Cycling in Bristol
Bristol is the UK's first Cycling City, acknowledging the city's growing status as one of Europe's most bike-friendly destinations.
Bristol is the hub of Britain's national cycle routes and home to Sustrans - Britain's leading sustainable transport charity. It's no wonder then that Bristol has cycle routes on almost all its major roads, and there are plenty of places to lock up your bike, over 300 cycle parking spaces and free-to-use bike pumps around the city, making cycling a great way to explore the city.
Bristol has something for every cyclist. There are beautiful riverside country trails for the weekend and an extensive network of city centre cycle lanes for commuters.
Sightseeing by bike
If you're keen to try an organised tour, take a look at the Adventurous Activity Company, who run organised tours of the city for groups with bike hire included. You can make it as challenging or as easy going as you choose.
Take the opportunity to see the sights of Bristol by bike. Cycle the City offers fun and fascinating bicycle tours and packages on vintage bikes from Central Bristol. Discover the River Avon, Harbour, Bristol's hidden ale houses and even enjoy a picnic on their cycle tours.
Looking for something with a little more adrenalin? The Avon Timberland cycling trail starting at Ashton Court is a great option for mountain bikers of all abilities where you can go wild, without damaging environmentally sensitive areas.
If you arrive in Bristol without two wheels then you can hire one, and we have plenty of choice. Webbs Cycle Shop are a great company that predominately sell and hire bikes but they also offer a ‘custom hire service’ which is aimed at groups (families, corporate and hen/stag). They deliver bikes to people and can pick them up from anywhere in Bristol and the surrounding area.
Bristol Electric Bike Hire hire out Electric bikes so that you can enjoy all the cycle paths, and most importantly the Bristol hills.
Cycle the City offer beautiful vintage bikes for you to borrow and cycle enthusiasts and those getting to grips with cycling can also hire bikes from Pedal Progression in the beautiful and green Ashton Court Estate. They offer hire, accessories, repairs and bike skills coaching.
If convenience is more your thing, First Great Western have introduced a Brompton folding bike hire scheme, Brompton Dock, for travellers arriving at Bristol Temple Meads railway station.
You can also hire from Jake's Bike's, Bristol Cycle Shack, Bristol Bike Project and Blackboy Hill Cycles.
Maps and Route planning
If you are looking for some maps, route planners, accommodation and ideas for a cycle trip in Bristol and it's surrounding areas, here are the must-see websites for cyclists.
Better by Bike is the comprehensive cycling website for Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. It includes regional cycle maps and routes, information on bike hire, cycle shops and workshops, cycling clubs and bike events, plus much more.
Sustrans is Britain's leading sustainable transport charity and their website has detailed maps of the National Cycle Network in and around Bristol, including some of the most well-loved routes, such as the Festival Way, Bristol and Bath Railway Path and The Strawberry Line.
Cycle Streets is another useful route planning and mapping website, Cycle Streets also has a free app that available for iPhone, Andriod, Blackberry 10, Windows Phone and mobile web (HTML5)
North Somerset has some fantastic cycling routes including this Cinema and Film route through Clevedon, which takes you to many of the filming locations in Broadchurch, ITV1’s award-winning crime drama starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman.
For information about cycling in South Gloucestershire visit the South Glos Council's cycling pages.
Being a cycling city, there are lots of places to stay in Bristol that are bike-friendly, this can be anything from offering a place where you can store or wash your bike, to offering repairs, packed lunched and discounts for cyclists. Beds for Cyclists is a website, set up by Bristol-based Sam Howard that lists some of the accommodation available in the city, such as Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa, The Greenhouse and YHA Bristol. Also the Bristol Premier Inns are cyclist-friendly, which means that you’ll either be able to keep your beloved two-wheeler in your room or they’ll store it in a safe place for you.
However, we would always recommend checking with the accommodation before you book to see if they offer any cycle-friendly facilities and a full list of places to stay can be found here.
Cafes and Restaurants for Cyclists
Bristol has hundreds of restaurants and cafes to choose from, many of which will offer something extra for cyclists that visit.
Mud Dock on the harbourside is a unique cycling-themed cafe that's a haven for cyclists. Here you can take advantage of a handy repair service, take a shower after a long bike ride or treat yourself to a cup of coffee or cold beer.
No1. Harbourside, also the base for Cycle the City, offers ample cycle parking and a great range of beers and food.
Roll for the Soul is Bristol’s Community Bike Café and workshop, describing itself as a ‘focal point for cycling’ in Bristol, ‘celebrating and supporting every wonderful aspect of our cycling culture’.
The Crofters Rights, a craft beer pub in Stokes Croft has wall storage inside the pub for customers to store their bikes.
Mountain Bikes and Off-Road Cycling
For mountain biking and off-road cycling Ashton Court and Leigh Woods are hugely popular and are only minutes away from the city centre.
Alternative Bike Culture
Bristol is the home of ‘Boikzmoind’ and fixed gear biking – run by Gavin Strange Senior Animator at Aardman Animations. ‘Boikzmoind’ has run unofficial races around five chip shops in the city called Fixed ‘n’ Chips and Fixed ‘n’ Chips 2: Bigger & Batter.
Bristol trick cyclist, Matti Hemmings is a professional Flatland BMXer and two times Guiness World Record-holder. Watch him perform some of his stunts around Bristol