Buzzcycles, the Leighton Buzzard cycling group, have completed 1,000 miles of cycling on their Sunday leisure rides in 2017.
If you had been on every Sunday ride you would have ridden the equivalent of Land’s End to John O’Groats (and back to Inverness).
The rides take place in all weathers every Sunday at 10.30am from the Market Cross. The first Sunday in the month is a shorter ride of 5-10 miles for parents and children or those who only want to ride for an hour or so.
The other rides are longer, usually 15 to 25 miles, and take two to three hours. The rides are led by a qualified leader who is also a bike mechanic so the rare puncture is easily fixed.
The rides visit the lanes, tracks and paths of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire within a 20-mile radius of Leighton Buzzard.
This year Buzzcycles has been to many of the places with great views such as Dunstable Downs, Ashridge, the three reservoirs at Marsworth, Caldecote Lake and Woburn Woods. They also visit some of those hamlets and villages that you pass by without noticing such as Hulcote, Hoggeston, Crafton, Oving and Battlesden.
Not only does a cycle ride help you to keep fit you but you will also see wildlife sometimes up close.
Every ride normally sees a buzzard or a red kite and, on one occasion, a peregrine falcon in a stoop zeroing in on its prey.
A ride across Woburn deer park in the autumn saw the magnificent stags with the greenery in their horns.
Along the Grand Union Canal there are all the water birds and you can see them from their first outings as chicks to full adults. In May and June at Birchmoor Green near Woburn there is a magnificent display of wild flowers.
There are also those bits of history which you might pass by in a car but see from a bike. There is the bus stop on the Aylesbury road at the Wingrave-Aston Abbots junction built with money donated by President Benes of Czechoslovakia whose government was in exile in Aston Abbots during World War Two. The plaque is on the bus stop.
In Bow Brickhill there is a plaque inset into a cottage objecting to the sale of the common land of the heath in 1844 which had been awarded to the poor in 1793.
Of course on any ride there are the hills. This year Buzzcycles have climbed Dunstable Downs twice, up into Ashridge three times, Bison Hill near Whipsnade twice and one ride up the steep hill in Bow Brickhill but then there is the pleasure of the downhill.
And riders are very lucky in Leighton Buzzard to have the Grand Union Canal running through the town because it is always an easy way to start or finish a ride.
So if you want to see our glorious countryside at a leisurely pace join Peter Horry, the ride’s leader, and go exploring in 2018.
> Peter can be contacted via the Buzzcycles website, buzzcycles.btck.co.uk