Wyre Forest Cycle Forum – looking after local cyclists

You may not know it, but looking after the interests of cyclists and trying to make the Wyre Forest a safer place to cycle has been the goal of the Wyre Forest Cycle Forum since 1998. 

Initially chaired by the Wyre Forest MP, Clive Prince is now the present chair –  a keen cyclist he used to do his home visits as a local GP on his bike, and previously chaired a Worcestershire NHS Accident Prevention committee, so he really does know about the health benefits of being on two wheels and about Creating safer routes for local people’

This mission statement of the forum really defines what stops people now from using their bikes, the most common reason is it is perceived as too dangerous which makes us opt to use our cars more – in turn making the problem worse.

The overwhelming evidence is cycling is of great benefit to our health and happiness, and although accidents do happen, the risks are remarkably small, with research confirming if you cycle regularly you’ll live 2 years longer, improve your fitness level to that of someone 10 years younger, so enjoying a longer, healthier old age.

Family finances are under pressure, our local NHS is straining to cope, the local economy benefits from walking and cycling, and there is the obvious benefit to climate change by using a bike or an e-bike, so perhaps it is not surprising the World Economic Forum states climate action failure is the biggest global risk over the next 10 years.

Our objective is to get more people to enjoy regular cycling – so we have to make cycling safer. A long-term study of 263,450 UK cycle commuters found they cut their risk of death from any cause by 41%, and the incidence of cancer and heart disease by 45% and 46% respectively. The cyclists weren’t even cycling big distances! On average they rode 30 miles a week. That’s 3 miles a day each way, five days a week.

The Forum’s role is to facilitate collaboration between the various stakeholders involved with transport and particularly cycling, lobbying to help drive through the priorities which are seen to make cycling safer.

The forum was instrumental in the creation of Sustrans National Cycle Route 45, the Heritage Route, centered on Bewdley which starts in Chester, and passes Stonehenge before ending in Salisbury. We are supporting the resourcing by Wyre Forest District Council and the NHS of Bikeability for Adults for those who had lost their confidence in cycling.

Recently, we had funding to create local Family Friendly Cycle Routes.  National and Sustrans policy is to prioritise safer Utility Routes for walking and cycling and we are driving this agenda with some success. It is therefore perhaps surprising we are having to work so hard especially as the Sustrans programme director reflected this is a perfect area for them to be introduced.

Wyre Forest Cycle Forum works closely with Wyre Forest District Council. The area between the 3 towns of Wyre Forest District, Kidderminster, Stourport, and Bewdley is made up almost exclusively of nature reserves, not to mention West Midland Safari Park (in effect an international nature reserve) and we also have the Wyre Forest itself: an opportunity for young and old alike to independently get out into the natural environment, and with that appreciation, take action to protect it and humanity.

We do need more people to get involved with the Wyre Forest Cycle Forum: we’ve been remarkably successful, but change is happening too slowly; so we’d love to hear from you – contact Jenny Moreton, our secretary, at Wyre Forest District Council

Breeze in the Wyre Forest

British Cycling and Forestry England have teamed up to offer free, women-only group cycle rides for all abilities in the nation’s forests. Every group ride is led by a qualified Breeze into the Forest Champion who will organise everything and make sure everyone stays safe.

Experience the best of what British Cycling and Forestry England have to offer, making new friends through cycling in beautiful forests! Breeze into the Forest is currently available at Whinlatter ForestCannock Chase ForestHigh Lodge, Delamere Forest and Dalby Forest, but local FE Active Forest Ranger Rich Robershaw is bringing it to the Wyre.

He is looking for volunteers who would be keen to run the rides and is offering places on a free course down in the Forest of Dean on Saturday 19th February at the Castlemain Depot. This course is perfect for giving you the skills to lead rides. and subsequently, work closely with the team at Wyre to deliver rides in and around the forest under the banner of British Cycling’s Breeze program.

Rich has a vast background in cycling and can support anyone not sure if they are ready to lead rides and be contacted at the Wyre Discovery Centre on 07962 428418 or email on richard.robertshaw@forestryengland.uk

Course details are:

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/rideleadership

The course is free to attend. You can even claim your mileage back from BC too. There is a registration deadline which is the end of this month, so if you are interested then I would encourage you to speak to Rich soon.

Accessible Bikes for all

This year Bewdley Bike Week activities are being made even more accessible by the inclusion of the Stourport Disability Hub bikes allowing anyone with a disability to join in.

Contact us at BBW in advance to have the right bike at the right ride for you to take part.

The Stourport Disability Hub has a range of adapted equipment on site which includes handcycles, tandems and trikes, making the sessions accessible for all. 

Stourport Sports Club is home to an HSBC UK Disability Hub, providing a range of activities for anyone with a disability to access the sport of cycling. Riders of any level are encouraged to attend these sessions.

The HSBC UK Disability Hub will provide regular monthly traffic-free coaching for people with a range of disabilities. The hub sessions are organized and delivered by British Cycling coaches, offering support for people with a physical or learning impairment to improve their fitness, technique, and confidence.

The hub sessions help riders with a range of goals; whether to get into a new sport, meet new friends, improve fitness and confidence, or rehabilitate from injury.

Riders of any level are encouraged to attend these sessions.

Please see the link below to find upcoming disability hub dates. We would also encourage any friends and family to come along to the session and ride free of charge. If you would like any further details, then please contact the lead coach Richard Pedersen