In 2014 we received an Active Neighbourhood Grant from Bristol Council to support our famous Discover Bristol Rides. From May 2014 to February Bristol Cycling Campaign organised 47 Rides. Some were short urban themed rides aimed at novice cyclists, while others were medium length (30 miles) or more challenging out-of-town rides for the more experienced.
Our ‘themed’ rides aim to be both interesting and informative but also popular, witty and inventive. Where a theme is successful, we repeat it, such as our Pub Pitstop theme, the Tea and Cakes rides, and a ‘Coffee House’ series. We have also put on short rides that are designed as family events, such as exploring the new ‘trails’ in Leigh Woods, a Cycle Quiz set in a number of local parks, a local ‘picnic’ ride to Frenchay, and a ride to the ‘Nightglow’ event at the Balloon Festival. Another short urban ride series has focused on the detail of locally built infrastructure, giving our members the opportunity to discuss and debate the realities of cycling provision on the public highway. We have some regular partners for such as the Civic Society where rides have a cultural theme, looking at modern architecture or historic buildings for example.
Our medium length rides are purely to enjoy cycling in good company exploring attractive rural routes such as the Coastal Clevedon Ride, Chew Valley Lake or Strawberry Line Rides. Some follow published routes available to anyone via the internet and provide full mapping, graphical presentation, detailed descriptions and points of interest. We have also organised ‘train-assisted’ rides as this greatly expands the range of places within our scope whilst allowing us to promote different modes of cycling such as the use of folding bikes, and related schemes (eg. Brompton Dock). A further series has looked at properties open under the National Garden Scheme and devised routes to visit these gardens for a ‘picnic ride’. We have supported regional events where the venue location ties-in with an enjoyable cycle route, such as the Devizes International Street Festival or the Blagdon Pumping Station Open Day (organised annually by Bristol Water). We have developed Rides with empathetic groups such as the Long Ashton Transition Group who have showed us how they promote a sustainable lifestyle through collective management of a chicken farm.
We also cater for those BCyC members who seek a more challenging and longer Ride. One ride in this category visited a number of churches owned by the Churches Conservation Trust, all in rural Somerset south of Radstock. Another event, led by an experienced cyclist, took a group through the hilly terrain around Butcombe, Nempnett Thrubwell and Hinton Blewett.
The full report of the Discover Bristol Rides is here BCyC Active Neighbourhood Grant Report 2015.