Portsmouth Cycle Forum

Portsmouth Cycle Forum

Portsmouth Cycle Forum is a group for anyone who cycles, or wants to cycle, in and around Portsmouth UK.

#WeRidePortsmouth - Cathy

#WeRidePortsmouth - Cathy

I’m Cathy. Cycling is a daily part of my routine, whether it’s commuting to work, running errands, or simply enjoying leisurely rides. It serves as an excellent way to unwind after a busy day and explore the surrounding community. In our flat and compact city, cycling is often the quickest way to reach my destination.

How do you use your bike around Portsmouth?

When I arrived in Portsmouth in 1987, I was struck by how flat it was compared to my hometown in North Wales, which is quite hilly. In my first week here, I immediately bought a bike because I was amazed by the flat terrain and how quickly you could get around the city. Cycling has been a constant in my life ever since, and my family also shares my enthusiasm for it.

I use my bike daily, cycling to and from work, which is approximately 2 miles away. It’s also my go-to mode of transportation for trips to the shops and along the seafront, making it incredibly convenient. On particularly sunny days, I often take the scenic route home, cycling along the seafront. It’s a leisurely ride that takes about 40 minutes to complete. Living by the sea has its perks, and cycling along the coastline is truly enjoyable.

What do you like about travelling by bike?

Portsmouth is fantastic – its flat and compact layout makes it ideal for cycling. Beating the traffic on my way to work makes me feel really good.

One of the charming aspects of cycling in Portsmouth is the sense of community. I see the same lollipop ladies every day, and they always greet me with a friendly hello. It’s heartwarming to recognize familiar faces on the morning commute.

Cycling home, regardless of the route, serves as a great stress-reliever. Sitting in traffic in a car can be frustrating and only adds to the day’s stress. Cycling, on the other hand, offers a peaceful and calming end to the day.

What isn’t so great about cycling in the city?

I cycle in all weather conditions. If it’s raining, I simply put on my waterproof gear, so weather doesn’t usually stop me. The only exception would be extreme snow conditions.

While the cycle infrastructure in Portsmouth isn’t always great, with lanes sometimes lacking, my main concern is drivers who come too close. This can be quite frightening at times, as it seems they may not realize how close they are. I don’t believe it’s intentional, but it’s still challenging to deal with.

Fortunately, I haven’t had many negative experiences overall, or perhaps I’ve simply become accustomed to them. In such situations, taking a different route or cycling with a friend can help restore confidence.

What else would you like to add?

You have the absolute right to be on the road. Some drivers think we should not be there, but tough luck, we are allowed to be there. We have the right, don’t we?

We need more people cycling and more cycle lanes. If you are not feeling confident, try and join cycle groups. Go out on your bike just for pleasure. Cycle in a group – cycle with friends. Go down the seafront where there is a segregated cycle lane, build your confidence that way.

Make sure you have the right gear: reflectors, lights and consider a helmet if you wish. Use two sturdy locks since bike theft is a concern. Having two locks can act as a deterrent. Take your time and ride at your own pace, going with the flow of traffic.

If you worry about drivers passing too close put your pannier on the outside to appear wider and so that drivers give you more space.

From the PCF Team

We thank Cathy for sharing her story. Cathy’s experience shows that cycling is a great way to get around in our city – for work or for leisure. You only need the right gear and if you want to build your confidence – a bunch of friends to cycle with.

Cathy, along with her friend Karen, is the co-founder of Southsea Sewn, a local sewing social club. The club gathers twice a month at different local venues. For additional details visit their Instagram page @southseasewn

Would you like to share your story about ordinary people doing ordinary things on their bikes in the city? We’d love to hear from you!

Get in touch at info@pompeybug.co.uk