Cycling and Bristol go together like Wallace and Gromit. Named as England’s first cycling city back in 2008, Bristol has flourished as a bike-friendly haven and is home to excellent cycle routes and experiences suitable for every type of rider, from regular pedal-heads and fearless mountain bikers, to occasional leisure riders.

Yes it can be hilly, but for every gruelling climb there’s a heavenly freewheeling descent, and you can avoid the hills entirely by taking a gentle ride around the Harbourside or riding the flat Bristol and Bath Railway Path. Here are some of the cycling highlights in and around the city.

Pick your route

The Festival Way

The Festival Way opened in May 2013. It’s a 9-mile route that will take you from Bristol Harbourside to Millennium Park in Nailsea, via the beautiful Ashton Court Estate.

It’s a great traffic-free route for families attending events at Ashton Court such as Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol Festival of Kites and Air Creations, Brisfest and more.

Cycling Bristol Harbourside

Photo credit: Chris Bahn, Bristol City Council

Bristol and Bath Railway Path

Bristol and Bath Railway was the first ever route to be created on the National Cycle Network.

It’s still one of the Network’s most popular routes and is an easy 16-mile ride between Bristol Harbourside and the World Heritage City of Bath – perfect for people wanting to take in two fabulous West Country cities in one leisurely bike ride. 

Bristol to Bath Railway

The Strawberry Line

The Strawberry Line is a favourite local ride. Take a train from Bristol to Yatton and then tackle this 11-mile countryside route that passes through Thatcher's Cider orchard on the way and ends at the magnificent Cheddar Gorge and Caves

The route takes its name from the delicious Cheddar strawberries that used to be transported along here when it was a working railway line.

Strawberry Line

Photo credit: Sustrans

You can plot these and other routes on the online map of Bristol-based charity Sustrans, creators of the National Cycle Network.

Mountain bike trails

If you prefer a gnarly mountain bike trail to a smoothly surfaced route then head for Ashton Court and Leigh Woods – they are hugely popular with the MTB crowd and are only minutes away from the city centre.

You can hire mountain bikes from Pedal Progression in Ashton Court.

Mountain bike trails Ashton Court, Leigh Woods

Cycle hire and tours

If you arrive in Bristol without your own bicycle it’s no problem, you can hire one at Cycle the City, an independent bike hire service on the waterfront. Or hire a bicycle made for two at Bristol Tandem Hire

You could also book onto one of its popular guided tours like the Ale Trail, which takes in some of Bristol’s award-winning ale pubs, or the wine-tasting tour that includes sampling organic, English wines.

Book an electric bike with Bristol Electric Bike Hire and soar up famously challenging hills like Park Street with ease. Bike hire can also be arranged for guests at Brooks Guesthouse in the Old City.

GWR have also introduced a Brompton folding bike hire scheme for travellers arriving at Bristol Temple Meads railway station.

Cycle the City Bristol

Cycle-friendly hangouts

After a day’s cycling, there’s nothing like sitting down to a hearty hot meal, and where better to fuel up than surrounded by fellow cyclists at one of Bristol’s cycle cafés? 

Mud Dock cycleworks and café combines sales of bikes and accessories with repairs and servicing, maintenance workshops and managed, covered bike parking for 50 bikes.  The café bar above the shop serves excellent food in a stylish, renovated warehouse on the dockside and has a rooftop terrace for outdoor, summer dining with great views over the water. It has been open since 1994 and is one of Bristol’s classic cycle outlets.

Cycle the City is based at No.1 Harbourside café bar on the waterfront, so you can return your bike and then sit down for a cider, a hot meal made with locally-sourced, seasonal produce, and live music.

Cycling cafe Mud dock

Bristol’s cycling calendar

Some of the highlights of the cycling calendar in Bristol include Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride and Bristol Cycle Festival in June.

Cycling Bristol

Photo credit: Angharad Paull

Related

No. 1 Harbourside
Bar
No. 1 Harbourside

No.1 Harbourside celebrates the best of Bristol and the south west with their waterside venue where you can find the finest local food, free music, markets and events.

Ashton Court Estate
Garden
Ashton Court Estate

Historic 850-acre parkland with mansion, two pitch-and-putt golf courses, deer park, miniature railway, orienteering and nature trails

Cheddar Caves & Gorge
Natural Feature
Cheddar Caves & Gorge

Visit Britain’s biggest gorge, take in the dramatic cliffs rising up 450ft and explore the stunning stalactite caverns below.

Mountainbike Trail - Leigh Woods link
Cycle Route
Leigh Woods link

Try this linking trail to bike between Leigh Woods and 50 Acre Woods!

Bristol Electric Bike Hire
Cycle
Bristol Electric Bike Hire

See Bristol in a new way – on an ELECTRIC BIKE. Shaun Trails, Harbourside, or Historical – no better way to get around.

Park Street
Street/Area
Park Street Bristol

A great selection of trendy clothes boutiques, music and records stores, bars and restaurants, furniture and art galleries.

Mud Dock Cycleworks and Cafe
Café
Mud-Dock-cafe-2.jpg

Café/restaurant above a specialised mountain bike shop on Bristol's Harbourside