Healthy Pompey gives parents pedal power

A Healthy Pompey initiative is inviting families to get in to gear and get cycling
A Healthy Pompey initiative is inviting families to get in to gear and get cycling
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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An Healthy Pompey initiative is inviting families to get into the right gear this year by keeping fit and having fun all at the same time.

The Healthy Rides scheme co-ordinates free guided group cycle rides twice a month.

The rides are suitable for all ages and aim to help families enjoy getting fit together.

This is just one of the initiatives from Healthy Pompey, a joint NHS and Portsmouth City Council scheme to help the people of Portsmouth lead a healthy lifestyle.

The next Healthy Ride is taking place tomorrow and starts at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth at 11am.

The event is expected to last until 1pm, taking in approximately six miles of mainly flat, quiet roads and also cycle paths.

The ‘Picturesque Portsmouth’ route will take cyclists along the seafront and include the Square Tower, Ladies Mile and Milton Common.

But participants need not worry about following a map or remembering directions.

Healthy Rides take the organisational strain off mums and dads so they can relax and enjoy getting fit with their family.

The routes and ride plans have been put together with the enjoyment factor in mind for both adults and children.

And young minds will be engaged while they explore the historic city, learning about bike and road safety and the area’s ancient past too.

With the city of Portsmouth so flat and full of fantastic cycle paths, it offers a great opportunity to explore.

Organisers hope that the rides will encourage families to do more cycling together.

Owen Devine, Healthy Pompey’s cycling co-ordinator says: ‘It is about getting people outside and active on their bikes in Portsmouth.

‘Healthy Rides is an opportunity to get the whole family out of the house and see the sites of Portsmouth.

‘It gives people the chance to be active but also have a fun day out.

‘It can give the kids a chance to understand about road safety.

‘The cycle rides are one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. It is just great.’

The Healthy Rides programme started in September 2010, and are scheduled until June.

Tomorrow’s Healthy Ride is from 11am to 1pm, meeting at Square Tower, Old Portsmouth.

Admission is free. All you need is your bike. A high visibility jacked and helmet are also recommended, plus drinking water, sun lotion and lights, if required.

All rides weather dependent and times approximate.

For more information on these, or other cycling events in the city, email owen.devine@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call him on (023) 9284 1560.