Report by John Buckley
This event was superb, weather, company, banter….Around 60 bikies of all sorts met in Basingstoke to be set off by the Mayor at the the official launch of NCN23. There were roadies, MTBers, shoppers and a preponderance of small wheelers.
The town was built around the motor car, but is slowly become more attuned to cyclists needs. I grimaced a little when the Mayor mentioned that there were now 10,000 miles of routes for cyclists to use, but I’m sure she didn’t understand the significance. However, she did profess to feeling she should have brought her own bike along, something that she will certainly be reminded about before the next cycling event . She is a nice lady who lives just down the road from me in the next village, so I may be offering her some cycle-training 🙂
Anyhow, we set off in several groups, to take a winding route through the southern edges of the town, following a young lady with a Sustrans flag. It could have been more direct and although most parts were fine, the crossings when going around roundabouts were in one instance quite scary, but then that may just be the Basingstoke traffic.
But once out of the town we were into the lovely lanes that are rarely appreciated here. The mile-long climb over to Ellisfield had some struggling especially the Brommies and sit-up-and-begs, but then it became easier and with the sun out everyone was full of happiness and good chat.
Many of us know these lanes very well, but if this route encourages more to cycle then it can only be good news. This NCN route uses lanes for virtually the whole distance and is well signposted. It will eventually be signposted through to Winchester. Sustrans have done a good job here in highlighting an excellent route; furthermore, they arranged for the sun to shine.
It was a lovely day out!
Local press reports are at http://www.velotree.co.uk/ncn23pressreport.html