Want to gain confidence with cycling around Bedford's roads?

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Cycling in Bedford

Bedford is a lovely place to cycle around; it’s got some great on and off road cycle routes and is mostly flat making it suitable for every level of cyclist.   Cycling is a cheap and often quicker way of getting from A to B and can help reduce stress levels and your overall health.

Bike shops in Bedford

Currently Bedford has at least four shops that sell bikes, including Transition cycles , Cycle King , Halfords and Go Outdoors . You can use the interactive map below to zoom in and locate these stores. Clicking on a selected store will display additional information such as their address, website, phone number, etc.

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Cycle maintenance companies

There are also a number of mobile cycle maintenance companies, who will come to your house or business to service your bike. They include:

Micks Bikes Shack

 

High street, Kempston,
Bedford, MK42 7BN
info@micksbikeshack.co.uk
07875 536399 or 07910 143865
www.micksbikeshack.co.uk »

MBRS UK LTD

 

87 Meadow Way,
Leighton Buzzard, LU7 3XN
enquiries@mbrsuk.com
01525 381021
www.mbrsuk.com »

Mint Cycles

 

PO. Box 7667, Rushden,
Northants, NN10 1BB
Email: email form on website
01933 779628 or 07791 610727
http://mintcycles.co.uk/ »

Cycling clubs in Bedford

Whether you’re looking for a lycra-clad ride or a nice pootle to a pub Bedford has a wide range of clubs to suite any type of rider:

Cycle Campaign for North Bedfordshire (CCNB)
CCNB aims to promote, encourage and support cycling in North Bedfordshire. They hope to encourage consideration of the needs of cyclists in all aspects of transport planning and management.
Website: www.ccnb.org.uk
Email: ccnb@ccnb.org.uk

Bedfordshire CTC
Beds CTC promote cycling for recreation, health and friendship. They run a variety of rides which are suitable for all levels of cyclist.
Website: http://ctc-bedfordshire.co.uk/
Email: stuart.v.mason@googlemail.com
Phone: 01767 316054

Beds Road Cycling Club (BRCC)
The object of the club is to provide facilities for, and promote participation of the whole community, in the sport of cycling. We welcome anyone who has an interest in any aspect of cycling, and who supports us in our enthusiastic promotion of its benefits. We don't tolerate discrimination on grounds of cycling ability, machine owned, sexual orientation, mental or physical prowess, religion or creed.
Website: www.bedsroad.org
Email: bcsecretary@bedsroad.org
Phone: 07787 231347

iCycle
The cycling club for the internet age: iCycle is passionate about encouraging cycling at all levels, especially those new to cycling. Its members take part in road racing, time trials, sportives, cyclo-cross and mountain biking, however many of members simply ride to keep fit, socialise and enjoy the scenery in a friendly non-competitive environments.
Website: www.icycle.cc
Email: secretary@icycle.cc

Sustrans Bedford Volunteers
Friendly group of volunteers who help maintain and sign cycle routes, promote Sustrans at events and go on social leisure rides.
Website: www.sustrans.org.uk/volunteer
Email: peter.bate@sustrans.org.uk

 

Report a highways fault

If you find a problem with the roads then please report it to Bedford Borough Council’s Highways Helpdesk on 01234 718003 and highways.helpdesk@bedford.gov.uk

CTC also have a great facility for reporting potholes in the road - www.fillthathole.org.uk/hazards/report

Journey planner

The Travel Bedford Cycle Journey Planner helps you plan your travels around Bedford by foot, bike and public transport. Type in your start point and destination, then select the mode of transport you’d like to use and the map will calculate the best route. Happy travelling…

 

Bedford walking and cycling maps

Bedford walking & cycling map

 

The latest edition of Bedford’s Walking and Cycling map shows routes in Bedford and can be downloaded by clicking the image below.

Bedford Cycle Map

Bedford’s town centre map

 

The latest edition of Bedford’s town centre map can be downloaded here by clicking the image below

 Bedford Town Centre map

Recommended cycling routes

 

This map shows some recommended cycling routes with in Bedfordshire and these routes can also be downloaded in more detail here.

Rurasl map

 

Sustrans map

Sustrans sell a number of maps that cover Bedfordshire and the surrounding areas:

 

Map of cycle parking

There are many locations to park your bike, click the image opposite to download the map of the cycle parking in Bedford’s town centre.

 

Add your own route

Do you know of a nice cycling route that we’ve not included on this website? If so, please let us know by emailing Bedford@sustrans.org.uk or by calling 01234 276 048. It would be ideal if you could mark your route on to a map and send it to us but if this is not possible then give us a call and we’ll do our best to put it on a map for others to enjoy.

Choosing a Bike

There are various different bikes on the market, each with a different use. It is recommended you choose the type of bike which reflects the majority of journeys you intend to make. Even within a style of bike you have lots of choice, it’s worth remembering you get what you pay for but also you may be paying for additional accessories you don’t really need. It is always worth going to a cycle shop to try out the different style bikes and to work out which one suits you best. The different style bikes are:

  • Hybrid bikes are generally great for an everyday option. They combine the speed of a road bike and the strength and gearing of a mountain bike. They have an upright riding position and are ideal for cycling in traffic and commuting through town.
  • Road bikes are lightweight with skinny tyres. The majority of road bikes have drop handlebars and are designed to be aerodynamic and speedy. They are great for long distance riding or a quick commute.
  • Mountain Bikes have sturdy frames, knobbly tyres and good suspension (which helps cushion bumps). The thick, knobbly tyres provide good grip and are great for off-road cycling on rough ground.
  • Folding Bikes are ideal for people who commute on public transport and want to use a bike at either end of the journey. These bikes fold down compactly and have small wheels and fewer gears.
  • Dutch-Style ‘sit-up-and-beg’ Bikes provide a very comfortable ride position and are ideal for cycling through traffic as it’s easy to see what’s happening around you. The low iron frame makes it easy to jump on and off the bike gracefully.
  • Electric Assisted Bikes provide additional help going up hills or on a long daily commute. The power kicks in automatically or on demand depending on the style you select. You do need to charge them so there are some running costs but they’re a great choice if you’re not sure you can pedal the whole journey.
  • Whichever bike style you choose, make sure you get the right size for you and, unless you are very confident at building a bike, always ask a bike shop to set it up for you.

Adult Cycling Confidence Course

Sustrans are offering an Adult Cycling Confidence Course. This one-off course is aimed at anyone who can cycle but would like to have more confidence while cycling on the roads. The session is led by a qualified trainer who will teach you about road positioning, signalling, gears and how to cycle safely in traffic. The course lasts about one and a half hours. This course costs £5 which is payable before the course.

To find out more or book a space please contact Bedford@sustrans.org.uk or call 01234 276 048

‘Thank you. I got a lot from this session. In particular, familiarisation with gears and gear changes, riding position on the bike (feet etc), lane positioning, and technique - ie maintaining a steady pedal pace and using gears to adjust speed. Really, this was exactly what I needed.’ - Bedford Resident who attended the cycle course in May 2016

‘I was surprised by how much I didn't actually know such as correct road position. Richard has taught me to be an assertive road user and I would definitely recommend him.’ - Bedford Resident who attended the course in June 2016

Adult Beginners Cycle Course

Sustrans are also offering an Adult Beginners Cycle Course which is for adults who are unable to ride a bike and would like to learn. The course is led by an experienced cycle trainer and can take place where ever is convenient for you within the Bedford area. If you don't have a bike, one can be loaned to you. This course lasts about 1.5 hours and costs £5 , payable in advance. If you, or someone you know, are interested in finding out more please contact Bedford@sustrans.org.uk or call 01234 276 048.

"Riding a bicycle has been something I have always wanted to do as I never learnt as a child. I am so glad that Sustrans were able to put on these sessions and this has been possible in a safe environment. Charlotte who runs the lessons is friendly and has been very patient and encouraging. I would recommend these lessons to anybody who can’t ride a bike as you are never too old to learn, I have learnt at the age of 36. My ultimate goal is to ride to work and that is now becoming a reality and now is more of case of when rather than a wish or dream. I know that I would not have learnt to ride a bike without these lessons. I can now look forward to organising bike rides and enjoying the beautiful countryside. There is no stopping me now!!! Thank you for turning my goal into a reality " - Bedford Resident who has learnt to ride with Sustrans, summer 2014

 

Bikeability

Bikeability is the ‘cycling proficiency’ for the 21st Century. Bedford Borough Council provides Bikeability sessions for years 5 & 6 through local schools. If your child’s school is interested in having free Bikeability sessions they need to contact Outspoken who are the Council’s delivery partner.

For lower schools Bikeability level 1 cycle courses are available which provide pupils with some of the safety issues to help them and their parents gain increased confidence when riding their bike. Again please contact the school in the first instance.

For pupils of schools that decline to run Bikeability training, the Borough Council's summer sports scheme run Bikeability training. Further details can be obtained from Rachel Felton on 01234 718834.

For further help and support with regard to cycle training please contact the Council’s Road Safety Team on (01234) 228336 or at road.safety@bedford.gov.uk.

Locking bikes

Keep one step ahead of those pesky thieves by finding out the best way to lock your bike and have it registered nationally, thus reducing the chance your lovely bike is stolen.

When out and about consider carefully where you lock your bike; is it in an area used by lots of people and is there any CCTV around? Is the item you are locking your bike to secure? Or could a thief remove the item from the ground or lift your bike over the item you’re locking it to?

When at home it is also important to ensure your bike is securely locked to something immovable and hidden from sight of anyone passing by the front of your house.

Types of locks

It is recommended that you use two different types of lock; a D-lock and a cable lock. The reasoning behind this is because criminals often carry one type of tool to either cut a cable lock or saw a D-lock, if you have two different types of lock you’re making it harder for them to get through both locks quickly.

Securing your bike

 

When locking your bike ensure that the frame and both wheels are attached to a secure item and remove any loose items like lights and cycle computers. Below is an example of how best to lock your bike.

Bike

Grading bike locks

 

This film shot in Bristol shows New York mechanic Hal Ruzel grading different bikes, it shows how easily your bike could be stolen if it’s not secured properly.

Registering your bike

There are a number of bike companies available that allow you to registar your bike online so if it is stolen you will have a better chance of getting it back. Also if your bike is marked it is a deterrent for a thief as its more work to sell it on.

The two recommend companies are:
Bike Register - http://www.bikeregister.com
Immobilise - http://www.immobilise.com

 

Bike marking

For station users the British Transport Police have bike marking events at the train station and Bedfordshire Police run community bike marking events around Bedford.

 

Reporting a stolen bike

Always report a stolen bike to the police; the more they know about the more likely they will be able to catch the person responsible. In Bedford you can report a stolen bike by contacting Bedfordshire Police’s Force Control Room on 101

Why Cycle?

There are many reasons to start or continue cycling; here are a few facts and figures:

  • Regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level equal to that of a person ten years younger (National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation)
  • Cycling is good for your wallet as you don’t need to pay road tax, MOT, insurance or fuel bills
  • During rush-hour, a bicycle is about twice as fast as a car - good if you hate traffic jams!
  • Cycling 20 miles a week reduces the risk of heart disease to less than half compared to non-cyclists (British Heart Foundation)
  • Cycling improves your fitness by helping you put exercise into your daily routine: you can cycle for leisure, to the shops and to work.
  • A good bicycle needs at most about £50 worth of maintenance a year - less if you do a bit yourself. How much does your car need?
  • A bicycle can be parked just about anywhere, so no more expensive car park bills.
  • Twenty bicycles can be parked in the same space taken up by one car
  • To make a bicycle requires only a fraction of the materials and energy needed to make a car.
  • Bicycles produce absolutely no pollution - they are also a lot quieter.

It’s often quicker to cycle from A to B then to take the car in Bedford. One local resident was travelling from Kempston tweeted ‘Had a good ride to Priory Park and back. Easy and faster than driving. Should do it more often!’

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