You'll Look Sweet Upon the Seat of a Bicycle Made for Two
With the Tour de France over here earlier in the year the interest in cycling has increased and several of our partners across the UK have been working with organisations to promote cycling in their local areas. One has been collaborating with Sustrans in Birmingham to create a permanent Trail with clue boards along the route. Another is very active in Yorkshire with lost sheep in pink jerseys and yellow bikes!
Lots of the Trails in our catalogue are suitable for cycling if you are happy to cycle along roads (some of them reasonably busy) and the best way to identify which are by heading to the home page of the website and clicking on the Buy a Trail tab and then ticking the cycling box! This will bring up almost 50 options. Several of those can be driven too and of course there is nothing to stop you walking them if you are feeling energetic!
For this post though, we are focusing on a few that are dedicated cycling Trails where you can be confident there is limited (if any) traffic.
For an easy ride
Head to Wales to try the Cardiff Bay Cycle Trail which follows the existing 10km cycle route. The route is mostly on the dedicated cycle path although there are a couple of road crossing to negotiate. Half way round is Mermaid Quay with its great atmosphere and large choice of food and drink places to stop and rest. On sunny days, there is no better place to be.
Or head to the South East to enjoy a cycle ride with a difference from Worthing to Shoreham. This is a leisurely Trail with no steep sections that follows the seafront cycle path east of the Pier on to the Widewater Lagoon Nature Reserve. I feel a picnic coming on!
Going from A to B
Some of our cycling Trails are not circular and the clues are only along one way, which means of course that once you’ve gone from A to B, you can enjoy the bike ride back to the start without worrying whodunnit!
The Portland to Bowleaze Cove Trail in Dorset heads along the Beach Road, part of Chesil Beach, and past the National Sailing Centre which was the venue for the 2012 Olympics. This is an ideal Trail for keen cyclists along the track bed of the old Weymouth to Portland railway and the cycle path through The Swanary, Lodmoor Country Park along The Promenade to Bowleaze Cove. But, be aware, it is not a circular Trail so you will need to make your way back to the start in Victoria Square Portland.
Or head to Cambridge to do the River Cam, the Middle River Trail which will take you to many famous landmarks on route, including the Mill Pond, The Backs, Trinity Street and Trinity College, All Saints Garden, St John's College, Jesus Green Bridge and Lock, and Victoria Bridge. It follows a well-maintained cycle route along the River Cam. The terrain is mostly flat and there are no hills to negotiate, but again it is not circular although the round trip is only about 4 miles.
No bike? Hire one!
Cycles with locks are available to hire from Parkcycle at Roehampton Gate close to the start of the Richmond Cycle Trail. The Trail is 7.5 miles long and you would be really unlucky not to see the deer in Richmond Park. There are also some great views including a view of St Paul’s Cathedral which is 10 miles away in Central London. At one point you will need to park your cycle(s) and find a few clues on foot, so you will need to take a D-lock or similar to secure them.
The going is mostly flat and firm although can become muddy in poor weather. Sounds like some racing terms!
Scarborough has several bicycle hire shops including Let's Bike who will deliver bikes to your door. The Cinder Track Trail from Scarborough to Ravenscar follows an old railway line and the terrain is a paved, gravel or occasionally rocky, cycle path. Termed 'Mild Mountain Biking' due to some uneven sections; road bikes and very young riders may find parts heavy going. There are a few very short sections of quiet road. Oh and this route is on a slight incline too! Eek...
Totally off road
The Dartmoor Granite Way Trail follows the line of the former Southern railway from Okehampton towards Lydford via Meldon Quarry and Lake Viaduct. It combines spectacular views of rural Devon, with the ruggedness of Dartmoor, and provides a glimpse into industrial life on the moor through the ages. At one point, you can even see Exmoor in the far distance! It is entirely on designated cycle routes or cycle paths, which are level, even and well-maintained, with one small section on a narrow unmade path.
We recommend cycle safety clothing, such as a cycle helmet and gloves and possibly a pair of sunglasses when the sun is bright and make sure you stop for refreshments too. Bright reflective clothing is recommended even in daylight.
There are lots more cycling TreasureTrails all over the UK so hopefully, we’ve inspired you to dig out the bike and go out for a ride! If we have, do tell us about your experiences.