Get on the chain gang

Karen Neville


Cycling is environmentally friendly, good exercise, offers the chance to enjoy the countryside and doesn’t have to be expensive – so what are you waiting for – get on your bike and pedal!

From penny farthings to electric bikes, cycling has always been a popular pastime – good for you and good for the environment – so there can be no better time to get out on your bike than during Bike Week this month.

June 5th to 11th marks the 100th annual Bike Week celebrating a century of everyday cycling for everyone. The health and green benefits are well known. This year to further peddle those, Bike Week 100 is all about workplace cycling – whether that’s organising an event or simply cycling rather than driving to work.

Guildford based Cycling UK, the organisation behind Bike Week, has set a series of challenges at Bike Week 100 Challenges | Cycling UK – burn 100 calories by bike, save £100 by bike and cover 100 miles by bike. The choice is yours, but of course having some stunning scenery in which to cycle is always a bonus, fortunately in our part of the world we are spoilt for choice!

Surrey & Hampshire

Surrey & Hampshire

Follow in the footsteps or tyre tracks of Olympic cyclists and take to Box Hill, the scenic route through the Surrey Hills is a mixture of A and B roads and country tracks.

Picturesque Chinthurst Hill in Guildford is perfect for family outings, hop aboard your bikes and drink in the beauty of the woodland complete with its quirky folly. Why not stop off on the way and make a day of it?

The Green Flag award-winning site of Frensham Ponds has a cycling spot which is perfect for shorter outings so provides the ideal family jaunt into the countryside. Nearby Farnham Park is another spot suitable for families to take to their bikes and enjoy a trip in nature.

In the same part of the world, Alice Holt Forest is a wonderful opportunity for natural cycling. Travel through ancient mighty oaks as well as wildflower rich open spaces during your cycle. Trails are open to enjoy with your own bikes or they can be hired here. The three-mile-long Family Cycling Trail starts with the opportunity to enjoy some fabulous freewheeling on the downhill section.

Take in a medieval castle on your route as you cycle the loop around Guildford Castle and Chantry Wood. The 6.8km trail is well kept and while popular still offers the chance for some peace and quiet.

Chobham Place Woods, Blackwater Park and Virginia Water lake should also go on your cycling ‘must do’ list. Here you’ll be able to spot ancient monuments and a stunning ornamental cascade waterfall as well as a 100 foot totem pole, with 10 mystical totem characters.

Neighbouring Hampshire invites you to try Abbotstone Down, Alresford where the route will take you through rolling chalk hills and bluebell woods or how about making tracks through Chawton Park Wood to Bentworth village on the 10-mile trail easily accessible from Alton or Four Marks. Enjoy more of a challenge from Alice Holt Forest along bridleways and roads through Bordon to Oakhanger and for hardened cyclists there’s one of the hardest trails in the county to the north of Petersfield where you can embark on some challenging climbs through rewarding scenery – not for the faint-hearted.

Serious cyclists may want to put their foot on the pedal and take on the challenge of the Surrey Tour on September 30th at Cranleigh Showground. The short route (!) is a mere 88km with longer options of 120 and 160 on the table too. Whichever you choose you’ll cycle through amazing countryside and in addition to a medal at the end there’ll be a much-needed beer and how about a slice of well-deserved pizza to refuel afterwards.

Bikes, like anything else you treasure, require some TLC from time to time and that’s where organisations such as Bike Project Surrey come in. The charity which has a workshop at Guildford College and a second at Brooklands College will teach you how to look after and service your bike and gain skills necessary for its maintenance. Paid and volunteer mechanics will help you make the most of your bike to prolong its life and help protect the environment. They will service, fix and customise your bike using recycled or new parts where necessary to help keep it on the road or track.

One of the things that makes Bike Project Surrey so great is that not only will they help get your bike shipshape they are also giving opportunities to those who may have missed out on learning in the past. Many students go to them for work experience, as can NEETs who will have the chance to gain a recognised qualification.

If you’re after a new bike, they have refurbished ones for sale and if you’ve an unwanted one or one children have outgrown then why not donate it? To find out more about their work and how you can get involved visit

Cycling is not just about two wheels, Wheels for All offers all ability cycling through its fleet of adapted bikes, trikes, quads, recumbents and side by side helping to make cycling an all-inclusive activity. It embraces disabled people and those who may not otherwise be able to enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling. Wheels for All Woking sessions are based at the athletics track at Woking Sportsbox. To find out more and to get in touch go to


Enjoy some of the finest history Oxfordshire has to offer on a ride from the city of Oxford to Blenheim Palace. The family friendly ride follows the National Cycle Route 5 through residential neighbourhoods as it heads out towards Woodstock on its journey of around eight miles.

If mountain biking is your thing then at just under seven kilometres, the trail at Bagley Wood near Abingdon is ideal for beginners and the family, taking around two hours.

Mystery lovers should hop on their bikes and follow the Agatha Christie cycling route which takes in Wallingford, Goring and Streatley and Cholsey on the 17 mile loop. Once you’ve developed a taste for cycling in this area how about trying a ride through Goring Gap along quiet lanes and with stunning views.

Fancy seeing some art on your bike ride from Upton to Didcot? In addition to some lovely countryside there are interesting art benches (perfect for a breather) along the three to four mile route. Join the art trail from Upton and follow the signs for Didcot down towards the train station and into town for a refreshment stop.

Serious cyclists may like to take part in Bike Oxford on June 25th, choose from three routes of 75, 50 and 26 miles all winding through the best scenery Oxford has to offer. This popular event raises funds for Maggie’s Oxford Cancer Care centre. To take part visit

Bikes, like anything else you treasure, require some TLC from time to time and that’s where organisations such as Broken Spoke Bike Co-op in Oxford and Windrush Bike Project in West Oxfordshire come in.

The Broken Spoke is run by people who are passionate about cycling and aim to make people more proficient in cycle maintenance and riding. They offer a range of DIY workshops, mechanics courses, cycle training, Beryl’s night – a free monthly evening session for women and all trans and non-binary people – as well as repairs and sales. It depends on its volunteers and more help is always needed, to find out more and offer your services visit

In West Oxfordshire, the staff and volunteers at the Windrush Bike Project help people to make journeys by bike and learn about the mechanics of bikes. A community workshop teaches vulnerable children and adults to fix donated bikes through courses. They also deliver Bikeability cycle training in schools across the area, campaign for safe cycling routes and provide information about riding in and around West Oxfordshire.


The Kennet & Avon Canal is great for more adventurous family biking expeditions and all the locks en route provide the perfect start / stop points and with the trainline running alongside too you can do some great A-B bike rides starting at a railway station and returning by train if it all becomes too much or the Great British weather intervenes! Take in the picturesque canal through Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford and Pewsey.

The Nature Discovery Centre, near Thatcham has a lovely bike ride loop around the lake, perfect for kids and with a café and two playgrounds it’s a fabulous day out.

Don’t be surprised if you suddenly encounter ponies grazing as you ride through Snelsmore Common. They’re a familiar sight around the routes to Donnington Castle if you venture far enough.

The Ridgeway is a journey through time taking in part of our heritage, experience wide open views and explore ancient treasures such as Neolithic long barrows and Bronze Age round barrows. At more than 80 miles long the Ridgeway is a route that will test your fitness levels. Mountain bikers can complete the stretch from Avebury to Goring in around two days.

For off-road cycling and 24km of trails suitable for all abilities, visit Swinley Forest which offers a choice of three trails – green, blue and red. Green is the perfect introduction to off road cycling, ideal for families and beginners. The blue trail offers a flowing loop suitable for intermediate and mountain bikers while the red advanced trail has challenges those with off-road skills will appreciate.

Dinton Pastures, near Wokingham is one of the most attractive spots locally and offers several different tracks around the lakes including the 1.8 mile Black Swan Lake loop where you can spot interesting ducks and swans along the way. The path is flat so ideal for kids but does have some bumpy sections where the path has been resurfaced with rough gravel.

Black Park Country Park has “family” written all over it with options for kids of all ages. In addition to the circular path around the lake, there’s a great route with an adventure play park halfway. It’s just under a mile so ideal for little legs. Bigger kids looking to exert themselves can take on the 10 miles of cycling and walking tracks around. Take your own bikes or hire them from Go Ape next to the car park.

The Thames Path stretch from Goring to Pangbourne is public bridleway so saddle up and ride. Enjoy some glorious country back lanes to Tilehurst Station (via Mapledurham) – it’s around nine miles and from there a train can zip you and your bikes back to Goring in about eight minutes.

Bikes, like anything else you treasure, require some TLC from time to time and that’s where organisations such as Reading Bike Kitchen come in. Got a bike that’s been sitting in the garage with spokes covered in cobwebs or just need some advice and access to tools to get your beloved bike shipshape again? This is the place for you. Take your trusty steed along and either make use of the space and tools at the Small Business Centre in Weldale Street or just ask one of the volunteers who will be more than happy to help and get you back in the saddle. Reading Bike Kitchen also welcomes donations of bikes in reasonable condition to pass on to a new owner. Visit to find out more.

Windsor Cycle Hub is a community initiative organisation set up to promote cycling for all in the community which as well as encouraging residents and visitors to get on their bikes, recycles affordable bikes, teaches mechanical skills, sharing knowledge and resources and running events and rides. Operating from The Swan in Clewer, the bike kitchen will carry out safety checks, maintenance, repairs and offer advice. Most weekends there’s a ride you can join in with too – operating on four different levels they’re a wonderful way to enjoy cycling in the company of others. Find all dates, advice and more at


Wiltshire has some gorgeous scenery to navigate and explore so how about going slightly further afield and starting in Salisbury – worth it for the cathedral alone. Cycle via an old drover’s road up to remote Normanton Down where Stonehenge will be on the horizon. Cyclists in the know prefer the village of Avebury, whose ancient stone circle is more accessible and more fun to visit. The circular 160-mile Wiltshire Cycleway showcases the county, right up to historic Malmesbury in the Cotswolds.

Experienced cyclists will want to tackle William’s Big Wheel on Saturday, 10th June. Run by West Berkshire Spokes, it starts from West Mills, Newbury RG14 5BQ and takes you through Marlborough, Ramsbury and Lambourn. This is a limited numbers ride but if seeing them whizz past whets your appetite for ‘serious’ cycling then the group runs two rides a month, find out more at

You might still be in time to sign up for the Hydra Ride on June 25th. The sportive-style road cycle ride, starts from Wood Street, in the heart of Swindon Old Town, a choice of three routes all go south-east along rolling roads winding through stunning countryside taking in Lambourn, Ramsbury and Aldbourne on the way. The Hydra 5, 7, and 9 offer a challenge for riders of all abilities with rewarding climbs and swift descents. And if the cycling’s not for you make sure you look out for them pedalling through the towns and villages. Full routes at


Follow the Phoenix Trail from Princes Risborough to Thame and enjoy the perfect family trail. Not only is it flat and safe, but there’s no traffic to contend with along the 7.5 mile path which largely follows the path of a disused railway line, dotted with 30 sculptures acknowledging railway history and the Chiltern countryside.

Wendover’s Juniper Cycle Trail takes you along six miles of well-surfaced trails with climbs and descents. Suitable for intermediate riders and mountain bikers with basic off-road skills, some parts are steep but the trail is well-surfaced.

Take in the sights of Jubilee Weir and Windsor (including Eton) on an enjoyable 11.5 mile route from Windsor Bridge Loop to Taplow that includes five+ miles of fabulous cycleways.

Explore Little Marlow, Bourne End, Cookham Bridge, Cookham Dean and the Marlow Suspension Bridge on an easy circular route of just over 10 miles, finishing back in town for a well-earned refreshment reward.

Longer routes well worth a pedal in the area include taking in the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and Butt’s Way with a cycling round trip which takes in Princes Risborough. You can cycle in the landscape of Pavis Wood and enjoy Chesham, Amersham and Great Missenden and how about exploring the Royal Standard of England taking in Beaconsfield en route? For full details of these and more rides, please visit

Organised by Wheelpower, the Tour de Vale Charity Bike Ride on Sunday, 11th June, is Buckinghamshire’s largest charity cycling event which starts and finishes at Stoke Mandeville Stadium with a chance to enjoy the beautiful countryside. Cyclists can enjoy full support en route while the finish yields a massage, barbecue and bar to recover and relax. This fabulous event raises funds for the Stoke Mandeville charity which provides opportunities for disabled people to lead healthy, active lives. Full details and to enter, visit

Surrey Hills

Round & About


The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is looking forward to welcoming people back to visit but stress this is not the time to come and enjoy the countryside.

They want to reinforce the Government’s message in the releasing of lockdown measures in the countryside and encourage you to use the greenspaces closer to home and observe social distancing rather than travel distances.

Heather Kerswell, Chair of the Surrey Hills AONB Board comments:

“As we move out of the lockdown period over the coming months we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“We know you will be keen to return to the Surrey Hills but just for now please stay local! This will ensure we all respect Government safety measures, local communities and wildlife.

“As freedom returns and we embrace a new normal, we will be keen for everyone to come and enjoy the benefits of natural beauty while supporting the local business community who very much need our custom at this time thank you.”

This very slight lifting of lockdown measures will still see many businesses remain closed, particularly those catering for the visitor such as attractions, hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, public toilets etc. The worry for many rural communities is people descending on beauty spots and picturesque Surrey villages making social distancing difficult and therefore increasing the risk of spreading the disease.

Chris Howard, Chairman of the Tourist Board – Visit Surrey added: “Whilst we are all anxious to get back out into the countryside, it is worth bearing in mind that facilities are still very limited due to the coronavirus restrictions. This means a lack of open toilets, and places to get food.

“Plan your outings carefully and get to know some of the amazing places right on your doorstep. Remember, the lockdown rules have only been tweaked slightly.”

Stephanie Fudge, National Trust General Manager for the Surrey Hills reinforced this saying that while the National Trust has been working on reopening plans, the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and local residents is the priority.

She said: “Any reopening will need to be gradual and phased and visitors’ experience is likely to be different from usual, including the need to manage volume at our pay for entry places. Countryside car park opening will also be phased.”

Surrey Hills AONB has set out some key guidance points for accessing the Surrey Hills over the coming months:

· Keeping yourself and others safe is paramount and we encourage you to adhere to guidance set out by DEFRA in their Countryside Code.

· We are aware that many visitors who love to walk and cycle will have greatly missed the Surrey Hills landscape, the views and the well-known beauty spots. We encourage you to use countryside sites close to your home rather than travelling. Over the coming weeks and months we will see carparks and facilities gradually re-open and we urge you to check before you travel that car parks are open and would advise you away from the more well-known sites which may become congested and therefore difficult to socially distance.

· Please be aware that our local farms are under great seasonal pressures during this time and we would encourage you to respect their needs by keeping dogs on leads and follow all designated foot paths and bridleways to keep yourselves and farm animals safe.

· During the lockdown period, nature has had an opportunity to thrive and we ask you to look after nature by being extra cautious. Please stick to footpaths and bridleways so as not to disturb ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

· We encourage you to continue supporting local during this time of transition and want to highlight all the wonderful products and services available on our doorstep in the Surrey Hills. Take a look at our list of businesses offering home deliveries, online support and services, gifts and inspiration.


Click for further information on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Cycle to work day

Karen Neville


Today is the day to get on your bike and take part in the UK’s biggest cycle community event.

Cycle to Work Day is for everyone whether you haven’t cycled for years or are never off your bike, this is about giving it a go.

Since its launch in 2012, thousands of enthusiastic riders have hit the streets to celebrate everyday cycling – and all you need to take part is a bike, new or old, and the desire to ride.

You can cycle on your own or get your colleagues involved – however you do it and however far you go, it’s all about having fun!
Cycle to Work Day runs on Cyclescheme’s Love to Ride community and even if you’re not taking part in today’s challenge but are interested in getting out on two wheels it’s well worth a look at here Cycle Scheme

The Government scheme allows you to save between 25 and 39 per cent on a new bike for work.

Cycling has experienced a huge growth in popularity in recent years and is a fun and effective form of exercise as well as being great for the environment.

Cycling improves your mental well-being as well as your physical health and helping weight loss. It also promotes better lung health, can help cut heart disease and the risk of cancer and the low impact means it has lower injury rates than running.

Did you also know cycling can help you sleep better, it can boost your brain power and even improve your sex life?

And if all that didn’t give you good enough reasons to give cycling a go then how about it growing your social circle too? Joining a club or group is a great way to make new friends and share a common interest too.

Say hello

Do you tend to pass horse riders on your journey? Read about the scheme that has been introduced to Surrey Hills to help cyclists, horses and their riders get along

Festival of cycling

Karen Neville


Cyclist all over are gearing up for this year’s Wallingford Festival of Cycling

When three dads set up a cycling club for talented 16-19 year olds in Wallingford in 2014, little did they know the chain of events that would follow.

A year later, they went one further and the town’s very own cycling festival was launched attracting more than 3,000 people and gaining a starring role on TV in what else but Midsomer Murders when the race featured in Breaking the Chain.

But ‘stardom’ aside the real aim for the festival is to be a celebration of cycling, encouraging more people to get on their bikes more often.

The festival begins on Friday, 12th July with the dual track course testing riders on speed and handling skills as they go downhill, over jumps, rollers and bermed corners and is suitable for anyone aged 5 and over with a mountain bike or scooter.

New to the festival this year is the Dirt Factory air bag for bike stunt jumps – check out the video on the website to see this in action, but it’s sure to attract a few daredevils!

Saturday 13th includes these as well as wheels for all taster sessions and pump track competitions. Sunday 14th is the day for all the rides with distances ranging from 13 miles to 100 miles to choose from. If you’re new to cycling or want to ride as a family then try out the five mile festival fun ride and if it’s cycling of a different type or to be precise from a different era you want to try out then how about learning to ride a penny farthing?

Find out more

For more details, entry information and costs, visit the Wallingford Festival of Cycling website


Get into gear

Karen Neville


Join Wokingham Bikeathon on 30th June and take on 15 or 35 mile route

This year’s Wokingham Bikeathon on Sunday, 30th June, is literally bigger than ever – in addition to the 15-mile route, there’s a 35-mile challenge for riders to take on as well.

The new relatively flat route should be an easy ride and at an average speed of 12 miles per hour, should take about three hours to cycle.

This longer distance builds on the success of the bikeathon which started in 2008 with just 143 riders – since that time thousands have taken part with the invaluable help of volunteers, local businesses, charities and organisations.

Run by a committee, headed by Wokingham ‘champion’ Stan Hetherington the original aim was to get people out on their bikes and enjoy the local area, over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting.

Money from entries each year goes back into the event for the following year with any surplus after covering bills going to good causes.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are welcome to saddle up, with many cycling as families. For these the 15-mile route is perfect, it provides the quietest route for families, is easy and should take around 60-90 minutes to complete. There is a drinks stop at 9.3miles with snacks available too.

Over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting

Course split points will be used to highlight where the route divides between the 15 and 35 mile courses. For those taking on the longer distance, there’s a drinks stop at 19 miles.

Registration is open now for those wishing to do so online but you can just turn up at Cantley Park on the day.

Get involved!

For all the important information you need to take part and to register in advance

Be nice, say hi!

Karen Neville


Visitors to the Surrey Hills are encouraged to “Be Nice, Say Hi”, as the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) adopts the joint campaign to help cyclists and horse riders to pass safely.

Cycling UK and The British Horse Society (BHS) joined forces to launch a consideration and courtesy awareness message of Be Nice, Say Hi to help users to pass safely last summer, as they believed better advice was needed for people cycling to understand how to overtake horses safely.

The Surrey Hills AONB is the first area in the south east to take up the initiative. Board director Rob Fairbanks said: “The campaign is particularly relevant in the Surrey Hills due to proximity to London and increased recreational pressures. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Cycling UK and the British Horse Society to raise awareness of shared access in our landscape and respecting the rights of all users.”

Lovers of the outdoors will soon notice the discreet message of Be Nice, Say Hi appearing on signposts across the region, however for more detailed information the charities have produced a downloadable leaflet and two short films.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Every time a cyclist encounters a horse, there are three brains involved: the cyclist’s, the rider’s and the horse’s. Many people aren’t familiar with horses, and there can be confusion on what they should do when overtaking on a bike. Cyclists may already know to pass wide and slow when it’s safe to do so – but they could still startle the horse unless the horse and rider are made aware of your presence.

“Generally, if a cyclist startles a horse, it is due to simple lack of awareness that a horse needs more time to react, which is why Cycling UK is pleased to be helping the BHS promote the consideration and courtesy message of Be Nice, Say Hi and is delighted to see it adopted in the Surrey Hills.”

Horses can react quickly when startled, so the two charities are encouraging cyclists to drop their pace and call out a greeting, giving the horse and rider time to react before overtaking wide and slow. By alerting the rider and horse to their presence, cyclists run less risk of the horse reacting, and reduce the risk of injury – not just to the rider and their horse, but also themselves.

Mark Weston, director of access at The British Horse Society said they were thrilled to see the area adopting the message.

He said:  “As vulnerable road users, horse riders, carriage drivers and cyclists face considerable dangers on our roads and the need for safer off road riding opportunities has never been greater.

“By promoting the courtesy and awareness message of Be Nice, Say Hi in the Surrey Hills (AONB) we hope that more riders and cyclists will have the confidence to pass one another comfortably and safely.”

The first sign was symbolically put up close to Mane Chance Sanctuary in Compton, Surrey. Founding trustee and actor Jenny Seagrove was pleased to see the campaign gaining traction in the area and hopes to see it taken up across the country.

She said: “The welfare of horses is at the very heart of what we do at Mane Chance Sanctuary and I think the Be Nice, Say Hi campaign should be applauded for considering the needs of both horses and humans as they share our beautiful countryside.”

Read about bike week

Bike Week 2019 has just passed, but why not get inspired to get back on the saddle while we still have long evenings?

Big pedal

Round & About


Don’t be surprised if on your way to work or school this morning you see many more children than usual on their bikes, scooters or just walking. 

Today, Monday 25th March, marks the start of the largest inter-school cycling challenge inspiring pupils, parents and staff to choose human power rather than motor power for their journey to school.

The Sustrans Big Pedal, will run (why not give that a try too) from today until Friday, 5th April, and for the first time walking will be counted as well as cycling and scooting.

Primary and secondary schools will battle it out daily to see which one can get more of their pupils, staff and parents using human power – the school’s best five days will determine the final position.

Aside from the obvious health and environmental benefits of cycling, walking or scooting to school, there are also daily prize draws for rewards if more than 15% of your school cycle, walk or scoot on each day of the 10-day challenge. Prizes include scooters from lead sponsor Micro Scooters, Goodordering school bags, Frog bikes and cycle and scooter racks from Broxap.

There’s also the chance to be superhero for the day using your human power with the fancy dress day to celebrate the finale of the Big Pedal – encourage everyone at school (teachers too!) to dress up for the day and decorate your scooter too with a “bling your ride” session. Why not make it a fundraising event too? All money raised for Sustrans helps enable thousands of children to cycle, walk and scoot every day, aiding every one to enjoy a healthier, happier and safer journey to school.

Find out more at 

Make sure, if you are on your bike or even your scooter, you’re wearing a helmet. Find out more and about a great charity promoting just this.

Cycle Safely

Round & About


More and more of us are cycling, but are you wearing a helmet? A Reading-based charity is encouraging everyone to Cycle-Smart.

Cycling is a great way to get fit, not to mention the benefits to the environment and the number of children and adults getting on their bikes has increased.

But are you getting on your bike and wearing a helmet? Often considered uncool, they are quite simply lifesavers and one charity is out to promote the importance and benefits of wearing one as you cycle.

The Cycle-Smart Foundation in Reading is committed to saving lives through the promotion of safer cycling, and helmets in particular. The award-winning charity was founded in 1998 by paediatric nurse Angela Lee who through her work saw the devastation head injury can cause, not just to the child but to the whole family.

Helmets have been proven to be effective in reducing potential brain injury and the charity works with parents, teachers, police, road safety officers and healthcare professionals to get this message across. Children’s skulls are thinner than an adult’s and their heads are bigger in proportion to their body, making them top heavy so if they do fall they are more likely to fall head first.

There are a few ‘rules’ to follow when fitting a child’s helmet:

• It should sit snugly and be comfortable to wear
• The helmet should remain secure when the child shakes or nods their head
• The rim should sit on the forehead, just above the eyebrows
• The helmet should not be tilted backwards leaving the forehead exposed and should not be worn too far forward as to cover the eyes
• Straps should not be twisted and there should be no slack in them
• Ensure the helmet does not affect the child’s ability to hear
• Cycle helmets have a use by date on them – a little known fact

Angie says: “Cycle-Smart educates children to understand the importance of their brain and that it is the body’s computer/games console, meaning it’s responsible for speech, feeling/touch, sight, hearing and more. Surprisingly, head injury can follow a low speed accident and not just high speed or impact as you may presume. The use of a helmet may dramatically reduce the injury sustained. We often get sent photos of damaged helmets from people who have been in a cycling accident and they say the helmet saved their life.”

Cycle-Smart go into schools to teach in peer groups, finding this the most valuable method to change attitudes towards helmet wearing, with pre-teens and teens the hardest to reach group as much of their decision making is swayed by image, peer pressure and the need to blend in.

“Through our programme we help to empower them to make an informed choice about their physical safety. We survey the children and young people who have attended our programme and many have reported back to us how they now wear a helmet and also encourage the rest of their family to as well,” says Angie.

Cycle-Smart has been chosen to benefit from the Co-op Community Fund this year. Go online to and search for Cycle-Smart Foundation.

For more information visit

Cycling golfers!

Round & About


Golfers’ cycling challenge to tee up funds for Against Breast Cancer 

A group of golfers are swapping their clubs for bikes to cycle 200 miles to help raise funds for Oxfordshire-based charity Against Breast Cancer. 

Starting in the early hours of Saturday, 6th April, five intrepid golfers and their support team will ride from Royal Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire to Woburn Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, giving themselves just two days to complete the challenge before sunset the next day. 

The Las Ratas de Grendon golf society raise money each year for the charity through their annual golf tour to Spain and this year decided to add the cycling challenge finishing the day before they fly off. 

Team member Neil McCrorie says: “There will be five of us riding, ranging from ages of 29 to 59 with a wide range of cycling experience so it will be a difficult challenge for us.” 

The team have already raised £1,400 before they set off or embark on their golf tour. Over the years they have donned fancy dress while on tour, surprising many generous members of the public. 

Fellow rider Michael Vaill says: “It’s going to be tough but nothing compared to the challenge that so many have to battle against every day. Riding in memory of our mums, wives and family members who have been lost to this terrible disease.” 

Against Breast Cancer raises vital funds for research into the secondary spread, the main cause of breast cancer deaths. 

Breast cancer is the most common form of the disease in the UK with more than 55,000 women diagnosed every year. 

Las Rats de Grendon have set a target of £2,000 for the ride. 

Sponsor them at www.justgiving/fundraising/las-ratas-de-grendon-golf-society

See how they get on over the April weekend on their Facebook page