Cycling in Herefordshire and Worcestershire
Cycling in Herefordshire 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)
Honeybourne Bicycle Users Group (Honeybourne)
Exercise and sporting activities for Honeybourne residents, including regular rides
Cycle Evesham Vale (Evesham)
Evesham & District Wheelers (Evesham)
Ledbury Area Cycling Forum (Ledbury)
Malvern Cycle Sports (Malvern)
Malvern Cycles Cic (Malvern)
Bikeaway Ventures (Pershore)
Hopwood Ladies CC (Hopwood)
Overspoke Bikes (Bewdley)
The Retro Run (Dodford)
Bromsgrove and Redditch Affiliated Group (Bromsgrove and Redditch)
Phoenix Riders (Worcestershire)
Hawksley Community Centre CC (Hawksley)
Heart of England Cycling Club (Worcestershire)
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, panniers or bikepacking bags 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