People Who Cycle in Winchester #9: Steve

Profile photo: Steve

Hi, I’m Steve

I’ve been around Winchester for 30 years and lived here for the last 20 years since moving in with my partner.

I grew up in Woolston, Southampton in the 1960s in a no-car family. My Dad walked everywhere but my Mum cycled. One of my very earliest memories is of riding in a seat on the rear rack of her bike – a long time before that became usual. Once old enough I got my own bike, a trike with stabilisers, and later graduated to a Chopper, the ultimate machine in the early 1970s! It was quite futuristic but didn’t stop me from having a lot of skids, slides and scraped knees.

We lived near the Thornycroft shipyards on the Weston Shore. At 4 o’clock every day there was a mass exodus of workers and the local streets were completely taken over with pushbikes … quite a sight.

I stuck with cycles (all second-hand) until I left school when I also got a motorbike for longer distances or took my pushbike on the train. I passed my driving test but didn’t get a car until my mid-30’s. I preferred the flexibility of two-wheels. There’s no hassle looking for parking spaces, you can easily stop if you see something interesting and you never get stuck in queues.

Steve when he was a postman

After a few different jobs I became postman – nearly forty years ago now – so cycling has been a big part of my working life. For my early rounds in Netley we often had bikes with no gears and piled 3ft high sacks into the front rack. Not fun on the hills. These days we have weight limits but I guess back then the loads were as much as 40kg! Many people don’t realise how much you can carry on a bike. My longest round was at Warsash where I had a second delivery of about fifteen miles.

I’d been in Winchester quite a while before being offered a local round. Living in Oliver’s Battery and with the sorting office in Winnall it means lots of climbing and a daily battle with traffic going up Romsey Road. Other than that the biggest problem is the rain – it’s much harder to stay dry on a bike than on foot. And there’s always the occasional puncture to deal with.

Aside from improvements to Romsey Road I’d love to see a cycle lane on Badger Farm Road. There’s plenty of room for one and the traffic goes so fast. It could be an important link joining the route along the river into town which is a great social ride.

About 3 or 4 years ago I got my first electric bike, a G-Tech, but recently got a brand new one which I prefer because you can ride it like a normal bike if you want.

I encouraged my partner into cycling and for the last ten years until her retirement she followed my route up the Romsey Road from the county council offices. She is not as confident as me and now wonders how she survived, even though flexi-time helped avoid the worst of the traffic.

At weekends we enjoy cycling out together to villages like Easton, Hursley and Sparsholt.

Steve's step-dad, Jack Nunn
Steve’s step-dad, Jack Nunn

My step-dad, Jack Nunn (pictured), had a little bit of cycling fame, winning time trials in Suffolk in the early 50’s. Later in life he and Mum rode a tandem. They regularly did trips of fifty miles even into their eighties. And most days out ended with a long pull up Braggers Hill near Bransgore. I often joined the rides and forty years younger than them I sometimes struggled to keep up!

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