Preston’s Guild Wheel has been praised by cyclists and walkers alike in our survey of one of Preston’s newest attractions.
The 21-mile circular route taking in the countryside around the city was officially opened last September as part of the Guild celebrations.
We asked Blog Preston readers what they thought about the route and how they found using the Wheel.
More than 40 per cent of readers have now cycled or walked the Wheel more than four times, with only 9 per cent never attempting the challenge.
We had responses from more than 150 readers to our survey, with 90 per cent of those answering living in Preston or the surrounding area.
The biggest complain from readers was how the route used many existing footpaths and there had been issues with dog walkers, walkers and cyclists using the route.
One reader commented: “Some riders still ride too fast. In Some places the path is a bit narrow to accommodate both walkers and cyclists.”
Another said: “Dog walkers pay no attention to cyclists. They should not be encouraged to share paths with cyclists, accident waiting to happen.”
While another reader wrote: “I think the Guild Wheel is really great, it has encouraged people out walking and cycling. I am also a dog walker as well as a cyclist and I would like to highlight how poor an experience it can be when walking on the Guild Wheel.
“I have had many conversations with other walkers about how rude cyclists are, mostly not ringing bells or slowing down, or obviously resentiing slowing down when they want to pass. Pedestrians do have the right of way and I don’t think this is made very clear to the cyclists. More signage is needed to encourage courtesy when passing so we can all enjoy the path.
“I have been walking when cyclists have rushed past small children and groups of walkers. I have a friend who has had lots of stand up rows with extremely rude cyclists because she was in there way – and as I really keen cyclist herself she sees both sides. Please consider any ways you can influcence cyclists to be more aware of how they use the Guild Wheel it is not a road.”
Lancashire County Council said the route already has markings along it to split cyclists and walkers, and signs to remind people to be considerate to other users.
Andy Mullaney, assistant director for environment, planning and countryside services, said: “We’re pleased that people are using and enjoying the Guild Wheel, which has been very popular since it opened. About 93,000 cyclists per year are using the Guild Wheel.
“There are about 50 signs along the route asking people to ‘share with care’ and there are markings along sections of the route, to remind users that it’s a mixed-use route. We ask all Guild Wheel users to be considerate to other people while using it.
“We have a maintenance plan in place, working with Preston City Council and other partners. If people have any comments or concerns about the Guild Wheel, please contact us.”
Of those surveyed nearly 90 per cent had completed the full Wheel route and Avenham Park was the most popular starting point.
The state of the Wheel route and repairs needed to it was another question which drew a passionate response.
Many readers feel the route is already being neglected and becoming overgrown in places.
One wrote: “Section nr Ashton golf club is not suitable for many road or hydrid bikes. Needs surfacing asap.”
Another said: “The dirt road you drop on to once you cross Blackpool road at Lea can be a bit hairy due to pot holes.”
However, 52 per cent rated the current state of the route as good, while 43 per cent said it was excellent.
More than 90 per cent of readers said the signs on the route were easy to follow.
View a route map of the Guild Wheel below:
View Guild Wheel in Preston, Lancashire in a larger map
Have you cycled the Wheel? What did you think? What do you think about the survey results? Let us know in the comments below