If you’re new to cycling or just returning it’s often difficult to work out what sort of rides will fit in with your experience, fitness and confidence. Cycling UK North Hampshire offers a range of rides which, hopefully, will cater for all types of rider. These rides are open to all, although non-members are expected to join the Cycling UK if they decide to ride regularly.
The web site gives details of when the rides take place, where they start and their general direction. There are rides for both on-road and off-road cyclists. Our web site’s photo gallery gives a good indication of the type of rides, the riders and the bikes that they use.
If you’d like to find out more please contact any of the ride coordinators.
Easy Paced Rides
Our on-road rides all take place on public roads, cycle paths and other well surfaced tracks that are available to cyclists. The on-road rides are predominantly on minor roads to minimise the amount of other traffic, although it is inevitable that part of each route will be on busier roads, especially when leaving the starting points. So, some confidence in traffic is needed.
Monthly rides from Farnborough and weekly Saturday afternoon rides from Alton are all at an easy pace and the shortest rides cover about 15 miles although they average 25-30 miles in about 3 hours. The longer rides from Alton cover up to 40 miles and may take up to 4 hours, including a lunch stop. These rides are very sociable and riders usually chat as they cycle and even stop at corners to admire the view! There will be a few hills but everyone takes them at their own pace.
Most types of bicycle are suitable for these rides including touring bikes (flat bars or drop handlebars), hybrids and mountain bikes. Because the rides are on good surfaces there is no need for heavy knobbly tyres or full suspension – indeed the extra weight will probably make the ride seem like hard work! It’s a good idea to take a small sandwich or energy bar and drink with you in case you get hungry, a waterproof in case it rains and a pump and inner tube just in case you get a flat tyre. Riders often carry these items in a pannier or saddle bag.
Cycling UK North Hampshire currently organise very few off-road rides, though many MTB events and rides are run throughout the year by charities, councils and commercial ventures. See our Other Events page.
Off-road rides are usually on byeways and bridleways that can be quite rough, rutted, muddy or overgrown and, since this is Hampshire, there are hills. All off-road rides need a suitable off-road bike. Most riders have, as minimum, front suspension with knobbly tyres: road tyres with close fitting mudguards will quickly get clogged up. It is essential that food and drink, waterproofs, two spare inner tubes and a pump are carried. Off-road riding is more demanding than road riding. Stamina-wise assume each mile off-road is very roughly equivalent to two on the road; even more if it’s very muddy.
A good way to try out mountain bike riding is to take on one of the Hampshire County Council rides.