South West Protected Landscapes Forum and 1 South West have been working to support ‘Community Cycling Hubs’ in the 14 south west AONBs and National Parks.
A Community Cycling Hub is a business providing a warmer welcome for cyclists in these rural areas, from providing a bike wash to GPS hire. The aim is to encourage more people to cycle as part of their stay in these areas, staying for longer and enjoying their surroundings without a car. Alongside our Adventure Cycle Map these Hubs help breakdown the barriers to people exploring the wider countryside rather than just riding at purpose built trail hubs and on promoted routes.
We will feature one Community Cycling Hub in each of the coming newsletters. The first business to benefit from this initiative is Marshwood Trails, based in Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Investment has enabled them to enjoy their first season offering electric bike tours on highways and byways in this stunning landscape.
Martin Gershon of Marshwood Trails says: “The addition of the three new electric bikes provided by project funding has already made a significant contribution to my business. People who decide to book onto my guided rides do so for a number of reasons. Many are locals who have not ridden a bike in years as they find the area too hilly for their abilities or fitness levels. I have taken out people who have reached an age at which they though their cycling days were behind them, as well as those who have recovered from illness (e.g. heart disease) and injury (e.g. lower limb conditions) and who are looking to cycle as part of their rehabilitation. Some guests are also investigating the possibility of purchasing an electric bike and want to try before they buy. Others are visitors to the area who are appreciative of being able to explore the beautiful landscapes and places of interest of West Dorset out of their cars.
“A very lightweight but study trailer allows me to start rides away from my main base in Morcombelake which increases my flexibility to guests’ needs, particularly those who arrive in the area by public transport. As electric bikes can by law only be ridden by those aged 14 years or over, some of the funding has enabled me to purchase a child seat so that the activity does not exclude families with younger children. The funding has also allowed me to do a redesign and reprint of my promotional leaflet and this has been distributed widely. I am continuing to reach new audiences and in the last month have taken out both school and corporate groups.”
If you’d like to find out more watch Marshwood Trails’ new promotional video (below), or visit their website www.marshwoodtrails.co.uk.