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

WDCF Newsletter March 2023

Edition No. 61

In This Edition

Rides Programme Changes
Pontefract Park
New Rides

New For This Year- Monthly WOW Rides

Changes to the Highway Code
Going Dutch
Something Completely Different

Rides Programme Changes

The weather in January of this year was typically British and very erratic. We had mild sunny days with tiny snowdrops peeping out at the edge of the path, lasting cold when the frost stayed by day and night and there were concerns about evening peak time electricity supplies and then heavy persistent rain bringing threats of flooding.  Storm Otto brought high winds that continued into February, bringing down trees and scattering small branches and debris across the paths.

We had to cancel a couple of easy rides – muddy paths next to flooded rivers aren’t conducive to inspiring confidence in more nervous riders and the alterative of taking to the roads instead was impracticable when sudden gusts risked flinging someone into the path of a passing bus.  In light of this sort of experience, it has been decided that in 2024 there will be no easy rides scheduled in January or February.  If a ride leader, having consulted their seaweed and wind sock, decides they’re happy to proceed with a steady ride then the ride will be advertised on our Facebook page a week in advance and, in the absence of hell or high water, will go ahead.

Catkins have been shaking their tails since January and crocuses are now joining daffodils in the verges.  Farmers are flailing their hedges before the birds start to nest so you’ll need to keep your eyes open for blackthorn twigs, as their thorns are ferocious. If you are riding past the lake at Anglers Country Park, we recommend that, for the moment, when starting at the visitor centre you go anti-clockwise round the lake or, for those of you just used to digital time pieces, fork right when you reach the water.  

Pontefract Park

On the 3rd February, the committee of WDCF received an email from an officer of Wakefield Council reading:  ‘Unfortunately, all cycling activities at Aspire@ThePark are to cease for the time being .. due to issues regarding the current byelaw that is in place.”

The committee sprang into action.  Our Rides Co-ordinator wrote in response seeking clarification and posted such details we had at that stage on the Forum’s Facebook page, provoking more interest than any previous post or survey had done.

Veteran member Doctor Sandy Clarke commented ‘What a joke. The cycleway round the park was one of the first we had done after the Forum became active.  Will I get arrested when I cycle through the park tomorrow? Why don’t they just suspend/repeal the Bye-Law?’

Our Chair asked for  sight of the byelaw referred to and visited Wakefield Library seeking a copy of it, where she was referred on to Pontefract library .  They agreed to search for it, but couldn’t find any trace. Meg asked that in the meantime any  enforcement action be suspended.  By Monday 13th February, two byelaws made in 1926 and 1952 had been found and copies sent to us.  Details were immediately posted on our website and Facebook page and copies sent to Pontefract Library, for which they were grateful.

Basically, the byelaws prohibit cycling in the park except in designated areas and accessing those areas.  The designated areas are the route from the park gates off Park Lane to the racecourse and then down the edge of the racecourse the furthest from the highway to the track which forms a T-junction with a path going one way under the motorway and the other way over it. Access to this route from Aspire is also allowed.  A map showing the permitted route can be found on our campaigns page, together with the infamous byelaws.

The problem was raised and resolved with the situation clarified within 10 days at the cost of just one ride and a few more grey hairs!

New Rides


Sandi and Cherry continue with the Agbrigg rides which started last year after we completed the Agbrigg to Walton path which starts nearby. 

It has been a slow start but the ride is well supported by members. Sandi is building up a good relationship  with the local community centre which should help gain new riders.  WMDC has provided some bike lockers and the Forum has supplied some loan bikes so non-bike owners are welcome to join the rides.


The first official WDCF Rycroft ride set off on Sunday 15th January 2023 from the Rycroft Leisure Centre, which is in Mulberry Avenue Ryhill WF4 2BB. 

Havercroft (the site of the kissing gate pictured, which won’t open fully even with a radar key, and the horse step over with rails round it so a horse can’t get over it!) and Ryhill are adjacent, so the Leisure Centre, which serves them both and has parking, loos and refreshment facilities, including a licensed bar, merges the two names to form Rycroft. 

We had a good turnout for the first ride including a couple of local riders.  They happen to be longstanding members of the forum and had seen one of our posters in the library.  It was nice bright spring weather and the one puncture suffered enroute was soon repaired at our Anglers refreshment stop. 

The February Rycroft ride followed a storm which snapped branches off and brought down trees, one falling across the proposed route.  

Fortunately, the ride leader had checked the route on Friday afternoon so the ride was able to proceed as planned although with a short diversion.


Wakefield District Cycle Forum has introduced some new easy rides this year. One of these rides begins on Saturday the 8th April and starts from St Swithun’s Community Centre, Eastmoor WF1 4RR at 10.30am.  It continues on the 2nd Saturday and the 3rd Friday of each month.

These Rides are for beginners and those that haven’t cycled for a while.  All are welcome so please come along and join us. If you have a bike that’s good – just turn up.  

If not, we have a limited number of bikes to borrow for the ride.  To book a bike email :- rides@cycling-wakefield.org.uk

For further information on our rides please visit our website, cycling-wakefield.org.uk or Facebook page, facebook.com/groups/WDCF1 

The photos show some of the views we may see on our Eastmoor rides.  We look forward to showing them to you.      

New for this year- Monthly Wonders of Wakefield Ride

New for 2023, we will be leading a ride around the Wonders of Wakefield route on the 1st Sunday of the month.  In March & April we will start from Nostell Priory but in May the start moves to Walton Park.  Check Facebook for the latest details before you set out to join us..

The Wonders of Wakefield – the WoW, is a picturesque 21 mile, mostly traffic free cycle trail passing some of the most important sites of historic and cultural interest in the district.  See where Richard of York gave battle in vain – and died.  It also introduces the visitor to some of the best of Wakefield countryside and the variety of wildlife that lives on the edge of the city.

The route is circular and can be done in either direction but for a first time, it is advised that anti-clockwise is preferable.  It is also possible to traverse the route in sections or to cut it short should the weather prove inclement.

The leaflet can be downloaded from our website: https://cycling-wakefield.org.uk/maps/

Changes to the Highway Code

The term ‘hierarchy of road users’ is a new addition to The Highway Code. It was created to prioritise people who are most at risk if an accident were to happen, and so pedestrians are classed as the most vulnerable. Within that category, there is added vulnerability given to children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The full hierarchy is as follows: 

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists 
  3. Horse riders 
  4. Motorcyclists 
  5. Cars 
  6. Vans/minibuses 
  7. Large passenger or courier vehicles like buses and HGVs 

You may be surprised to find that cyclists are deemed more vulnerable than horse riders, although in a collision between the two I’d expect the cyclist to come off worst.  We are generally more predictable than horses and giving them a wide berth is safer for both sides.

The new rules state that drivers can cross a double white line (usually prohibited) if the cyclist is going under 10 miles per hour, provided that it is safe to do so – they must not endanger drivers on the other side of the road, or the cyclist. In theory, therefore, if the cyclist is doing 12 or 13 miles per hour or more, the articulated lorry behind should stay there until the double white lines cease.  In those circumstances, I’d be tempted to drop my speed below 10mph just to see the back of them.  The rules are logical.  Double white lines occur in places where overtaking is likely to be unsafe and the faster the cyclist is going, the longer the overtaking vehicle will be in the wrong carriageway.

When overtaking, vehicle drivers are required to leave at least 1.5 metres between them and the bike, and if they’re driving over 30 miles per hour, they should leave even more room. To quote Michael Caine, it seems, ‘not a lot of people know that.’ Cyclists need wobble room and space to avoid drains and road debris.  The faster a vehicle is going, the longer it takes to stop or take avoiding action and the more likely it is to drag a cycle into its slipstream.  This is not a hazard car drivers face if a cyclist passes a line of traffic stuck in a traffic jam or overtakes an empty parked car when there is a driver coming the other way on a residential street.

Useful links

Going Dutch

North Holland by Boat and Bike

We had to postpone our planned ferry crossing to Rotterdam many times because of Covid but eventually in September 2022 we managed to arrange a trip that combined accommodation and meals on a river boat with cycle rides around different areas of North Holland.

We travelled from Hull to Rotterdam on the ferry, with our tandem safely stowed inside the car, and drove to Amsterdam to meet the boat.  Once there our bike was safely loaded onboard along with the boat company’s hire bikes – sturdy Dutch type models, with a fair proportion of e-bikes.  Needless to say, we had the only tandem!      

The accommodation was in a comfortable twin room on the upper deck with ensuite facilities and  a large opening window.   We had been advised not to take hard luggage and there was plenty of space to store clothes and equipment, together with the essential jelly babies and muesli bars.    The boat – MS Serena, is owned by a German company and most of the passengers were from Germany but the staff were friendly, helpful people from the Czech republic. 

At the last minute we were warned that the company were not able to cater for vegans and this nearly led to us cancelling the holiday.  In the event, we provided our own oat milk and Flora sachets and the staff were brilliant and managed to provide innovative vegan meals for Meg.  One of the staff even provided her own jar of peanut butter for Meg to make suitable lunchtime sandwiches.                                           

As soon as everyone was onboard, the boat set off for Hoorn where it moored for the night.  Each day saw us at a different starting location but the daily process remained the same.  An evening briefing, in English, gave details of different routes, points of interest along the way, a map of the town we were cycling to, together with the location of the boat, and a deadline for getting there.  We were also provided with a booklet of route maps and an itinerary for each route.  The highlighted routes varied from 15 miles to 40 miles but we never did more than 24 miles on any day.

The following day, the bikes were offloaded by the staff – 80+ bikes up and down a steep ramp twice a day – all done without a single word of complaint.  We were generally on the road by 10:00 and most of the other cyclists seemed to be swallowed up by the countryside, leaving Meg & I to our own devices – magic!  We did occasionally bump into other cyclists from the boat but would exchange a friendly greeting and then carry on with our own route.  GPX files had previously been provided, which proved useful at times, but the well-known Dutch system of waymarked posts was usually very easy to follow

For anyone wanting the Dutch equivalent of Garmin Connect, Komoot etc., I recommend downloading the ‘Fietsknoop’ app.  It is free, unless you wish to store multiple routes, and is easy to use.

Cycling at our own pace, the deadline for returning to the boat was easy to adhere to and we were able to visit museums, cafes and the obligatory windmill. 

One of the highlights was a visit to the massive Woudagemaal steam pumping station near Enkhuizen.

Meg & I were the only English speaking visitors but the brilliant tour guide from the boat had arranged for us to have our very own Dutch engineer guide.

The weather remained kind for the most part, not many strong winds and the only real showers occurred on the last day when most of the passengers stayed onboard – not us!

Sadly, and all too soon the last day saw us cycling from Zaandam to Amsterdam and being suitably impressed by the simple bike routes through a major city and the free ferries.

The car was available on the quayside and on Saturday we set off back to Rotterdam via The Hague, calling in at the Gallery of Modern Art, with an extensive exhibition of works by Anthony Gormley.

If anyone is thinking of planning something similar and would like more details, please get in touch via info@cyling-wakefield.org.uk

Nev & Meg Andrews

And now for something completely different

Members of the committee are generally sustained in their deliberations by sustenance provided by their host – tea, coffee, water and sometimes cake. Ruth’s lemon drizzle cake in particular was very popular.  After an unexpected bill from Ackworth Parish Council (later cancelled), committee meetings are now held at Pugneys, where only liquid and entirely non-alcoholic refreshments are provided. Complaints have been received recently about the absence of my homemade flapjacks, which are vegan friendly and, if you use the right sort of oats, gluten free, as well as very easy to make and tasty.

You will need:         140g dairy free spread

120g   soft brown sugar

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

175g   rolled oats and

150g   mixture of chopped nuts, raisins, chopped apricots, pumpkin seeds etc

The oven should be at 140C if it’s a fan oven or 160C for an ordinary one. First melt the spread, sugar and syrup over medium heat then take the pan off the heat and add the oats, fruit and nuts. Mix them and tip everything into a lined 20cm square baking tin or loose bottomed cake tin and flatten it down.

Bake for 30- 35mins until it’s lightly golden and crisp round the edges, cool slightly and slice. I usually cut it into a medley of sizes to suit different appetites. The flapjacks will keep in a tin for up to three days (if you hide it!).

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