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Despite its myriad hills, cycling in Bristol remains one of the best ways of not just exploring the buzzing city, but adventuring through its tremendous surroundings as well. A major maritime city intriguingly set back from the coast, bike rides here have the scope to take you across rolling countryside as well as along the stunning estuarine coastline.
Cycle routes in Bristol are absolutely everywhere and new paths pop up all the time. A city dedicated to becoming one of Europe’s biggest cycling destinations, you’ll be in great company when you explore the area on two-wheels.
Take your steed out for a spin to the west, crossing the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge and pedaling past farmland, through woodlands and over hills to the Bristol Channel coast. Routes are typically undulating, if not outright hilly, but you can always follow the River Avon for rural, traffic-free miles.
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A historic city, cycle routes through Bristol and out towards the sea take you past the same landscapes that industry has been travelling along for hundreds of years. Inhabited since neanderthal times, Bristol itself was founded around 1,000 AD and the port area swiftly developed. Becoming one of the most important trading ports in the country, the city grew and saw many ships leaving for the New World.
Cycling from Bristol westwards makes for a wonderful day ride, taking in modest hills, flat river trails and the towering sides of the Avon Gorge. Decide which side of the Avon you want to be on when you start out for the most flexible of routes but there is a cycle path across the river alongside the M5. This means you can cycle to the sea and back in a circular route.
Eastwards, you can ride all the way to Bath along flawless, traffic-free, flat tarmac, perfect for family adventures as well as an easy way to get to the edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Bike rides from Bristol can also whisk you south to the pretty Mendip Hills AONB where you can cycle around the grand Chew Valley Lake and delve further into rolling limestone scenery. While you’ll encounter your fair share of climbs, the views get better and better, rewarding tired legs.
One of the best locations for riding thanks to its varied terrain, staggering gorges and range of trails, the Mendips tempt Bristol’s cyclists down whenever sun is on the forecast. If exhilarating rides are your thing, cycling through the famous Cheddar Gorge is a highlight. What goes down, must come up though. If you want cake with your climbs, the Mendips are littered with cafes welcoming hungry cyclists.
If you’d rather get your cake and coffee in Bristol after pedaling around the historic floating docks, no sweat. There are so many outstanding independent outlets here that you can ride from cake shop to cake shop, some of which even provide dedicated bike parking.
Explore more of South West England: Browse the best Cycling Routes in other regions.