Wakefield District Cycle Forum - promoting and campaigning for cyclists
Wakefield District Cycle Forum
Wakefield District Cycle Forum
Promoting and Campaigning for Cyclists

WDCF Newsletter June 2023

Edition No. 62

In This Edition

A new website is launched

Volunteers wanted

Green Libraries Scheme

Preparing for summer

The WoW wows

Another new path completed

A new website is launched

Wakefield Council has commissioned a new website to bring together a plethora of information about cycling in the Wakefield District.  The site, called Cycle Wakefield, can be found at cyclewakefield.co.uk and provides valuable information and resources about all things cycling, including advice, trails, routes, tips, education, and much more.

Cycle Wakefield is collaborative title for the diverse group of cycling enthusiasts, dedicated to promoting cycling in the Wakefield area, who’ve been involved in creating and supporting the new website and what it stands for.  It is made up of a range of organisations including Wakefield Council, Wakefield District Cycle Forum, SUSTRANS, Open Country and other cycling clubs and groups.

The site was launched during National Bike Week (6 – 12 June) on the 6th June from the garden of the Hepworth Wakefield.  An intrepid group of 14, including 3 tandems two of them from Open Country, Councillor Mohammad Ayub, who started work as the Council’s new Cycling Champion that day and whose role will be to raise awareness of and support for cycling initiatives and organisations across the Wakefield District, John Gallagher WMDC Health Improvement Specialist and Lou Galloway WMDC Health Improvement Officer.

In pre-launch publicity, Councillor Ayub said:

 “We are excited to be part of the launch of the new website and celebrate National Bike Week. The new website will be a valuable resource for cyclists in Wakefield and beyond, helping them to explore the beauty of our region and enjoy the many benefits of cycling.

We hope that the new website will encourage more people to take up cycling and explore the many wonderful routes and trails in our area.

Cycling is a fantastic way to stay active, connect with nature, and enjoy the great outdoors, and we are proud to support and promote this healthy, fun, and eco-friendly activity.”

The new website features a section on cycling safety, with tips and guidelines for riders of all ages and abilities and also includes maps highlighting popular cycling routes and trails, as well as information about local events, clubs, and organisations.

In addition, the website offers resources for those interested in cycling education and training, including information about bike maintenance, gear, and accessories.

Links on the Cycle Wakefield website could help those who are not yet ready for our Easy rides get started or those who can happily complete all our Steady rides find something cycling related to do for the rest of the week.

For more information about Cycle Wakefield and the new website, please visit cyclewakefield.co.uk.

Volunteers Wanted

Open Country, a charity that helps people with disabilities to access the countryside, is looking for tandem pilots. Ella Dixon, speaking for them, explained: ‘We are based in Wakefield, about a mile south of the city centre.

We tend to cycle between 12 – 20 miles, sometimes with a pub stop, around the green spaces in Wakefield. We don’t require a big commitment and just need to know a week or so before so we can find a suitable stoker (back rider). You can come as much or as little as suits you. 

We cycle every Wednesday and Thursday 6-9pm, and the season started on the 5th April.’ 

If you would like more information or think you might like to become a tandem pilot for Open Country, please call Ella on 07426 716677 or email: wakefield@opencountry.org.uk 

Green Libraries Scheme

WMDC has recently signed up to the ‘green libraries’ scheme.  The initiative aims to encourage more people to use a bike or walk to libraries instead of driving, thereby helping to tackle environmental concerns and reduce vehicle emissions. Reading a book uses less electricity than the tv, tablet or kindle and taking it back when you’ve read it is even simpler and more eco-friendly recycling than washing out a milk bottle.

You can find your local library at www.wakefield.gov.uk/libraries-and-local-history/ .  There’s even a list of community libraries in the Related Pages section.  

Bike repair stations have been supplied at Airedale and Stanley Libraries.  WDCF attended a publicity event at Stanley Library on the 29th April with a bike doctor contingent from The Brig from Altofts and the police bike marking team. 

Although no-one wanted to come on an impromptu short ride with us, we were able to assist a nervous rider get round the car park successfully and hand out ride leaflets and advice.  We will be visiting Airedale library for a similar event on 24th June so, if you’re in the area, do come along.

Preparing for summer

This spring has produced swathes of yellow cowslips, followed by drifts of azure bluebells.  A wealth of May blossoms highlights field edges as we loop round the lupins, bedazzled by bright broom.

Unfortunately, despite the very wet weather we’ve experienced recently, some are predicting that this summer will be as hot as last year when on 19 July 2022 a new record UK high of 40.3C was recorded at Coningsby in Lincolnshire. An official drought was declared in large parts of England in August, as low-water levels and tinder-dry conditions gripped the UK.  Locally, cornfields caught fire and hosepipes were banned until earlier this year.  

Burgeoning blossoms or a sudden shower can make sappy spring growth droop, so you may need to duck on paths that were easily passable a few weeks ago.  A helmet will help avoid twigs in your hair and shades can protect your eyes in more ways than one.  Young nettles sting ferociously so leggings can be useful and gloved hands are better for pulling up the ones near an ‘A’-frame or kissing gate.

When planning summer rides, bear in mind that woodlands and treelined canals or old railway lines are much cooler than open fields or town tarmac.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of water with you and, when applying sunscreen, don’t forget the tops of your ears. The ventilation slots in cycle helmets can produce some interesting tan lines if there’s nothing underneath to ward off the sun!

When collecting a group together, whether at the start of a ride, at the top of a steep hill or before crossing a busy road, consider assembling in a shady spot, rather than in full sun.  Stop periodically for water breaks and be aware that an ice-cream, a nice cup of tea or a cool pint can be very welcoming at the end of a hot ride.

The WoW Wows

This year’s decision to replace the monthly Nostell Steady rides with a circuit round the Wonders of Wakefield on our iconic ride of that name has proved popular and the use of a variety of starting venues has made it easier to introduce the ride to new participants.

The June WoW ride set off from Agbrigg Community Centre at a slightly slower pace than is usual for a steady ride. Sharon, Mags and Lisa, stalwarts of our easy rides, courageously rose to the challenge of our iconic 21 mile route, joined by one new potential member, others who’d not ridden with us for some time and the usual suspects.

After problems with gear changing, Sharon swapped her bike as we passed Nostell.  This was followed by a tyre virtually exploding as we crossed Metcalfe’s field of rape, which was ably fettled by the team. The third and final occurrence was a puncture as we were leaving the Walton to Agbrigg path to return to the community centre, so that bike went straight in the car to go home.  

Despite these mishaps, our easy riders stayed the course and a good time was had by all.

One rider who moved into the area recently from the south of England commented that she hadn’t realised there were so many lovely things to see round here.  We knew and we’re happy to share.

Another new path completed

(A short item on a short route with a long series of photos)

 The new path was the idea of David Keighley, who negotiated the appropriate permissions with Lord St Oswald and arranged the contractors. WDCF did the preliminary site clearance and financed the work.


A small working party, Andy Beacroft, David Keighley, Neville and Meg Andrews, cleared the way for contractors, Bedford House Estates, to construct a picturesque, short, treelined cycle path to move move one of the access points from the A638 Doncaster Road at Foulby to the permissive trails across Nostell Estates, to a more convenient point with better sight lines. 

Andy’s merry band hacked back vegetation and moved the line of a fence to allow access to the path whilst preserving the boundary with the adjacent school.

The contractors, who had already proved their worth on our Agbrigg path, swiftly produced a shady direct route. 

All it needed then was signage and Sharon swiftly seized a hammer to knock in the necessary nails. That done, the path was immediately put to good use.


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