7 great places to enjoy cycling in the UKJanuary 7th 2021
Whether you’re considering buying a new e-bike for 2021 or getting your bike or e-bike out of the shed and back into service again, you’re going to want somewhere to ride it.
Often, a lack of safe places or routes to cycle can be a real inhibitor when it comes to cycling – after all, we all want to feel safe when we ride, whether it’s for leisure or for getting around safely (and yes, in current times, hygienically). The great news is that temporary and permanent cycling infrastructure is developing quickly to sit alongside our existing road network, while there are plenty of dedicated cycle centres and parks where you can make the most of your two-wheeled friend away from traffic.
So, here are seven great places that you can ride your bike in 2021.
If you can, it’s brilliant to get outside and enjoy exercise and fresh in lockdown and tiered restrictions. However, please ensure that you abide by your local COVID-19 government restrictions and plan any trips in accordance with the law.
London might not be the first place you think of when it comes to riding your bike safely, but the UK’s capital has some of the most extensive cycle infrastructure in the country. In fact, Transport for London is committed to creating 450km of new ‘Cycleways’ by 2024.
These include the ‘Cycle Superhighways’ and ‘Quietways’, which integrate dedicated bike lanes into the London road network. In many cases, these highways have priority over traditional motor traffic, which means you have extra peace of mind that the network has been well thought out. Plus, they’re increasingly popular, so you’ll be able to share your commute or leisure ride with others too.
Known as ‘God’s Country’, Yorkshire has some of the most beautiful roads and cycle bridleways in the UK. It’s also a popular domestic holiday hotspot and is becoming more and more popular with cyclists from all over the UK, offering a perfect location to get out and explore the great outdoors and countryside by bike.
Although the terrain can be quite hilly in Yorkshire, an e-bike can help to make summits much more achievable (easy, even!), while it can help you to travel further too. You can take on climbs like Kidstones Pass – made famous by the Tour de France bike race’s visit in 2014 – or ride sections of the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway or any of the trails that form part of the National Cycle Network in the area.
The Lake District is arguably the most popular locations to visit and ride a bike in the country. Famed for its natural beauty, wide open moorland spaces and country woodland, it offers amazing opportunities for families and enthusiasts to get the most out of their bike or e-bike.
Electric mountain bikers can make the most of a network of routes in Whinlatter and Grizedale forests, which can cater for beginners and more advanced riders. Meanwhile, families and hybrid bikers have access to location-specific cycle paths and routes, including the National Cycle Network paths, and there are usually guided cycle tours that can be booked if you prefer to let someone else do the route planning!
Bike Park Wales
Bike Park Wales is one of the leading mountain biking centres for enthusiasts that the UK has to offer, but it’s equally set up for beginners and explorers as it is for experts. A bit like a network of ski runs, each loop is colour coded to your experience level. A green route signifies a beginner’s route, while a black route is rated for experts, with intermediate and advanced routes in between.
You can make your day as self-sufficient as you like by choosing to climb back up to the top of the hill using the yellow ‘climb’ routes, or take the regular bus back up to the start. As you might expect, Bike Park Wales is fully equipped with bike wash and mechanic tool station for mechanical assistance, as well as food and toilet facilities, making it a great day out location.
If you’re in the north of the UK, then the Scottish Highlands (and even the lowland areas like Lothian) can provide truly breathtaking cycling. If you’re after remoteness when you go cycle touring, then look no further.
Of course, this means that you need to be planned in your routes, and if you’re going to visit, we recommend choosing a specific location to base yourself in, before exploring outward from there. Fort William is home to a number of mountain biking trails and touring routes, with lots of others dotted around the wilderness.
At the opposite end of the country, quite literally, is the New Forest. The New Forest is a cyclist’s paradise, complete with routes for road, mountain and hybrid bike riders, but it’s perhaps one of the leading locations for family-friendly riding.
There are almost countless trails around the New Forest, all riding between or around towns and villages like Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst and Burley. And, while many national parks feature challenging terrain, the New Forest has a great combination of rolling and flat terrain, and those villages peppered around the county offer great stop-off points for food and a rest.
London Richmond Park
Finally, we return to London for one more location in the heart of the city that can offer a great cycling escape. Already incredibly popular with road cyclists, Richmond Park (one of London’s ‘Royal Parks’) is large enough to feel like you’re in the country… but right in the centre of the UK’s largest city.
For many looking for a quick escape from the busyness of the capital, Richmond Park offers a small network of roads that are ideal for a lunch break bike ride, or to form part of your everyday commute if you live or work in south west London. It’s also easy to access Wimbledon Common’s designated cycle routes, while nearby Bushy Park (a fellow Royal Park), also offers quieter sections of road and cycle paths to enjoy.