On your bike!

Man on road bike riding down open country road.

It may not feel like it but Spring is finally here! This means the beginning of taking exercise outside without contracting frost bite. Did you know that the New Forest has a network of over 100 miles of approved cycle trails which are well signposted and take in quiet lanes, old railway lines and forest trails? Better still, they are largely traffic free (and often flat).

Cycling is now one of the fastest growing activities in the country and with very good reason. It’s fun, it’s sociable, it’s ‘green’ and its healthy! There are bikes for everyone, from toddlers to pensioners, able-bodied to people with disabilities; with the right equipment anyone can cycle.

Maybe one of the best things about cycling is that it can be a form of transport which saves you money and keeps you fit at the same time. The low-impact exercise is easier on your joints than running and high impact aerobic exercises.

If you don’t own a bike or don’t want to take it to the Forest, there are many shops that will hire you a bike and all the equipment you may need and they will often organise cycle trips for all ages and abilities. Enjoy stunning views of the Forest, the changing seasons and cycle through the New Forest villages full of character, where you can stop for tea and cake, a picnic or even a pub visit.

Before you jump off and ride into the sunset, here a few safety guidelines:

  • Always wear a helmet – Keeping safe is fashionable!
  • Look behind you before you turn, overtake or stop.
  • Use arm signals before turning left or right.
  • Pay attention to traffic lights and road signs.
  • Use lights and reflectors when cycling at night – use a white light in front and a red light behind.
  • Avoid wearing headphones.
  • Never use a mobile phone whilst riding.

You can buy a New Forest cycle map from the Lyndhurst Visitor Information Centre or you can buy online from thenewforest.co.uk

Jessica Young - Communications Assistant
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