Cycle for the century: marking a century of Bike Week celebrating everyday cycling for everyone
9th June 2023
The 5-11 June 2023 is the 100th annual Bike Week, marking a century of celebrating everyday cycling for everyone. Guildford based charity, Cycling UK, designed the Cycle Surrey Hills project to provide an opportunity to experience the stunning landscape and support mental and physical wellbeing.
As part of Bike Week, Surrey Hills Society and volunteers from the Mole Valley Cycle Forum (MVCF) have collaborated to upgrade the waymarking of cycle trails in the Surrey Hills, aided by e-bikes from the Cycle Collective in Dorking. These Cycle Surrey Hills loops not only provide a brilliant off-road cycling experience but help users to keep to the established route to protect the special species and habitat that we share the landscape with. The Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers programme brings together communities to conserve and protect our National Landscape partaking in activities such as hedge planting, chalk grassland management and wildlife surveys.
The first Cycle Surrey Hills route that the Conservation Volunteers are upgrading is the Puttenham Loop which is routed around Puttenham Common and offers spectacular views and an abundance of heathland and wildlife. The webpage and GPX file download can be found here, with the updated on-site signage to be completed in due course.
Gordon Jackson, Chair of Surrey Hills Society said: “We are delighted to be working with Mole Valley Cycle Forum as Conservation Volunteers to improve the experience of the Cycle Surrey Hills routes. These are important improvements that will help users feel confident in enjoying the countryside and a deep connection to the landscape with inspiration to protect it for the future of the wildlife that call the Surrey Hills home.”
John Arnold, Chair of MVCF commented: “In a time of swingeing government cuts to Active Travel and substantially reduced investment in cycling infrastructure, it is great to have the opportunity to volunteer with the SHS team in developing inter-generational off-road trails, close to Mole Valley residents, to promote safer cycling routes in the beautiful Surrey countryside.”
Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment and Surrey’s Active Travel Champion, Cllr Paul Deach, said, “We are very fortunate to have some of the UK’s finest countryside on our doorsteps just waiting to be discovered. Cycling in the countryside is not just a journey on wheels; it’s a transformative experience that nurtures our health and well-being. As we pedal through nature, our bodies come alive, invigorated by the rhythmic cadence of movement. The fresh air rejuvenates and invigorates our spirits, and the natural scenery calms our minds and souls. With each pedal stroke, we unlock the secrets of balance and resilience, strengthening our physical and mental health. In the countryside, greenways lead us to undiscovered vistas and inspire us to discover ancient landscapes. In these moments with nature, we find solace, find ourselves, and find a profound connection to the world around us. Cycling in the countryside is more than a pursuit; it’s a gateway to a healthier, happier existence—one that embraces the freedom to explore, the release from our daily grind and the profound healing power of nature.”
The Surrey Hills National Landscape offers some spectacular cycling routes for users to experience whilst following the Countryside Code – Protect, Respect, Enjoy. Hear more from John & Nigel from MVCF about their advice on cycling responsibly here.