Horsham District Council’s Sports Development team, together with local volunteer ride leaders, are set to organise more healthy bike rides this year, following last year’s successful ‘Horsham District Health Rides’ pilot progamme.
‘Horsham District Health Rides’ are free social bike rides for starter-level cyclists. They are a great way to improve cycling ability, socialise with others and develop new skills. All participants need is a working bicycle and the ability to ride.
A hybrid bike is suitable for all rides, but road bikes can be used for ‘on road’ rides.
The rides are free of charge, and are supported by leaders who are trained and experienced to adapt to individual rider needs with aspects such as pacing, helping groups gel together appropriately and keeping people safe.
Following last year’s pilot programme of health rides, rides for 2019 are being offered over a longer period, from February to November, and new rides have been added to the Programme.
Routes around Warnham, via Pedlar’s Way to Southwater, and to Sumner’s Pond in Barns Green, will be available in addition to the established 6K Shelley ride route and longer two and three hour rides. There will be more emphasis on road riding during winter months and more off-road rides during the summer, spring and autumn.
Horsham District Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Nigel Jupp, said: “One of our core aims as a council is to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents.
“I am delighted that the Healthy Rides Programme was so well received last year and has, therefore, been extended for 2019.
“Our District boasts some superbly scenic countryside, and there’s no better way to see it than on two wheels and breathing in fresh air. And as for the health and fitness benefits, few activities can match the fun and low joint impact nature of cycling for achieving personal progress.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to sign up and enjoy the considerable benefits of the Programme.”
Last year, around 50 participants varying in age from 30 to 70 years took part in the Programme.
There is also a strong social aspect to the rides, which are generally enhanced by a café stop on most routes.
Bikes of different sizes and types are also available to borrow, free of charge, for those who need them.
For less confident or rusty riders, there is also starter training available to help people get back in the swing of bike riding in the confines of Horsham Park.
On some of the rides, there is also an educational benefit for those who want to learn while they cycle. The Shelley Rides are led by Thea Bredie, an enthusiast of the early nineteenth century romantic poet Shelley, who shares her knowledge of the birth, christening and work of Shelley during the ride.