Lewes Hike and Bike Festival to offer Nordic walking and retro bike ride

Cuckmere Haven, near Exceat.
Cuckmere Haven, near Exceat.

A retro bike ride and Nordic walking are just some of the more unusual activities in this year’s Lewes Hike and Bike Festival (May 27 – 31).

Now in its second year, the festival offers something for the inexperienced and old hands, from easy family rides to off road distance rides.

Organisers are hoping the free walks, rides and talks will help people to discover the beautiful countryside around them, from the South Downs to the Sussex coast.

If Lycra is not for you, the Retro Ride on Saturday May 31 could be just up your street.

It encourages people to hop on their retro racer or upright shopping bike with basket and flowers for a 15 mile leisurely ride, to include a stop at a traditional tea room.

Ride leader Chris Smith said: “The style for the ride is tweed or retro, cycling to church outfit or anything else that fits the bill.

“You won’t get barred if you can’t manage these but you will receive acclamation for stylish bikes or dress - just no Lycra.”

New to the walks programme is an 8.5 mile trek aimed at experienced Nordic Walkers.

The Nordic Walk, on Friday May 30, will take around five hours and include a lunch break at the South Downs YHA Café at Southease.

It will be led by experienced Nordic walking instructors and those who have not tried nordic walking are welcome to join the walk and can hire poles.

The family bike ride on Thursday May 29 is perfect for anyone who can ride a bike safely.

The three mile ride will be led by an experienced member of Sustrans and take in Spring Barn Farm, a popular local spot which is ideal in the half term holiday for children.

For inexperienced cyclists or people who may be returning to the saddle there is a gentle one-hour ride, with a refreshment break, organised by the Sussex Community Rail Partnership.

Sam Bryant from the partnership said: “The idea of the ride is to give people who may not be fully confident on their bikes an opportunity to explore some of the countryside around Lewes in a group.

“We’ve also arranged for some bikes to be available for anyone who wants to have a go but don’t have their own bike.

“People will need to book if they want to borrow a bike so that we can make sure there are enough bikes for each ride.”

Rides leave Lewes Station car park at 09:30 and 11:30 on May 30 and 31.

One of the features of the Festival Fair on Saturday May 31 in Cliffe Precinct will be the ‘lite bite’ road safety skills training being provided by East Sussex County Council’s Bikeability team.

The free training, will be available to any children who can ride a two wheeler; they can use their own bike or borrow bikes when they arrive.

Full information about the latest rides and all the other activities are available on the Festival website at www.leweshikeandbike.co.uk or you can Festival on Facebook or Twitter@leweshikenbike.