Spokes Carry Out Local Cycling Audit

St John's Roundabout

One of Spokes’ early achievements was a Cycling Map of Newbury and Thatcham, which was produced after a detailed audit of the local cycle network by Spokes members.  It was a great success and helped to get more people out on bikes.

West Berkshire Council has now asked if Spokes can carry out another audit of the urban cycle network in Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford, while Reading Cycle Campaign are covering Theale and the Reading fringe. The audit will help to inform how the cycle network can be improved, including for the various new developments that are planned.

The audit has to be completed by 31 March 2016, so we have recruited volunteers from our membership to help us over the next couple of months. This team effort will be coordinated by our Highways Officer, Dr Tony Vickers.  We are focusing initially on ‘commuter routes’, identifying gaps that could be filled, junctions that could be improved, and anything else that would make life a little easier and safer for a cyclist.

If you would like to help with the audit, or if you have any ideas about how the local cycle route network could be improved, then please get in touch and let us know.  We would love to hear your ideas.


Hungerford Big Wheel 2015


The Hungerford Big Wheel has been a staple of the local charity ride calendar for a number of years. This year’s event will take place on Sunday 7th June.

There are three cycle routes: a 33 mile off-road for the more experience cyclists; a 26 mile family route; and a 12 mile route for those with younger children. The bike rides will start and finish at Hungerford Rugby Club at 10:30 am, with registration from 9:00 am onwards. The organisers would appreciate advance bookings where possible. Booking forms are available from www.hungerfordbigwheel.info.

There will be a BBQ available at the end of the ride. For those participating in the two longer routes, cake and refreshments will be available in Savernake Forest around the halfway mark.

The bike ride will once again support two charities, Noreen’s Kids and Swings & Smiles. An on-line donation page has been set up at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com.

Please note that cycle helmets be worn by all participants.


Got the post-TdF blues? Roll on the ToB

The 2014 Tour de France was memorable in so many ways. There were the unprecedented crowds that turned out to line the route of ‘Le Grand Depart’ in Yorkshire, as the tour made a once in a generation trip across Le Manche. Then there was the crushing disappointment as we watched Chris Froome crash out on stage five. And we can’t forget the spectacular sprint finish on the Champs-Elysées.

With the tour now over, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit flat. However, the good news is that we have less than six weeks to wait until the start of the Tour of Britain. Even better news is that the tour will be coming to West Berkshire for the first time since 2008.

The race begins on 7 September, with eight stages taking place over eight consecutive days, taking the riders from Liverpool to London. On Friday, 12 September, stage six of the tour will see the riders race from Bath to Hemel Hempstead, with nearly 30 kilometres of the route passing through West Berkshire!

Riders are expected to arrive in Hungerford at around 12:24 pm. They will ride down the High Street before turning right along the A4 towards Halfway. They will then turn north towards Hoe Benham, Boxford and Leckhampstead, before leaving the district via the B4494 Wantage Road.

It promises to be a thrilling race. Nine teams have confirmed that they will be taking part, including the Great Britain national team, Team Sky and Omega Pharma Quick-Step. More announcements about teams and riders are expected towards the end of July with provisional rider announcements throughout August.


Help Needed for February Cycle Count

We are looking for volunteers to help with our next cycle count. This is a really important activity for Spokes, since the payment that we get from the Council is main source of our funding and is one of the reasons that membership is free.

There are 17 sites which need to be counted from 07:30 to 09:30 on 25th, 26th and 27th February:

Site 1: Newbury – Kennet & Avon Towpath (Beneath A339)
Site 2: Newbury – A339 (on Railway Bridge)
Site 3: Newbury – Robin Hood west arm (London Road)
Site 4: Newbury – Kiln Road / Walton Way
Site 5: Newbury – Love Lane (roundabout at Trinity School)
Site 6: Newbury – Andover Road (just north of St Bartholomew’s School)
Site 7: Newbury – Junction of Northcroft Lane & path to Monkey Bridge
Site 8: Newbury – Junction of Valley Road and Fifth Road
Site 9: Newbury – Junction of Battery End with Wash Common Recreation Ground
Site 10: Thatcham – A4 West of Lower Way
Site 11: Thatcham – Thatcham Station
Site 12: Thatcham – Corner of Bath Road & Green Lane
Site 13: Theale – Junction of High Street & Waterside Drive
Site 14: Hungerford – Staggered junction near Town Hall – Church St & Park St
Site 15: Calcot – Junction of Langley Hill & Bath Road
Site 16: Tilehurst – Junction of Dark Lane & Overdown Road
Site 17: Purley – Junction of Knowsley Road & Oxford Road

If you can help with any of these, then please email us (chair@westberkshirespokes.org). You can do more than one count on subsequent days if you would like. Locations will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

We really appreciate the help that we get from our volunteers, who turn out in all weathers. To say thank you, everyone who counts for at least one hour will be entered in a prize draw for £50 of Banjo vouchers.


Wheels for Rotary – Sponsored Ride

The Rotary Club of Hungerford are looking for people to take part in their 2013 cycle challenge. Starting on 7 July, participants will cycle from Hungerford to its twin town of Ligueil in France and back – a distance of approximately 550 miles over 7 days.

This event offers you the opportunity to take in some stunning countryside in England and France, whilst raising money for two worthy charities: End Polio Now and Bruce Trust Barges.

The organisers are looking for 30+ volunteers, including 2-3 support vehicles to carry luggage and look after the riders.

For further information check out the Hungerford Rotary Club website.