Cycling for Fun
The Petersfield U3A Cycling Group was formed in 2000.
The unlikely concept of a group of “third agers” regularly getting on their bikes to enjoy exercise, the countryside and company has been an outstanding success.
The group has around 40 names “on the books” and rides regularly attract 10 -12 riders. The record is 21. We are social cyclists. We have no pretensions of athleticism. We don’t wear multi coloured lycra. We don’t charge along the roads “head down, bum up”. We potter along at average speeds below 10 mph on rides varying between 15 and 30 miles - stopping for coffee (often) and lunch (always). If the hills are too tough we walk and we always wait for those at the end. Our bikes vary from quality road bikes (and one classy tandem) to “shoppers” (complete with baskets) to pretty well everything in between – including an increasing number electric assist bicycles.
Most years a dozen or more of us have got together for a 3 or 4 days cycling holiday. These have covered places such as the New Forest, the Suffolk/Essex borders, North Kent coastal trails, Isle of Wight, Norfolk and Jersey. That these breaks happen annually is proof of their popularity. We hope we can demonstrate that third age cycling isn’t a pain, it’s FUN.
Our current programme is SHOWN BELOW. Contact us via "Click to send a message!" for further details.
To help riders we try to give our rides a general broad rating as to distance and difficulty. You will find these on most of our up coming rides. The ratings are :-
1 = Easy (short, under 15 miles and flat)
2 = Moderate (short/medium, up to 20 miles and or some undulation)
3 = More challenging (longer, up to 25 miles and/or a number of smaller hills)
4 = Strenuous (long ride over 25 miles, possibly up to 35 miles and/or several serious hills)
THIS YEAR'S SPRING BREAK
Spring 2019 Holiday - The Malverns
The first day saw the group gathered in the village of Welland for an afternoon ride against the backdrop of the Malvern hills, through traffic free lanes,spring flowers & new born lambs in abundance, a stop at the 12th Century Castlemorton church, before moving on to the common - a wild oasis, an incident with a scurrilous farm dog caused the group to be separated, each half finding their own route across the common, ending up with a welcome cup of tea or ice cream at the Bakehouse in Welland village shop, 11 miles, fine weather, 12 riders.
The evening meal saw us gathered in the Wyche Inn, high on the Malvern hills, the panorama of the Vale of Evesham was highlighted for several minutes by a 'vertical' rainbow, good conversation was bolstered by the arrival of Sylvia & Eric to join the group for the remainder of the time in Malvern, where the weather looks set fair for the 3 next days of very interesting & well planned rides by Rodney & the two Chris's
On the second day our intrepid throng gathered together on the edge of Malvern Common on a fine and sunny morning. We travelled southwards with the Malvern Hills to our right basking in the sunshine, before heading eastwards through a rural setting towards Hanley Swan. Elevensies beckoned at The Swan where luxurious hot beverages were enjoyed by those who dared to indulge in the accompanied piece of fudge! We then travelled onwards towards Welland, scene of yesterday's excursion, and covered familiar lanes from Castlemorton Common towards Upton, with the vista of the Severn Valley ahead. Fortunately, the scurrilous dog was otherwise engaged today! A casual lunch was relished by all at the curiously named Drum & Monkey. Afterwards we ventured onto Upton upon Severn (sometimes it is Severn upon Upton), where an hour was spent exploring the environs. Our return journey took our merry band through quiet lanes to Hanley Swan, from where we retraced our way back to the starting point, up the only notable hill on our very enjoyable journey. A total of 20.8 miles were clocked up by 14 riders.
An evening meal for ten members of the party at the Bluebell Inn savoured good food and confabulation. Eric enhanced proceedings later with a brief but notable appearance.
Wednesday morning saw 15 intrepid riders ready to take the challenge of the Ledbury Loop. Setting off in bright sunshine through country lanes and some challenging undulations, the group came upon an intriguing modern house of a unique design which looked most impressive.
After some 7 miles a welcome coffee break at the Beaufort Arms was enjoyed by all. Meeting the local villagers who run the pub was most interesting hearing their tale of how they rescued the pub from the house developers and took over the day to day running of it. The ride to lunch was uneventful with only two dogs who decided to avoid being scurrilous as they had heard that their mates in the Malvern area had already fulfilled that duty.
Lunch at the Rose and Crown provided a break as the return journey would eventually take us back up to Ledbury.
On the way we encountered the dreaded ford which had proved very slippery in the past. Safely over the ford bridge we continued past Eastnor Castle towards Ledbury.
Once in the town we made our way along the old railway line but unfortunately the leader lost the last 1/2 mile of track but we all eventually made it to the car park safely.
All in all 22 miles, the weather held and is forecast to do so for Thursday's final ride of the week.
As EU elections got under way the group set off on a tour of the local polling stations. We parked at Leigh and made a short ride to the largest cruck tithe barn in England which we were suitably impressed by. Some felt we were still paying tithes to the EU ! After a group photo we set off for the next polling station and a welcome coffee at Alfrick community centre before cycling on to cross the River Teme where we tried (and mostly failed) to spot the eels. Then it was a slightly hairy ride on the A44 before lunch at the Royal Oak. Vast portions saw us amply refuelled for the next leg to Elgar’s Birthplace. Despite Road Closed warnings we made it through and enjoyed the display in his cottage. The ride back included an even more hairy stretch on the A4103 which fortunately all managed safely.
Sadly, Les felt unwell during the ride so Brian accompanied him back to his car and rejoined us later for lunch. We all met later in the evening for an enjoyable farewell meal.
SOME RECENT RIDES
3 October - Chichester Canal and Goodwood Motor Circuit
3 train travellers cycled along the canal path at Chichester and met up with 7 cyclists at Hunston car park. Coffee was enjoyed at the Walnut Tree, Runcton. We progressed through the villages of Oving, Tangmere, Boxgrove and Halnaker in overcast and slightly chilly conditions.
One rider was thrilled to retrieve her sunglasses from the hedge where she had mislaid them on the trial ride. We arrived at Goodwood Motor Circuit where we had an excellent lunch in the newly refurbished cafe. The final lap took us via Lavant on to the Centurions’ Way back to Chichester railway station. This was a flat ride of 18 miles enjoyed by 10 cyclists.
10th October - QE Park and Bat & Ball
Coffee Q. E. Country Park. Lunch Bat and Ball, Hambledon. A fine dry day.
The Group Coordinator left the group at one point and set off down a footpath in the hope of finding a new route. Unfortunately, it proved to be too overgrown.
12 Riders. 18/20 miles. Four of the group did a few extra miles when we came back via Buriton
17 October - a NON RIDE from Cheriton
10 members booked in to ride from Cheriton this morning. However, at the point of departing Petersfield by car the heavens opened and the forecast odd shower turned into a serious downpour which seemed likely to last until lunchtime. One member rang and cried off, two misread the start time and were already unloading their bikes at Cheriton and the rest one way or another turned up on the leader's doorstep. Following a leisurely coffee it was decided, having committed the day, we might as well continue to lunch as planned, so we climbed into two cars and proceeded to The Plough at Inchen Abbas where a convivial lunch was enjoyed in a sun filled dining room ! Certain lady members then visited the Long Barn for retail therapy on the way home. Participating members 7, miles ridden 0. I don't think this contributes much to the Group's statistics unfortunately!
23 October Stanstead Garden Centre and Chidham
9 of us rode an average of 21.3 miles some a little more, one a lot more as one of us cycled from home in Nyewood.
3 took the train to Rowlands Castle (a word of warning it is necessary to carry bikes over the footbridge when alighting southbound).
A lovely ride with varying surfaces a little rough at start, then smooth roads and then back through the woods.
An excellent lunch was had at the Old House at Home in Chidham.
Undaunted by the weather forecast 4 electrics and 3 unassisted pedallers enjoyed this hilly ride up to Shalden via the Avenue Garden Centre before a well earned lunch at The Royal Oak in Lasham.
Total mileage a tad under 17 miles.
For future reference, a long layby adjacent to the recreation ground provides good parking and on this occasion the village hall was open allowing access to the loos.
11 of us set of on a grey but dry November morning from Sheet Green and rode the short distance, to Liss Triangle Centre for coffee. Fingers and toes were already getting rather chilled , so it was a welcome break. Two more joined us there for the next phase of the ride.
We progressed along the old railway line, a little muddy in places but mostly OK and then negotiated the mud at the gate to the Longmoor Enclosure. We continued on the gravel through this delightful unspoilt (except by the Army) area with colourful leaves on the trees.
It wasn’t long before there was what sounded like a big firework display and we realised it was a live firing day on the ranges where we were headed.
The straight track leads across a bridge over the A3 to the edge of the Woolmer Firing Ranges and it is there that the video Woolmer Ride was taken. Please take a look !
The track Circles the whole of the Range. Flat for the most part, but with one short sharp hill which took everyone by surprise. We then returned through the enclosure to the Temple Inn where another rider joined us for a very pleasant Bowl of Soup (or other) before the ride back home.
The ranges ride is a bit bumpy for road bikes but everyone managed about 19 miles so it was another good start to our cycling year.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
If you would like to try us give us a call. All you need is access to a bike and be willing to have a good time. The rides are all offered and run by established group members on various days of the week (not just weekends) All contact about rides etc. is by e-mail. There is no restriction on overall group numbers. If a large number book into a ride (not often a problem) we split into smaller groups on the road for safety and to minimise our impact on car drivers.
For further information please contact Malcolm Muggeridge, Group Co-ordinator via the "Click to send a Message!" facility (right hand side above)
Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.