From running shoes and road bikes to GPS watches, the lovely folks at Start Fitness are specialists in fitness products and certainly know these shores well. So when they give us advice on where the best cycling destinations are to make this long summer extra special, you can be sure they know what they’re talking about. Their guest blog below rides through some of the best locations you can enjoy with your family. Take it away, guys!
With school finally out for summer, thoughts are turning towards the best way to keep young ones entertained. One of the best solutions to get the kids away from their devices and out navigating the great outdoors is a family bike ride – and this post will run through some of the UK’s best destinations for a two-wheeled sojourn with your loved ones.
Red Squirrel Way – The Isle of Wight
The isle’s status as a biking hotspot is well deserved, as several easy routes criss-cross its gorgeous undulating terrain. Expect sea views and postcard-perfect villages as you and your group meander from town to town.
A popular route for families is the Red Squirrel Way, a 32 mile route through the heart of the island. The route starts at Cowes in the north of the island and heads south, through the countryside towards Wroxall and Sandown, where it becomes a nature trail, with plenty of the local wildlife available to spot.
We’d recommend splitting the route into manageable chunks, as small children will struggle with the entire distance. Take the time to incorporate plenty of ice cream stops and we’re sure you’ll be fine!
Coast and Castles – The Scottish Borders
If your children are a little older and are already accomplished cyclists, then a portion of the lengthy Coast and Castles route from Newcastle to Edinburgh is a great choice for a family adventure.
Stretching 200 miles, the route takes in a vast amount of the coast and a huge array of castles – both intact and ruined – as well as abbeys, quaint fishing villages and the ethereal beauty of Holy Island at Lindisfarne.
Whichever section you choose, you’re in for a treat, so scale your efforts to match the pace that suits you and your family. There’s no use in trying to ride further than your comfort zone, so relax and enjoy the views and the sheer isolation, as this stretch of coast is one of the least developed and most remote in the country.
Sample Windermere’s inspiring delights
While the Lake District tends to be associated mainly with hiking or canoeing, you’ll find there are a whole host of cycling opportunities in this stunning part of the country.
As England’s largest lake, Windermere is an attractive proposition for cyclists, as the Windermere Bike Boat proves. After an exciting trip across the lake’s expanse, you and your family will get set for a ride along the shore and up to historic Wray Castle – suitable for hybrid and mountain bikes, and offering gorgeous views of the landscape that has inspired poets and artists over the years.
A Cornish combination
If your family aren’t convinced by an entire day’s cycling, then why not find a destination to ride to? During your time in Cornwall, a visit to the Eden Project is a must, and the park offers a discount if you’ve cycled instead of driven – so take the time to ride the easy, family-friendly three and a half mile route from the town of St. Austell and enjoy a discounted journey around the award-winning eco-friendly masterpiece.
More serious cyclists in Cornwall tend to take their road bikes to Land’s End and the surrounding area. Just like with the Coast and Castles route, you can pick any segment of the route suited to your family’s skill level, to ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves and you’re not overexerting.
Record your family conquests
Family cycling isn’t just for one summer, it’s for life. As your kids get older and more adventurous, they’ll surely want to test their legs on some of the UK’s more challenging cycle climbs, and scratch them off this gorgeous map once they’ve been conquered.
From Box Hill in Surrey, conquered annually by the pros in the RideLondon Classic, to the seriously steep Rosedale Chimney in Yorkshire – there’s enough cycling challenges to scratch off to keep the whole family occupied for a very long time!
So, what are you waiting for? Make this summer holiday special and ride an iconic UK route suitable for the whole family!