Have you made New Year resolutions? Why not resolve to cycle more in 2023? Perhaps you have a bike that hasn’t been out of the shed for some time? Now is a good time to give it a check over and get pedalling! Cycling is very low cost, most people can do it, it’s great fun, good for your health and helps the environment!

During 2022, Bassetlaw District Council (BDC) accessed Cycling UK / government funding to put on eight free cycle maintenance sessions in Worksop and Retford. More sessions are planned for 2023 – look out for publicity on social media.

BDC also put on 90 free ‘Learn to Ride’ places for children at local schools and again, more are being planned for this year with participating schools.
Here are a few basic tips before you ride:

  • Ensure tyres are pumped up firmly (correct max pressure is usually written on the tyre)
  • Oil the chain regularly and wipe off the surplus
  • Wear a helmet and invest in a lock to secure your precious bike
  • Check the brakes are effective by squeezing both levers, while dismounted, and try pushing the bike. If the wheels still turn then the brakes need adjusting. If you are unsure how to adjust brakes, or set saddle height or any other maintenance issues, take your bike to your local cycle shop. Regular servicing is recommended.

Cycling is a great social activity – riding with a group of friends is enjoyable and can be safer. It’s very important to refuel with coffee and cake at regular café stops!

Where to cycle is another consideration. You may be concerned about cycling on the roads and, unfortunately, cyclists in Bassetlaw are often forced onto busy and dangerous roads by a lack of safe cycle lanes. There are a few cycle lanes, some better than others. When cycling on the road, always obey the Highway Code and traffic signals.

Clumber Park is ideal for cycling, with miles of off-road cycle tracks and the National Trust host free Breeze women-only led rides.

If you are near Worksop, you could use National Cycle Network route 6 to cycle to Clumber. This cycle way is mainly traffic free or on quiet roads. It passes through Worksop on the canal towpath and the route then continues (follow the blue signs) through Manton, over the A57 footbridge, and onto Clumber (and eventually to Nottingham and further south).

Route 6 is part of the amazing NCN cycle network covering the UK and promoted / maintained by Sustrans. The other NCN route in Bassetlaw is 647, going from Clumber to Lincoln over the spectacular Fledborough viaduct.

There is an excellent network of quiet minor roads around Bassetlaw, and especially enjoyable for cycling are the country lanes between the villages East of Retford.

Cycles can use bridleways and byways; these field paths are everywhere and can be very enjoyable. The downside is that they can be rough and muddy and the network is random, with a bridleway suddenly changing status back to a footpath (no cycling) as it crosses a boundary. A proper planned accessible network would need government action.

Providing cycle lanes is the responsibility of Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC): they do have positive plans for a future network of cycle routes, for when funding is available. It’s good news that there is now a long-term plan of connected routes; unfortunately, what is planned for Bassetlaw in the immediate future is very limited.

If you want more cycle routes, then write to your local Notts County Councillor and call for action. County Councillor contact details are on the NCC website, which also has helpful information on cycling in Nottinghamshire.

Happy cycling in 2023!