I have lived in Winchester for 33 years, first in St Cross, then Hyde and now Abbotts Barton.
I sold my car about 20 years ago and since then I’ve relied on a bicycle for most of my journeys around the city. At the time I lived in Hyde Abbey Road where car parking was limited, and I came to the conclusion that life would be a lot easier and cheaper if I took to two wheels instead of using four. So, I purchased a new Specialized Crossroads bike, for about £350 I think, and it is still going strong and serving me well 20 years later. It has been serviced and parts replaced many times. I swapped over to Armadillo tyres which have never suffered a puncture in eight years!
During my working life I was mainly out-and-about on foot, first as a land surveyor for the Ordnance Survey and then as a rights-of-way officer with the Countryside Service of Hampshire County Council. Whenever I get the opportunity I go off walking both locally and afar. I am aiming to walk around the coast of England and Wales and have completed about 80% so far. I should finish in the next two years. After walking boots my bicycle is the most used and useful of my possessions and I would be lost without it.
These days I am retired. I use my bicycle nearly every day for shopping in the centre of Winchester, frequent trips to my allotment in St Cross and to visit friends around the city.
Most of my journeys by bike are north to south: down Hillier’s Way, through River Park, past the Art College, into the High Street, around the cathedral and down Kingsgate Street. This route is easy, safe and pleasant and is well used by other cyclists of all ages and capabilities. Other journeys are more difficult, partly because of geography – my partner lives at the top of a hill – and partly because of road layouts and the volume of traffic.
From where I live it is easy to access the city centre or the countryside and I have noticed in recent months that more people in Abbotts Barton have taken up cycling. However, this trend will falter if more isn’t done to make the roads safer for cyclists.