“Who are Cycle Winchester?“ It’s a question we are sometimes asked. Cycle Winchester isn’t a faceless bureaucracy, it’s simply a small group of Winchester residents who feel passionately that we can improve the city and our environment by enabling more people to cycle. Who care enough to volunteer a little free time to campaign for improvements. We meet monthly (currently via Zoom) and always welcome new people who would like to get involved. Meet a few of the current team…
Andy Key grew up in Winchester then escaped at the age of 18 to Bristol, where amongst other things he was a volunteer gravel-shoveller on weekend working parties helping to build the very first official Sustrans cycle path from Bristol to Bath. He has commuted by bike, gone shopping by bike, done business trips by bike, and gone on holiday by bike. After a career in IT he now runs a cycling holiday business, taking people on relaxing tours of some of the best bits of England and Wales. He also does a bit of freelance bike mechanic work on the side. He is currently chair of Winchester CTC and is a former trustee of Cycling UK, Britain’s cycling charity. When not running tours he can be seen out riding on the country lanes around Winchester, eternally searching for the perfect coffee stop.
I’ve been a Winchester resident since 1972 and a cyclist here for many years. My preference is for off-road cycling, and Winchester is blessed with surrounding countryside with lots of off-road routes. However, many routes out of the city are poor, such as the ludicrous shared bike and pedestrian path along Worthy Road, leading to the dangerous crossing at the Cart & Horses pub. These are a real deterrent to novice or cautious cyclists. The same applies to the city centre, where motor traffic has been allowed to dominate. That’s why I’m part of Cycle Winchester: to campaign for safer streets for all.
I started riding as a student in London when I realised how close together many tube stops were. I graduated to a road bike and began travelling out to the countryside to ride with my now-husband. We enjoyed it so much it factored in our move to Winchester. Nowadays I am more often riding a Christiania cargo e-trike to transport our two young daughters. We took part in Cycle Winchester’s ‘Mass Rides’ and I was inspired to join the organisation team. Winchester could be a fantastic place to get around by cycle (despite the hills!) Volunteering with Cycle Winchester (I work with Rob on our social media) feels like a positive step towards making this happen.
My cycling is both for recreational and utility purposes. Winchester is surrounded by great countryside for recreation road riding and Winchester’s layout makes cycling one of the easiest ways of getting around. I haven’t paid to park in Winchester for 10 years!
Winchester is under-used by its residents – in part this is due to the perceived difficult of getting there. Encouraging more walking and cycling (including e-bikes) can help reconnect citizens to their city. I’ve been involved with the work on Sports and Leisure Centre access , Movement Strategy as well as the Active Travel schemes.
Growing up on the edge of my town and then living as a student in a village away from campus, cycling was always the way to get around. I’ve time-trialled (very slowly) a few times when much younger, toured one or two out of the way places, mountain-biked miles of tracks and hillsides and recently rediscovered the joy of a road bike on quiet lanes – ideally at slow/medium pace with lunch on-board! I’d like Cycle Winchester to be a powerful, unignorable voice on behalf of local cyclists of all persuasions. I’m particularly involved with the Mass Ride, the Winchester Cycling Charter and our series of rider profiles.
I’ve lived in Winchester for over thirty years; it’s where I’ve raised my family of three. I prefer to get around the city by bike because it’s the quickest option and a great way to get some exercise. However I’m also very aware that cycling through Winchester is not always safe, easy or legal! I believe passionately in making Winchester a safer place for cycling for all ages and abilities and firmly advocate “active” travel to reduce the need for car transport, too. Recently I’ve discovered the joy of electric bikes and believe this new era of power-assisted cycling could be a real game-changer for Winchester. During the pandemic I thoroughly enjoyed cycling out into the beautiful countryside that surrounds Winchester – although I refuse to wear lycra! I’m a relatively recent recruit to Cycle Winchester (after photographing the Mass Cycle Rides) and have been actively involved in the Winchester Cycling Charter.
Luckily, most of my life I’ve been able to use a bike for going to school and work, and for leisure. There was a gap of 12 years when work was too far away. After that I chose my jobs with care. When somebody stole our car about 25 years ago, we used the insurance to buy two folding bikes and two big locks. Since then we’ve felt we can go anywhere by train and bike. Recently we added batteries and motors, and we can now storm up St James Lane. I think it a pity that the roads in and around Winchester are so crowded with cars. I dream of more cycle routes and less traffic, and more people choosing to cycle. It would be a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global heating.
The bike was my main form of transport through my twenties, though, sad to say, it disappeared into the shed for many years after that. Returning to the bike, post-kids, I’ve criss-crossed Europe from the Atlantic to the Black Sea as a cycle tourist and endurance rider. But, honestly, nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing Wintonians, young and old, using a bike just to get around town, and I want to see more of it. Hence my involvement in Cycle Winchester, where I help to organise Mass Rides, and manage the website and social media.
After cycling to school as a child, I stopped until I worked in Germany where it was natural to cycle everywhere. When I moved to Winchester, I joined Winchester CTC, allowing me to enjoy good company and great rides. I also used the bike as transport and realised how much better Winchester could be and so in the 1990s I started campaigning for better cycling provision. The great thing about Cycle Winchester is that it brings together an enthusiastic group of people, all of whom want to make Winchester better for cycling and for younger generations to be able to enjoy the freedom that cycling gives.