Yorkshire is a great place to learn how to cycle and offers quieter routes for children so they can cycle in safety whilst being surrounded by birds and trees.
These out of the way routes range from forest trails, to disused railways and canal towpaths.
The Cinder Track is a popular route with all cyclists, all year around. One of the most spectacular trails in the north, it runs alongside the North Yorkshire Heritage Coast. Following a disused railway line from Whitby to Scarborough, this traffic-free route has a number of climbs and descents, just to keep things interesting. With good cinder tracks throughout, it's ideal for the more adventurous families. The route is 21.5 miles (34km) one way and is also part of National Route 1 of the National Cycle Network and the Moor to Sea Cycle Route.
The Moor to Sea Cycle network links more than 100 miles of waymarked cycling through the spectacular scenery of the North York Moors National Park, from wide sweeps of open heather moorland to the breathtaking Heritage Coast. Combine a choice of linear routes to make circuits of varying lengths or take a week and cycle the entire length, which links 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.
Try the newest leg - using forest tracks and part of the old Rosedale railway line, it links Easby on the western fringes with Dalby Forest. Along its 34 miles, there's one tough climb up to the moor top, rewarded with a stunning view. The rest is fairly easy, with villages including Rosedale Abbey and Levisham providing welcome refreshment stops and it can be split into smaller sections for those looking for a more leisurely pedal.
Close by to parts of the network are three easy to follow routes based around the famous North Yorkshire Moors steam railway. The Pedal & Puff leaflet describing these routes which use the steam train and your bike to explore the Park, can be purchased for 50p from the North York Moors National Park Authority online shop, as can the pack for the Moor to Sea Cycle network (for £3.50).
Download our leaflet showing some of the cycling routes in the North Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors area.
On a fine day nothing is more relaxing than the York to Selby Cycle Route. This gentle 15 mile ride along one of the first traffic-free cycle paths takes you from the walled city of York south to the historic abbey town of Selby. NCN route 65 initially runs alongside the River Ouse, and passes local landmarks such as the famous Millennium Bridge and 'the planets', a scale-model of the solar system; this is an ideal ride for all abilities. The route can be done as a return trip or you can use the fact that it connects two railway stations to make the return journey.
You can also head north from York following NCN Route 65 to the impressive Beningbrough Hall, on a delightful 9 mile ride. Discover more details on this ride and others in Yorkshire, including free cycle maps.
Or how about the Calder Valley Cycleway in West Yorkshire?This picturesque 14 mile route between Sowerby Bridge and Warland is fun for everyone. The well constructed paths, quiet roads, sections of canal towpath and collections of public art en route all make for a great ride.
Another pleasant easy route featuring a collection of artworks, including a flock of Swaledale sheep constructed from recycled industrial scrap, is the Spen Valley Greenway. This 8 mile surfaced off-road cycling route follows a disused railway track between Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike, eventually linking to Bradford.
The Wetherby Railway Path also follows a disused railway track, passing through farmland and woods and the market town of Wetherby. Being short and flat, this is a particularly suitable route for young children.
Much of the towpath of the historic Leeds-Liverpool canal has been upgraded to allow cycle use. The journey out from cosmopolitan Leeds takes you along a wonderful green corridor, giving easy cycling, and linking some great attractions. There are interesting sights in Leeds itself, Kirkstall Abbey, the Saltaire World Heritage Site, plus the lovely East Riddlesden Hall run by the National Trust. Leeds is a place for shopping, dining out and experiencing the bustling scene many of Yorkshire's cities boast. The distance out to Riddlesden (near Keighley) is 19 miles (30km) on the Aire Valley Towpath Route, with the railway providing one way options with easy access to the stations at Saltaire, Bingley and Crossflats.
More route ideas can be found here.