Get into gear

Karen Neville

Wokingham

Join Wokingham Bikeathon on 30th June and take on 15 or 35 mile route

This year’s Wokingham Bikeathon on Sunday, 30th June, is literally bigger than ever – in addition to the 15-mile route, there’s a 35-mile challenge for riders to take on as well.

The new relatively flat route should be an easy ride and at an average speed of 12 miles per hour, should take about three hours to cycle.

This longer distance builds on the success of the bikeathon which started in 2008 with just 143 riders – since that time thousands have taken part with the invaluable help of volunteers, local businesses, charities and organisations.

Run by a committee, headed by Wokingham ‘champion’ Stan Hetherington the original aim was to get people out on their bikes and enjoy the local area, over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting.

Money from entries each year goes back into the event for the following year with any surplus after covering bills going to good causes.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are welcome to saddle up, with many cycling as families. For these the 15-mile route is perfect, it provides the quietest route for families, is easy and should take around 60-90 minutes to complete. There is a drinks stop at 9.3miles with snacks available too.

Over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting

Course split points will be used to highlight where the route divides between the 15 and 35 mile courses. For those taking on the longer distance, there’s a drinks stop at 19 miles.

Registration is open now for those wishing to do so online but you can just turn up at Cantley Park on the day.

Get involved!

For all the important information you need to take part and to register in advance

Sit and sip

Round & About

Wokingham

Former Wokingham schoolboy James Mattingley has brewed up something special for the town with the opening of Sit & Sip Tasting Room in the town’s highly anticipated Peach Place development.

Sit & Sip serves up delicious craft beers from local brewers, as well as artisan spirits created by small family businesses, which can all be enjoyed with Tasting Boards featuring meats, cheeses and accompaniments, many of which have been sourced locally by Berkshire producers.

This is the second branch of Sit & Sip Tasting Room, which is owned by James, 38, and his dad Brian Mattingley. The first Tasting Room launched in Chichester last year and has been a huge success in the town.

The Sit & Sip concept is now closer to home, with the second Tasting Room opening within Peach Place’s courtyard area, which has been transformed from an old car park off Rose Street to a pedestrianised shopping and dining destination as part of the town’s regeneration.

I wanted to bring in produce that tastes great and is non-mainstream, drinks that you won’t get anywhere else.

Sit & Sip serves up delicious craft beers from local brewers, as well as artisan spirits created by small family businesses, which can all be enjoyed with Tasting Boards featuring meats, cheeses and accompaniments, many of which have been sourced locally by Berkshire producers.

This is the second branch of Sit & Sip Tasting Room, which is owned by James, 38, and his dad Brian Mattingley. The first Tasting Room launched in Chichester last year and has been a huge success in the town.

The Sit & Sip concept is now closer to home, with the second Tasting Room opening within Peach Place’s courtyard area, which has been transformed from an old car park off Rose Street to a pedestrianised shopping and dining destination as part of the town’s regeneration.

James, who lived in Earley for 10 years and attended Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning, is excited to have brought his Sit & Sip business to the town, as he says he always hoped to open a branch in Wokingham.

The business was founded after James quit his job in the corporate world working for a large health and fitness brand so he could focus on Sit & Sip.
The inspiration came from family holidays in the South of France and South Africa, where he discovered the concept of tasting experiences.

James said: “I’m a beer drinker, I love a traditional beer. But my wife isn’t the biggest fan of pubs and unfortunately I don’t particularly like cocktail bars, so we struggled to find somewhere we both liked to visit and enjoy a drink together.

“I started to wonder is there a gap in the UK market for somewhere that has a cool, funky, and relaxing environment that’s attractive to both men and women, where I could develop this tasting concept I had seen elsewhere.

“I wanted to bring in produce that tastes great and is non-mainstream, drinks that you won’t get anywhere else.

“I took the leap and quit my corporate job. We didn’t know if this would actually work. It’s been really successful in Chichester and really well received. Now we’re bringing it to Wokingham and I really hope people will enjoy it. It’s something new for the town.

“We’ve worked with some fantastic producers, and for me that’s been the real appealing side of the story behind all of this.

“One of the gins we serve in Chichester is made by a husband and wife team in their garage. Sit & Sip is such a marriage between these cottage industry suppliers trying to get their brands out there and us wanting to bring something a bit different to our customers.”

Visitors to Sit & Sip can choose from a revolving selection of drinks, with several choices from local breweries and small producers on offer at all times. At Sit & Sip you can pick a pint, or glass, of your choice or go for a flight of a paddle in order to taste the different range of what the tasting room has to offer.

The Tasting Room also offers a takeaway option allowing you to take your favourite brews home with you.

Local suppliers will include Siren Craft Brew, based in Finchampstead, and West Berkshire Brewery, based in Yattendon.

Sit & Sip hopes to hold two monthly themed tasting events where visitors can find out more about the creation process behind their favourite drinks, and sample some special guest products.

There will be regular events such as Tap Takeovers from companies such as West Berkshire Brewery and spirits tastings and masterclasses with Gorilla Spirits.

James adds: “We want to create an experience for the customer that is a little different and takes them out of their comfort zone by offering a quality range of different craft and artisan products that you can’t get elsewhere.

“At Sit & Sip our Tasting Rooms are all about the cool environment, quality products, great people and good times!

“But we will also serve the familiar to people who just want to come in and have a drink, rather than go for something quirky. If you want to come and try something a bit different you can, but there’s still drinks people will be familiar with.”

People in Wokingham wanting to get all of the latest information about Sit & Sip and future tasting events, can sign up to The Tasting Club and receive updates by visiting www.sitandsip.co.uk