Pedal Power: 5 traffic-free family bike rides
Is there really anything better than exploring somewhere new, jumping on your bike and going where the path takes you? Summer will soon be here and if your looking for a free, healthy and fun way to enjoy time together as a family than why not give cycling a go. Even if your child is still using stabilisers or has only recently learn to ride without them there are plenty of places to explore on two wheels.
Over the past decade or so Sustrans has developed some fantastic family friendly traffic-free routes across the UK. We have started to make a bucket list which of course would take far longer than just one summer to complete but if your looking to do something similar or simply try out a family bike ride for the first time, these 5 bike routes are perfect for all abilities from very young to very old. Also you don't have to do the whole distance you can just do a short part of it and make sure to pack a few snacks, sunscreen and lots of water even if you are planning to go in the cooler months.
1. Two Palaces Ride, London, 2 miles
Starting at Green Park and following through Hyde Park finishing at Kensington Palace this lovely gentle family friendly bike ride takes in two of the Royal Parks in London and offering you up a less stressful perspective on sightseeing in the capital. There is also places to hire bikes at either end from Boris Bike hire which makes is a great alternative day out.
2. Two Tunnels Greenway, Somerset, 5 miles
Start at the Hope and Anchor Pub in Midford and finish in Bath City Centre. This is a very new cycle route and is mostly traffic-free (with the odd quiet on-road sections) and flat making is a great choice for an active family adventure. The two tunnels you pass through, with the Combe Down tunnel being the longest walking and cycling tunnel in the UK, are real highlights and is certainly one we are looking forward to taking on this summer.
3. Keswick Railway Path, 6 miles
Start and end at Keswick leisure centre. This old discontinued railway line has been turned into a relatively flat and mobility friendly path and circular cycle route which takes in some stunning scenery and surroundings of the Lake District National Park. This traffic-free path crosses and re-crossed the river Greta then winds it’s way through woodland. Just bear in mind this is also a walking path so cycling is encourage you must give way to walkers.
4. Camel Trail, Cornwall, 12 miles
Starting at Bodmin and ending at Padstow. One of the most popular family traffic-free routes and it’s easy to see why when you get to enjoy all of that Cornish countryside. Also there are some well placed picnic points along the way as well as bird hides where you can hopefully spot a few oystercatchers and kingfishers. The ending is equally spectacular as you ride into the picturesque fishing port of Padstow. You can also make this route shorter and more manageable for little ones but starting at Wadebridge and finishing at Padstow making it 5.5miles instead of 12.
5. Swansea Bike Path, 6 miles
Start at Swansea Marina and end in the Mumbles. If you head out on a sunny day you will really be in for a treat on this traffic-free route that follows the wide curving sweep across Swansea bay with views across Mumbled Head and the Gower Peninsula. Running along the line of the old Mumble tramway this easy and well tarmac route is perfect for young and old, plus there are lots of cafes and picnic benches along the way, as well as ice-cream stands to help cool you down.
Even if you haven't been on a bike since you where a young child its one of those simple pleasures that will quickly become a favourite among all the members of your family. Not only does it inspire you to spend time outdoors but you see things you otherwise wouldn't see and remember there is no rush, you can go at your own pace and just enjoy a relaxing cycle through the countryside.