commencing 7am. www.threecountiessportive.co.uk 

Push Bike! working for cycling improvements.
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