Finding and planning a cycle route is an important part of getting the best out of cycling. Take advantage of good weather, kids’ holidays and some of the best views and attractions in your local area – on your bike!
If your children are taking FSPE cycling lessons, planning a cycling journey can help you prepare them for independent journeys. This way, you can see how they prepare on or off the road, so you feel sure they can handle typical journeys, such as to and from school.
Find a journey with an online planner
Why not cut out the middleman by finding the perfect route with an online planner? There are several options including Let’s Ride from British Cycling, which suggests routes tested and recommended by riders themselves.
Check out the Sustrans website for routes on the National Cycle Network, and Cycling UK has a handy journey planner that can show you quieter roads and traffic-free routes – great if you’re taking kids along or want to see fewer roads and more trees!
Know your fitness level
Whether you’re a Rusty Rider or a seasoned cyclist, think about how much you want to exert yourself. Remember, if you’re working with groups, consider their activity levels before booking a long journey through the Yorkshire Dales!
If you’re thinking of taking a cycle through a National Trust property, you can find one that’s family-friendly on their website. Don’t forget that a cycle route is there and back. You might be able to cycle 5 miles comfortably but remember that’s actually a 10-mile roundtrip, so plan for rest stops along the way.
Tailoring your route to your needs
Consider the weather! Make sure you have an app that can check the weather on the day and get at least a 3-day forecast. That way, you’ll understand what snacks and drinks to pack for your journey.
Once you know you’re weather-proofed, have a look at Map My Ride. It’s best for individual or seasoned cyclists, allowing you to see recommendations from other riders and save preferred routes. Cycle Streets stores the same maps as Cycling UK’s journey planner, and The Cycle Maps app is written for cyclists by cyclists. Have a look and tailor your route to your needs.
Don’t do it alone – join a group
If you’re not planning on having friends or family with you or you and your group are novices, you could join an existing group. Find a relaxed group or a family-friendly group on Cycling UK’s database.
Group rides might not be your style, but you can try looking around on social media for local groups. You can ask about local routes and get advice and recommendations. Have a scroll, and you’ll probably find that your question has already been answered with routes and advice that will be incredibly useful.
Ask your neighbours
Social media and databases have lots of information available but don’t let it replace a quick chat over the gate! Tips direct from someone who’s cycled the route can give you invaluable information. Avoid hills and busy roads with a person who could become the start of your own little cycling group.
Are you looking for help getting back to pedalling? Our Rusty Riders programmes are built with you in mind! Free to access, you can be back on your bike, saving money, time and getting fit. Check out our summer dates here.