Shared cycle space event

The idea of a safe, mainly traffic-free shared space cycle route forming the Coastal Culture Trail, East Sussex which connects the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings was the main theme behind an exploratory cycle ride on Saturday.

An invitation was extended from Bespoke to elected representatives – councillors and MPs along the Coastal Culture Trail route – and local cycle groups to participate.

Twenty-six people took part from Bespoke Cycle Group; The Bexhill Classic Cycle Group; The Bexhill Wheelers; 1066 Cycle Club Battle and Hastings Urban Bikes in the gentle-paced 18-mile meandering ride from The Towner to The Jerwood, which was diligently led by Bespoke in glorious sunshine and a helpful tail wind and refreshments kindly provided by all three galleries.

It was easily achieved in three hours, with several stops, with everyone wearing normal casual clothes and riding standard bicycles with no punctures or mechanical issues! Bexhill and Hastings are already successfully connected with a shared use cycle route which although is not ideal in some places, is virtually traffic-free and safe for social and family riding.

The thought of an extension route which takes bikes off the main roads at the same time creating a culture trail bike / walker tourism magnet with excellent destinations in all three towns is very appealing.

It was inspiring to learn that Eastbourne Council has now been granted the power to change the existing bylaw to permit cycling on the promenade.

This would take the slow, leisure bicycles off the very dangerous seafront road in Eastbourne whilst being unattractive for fast commuter/speed cyclists.

This arrangement of mixed shared use and designated space has worked very well for Bexhill and Hastings for years, and one does wonder why Eastbourne has been so slow to embrace this idea and endorse one of the very best assets they have to sell to encourage tourism – their multiple promenades.

The Coastal Culture Trail Ride identified several dangerous points on the route between Asda in Eastbourne and West Parade, Bexhill, mainly in the Pevensey area, many of which could be overcome with a dedicated cycle path, or raised boardwalk solution incorporating bird life viewing platforms over the marshes and reed beds exactly as Devon County Council have achieved with their successful 16-mile Exeter to Exmouth trail which attracts tourism and assists local commute, taking cars off the main road in preference for bikes – good for the local economy, good for business, good for health, harmless to the environment and complies with central government initiative to encourage cycling.

Ray Konyn

Bexhill Classic Cycle Group Events organiser

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.