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.....

  • Leeds-Liverpool canal - almost any stretch of it and sometimes referred to as Sustrans route 696.
  • The Great Northern Railway Trail in Queensbury - a Sustrans route offering the potential for rides within the spectacular Bronte country.
  • The Spen Valley Greenway - Another Sustrans route following a disused railway line running between Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike and eventually linking to Bradford.
  • David also recommends plenty of parks to ride around including Peel Park and Lister Park in Bradford.

"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 below. It's technically not legal to cycle on the pavement but nobody in their right mind would prosecute a polite and careful person who is shepherding small children on bikes to a quiet place to ride. 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.

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.

  • 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.

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

"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:-

  • Bradford District Cycle Map
  • Visit
  • CycleBradford route suggestions:-
  • Visit
  • National Cycle Network Map
  • Visit

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."

To find out more, or to get involved, visit capital of

A new mountain bike trail opened in January this year along the main bridleway (Warren Lane) at Oakwell Hall Country Park in Nutter Lane, Birstall.

The trail, which is under one mile long with two uphill sections and two downhill sections, has been developed by the rangers at Oakwell Hall, the local mountain bike advocacy group - Ride Kirklees - and built by bike track. Funding was provided by the area committee for Spen Valley, sport England and the national lottery.

The trail is blue graded and is made up of berms (banked corners) and other off road mountain bike features such as rollers and some rock gardens/drop offs. It is suitable for riders of all abilities - from seasoned riders or children learning to ride off road.

There is also a rideway around the park linking to the play area. For more information visit or check out the Facebook pages ride kirklees and Oakwell hall mtb trail.

The National Trust also offers family-friendly cycle rides amidst breathtaking scenery.

The Woodland cycle trails at Nostell, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF4 1QE, offer two, 1km bike-only cycle routes with families firmly in mind.

The figure of eight loop follows parkland paths. To pick up this pleasant route follow the green cycle signs from the car park to Boathouse Bridge.

For more information, or to get involved, visit also has plenty of family-friendly cycle rides including a 14.5 mile route passing through picturesque Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire.

Pateley Bridge to How Stean Gorge sets off from Pateley Bridge and combines country lanes with spectacular scenery; gentle climbs and exciting descents.To find out more visit

Fancy cycling the solar system? Cyclists can navigate a scale model of the solar system along 6.4 miles of the old East Coast main-line railway and discover scale model of the planets along the way along with models of the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft.

Visit or email

There are plenty of cycle routes to choose from - so what are you waiting for...? Get on your bikes!