On Your Bike – Wheelie Fun Family Rides in Yorkshire

Spring has sprung and with that in mind we’ve turned our attention to enjoying family fun time while exploring the great outdoors. Over lockdown many of us took to our bicycles to explore our local areas leading to cycling being one of the most popular forms of outdoor exercise.

Flash forward to the present day and while we’re not restricted by lockdown laws, bicycle rides are still one of the best outdoor activities to do as a family. They have several benefits from the physical aspects, to reducing children’s screen time. They’re also a great activity for those on holiday looking to explore the local area as well.

Cycling in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is famous for its cycling after playing host to the Tour De France’s ‘Grand Tours’ in 2014 where two out of the three stages of the race were in Yorkshire; Leeds to Harrogate, and York to Sheffield, which were nicknamed Le Tour de Yorkshire. With a mix of terrain and stunning views across the region, it’s no wonder people love to cycle here.

So, whether you call God’s own county home or you’re planning a Yorkshire holiday escape here at The Insurance Emporium, we’ve compiled our top five family-friendly cycling routes across Yorkshire to enjoy.

The York Solar System Route

Photo by: Richard Corfield

Being based in York we couldn’t not start with a team favourite here at TIE. If cycling with a sprinkle of knowledge and great views is you and your family’s jam then the York Solar System route is for you. As the name suggests this route is a scale model of the Solar System – cool huh!

Along the 6.4-mile (10km) journey of the old East Coast mainline cyclists will come across scale models of all the planets and models of the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft. Most people start the route from the Knavesmire/York racecourse to Riccall, with most of the route traffic free – you’ll just need to watch out for other families and people walking the route.

There are several places to stop off along the way to refuel and top up those energy levels if any of your crew start to lag behind the rest of the pack.

Distance: 6.4miles (10km)
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Bike Hire available: Yes – in York from Cycle Heaven or Get Cycling

Scarborough to Whitby Rail Trail

This popular cycle route is another hidden gem of the North – also known as “The Cinder Track” due to its cinder track ballast, the line now forms 21.7 miles (37km) of Route 1 of the National Cycle Network. Again, this is mainly an off-road route, making it ideal for families.

It’s worth seeing Scarborough Castle before setting off from the famous seaside town of Scarborough itself. Along the route, riders can expect nothing but the stunning scenery that the North Yorkshire Coast has to offer. Plus, a hidden cove by Hayburn Wyke, and not forgetting the beautiful fishing town of Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s sure to be a family day out you’ll remember for a long time.

Distance: 21.7 miles (37km)
Difficulty: Medium
Bike Hire: Yes – in Whitby from Trailways or Bayhire in Scarborough & Whitby

Dalby Forest

Situated in the heart of the North York Moors National Park, Dalby Forest is home to 8,500 acres of breath-taking views, offering adventure and excitement for all the family.

It has 6 cycling routes in total – promising some of the best mountain biking trails around, ranking from an easy 2.5 miles (4km) along the Ellerburn Family Cycle Route – to a hard 21.5 miles (34.3km) along the Red Route.

Plus, there’s much more to do at Dalby Forest than cycling, activities include:

  • The Gruffalo orienteering course
  • Zog trail
  • 13 walking trails (including easy access), watch out for the unique sculptures which are dotted throughout the forest
  • Dalby Activity Centre
  • Go Ape courses

As well as the usual modern amenities such as shop and café, and two play areas. Plus, dogs are welcome too!

Distance: Ranges vary from easy 2.5 miles (4km) to 21.5miles (34.3km)
Difficulty: Caters for all abilities (from Easy to Severe, which is reserved for expert mountain bike users)
Bike Hire: Yes – Dalby Forest Cycle Hub

The Swale Trail

Still in the Yorkshire Dales – the Swale Trail is a new valley bottom route that opened in 2018 and runs from between Reeth and Keld in the stunning Swaledale. The route is suitable for children aged 10 years and over covering 12 miles (20km) of terrain, of which 70% is on unsurfaced tracks.

This is a more challenging mainly off-road trail and could be completed in stages if required for less experienced riders. Along this scenic route, it’s worth stopping in Gunnerside to refuel at one of the cafes or pubs before the final stage of the route takes you to Keld. Here there’s another café and toilet facilities before heading back and doing it all again (if you’re up to the challenge!)

Don’t forget your camera with this route – there’s plenty of picture-perfect landscapes to capture along the trail.

Distance: 12 miles (20km)
Difficulty: Medium-Hard (being the Dales there are some challenging climbs, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views)
Bike Hire: Yes – the Dales Bike Centre near Reeth

Leeds Urban Bike Park

Image: Leeds Mumbler

Built on what was a council run golf course in Middleton, Leeds Urban Bike Park is a free facility with an aim to encourage young people to be the best they can be by providing activities and opportunities which increase their horizons.

The park is perfect for all abilities, from those looking to improve their BMX skills to those looking for a mountain bike trail – it ticks a lot of boxes.

The park has a range of activities riders can enjoy, including:

  • BMX Skills Track
  • Pump Track
  • Jump area
  • Green, blue, and red trails

Plus, there’s a café if you’re looking to enjoy some peace and quiet while letting your children burn off some energy.

Distance: Ranges from trail to trail
Difficulty: Easy – Hard
Bike Hire: Yes – Leeds Urban Bike Park


Here at The Insurance Emporium, we understand that family units come in all shapes and sizes, which is why we’ve recently launched our new bicycle insurance product that can cover up to six bicycles on one policy. Giving you peace of mind that you and your family’s bikes are covered for when the unexpected happens.

So, what are you waiting for? Get on your bike and enjoy exploring the great outdoors with your nearest and dearest, adventure is out there!

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