NAVIGATING busy roads can be daunting even for seasoned cyclists.

It's easy to feel intimidated on two-wheels, and even vulnerable at times, so finding traffic-free routes where you can cycle safely - and with more freedom - is imperative - particularly for those with families.

David Robison, one of the directors of Bradford's Capital of Cycling, a community hub launched nearly two years ago in Bradford which is busy promoting cycling activities for health and well-being as well as other cycle-related initiatives, has come up with his favourite traffic free off-road routes in Bradford and beyond...

1. Leeds-Liverpool canal - almost any stretch of it and sometimes referred to as Sustrans route 696.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: VIBRANTLY VICTORIAN: The view from the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to Saltaire

2. The Great Northern Railway Trail in Queensbury - a Sustrans route offering the potential for rides within the spectacular Bronte country.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Cyclists on the Great Northern Railway TrailCyclists on the Great Northern Railway Trail

3. The Spen Valley Greenway - Another Sustrans route following a disused railway line running between Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike and eventually linking to Bradford.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Spen Valley GreenwaySpen Valley Greenway

4 & 5. David also recommends plenty of parks to ride around including Peel Park and Lister Park in Bradford.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Peel Park and Lister ParkPeel Park and Lister Park

6. Sometimes getting to these places on a bike might seem a bit intimidating but there is a route that goes up near Manchester road called 'Route 66', over the big red bridge. You can find details on the Sustrans website. Remember, you can always get off and push for a bit if you're not comfortable with the traffic environment," says David, who cycles on and off road with his seven-year-old daughter.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Manchester Road BridgeManchester Road Bridge

7. David also suggests the soon-to-be-completed Canal Road Greenway which will connect Bradford to Shipley. "That'll be a great way to get out of the centre when it's finally done - expected in Spring," he adds.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Canal Road GreenwayThe Canal Road Greenway

8. The CityConnect route is another recommendation connecting Leeds and Bradford. "I find it sad that all people want to do is criticise that route as a waste of money, because you can actually use it to get places, despite its imperfections. We really need to be promoting the idea of using the infrastructure to get people healthy, reduce congestion and pollution and to generally make a happier city," says David.

9. Exploring beyond Bradford, David suggests 'a great route from Ilkley to Bolton Abbey down the back road' which is also suitable for families.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Currer Lane between Ilkley and Bolton Abbey. Picture: Google MapsCurrer Lane between Ilkley and Bolton Abbey. Picture: Google Maps

"People don't need to be afraid of taking their bikes on the train, especially outside of rush-hour times. The Skipton/Ilkley train can house a few bikes if you wanted to get out to the Ilkley ride," says David.

Capital of Cycling also runs a BIKE BUS to encourage people to commute by bike - to help build confidence by riding with a small supportive group. Visit

You can also do your bit by supporting the campaign for better cycling infrastructure in Bradford. Join the Bradford Cycling Campaign - or find them on Facebook.

For other useful cycling route resources check out these websites:

Says David: "In terms of route planning, people might like to try the CycleStreets app or web map as an alternative/complement to Google Maps - it helps you work out the quieter roads and the less steep routes as per your preference."

Capital of Cycling is running a range of half-term events including balance bikes and learn to ride session. To find out more visit

To support Capital of Cycling, you can donate via Facebook.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The cycle hub in Hall Ings, Bradford