Leisure cycling takes many forms and can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s about enjoyment, fitness, exploring, and much more. You may cycle purely for leisure on or off road, for purposeful transport to and from work or school, or to chill out after a competition. It is something that you can do at your own pace or with a group of friends.
Cycling is a sport like no other, mixed age and ability groups can head off together and return together. Stronger riders help and encourage young or novice riders. You’ll never get a game of football with Renaldo or a seat next to Lewis Hamilton! But take a look at the picture with Steven Burke leading a local ride of 14/15 year olds.
Cycling exercises most of the muscles in the lower body as well as your heart and lungs. Most forms of cycling are easy on joints, as the pedalling action is smooth, but more aggressive leisure cycling such as mountain biking and BMX can be needs added protection. Gentle cycling burns about 300 calories per hour so its a good way of keeping trim and fit.
Where to Ride
Riders new to cycling can gain confidence and bike handling skills on one of the local off road cycle ways such as the canal towpath, and along the extensive local network of quiet lanes. Children must be with adults.
As you gain confidence there are a series of national trails to explore (the canal towpath for example is part of “Route 68” which runs from Derby to the Scottish Border). We have some of the finest countryside in the UK on our doorstep, with the Bowland Fells and Yorkshire Dales within easy reach. The ultimate leisure ride is a serious challenge ride like the Coast to Coast and other long distance events, to a Cycle Sportif event.
Basically any bike provided that it’s reliable will do: a road bike, mountain bike if going off-road, however a lightweight bike with a good range of gears will make riding more comfortable. Also as you might be travelling further from home, you will need basic tools and a spare inner tube to save you from a long walk home! Clothing needs to be quick drying and give protection from the weather.
Who to ride with:
While one of the attractions of leisure cycling is that it can be done anywhere, anytime it is more fun to do with family and friends. British Cycling and Go-Ride encourages safe leisure cycling for children and families, and as such Cycle Sport Pendle and its members will in time organise leisure rides and activities for its members and families.
It is also worth noting that the local Burnley and Pendle branch of the CTC (Cyclist’s Touring Club) run a variety of guided rides each week, and provide an excellent way to get to know the local lanes and good cycling routes, with a friendly group of like minded people. For further information visit CTC Burnley and Pendle Branch.
For the more adventurous, there are a number of informal groups of friends that go mountain bike riding.
Other local cycling clubs organise weekly road rides, from shorter easy rides to longer harder rides.
Please note that generally, local clubs will only take along youngsters if accompanied by parents or guardians and that those involved are unlikely to the CRB checked.