Pedal Power-Enjoy the Great Outdoors AND Get Fit

Yesterday Andy and I decided to make the most of the beautiful weather we experienced this weekend and get ourselves and 2 kids out on our bikes.  Thank goodness Andy was up for it-our boys are 10 months and 2 so had to be towed in our kiddies’ bike trailer-a task I wasn’t up for on a sleepy Sunday morning!

Now, I’m not massively confident cycling on-road.  This, along with my in-built propensity to mum-worry about my kids being too close to the traffic lead us to explore the various cycle routes available to us.  We live near Bitton so decided to make the Bristol to Bath cycle path our starting point and see which routes we could pick up from there.  The Sustrans website informed us that we could pick up route 3 (which runs from Bristol to Land’s End) and travel across to Chew Valley Lake.  In went the sandwiches and drinks and off we went. 

After travelling 10 miles in the wrong direction (who forgot the map?) we were away.  The Bristol to Bath cycle path is absolutely gorgeous.  If you’ve not tried it, you really must.  Park at Bitton railway and whether you set off towards Bristol or Bath you’ll enjoy a serene, picturesque journey.  The path is shared by cyclists, walkers and joggers alike so you can meander along at your own pace and take it all in.  There are a few bike friendly cafes along the route and a couple of pubs for welcome relief.

What struck me the most as we travelled along peacefully, boys fast asleep in their little buggy, was the diverse range of people we saw along the way.  There were a few families, like us, with little ones in trailers, small children on stabilisers, teenagers tearing up the cycle track on their BMX’s, middle-aged couples enjoying time together and pensioners out on a leisurely Sunday morning ride. 

Cycling is a great way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and get the whole family involved.  If, like me, you’re not keen on cycling on the roads, we have some fantastic cycle paths locally.  Bristol was recently voted ‘Best City in Britain for Cycling’.  Try the following sites for information on routes and maps:

Bristol & Bath Railway Path – http://www.bristolbathrailwaypath.org.uk/home.shtml

Sustrans – http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sustrans-near-you/south-west/bristol-and-somerset

Bristol Cycle Routes – http://www.cycle-route.com/routes/Bristol-Routes-63.html

Bristol Trails Group – http://www.bristoltrailsgroup.com/home

As part of Bike Week from 19th-27th June, Bristol City Council is running Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride on Sunday 20th June.  A series of rides will be taking place from 9 to 38 miles starting from Millenium Square.  See Better By Bike for more information http://www.betterbybike.info/bristols-biggest-bike-ride-0

As it happened, we never made it to the lake.  A combination of the Somerset hills, very hot sun and a pair of hot tots meant we abandoned our excursion just outside Compton Dando.  No matter-we still managed 5 hours of cycling (cue sore bums all round) and will try again soon and you never know, we may actually go the right way next time…

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