Re­mem­ber...

Berkshire Life - - Cycling -

Late au­tumn is an out­stand­ing time to make the most of our county, with week­end out­ings pro­vid­ing the chance to still en­joy de­cent weather and breathe in the fresh air with­out the sun beat­ing down too fiercely.

Usu­ally we pro­vide a walk­ing route to fol­low, but this month bikes have ‘right of way’ in our fo­cus on West Berk­shire, with pop­u­lar routes tak­ing in East and West Il­s­ley, two his­toric vil­lages north of New­bury in the Berk­shire Downs, sit­ting be­side The Ridge­way.

For those with lit­tle ones to shep­herd along on bikes it’s pos­si­ble to get off road and shorten routes to al­low for their pedal power. You can also

‘mix and match’, tak­ing part of the jour­ney on foot or sim­ply stick to two wheels. Cy­cling can al­low just as much roam­ing as walk­ing.

In West Berk­shire we have the ben­e­fit of routes in­clud­ing two of the 13 Na­tional Trails suit­able for walk­ing, cy­cling and horse-rid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, cour­tesy of The Ridge­way and The Thames Path.

ON YOUR BIKE

See na­tion­al­trail.co.uk to down­load a seven-mile East & West Il­s­ley cir­cu­lar route, mostly on down­land tracks with just one sec­tion on a vil­lage road and no stiles or gates. It in­cludes a stop off at The Har­row pub, should you so wish. At cy­cling.org you can find routes and down­load­able maps in­clud­ing a round Berk­shire cy­cling route which takes in West Berk­shire’s Lam­bourn, Great Sh­ef­ford, Hunger­ford and New­bury.

There are also links to cy­cling groups who are a friendly bunch, al­ways happy to give ad­vice.

West Berk­shire Spokes is a vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sent­ing all cy­clists across the area and of­fers free mem­ber­ship for life.

They have routes you can down­load, start­ing with easy rides which largely stick to traf­fic-free paths and lightly traf­ficked roads, so are suit­able for chil­dren and novice cy­clists, see west­berk­shire­spokes.org.

Head to info.west­berks.gov.uk/ walkingand­cy­cling for a great col­lec­tion of down­load­able cy­cling routes of vary­ing lengths in­clud­ing ones in Burgh­clere and Kingsclere, Box­ford, Wel­bury and Kings­bury, plus pic­turesque Pang­bourne and Whitchurch. Wear ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing, in­clud­ing hel­mets.

Take wa­ter and your mo­bile phone, al­though cov­er­age can be patchy in the more re­mote ar­eas.

Hope­fully you won’t need them, but tak­ing ba­sic bike tools in­clud­ing a punc­ture re­pair kit and a spare tube is al­ways wise.

You can cy­cle around the lanes of West Berk­shire to en­joy some amaz­ing coun­try­side and views of some of the county’s best scenery… and there’s more de­lights too for those who like to stretch their legs

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