of the circuit.
UCLan Sports Arena
Tom Benson Way
Some GPS Navs seem to take you to various estates in the vicinity of the arena, check your route. It is suggested that if arriving from outside Preston you use M6 exit J32 onto M55 exit 1 onto A6 turning left onto Lightfoot Lane becoming Tom Benson Way. The arena is better sign posted from this direction.
Cycle/ pedestrian access is also possible from Savick Way (to south) and Cottam Way (to north) via cycle tracks (marked as Preston Guild Wheel). There is also a cut through the trees from Lea Road (to west)
There is currently no bus service stopping at the Arena however there are a number of services from Preston that travel near. For example Preston Bus 31 (Savick Way turning point stop) or Stagecoach 61 & 68 and Preston Bus 89 along Blackpool Road (A5085) (use stop by mobile phone mast between West Park Avenue and Tesco Express). In all cases there is pedestrian access from Savick Way to the arena along the Guild Wheel route.
Main circuit is 1.5km.
There is Junior circuit formed using a cut through between the athletics arena and caged football pitch and the playing fields.
Aerial view above shows track layout and key features.
Cycle circuit, good tarmac surface. It encompasses the athletics arena and playing fields.
The circuit is essentially flat. The only significant incline is the bridge over the access path to the north west of the athletics arena. Although a reasonable incline it is short.
The track is marked for anti-clockwise use. Clearly either direction can be used if you or your group are the only ones using it.
A cycle helmet must be worn when using the track.
During the football season people often cross the track from the car park to the north west of the athletics arena rather than using the walkway under the bridge. Whilst a politely shouted ‘track’ is enough to remind them you have right of way you may prefer skiing the track clockwise at these times. This will mean you meet people on the track as you start to climb the bridge rather than during the descent.
The arena will allow use of the 'junior track' i.e. the cut through at any time, even when the football pitches are in use.
There appears to be no issue with being on with a few other cyclists (i.e 1 or 2), make sure you‘re all traveling in the same direction!
The Sports Arena is equipped with changing rooms, toilets, free car park, vending machines and small cafe (closes about 16:00).
There is a charge to use the track (£4 for the day, 2014), see website for latest prices.
Track is closed at sunset.
Most usage appears to be during the day leaving the late afternoon/ evening free. However, currently (2014) it is booked by a cycle club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and there are occasionally weekend events. It is advisable ringing the Arena to check availability.
During autumn/ winter the main usage conflict is football on the playing fields at the weekend. This conflict is worse later in the year because more of the pitches are in use (i.e the ones next to the track). Whilst football is played the track is closed to cyclists however, inline skaters/ roller skiers have been allowed to use the track.
It is suggested that you demonstrate competency (i.e you‘re in control enough to avoid a stray football) with some spring/summer use before attempting to use it whilst football is on.
Even during the football season there should be the opportunity to use the track for an hour at start of day (before matches start) or lunchtime (whilst they swap over).
Alistair Brown and Bev Ridyard,
Manchester Cross Country Ski Club