Cycling facilities in the UK come in a wide range of shapes and styles, from shared-use paths and trails to on-road infrastructure like bike lanes.
In many communities across the country riders can access multi-use paths - as well as an ever-expanding network of on-road bike facilities for getting to and around important regional centres. Multi-use trails (also called shared use paths, or some variant between the two) offer car-free space to ride (though you'll usually share with pedestrians, hence the name), and in some cases take advantage of old rail corridors or other direct routes which connect quickly, easily, and with fewer hills*
RIDING ON THE ROAD
When riding on the road, it's generally recommended to favour roads with fewer cars and slower traffic speeds, such as residential streets - it may not always be the most direct, but it will be much more comfortable and may be more interesting as well! If you can't avoid riding on roads with speeds below 35 mph try to favour those with bike lanes or other dedicated infrastructure (if possible).
If you're unsure of how to navigate your city's streets and finding the most comfortable routes for riding, see if your local community has a bike-specific map or consult Google Maps' bicycle route feature. You can always ask a friend who rides a bike, or visit your local bike shop for guidance as well.
TIPS FOR NEW CYCLISTS:
Find a comfortable place to ride - we like to suggest looking for one of the following:
- A multi-use trail or path (there may be one in a nearby park, or across town, a quick google search for trails will get you started)
- A quiet residential street with little automobile traffic (look for roads that don't connect major roads, or which wind a lot and have low speed limits)
- An organised social ride or event, such as an open streets event or a social group ride.
I ALREADY RIDE:
There are many group rides put on by various organisations (advocates, clubs, and and bike shops) throughout the year all across the country. These rides vary in terms of difficulty (beginner to advanced) and geography (city centre to the outer areas of the region). We can't list them all here, but with a bit of searching it's likely you'll find a group that fits you. And if you don't, then maybe it's time to start a new group!
WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION
For additional information on cycling in and across the UK, contact our partners at Cycling UK, the national advocacy organisation representing people of all sorts who love to ride!
*Not always true - but most trails have a website with some info on distance, grade, etc.
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