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5 reasons to cycle to Glastonbury Festival next year 

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If you’re a band, it’s the festival to play. If you’re a music fan, it’s the festival to attend. Now I’d like to suggest that if you live in Bristol, Somerset or the surrounding area, it’s the festival to cycle. 

This year my partner and I decided to do what one of my friends described as “unfathomable” – cycle to Glastonbury festival. 

Glastonbury is the biggest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. More than 200,000 people flocked to Worthy Farm last week to see acts like Dua Lipa, Coldplay and Shania Twain take to the Pyramid Stage. Overnight, it became the 7th largest city in the UK. While there are options to travel by train or bus, most people still opt to drive, only adding to the world’s CO2 emissions. Having made it back to my home city of Bristol in one piece, I’d like to share five reasons why I believe cycling is actually the best way to travel.

The most peaceful, beautiful journey 

We took the 15-minute train from Bristol to Yatton and from there headed down the Strawberry Line passing through cider apple orchards, wooded valleys and the spectacular Cheddar Gorge. The route is super flat and apart from the odd tractor, you’re unlikely to encounter much traffic. After Cheddar, we passed through the beautiful town of Axbridge where we stopped for a smug picnic – hummus, cucumber and ham sandwich in case you wanted to know – topped up our water bottles and then from there, more rolling pastureland, copses of trees, bustling hedgerows, and we were there. Total time on the bike was 3.5 hours. We were greeted at the gates of the festival by rounds of applause and our bags – which we had dropped off at a depot a few days earlier – were there waiting for us at the site. 


Green and congestion free 

Over the years, Glastonbury has invested in a number of initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment. It has everything from solar panels, wind turbines, biofuel recycling on site, to tree planting, water saving measures and even a small electric fleet to ferry artists between stages. But when it comes to transport, polluting petrol and diesel cars are still the preferred travel option, emitting vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. According to Glastonbury’s energy policy, car exhaust is the greatest contributor to the Festival’s greenhouse gases. Congestion is then at its worst – I know some friends that were stuck in traffic all day when they left the festival. Being able to whiz past miles of standstill cars and use all closed-roads was deeply satisfying. 

Private camping 

Once you have collected your bags and wristband and locked your bike up in a secure compound that is guarded 24-hours a day, there is then a private campsite for cyclists only to enjoy. This comes equipped with wood-fired showers available in the mornings, Wednesday to Sunday. Sure beats getting your mate to chuck a bottle of cold water over you every morning whilst everyone stares at you in your pants. 

Community spirit 

One thing that really struck me was the sense of community that came with cycling. From the moment you arrive, volunteers are there to welcome you with free bottled water and you feel a deep appreciation from the staff for taking the green route. Many festival-goers have been doing this ride for years and there’s a sense of infectious camaraderie. There’s also a Facebook page with 2,900 members where riders can see all the latest news and information as well as chat with other cyclists planning their journeys. 

Clears the head 

Most of my friends thought we were completely mad cycling to Glastonbury, telling us how bad the journey home would be when you’re tired and hungover. But flipping this on its head – would you rather spend your whole day sitting in your car in a jam or gently cycling through the fields at your own pace, listening to the birds, while stopping for coffees whenever you felt like it? Cycling in this environment really cleared my head and meant I had way more energy when I was back at work the next day. On the way out of the festival a guy said to me “get ready for the worst day of the year” but within 15 minutes we were out of the queues and in the countryside with not a soul in sight. I reckon he should try cycling next year.


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