Cycling in Hereford and Worcestershire
Cycling in Hereford and Worcestershire
Hereford and Worcester has some superb cycling country – the dramatic Malverns are here, after all, and Hereford is a serene rural area of farms and fruit – but outside of Worcester itself, there are few National Cycle Routes.
No problem: the way to explore the county – or two counties – is the way composer Edward Elgar did, on quiet roads, with a map or two and a sense of adventure. A keen cyclist, he explored the entire area in the late 1890s (composing his Dream of Gerontius while in the saddle) and you can follow in his tyremarks with the Elgar Rides, visiting his Malvern home and haunts.
Another ride that may make you want to burst into song is the Cider Trail, a 20-mile loop from Ledbury that celebrates Hereford’s tastiest local product. An alternative Cider Trail is based around Pembridge, and for poetry buffs, the John Masefield trail takes you 25 miles through landscapes that inspired him. The Wye Valley leisure cycle ride explores quiet lanes round the winding river into Ross-on-Wye and offers an easy 17-mile, or challenging 30-mile option.
The Malverns is especially suited to mountain biking, with dozens of off-road trails and tracks, while on-road tourers can explore the picture-perfect villages and scenery of the northern Cotswolds via the beautiful gateway towns of Evesham and Broadway.
Worcester, handsomely set on the Severn, has a few useful utility routes round the town, and NCN45 follows a canal towpath up towards Droitwich. Cycling has a long history here – St John’s cycling club was set up in 1888, in Elgar’s day.
Cycling groups and clubs in Hereford and Worcestershire
Ledbury and District CTC (Ledbury)
Kidderminster CTC (Kidderminster)
At least one ride per week, plus occasional weekend tours and special events
Worcester & Malvern Cyclist Touring Club (Worcester)
Weekly rides varying from 20 to 100 miles
Malvern U3a Cycling Group (Worcester)
Rookery Road wheelers (Worcester)
Push Bike! (Worcester)
Transition Worcester (Worcester)
Positive vision of a resilient and sustainable future beyond fossil fuel
Ross on Wye and District Cycling Club (Ross on Wye)
Holds regular club races and a variety of leisure rides and social events
Velo Club Severn (Stourport)
Blackwell Wheelers (Bromsgrove)
Speedwell B C (Worcestershire)
Worcester St Johns CC (Worcester)
Racing and non-racing sportives, club rides, club nights, touring and social
Chuggers Chaingang (Worcestershire)
Alvechurch Cycle Ride (Alvechurch)
Saracen Road Club (Worcestershire)
Audax, touring, racing and social club rides
Bromsgrove Olympique CC (Bromsgrove)
Club with adult racing, touring sections and offering winter indoor training
Coppice Freeride (Worcestershire)
Luctonians Cycling Club (Kingsland)
Hereford and District Wheelers (Hereford)
Cycle Hereford (Hereford)
Honeybourne Bicycle Users Group (Honeybourne)
Exercise and sporting activities for Honeybourne residents, including regular rides
Cycle Evesham Vale (Evesham)
Evesham & District Wheelers (Evesham, Worcs)
What to take with you on your ride
The only thing you really need for cycling is a bike. And maybe a phone, and credit card: in Britain you’re only a call away from any service you might need.
But unless money is no object, it’s wise to take a few things with you on a day ride. A saddlebag or rear rack and panniers are best for carrying stuff. A front basket is second best. A rucksack is third best. Your sweaty back will soon tell you why.
Cycling short distances in jeans and t-shirt is fine, but on a long or strenuous ride – over ten miles say, or in hills – those jeans will rub and the t-shirt will get damp and clingy. Shorts or, yes, lycra leggings and padded shorts will be much comfier, and merino or polyester cycling tops wick away the sweat, keeping you dry and comfy. (They don’t have to be lurid colours.)
If rain’s in the air, pack a rainproof top. If it might turn chilly, take a fleece or warm top. But the thing you’re most likely to forget is the sunblock.
It’s remarkable how often you enjoy being out on the bike so much that you suddenly realise it’s getting dark. So take lights (which are legally required at night). They’re price of a sandwich, take no space, are easy to put on thanks to tool-free plastic clips, and the batteries last for ever.
Take a puncture repair kit (with tyre levers) and pump. Make sure it fits your valves, which will be either ‘Presta’ or ‘Schraeder’ – realising they don’t match is a very common roadside discovery! Carrying a spare inner tube (make sure it matches your tyre size) makes puncture repair much easier: mend the old one back at home. If you do get in trouble, some kindly passing cyclist will probably stop to help.
Using a helmet is a personal choice – they’re not legally required.
Cycling makes you thirsty, so take lots of water. Long-distance riders talk about ‘the bonk’ – a sudden loss of energy rendering you almost stationary. It’s miraculously and instantly cured by eating something sweet. On short rides you’re unlikely to run out of energy, but just in case, take a snack like flapjack, banana, chocolate or jelly babies.
Taking a packed lunch or picnic will save you money, though that hot drink and cake in a cosy cafe could yet prove very tempting!
Your phone GPS could be invaluable for showing where you are when lost; you can download free detailed UK maps and GPS software before your trip.
Paper maps are still useful, though, so take one: no power source or wifi signal required, and they’re great for suggesting possibilities or changes of plan.
What have we missed? Let us know your favourite routes by leaving a comment below.
Cycling routes in Hereford and Worcestershire
Elgar rides, Cider rides, Cotswolds and various other rural routes
Cycling events in Hereford and Worcestershire
St John CC’s steady social ride every week for group-cycling beginners, c.30 miles
Make sure your bike is working
(From our partners, Halfords)
Creaking cranks, wobbly wheels or slipping saddles are the last thing you want, but Halfords' guide to basic bike maintenance will keep you rolling smoothly. Whether you’re a regular commuter, a leisurely weekend rider, or prefer to tear it up on a serious MTB trail, signs of wear and tear might keep you off the saddle from time to time. Whilst we can’t promise to banish those roadside mishaps, we can help keep your bike tip top with our top tips!
You’re heading out on your lovely bike, with a pannier packed with your essentials. A glorious route lies ahead, but then you run into a spot of bother! Most of the time there are handy hacks you can do to tide you over whilst out and about, and we’ve taken a look into the most common bike problems and solutions…
Clicking saddle? Check that the bolts connecting the saddle to the seat post are not loose. Tighten until the saddle is firmly secured using an allen key from your trusty toolbox!
Squealing brakes? This could be down to dirt or oil on the brake pads. Give it a quick wipe down, then when you get home take the brake pads off and readjust.
Squeaky derailleur? A little lube should help. Remove any excess.
Creaky pedals? Dry pedal bearings, loose crank arms or a worn bottom bracket could be the culprit. Once home, remove and lube the pedal bearings, tighten and lube the crank arms, or replace the bottom bracket if it’s still making a fuss.
Some of the problems you find with your bike might need a closer look, and here’s where we can help!
Wobbling disc rotors, spongy brakes and rattling bolts needn’t be as pesky as they sound for long enough to keep you off your bike! Call and see us with your two wheels at your local Halfords, or with any other bike bothers you might have.
From as little as £15 a year, Halfords will take the labour out of looking after your bike. Halfords offer a range of care packages, they provide free fitting on all parts and accessories bought from Halfords, and even include an annual service worth £50 as part of the plan!