Our city is famous for a lot of things, whether it’s the rich history, the vibrant culture, or the incredible independent businesses that line the cobbled streets. There’s so much to explore that it can be hard to get around quickly enough on foot, so with Bicycle Day fast approaching on Friday 3rd of June, we’re uncovering some of the best cycling shops and trails in and around York.

With a vast network of cycle-friendly streets and off-road paths, York is perfect to explore on two wheels, whether you’re a keen beginner or a fully fledged enthusiast. So if you’re looking for a fun day out, a new way to get active, or even just trying to do your bit for the environment, there’s never been a better time to grab your bikes and hit the road.

York/Poppleton to Beningbrough Hall & Gardens Route

Making up part of the Sustrans Yorkshire Slow Tour, a collection of the best cycle routes across the region, this trail weaves its way from the city centre to Poppleton, before finally arriving into the beautiful surroundings of Beningbrough Hall. With both short and long routes available, there’s something for everyone along this popular trail, and it’s really easy to make it your own.

For those starting from the city centre, the route winds its way along the River Ouse, out towards the north of the city. Before long the route leaves the city centre, and heads into the beautiful countryside surrounding York, stopping through the villages of Poppleton and Skelton, before eventually coming to an end at the steps of the historic Beningbrough Hall.

This glorious Georgian mansion is now looked after by the National Trust, but its past is full of incredible history and culture. Surrounded by eight acres of gardens and grounds, it’s the perfect place to take a break from the pedalling and enjoy a timely refreshment. Hidden just around the corner from the hall and gardens, you’ll also find the Home Farm Shop & Café, serving up fresh produce as well as a great food menu to help break up your journey.

Check out the route here (provided by Sustrans)

Millennium Bridge Cycle Routes

Making cycling in and around the city a much easier endeavour, the Millennium Bridge provides a quick route across the river for those on two wheels or legs, avoiding the busier road bridges further along the Ouse. Starting from this point, you can easily follow a number of great cycle routes to explore the city centre and its surrounding areas.

For a leisurely ride for all ages and abilities, start following the river south before heading towards the Naburn Swing Bridge to admire the spectacular ‘Fisher of Dreams’ sculpture. On your way, you’ll pass right through the Sun and Planets trail, featuring a to-scale replica of the solar system running along the old East-Coast Railway line. Stop off at Brunswick Organic Nursery to enjoy a coffee or ice-cream, and explore the incredible plants and produce available in their nursery shop. This amazing local charity provides work opportunities for those with learning difficulties, as well as supporting the local community.

Check out the route here (provided by Sustrans)

Independent Cycling Shops

With so many cycle routes and trails in the city, it’s no surprise that local businesses have popped up all over York to help you get the most out of this great activity. From bikes and equipment, to just grabbing a quick coffee after a morning pedal, there’s a great independent just waiting to help you out. For all your equipment needs, Cyclestreet in Layerthorpe is a really great cycle shop in Layerthorpe that specialises in electric bikes as well as stocking all kinds of bicycles and gear. The team behind Cycle Heaven are also doing their bit to provide excellent quality gear from their three stores in Fulford, York Station, and in The Angel on the Green, so make sure to take a detour on your next ride and make the most of their café in Fulford and great food and drink on offer at The Angel. And while it’s every cyclist’s worst nightmare to have their precious bike broken, Twisted Cogs in Bishopthorpe are making the repair process a breeze, delivering the best care and attention for your gear.

Other Routes Around York

If you’re looking for more places to explore in and around York, there’s no shortage of bike trails to check out in the surrounding towns and countryside. If you’re feeling adventurous, head out to the North York Moors and take on the cycle routes at Sutton Bank or Dalby Forest, with different trails designed for all ages and abilities. Or if urban exploring is more your thing, then follow one of the many inner city cycle paths by following the blue signs around York – it’s a great way to explore some of the local businesses and landmarks from a different perspective.

Images: Cycle Heaven, Twisted Cogs, Beningbrough Hall