Whether you’re cycling to the local park or the library, or planning a family outing it’s usually possible to choose a route that uses quieter roads or cycle paths for much of the way.
When cycling with children it’s best to avoid routes that involve very busy roads or complicated junctions, even if this means taking a slightly longer journey.
Whilst the road network is available to cyclists, there are different types of routes that are preferable for family cycling:
National Cycle Network
With over 13,000 miles of routes throughout the UK, the National Cycle Network passes through the centre of every major town in the UK, and 75% of people live within a couple of miles of it. A third of the routes are traffic-free with paths along disused railways, canal towpaths and forest tracks, whilst the remainder follows quiet roads and traffic-calmed streets. You can spot National Cycle Network routes by the blue cycle signs that have a red number.
Where would you like to go today?
Sustrans’ Free Range Kids campaign has put together some handy pocket family ride guides, helping you to use the National Cycle Network near you. Download, print out and away you go!
- Aire Valley Towpath (pdf) -Leeds to Saltaire
- Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail (pdf) – Measham to Moira
- Chard to Ilminster (pdf) – Somerset
- Crab and Winkle Way (pdf) -Canterbury to Whitstable
- Elan Valley Trail (pdf) – Rhayader to Craig Goch Reservoir
- Esk Valley Cycle Route (pdf) – Dalkeith to Musselburgh
- Harland Way (pdf) – Wetherby to Spofforth
- Newry to Portadown (pdf) – Along the Newry Canal towpath
- The Wandle Trail (pdf) – Wandsworth to Carlshalton
- Wivenhoe Cycle Trail (pdf) – Wivenhoe toColchester
For more detailed versions of these maps, and to find other family-friendly rides near you, visit Sustrans’ online mapping.