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)
some 2019 Rides
Lunch at historic "Bat & Ball" pub, and 18 plus miles in excellent weather on quiet lanes and cycle route. Members may like to note that refreshments at QE2 Park are now in marquee beyond the centre whilst extensive building works are in progress.
11 of us convened in a coffee shop in Gosport prior to setting off on a circular ride around the Gosport peninsular.
Early in the ride we just made it across the opening bridge (allowing a houseboat out)
We then progressed to the Cycle/Bus way along the old Railway line (beautiful tarmac), passing through some housing, industrial, sports fields and on to a pretty lane closed to traffic.
We spent a few mins admiring the view in Titchfield Haven Nature reserve prior to a pleasant lunch at the Osborne View. The return leg by the seaside in light winds through Lee on Solent and Stokes bay then a brief stop at the interesting memorials in the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, a little more old rail line leading us back to Gosport, for the Ferry and Train home. A pleasantly flat almost exactly 20 miles
25 April 2019
9 members met up at Micheldever village for a 21 mile ride through undulating and pretty, Hampshire countryside. We went north to Whitchurch then followed the River Test valley down to Longparish for lunch at The Cricketers Inn where a considerable amount of French Brie was consumed with suitable liquid refreshment. The ride then crossed over to the River Dever at Barton Stacey for the return to Micheldever via the picture postcard village of Stoke Charity. We caught the edge of just one shower as we reached the lunch stop otherwise a lovely sunny spring ride.
8 riders (5 e bikes) set out on a glorious day for the ride to Stansted House for lunch. Starting Lake CP to Finchdean for coffee in the gardens, then onto Stansted House. (which I must say, the service was very good - 8 served on a very busy day in less than 10 minutes!!) we then returned via Rowlands Castle and Buriton. Total 24 + miles and the weather held well all day.
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.
27 June The Annual Isle of Wight Trip
17 Riders enjoyed a fabulous sunny day on The Isle of Wight yesterday with perfect cycling conditions. We were joined by an 18 member for lunch and the afternoon. We all met at Portsmouth Harbour and went on the Sea Cat to Ryde Pier Head and made our way to Quarr Abbey for coffee before setting off again to Newport via the Cowes Chain Ferry. After a very good lunch we made our way off road and along an old railway track to The Garlic farm for a cup of tea before cycling the last few miles Ryde and the onward journey home. It was a great day out and I am planning to do it again next year so pop Thursday June 25th in your diaries and further details will be available nearer the day.
Four of us set out by Train to Portsmouth Harbour, then followed the cycle route to the Park and ride to collect 2 more, we hen set off to circle the west and north of Portsea island, following the beautifully reinstated area behind the new Sea wall near the Mountbatten Centre with good planting, smotth surfce, chairs etc, the section passing Hilsea Lido is not yet re-opened so that will be part of a future ride plan.
We then passed along the Hilsea Lines, the defences Napoleonic from mainland attack, its so surprising what is hidden from view when you zoom along the adjacent motorway !
Passing Farlington Marshes and weaving through the Industrial estate, we lunched at the Royal Oak in Langstone, very pleasant though rather slow service.
Next down the Haying Billy trail and on to the Hayling Ferry, photo attached.
We had some discussion over the best place for Ice cream on Southsea sea front, the Purbeck from the Beach cafe winning the day and certainly is fabulous.
5 July - Fish and Chip Supper Ride
A warm evening saw seventeen riders make their way to East Meon for the annual fish & chip ride. Ignoring the hordes of cars heading slowly back from the Goodwood Festival of Speed they made their way rather more quickly through Buriton and Ramsdean to the Izaak Walton pub at East Meon. Here they were joined by a further five followers. The pub excelled itself by serving up generous helpings of freshly fried fish and real chips. Fully refreshed the cyclists (perhaps remembering that on the last occasion the organisers “lost” the entire group) found their own way home by whatever route suited them. All agreed though that it had been an excellent social occasion.
5 September - Test Valley
9 members met in Stockbridge High Street after competition with locals for a parking space was completed. We set off up the River Test through Longstock passing Longstock House and Farm (John Lewis Partnership) before climbing the Downs to Red Rice. Expansive views in all directions under sunny skies justified the steady climb up followed by a long descent through The Wallops. A herd of wild deer were watched for a few minutes at Middle Wallop in a field above us. Continuing on through Nether Wallop to Broughton, lunch was taken at the Tally Ho. Novel and excellent light meals were on offer but Brian got more than he bargained for when his 'Big Boy' sandwich was delivered. After lunch we continued down to the Test valley and turned north back to Stockbridge having completed 22 miles. A good ride in excellent conditions.
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.