Get off the beaten track and explore miles of trails and bridleways that criss-cross the South Downs National Park and countryside.
The Forest Way and Worth Way have been created along disused railway lines, providing surfaced tracks for a leisurely bike ride. Part of the Worth Way is on the SUSTRANS national cycle route 21.
South Downs Way
This famous 101-mile long distance The South Downs Way follows a Stone Age flint-trading route, and provides some great off-road terrain.
Just south of East Grinstead, Deers Leap Park has 240 acres of dedicated mountain bike tracks of every grade from family-friendly trails to single track and north shore in the woods. Great for the day or just an hour or two.
Cycling around Haywards Heath
A leaflet with brief details of cycle routes in and around Haywards Heath.
Information taken from londoncyclist.co.uk, where further information is available.
5 skills you learn at cycle training
- Ride away from the kerb – many cyclists feel safer when they are riding as close to the pavement as possible, however this encourages drivers to dangerously overtake you and gives you no room to manoeuvre if you need to avoid an obstacle. It's also dangerous as this is often in the door zone of parked vehicles. The more space you give yourself on your left, the more space drivers will give you when they overtake you.
- Regularly glance over your shoulder – this has a double benefit as you get an awareness of the traffic behind you and it brings drivers attention to you. Eye contact has a huge role to play in the way you are treated by drivers.
- At a junction, wait in the middle of the lane. When you wait by the pavement, drivers will typically pull up tightly next to you at junctions and traffic lights. When the lights change, this puts you in an uncomfortable space, with little room to cycle. You should always take a primary position at a traffic light or junction, which will allow you to safely move when you are ready.
- Use hand gestures confidently – with practise, you should be able to ride with just one hand on the handlebars. When you are going to turn, make sure you check behind you first, then fully extend your arm out. By glancing over your shoulder to check the position of vehicles, you will alert the drivers around that you are about to change road position.
- Be ready to pull your brake levers – when cycling you learn to expect the unexpected and having a couple of fingers already placed on the brake levers will speed up your reaction time.
A special note on blind spots
HGVs are responsible for more than 50% of cyclist deaths, therefore it's important to be aware of the blind spots that exist in front, behind and to the side of a lorry.
When you see heavy goods vehicles on the roads, alarm bells should be ringing. You should either stay back or safely overtake on the right. Also, aim to establish eye contact with the driver.
What to do if you are ever in an accident
- Get yourself out of dangers – if you are unable to move then aim to make yourself visible.
- In injured seek medical attention, or get someone to call an ambulance for you.
- If possible, look for witnesses. If you are injured assign someone to find witnesses for you. People may move on quickly, so its important to do this early on. Ideally, aim for 2 independent witnesses who can vouch for what happened. Ideally, get their business card and make a note of where they work. This makes it easier to track them down.
- Exchange details with the driver, making a note of vehicle registration plates, make, colour and model.
- Gather evidence – make a note of CCTV cameras and keep your own notes. Use your camera phone to document the scene. Ideally, this should be done before the vehicle or your bike is moved. Be thorough with picture taking, including a picture of the driver.
- Keep copes of everything – police reports, ambulance reports, names of officers attending the scene.
- Compensation – bicycles need replacing and medical expenses may arise. As a cyclist, you have as much right to compensation as a driver would in an accident.