As old rail lines are transformed into cycleways and designated Cycling Cities and Towns offer safer routes for all, it comes as no surprise that cycling is now officially one of Britain’s favourite pastimes.
Nothing could be finer than saddling up for a family outing and heading for the country lanes and tracks so, with the summer holidays looming large, it’s time to plan out the very best cycle rides.
Haynes Publishing knows all about cycling and 100 Great Cycle Rides Around Britain, its new family friendly guide, includes the most stunning rides from short pleasure trips to challenging routes and a chance to see our country’s scenic wonders.
Keen cyclists from Cycling Weekly and Cycling Active magazines have spent the past few years finding Britain’s top spots and from ‘pootling along the Blackpool seafront’ to heart-pumping cobbled climbs in Yorkshire, they have come up with this definitive guide.
There are 100 great rides for all ages and abilities and all parts of Britain from a short 5.6-mile ‘leisurely amble’ through the southern fringes of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall to a 31-mile loop around the quiet lanes near Chorley where you might just glimpse cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins on a training run!
Other great bike rides in the North West of England include a spectacular 27-mile rollercoaster ride with challenging climbs and swift descents through the wild Forest of Bowland taking in amazing views and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
There is also a gentle, circular 22-mile ride, starting and finishing at Wrea Green, which winds through the lanes on the Fylde coast and a short, rolling 10-mile route around scenic Arnside and Silverdale on the North Lancashire coast.
Further afield, there is a spectacular and challenging ride in Snowdonia with hairpin bends, mountain climbs and an assault on Pen-y-Pass which has all the drama of an Alpine epic, and an 8.5 mile mainly traffic-free urban trip through the heart of London taking in Royal Parks and tourist attractions.
There are routes for England, Scotland and Wales and each entry includes accurate mapping, a difficulty rating, details of the terrain and the length of the route, as well as contact numbers for nearby pubs, cafés and all-important bike shops so each rider can personalise their journey.
So whether it’s going out with the family, keeping fit, commuting on a Boris bike or mountain biking off-road, this superb, full-colour guide has something for everyone.
(Haynes Publishing, paperback, £14.99)