I was recently asked by Dom Stevens from Destination Chesterfield 'what I love about riding a bike around Chesterfield?'
"Where do I start and how many words do you want, was my initial reaction! Why? Simple, I just love to cycle, always have and always will."
"Cycling when I was young was how you got to your friends after school. There were a few years where I abandoned the bike as motorbikes and cars took over, but it wasn't long before my commute across Nottingham to Boots Head Office each day involved cycling.
"7am slicing through winter traffic and dropping onto quiet cycle paths and towpaths through the suburbs is fab, there isn't anything like it, a real wake up before work. The introduction of the mountain bike had me driving up to the Peak District every weekend, and this was prior to suspension on a pushbike, painful stuff but still addictive!
"Years later, I now live on the edge of the Peak District, 25 minutes of pedalling from my front door and I can be at the top of Beeley Moor. The hills and valleys looking like all my favourite toys spread out on the lounge floor!
"I've competed a few times but only for a bit of fun, I've never been that quick, but now sees me in a much more serious competition - competing with my 14 year old son to get the odd 'King of The Mountain' (see Strava). But mostly I just try to hang onto his back wheel downhill as I watch a vision of my past youth, blind to the dangers involved, and clearly, loving it as much as I do."
"Chesterfield is a great place to ride, we have some very useful bits of infrastructure and a network of bridleways that take you away from tarmac. I've drawn up an 11 mile route around the west side of town, Strava says it's 14% road, 55% dirt and 31% unclassified. It should take around an hour and if you take my suggested directions you can avoid many of the road sections" (You can find the route HERE).
What would you ask for the Chesterfield cyclist in the future?
"It would be a cycle superhighway out to the Peak District. This would create an additional benefit of providing a safe route for people on the west side of town to get into the town centre, out of the way of the lorries and vehicles that travel along Chatsworth Road."
You can plan your bike rides in and around Chesterfield by either downloading the Chesterfield Cycle Map, produced by Chesterfield Cycle Campaign or going online to the Cycle Streets website.
Take a browse and see if you could use a bike for your commute or escape to the quiet lanes.
Once you have explored the bike rides and cycle routes in Chesterfield, why not discover the rest of the The Peak District and Derbyshire, easily accessible from town.
From family-friendly cycle rides on a traffic-free trails, or some more challenging mountain biking on rugged terrain, there is something to suit all abilities.
Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire have produced a range of Cycle guides for the wider area including routes and videos to plan you next cycling adventure.
Chesterfield Cycle Campaign has further information and routes to explore the area.
Words & Image: Paul Chapman