Cycling touring is a great way to discover the county - travelling larger distances and absorbing more of the landscapes and surroundings. Whether you live close by or are on a visit to sample the famous great Yorkshire outdoors, getting on a bike is a safe and swift way of exploring. After such exertion you can be fully justified in stopping for a slab of cake or a pint of locally brewed beer at any one of the many fine cafés or village pubs. If you're planning to cycle a long distance route and prefer to organise your own accommodation, find out how here.
Yorkshire is lucky enough to be home to many established and new road routes.
Distance: 170 miles (274km)
Has its western end in Lancashire (the red rose county), but most of this country lanes and good cycle paths route is in Yorkshire (the white rose county). It's a challenging coast2coast ride both in distance and terrain, with the beautiful but hilly Forest of Bowland, Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and Yorkshire Wolds to negotiate. Lancaster, Settle, Pateley Bridge, Ripon, Fountains Abbey, York, Pocklington and many other historic places are on the route.
You can get to / from each end of the route by train, and several points in between for shorter rides.
It's well signed in both directions and the detailed route map is available from the Sustrans online shop and local Tourist Information Centres.
For long distance riders and an ideal first cycle tour, the Moor to Sea Cycle trail offers more than 100 miles of way marked cycling through the spectacular scenery of the North York Moors, from wild and dramatic moorland to the breathtaking Heritage Coast, with views of the gothic Abbey on Whitby's clifftops and the stone ruins of Scarborough's castle. The Network comprises of more than ten linear routes which you can combine to make circuits of varying lengths or take a few days and cycle the entire length, linking the historic towns of Scarborough, Pickering, Whitby and Great Ayton. You'll get fabulous views of heather moorland, ancient forests, rolling farmland and the spectacular coast along the way from forest tracks, lanes and the former coastal railway. This route is signed with way markers and information boards.
2012 will also see the opening of a new leg of the Moor to Sea, a stunning stretch from Dalby to Great Ayton, taking the Network to over 150 miles. Find out more.
Distance: 146 miles (235km) circular route
Start and finish:Beverley, Bridlington, Driffield and Malton all have train stations, or follow National Route 66 from York for 18 miles via Stamford Bridge to pick the route up at Pocklington.
Another National Cycle Network based on road and cycle path route, this time around the enchanted rolling hills and coastal cliffs of the Yorkshire Wolds. Discover hidden valleys, wildflowers and wildlife, picturesque villages, beautiful beaches, big skies and places painted by David Hockney. Sledmere House, Sewerby Hall and Burton Agnes Hall are on the route.
Distance:130 miles (210 km)
Start and finish: Circular starting at Skipton
A great way to see the best of the rolling Yorkshire Dales, it takes you through six of the finest valleys, starting in Wharfedale, and taking in Coverdale, Swaledale, Wensleydale, Dentdale and Kingsdale. The route can be divided into six day-stages of 20-25 miles each. The route follows quiet country lanes and includes some challenging climbs through wild areas, swooping descents and stunning quiet dales to explore.
The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway map is available from Harvey Maps.
Distance: 150 miles (241km) circular
Start / finish: Many towns on the route have train stations (and bike shops)
Follow the white rose signs around the boundary of historic West Yorkshire over terrain that varies from rolling farmland to the strenuous undulations of the Pennine hills. A rewarding challenge for experienced cyclists use to busier roads as this route is only part National Cycle Network.
All of the route is shown on the Discover West Yorkshire Cycle Routes Map available from the Sustrans shop
It's worth straying of the signed route (and slightly out of West Yorkshire) for the famous Cragg Vale climb (take the B6138 from Mytholmroyd) - the longest unbroken ascent of any road in England. The road rises 968' (286m) over a distance of five and a half miles to open moorland.
Leave the route at Holmfirth, and head for Holmbridge (on the A6024) to try another great climb - Holme Moss or ‘Le Col de Moss' as it's known locally. It rewards every rider with one of the most stunning picnic spots in Yorkshire, with views up to 50 miles on a clear day.
Penistone (west of Barnsley) makes a good starting point for trying Yorkshires' section of the 355 mile Pennine Cycleway between Derby and Berwick-upon-Tweed. Follow the Trans Pennine Trail west to Dunford Bridge, then head north following the blue 68 signs through Holmfirth and Hebden Bridge, and across the Yorkshire Dales to Dent. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire (and still in the Yorkshire Dales National Park), this picturesque village is now part of Cumbria.
It's about 89 miles (143km) and mainly on road.
East of Penistone the Yorkshire half of the multi-user 215 mile (346km) Trans Pennine Trail rolls on through Barnsley, Doncaster and Selby into East Yorkshire. It follows the Humber Estuary to Hull then takes the rail trail to Hornsea and the Yorkshire coast.
Distance: 150 miles (241km)
Start / finish: Pickering, Scarborough and Whitby all have train stations.
Criss-crossing the North York Moors National Park and passing through stunning moorland, beautiful forests, attractive villages and dramatic heritage coast, this trail follows quiet roads, forest tracks and bridleways. You'll need a mountain bike or a hybrid as there are some rough sections. Its divided into eleven sections so you can devise your own itinerary, and bikes can be hired in Dalby Forest and at Hawsker near Whitby.
The route guide is available from the National Park's online shop.
More routes and ideas can be found here.