On your bike for National Bike Week

To celebrate National Bike Week the nation’s forests are encouraging families to master those pedals

Cycling is an excellent way to experience the outdoors and is a fantastic activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. That’s why thousands of households flock to the 1,300km of forest cycle trails the nation’s forests provide. To learn to ride a bike on your own is a huge moment for any child, and with plenty of open space and off-road trails, Forestry Commission England believe they have the perfect place for children to start their cycling journey.

Research has shown that cycling can improve a child’s mood and active travel to school can increase concentration for up to 4 hours. With summer now officially under way, it’s a great time to teach your children to ride.

Over the summer, 6 Forestry Commission Sites in England will have an exclusive children’s cycling area. The area will provide a safe space where children aged 3 plus can learn essential skills designed to take them from balance to pedal bike. Once those pedals have been mastered, riders are on track to becoming a Forest Cycle Superstar. Fun, cycling challenges designed to build a child’s confidence and skills on their bike are available to download from www.forestry.gov.uk/kids-cycling

To further celebrate National Cycling Week, Forestry Commission England has highlighted their top 10 beginner routes on offer in the nation’s forest across the country to enjoy a great, family day out:

1. The Lake Loop Trail at Hicks Lodge in Leicestershire takes you on an easy loop around the lake, with a bird hide on the way round where you can enjoy a leisurely stop.

2. The purpose built skills loop at Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire is a great place to develop and master those skills.

3. The All Ability Cycle Track at Alice Holt in Surrey is a fantastic learning track, with a good flat surface and close to all the facilities on offer.

4. The Ladyhill Trail at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is perfect for beginners and offers lots of opportunity to get off your bike and enjoy the forest surroundings. Fairy trees, Gruffalo sculptures and open play space to name just a few.

5. The Family Cycling Trail at Fineshade in Northamptonshire offers a beginners route with optional blue grade taster loops, perfect for keeping families with different skill levels happy.

6. The Lakeside Way at Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland has spectacular views on wide sweeping tracks with compacted, smooth running surface perfect for beginners.

7. The Cycling Skills Training Loop at Hamsterley Forest in Durham is a great track for a family to test their skills and hone their riding skills.

8. The Forest Cycle Track at Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire is perfect for a beginner as it leads them on a firm stone surface through a magnificent woodland setting.

9. The grass at Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean is ideal for those learning to ride. The large level grass outside the café is perfect for beginners and you can enjoy home-made cake for afters.

10.The Shephard Trail at Thetford Forest in East Anglia is a quite family trail, offering relatively flat, wide open forest road, tracks and rides perfect for those staring out.

With some of the best off-road cycling in the country, you will find easy to moderate trails to suit the whole family, for more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/family-cycling.