Cycling from the Guardian

Article submitted by Ros Taylor

Since I (Ros Taylor) last wrote about cycling a year ago, there has been a minor revolution in the range and quality of sites dedicated to giving advice and suggesting routes. So this week's column concentrates on the UK, with Europe and the rest of the world to follow.

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Getting started is an invaluable source for novices and people who don't cycle regularly. It has advice on road etiquette, helmets, mending punctures, locks, saddles, riding with children and most of the other topics that bother inexperienced cyclists.

Online route planning

To get an idea of the scale of the National Cycle Network, see the online mapping at A route planner for cyclists like the one pioneered by Transport for London will one day appear at A London-only version does exist at, but if you're cycling around the capital for fun then TfL's route suggestions ( leisure-routes.shtml) will probably be more rewarding.

More inspiration

Visit Britain ( is aimed at holidaymakers with no particular route in mind. It highlights a number of the more picturesque circuits, including the 4,000-mile National Heritage Cycle Route (, which mostly follows rural lanes. For shorter day trips, the Forestry Commission ( and Waterscape ( have plenty of suggestions.

Mountain biking

'All entries quality-reviewed by humans', promises Route Guides MTB ( has a smaller, livelier sample. Mountain Bike Cumbria ( concentrates on the Lake District. Scottish Sport ( and Lake District Outdoors ( describe some punishing trails.

Routes by region

Cycle and Sleep ( aims to publicise the scores of cycling leaflets and guides published by local authorities and tourist boards and obtainable free or for a small fee. Online, meanwhile, there are hundreds of regional sites. specialises in south-east Scotland and north-east England, the Edinburgh Bikes Cooperative (, contrary to what its name suggests, publishes advice and routes for the whole of Scotland, and this site ( is an introduction to the Trossachs. Further south, the C2C route ( and Hadrian's Wall Country ( straddle northern England, while Go Lakes ( has advice on how to use public transport to take your bike where you want to go. The official Lancashire ( and Derbyshire ( guides are both good, as is the Pennine Cycleway site ( is making three of its 25-odd Cycling Discovery Maps available free to download in PDF format. Gloucestershire (, Hampshire ( and Kent ( county council sites are all worth visiting, as is Dartmoor's ( Wales, try