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The UK’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities Revealed

The UK’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities Revealed

Cycling is one of the UK’s most popular sporting activities, and its growth in the past year has been exciting. The government reported that cycling in our towns and cities had increased by 384 per cent between March and May 2020. The cycling community is welcoming this upsurge in pedal power, encouraging people to keep up this sustainable and healthy transport method.

As the popularity of cycling increases, the need for cycle routes and infrastructure grows — especially in our cities. More safe passages and cycle paths can help to encourage cycling for all, from the fitness fanatics on mountain bikes to the business commuters on electric bikes. But which UK city is already the best for cyclists? New data from Leisure Lakes Bikes reveals the best cycling city in the UK. The research collated the number of cycling routes in each UK city from Bikemap, a platform for cyclists to share cycling routes. The total distance of these routes was also calculated, showing how far you can cycle in these bike-friendly cities.

Here, we explore the top five bike-friendly cities in the UK, delving into the best cycling routes in each.

5. York

With 900 cycle routes, amounting to 59,305km of mapped ways, York places fifth on the ranking of best cycling city in the UK. The northern cathedral city has a great network of off-road cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes for cyclists. There’s also an extensive availability of cycle parking facilities across the city, including at shopping centres, schools, and offices.

If you’re looking for a fun route to cycle in York, we’d recommend cycling from York Minster along the River Ouse towards Beningbrough Hall. You’ll enjoy seeing the historic city before easing into an idyllic green space with fantastic water scenes.

4. Glasgow

Glasgow is the most populated city in Scotland. So, it’s great to see that the city has 912 cycling routes and 82,340km of mapped ways. The city is renowned for its culture of sport and music, hosting gigs from the biggest names in the music industry, as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the first European Championships in 2018. Now, the city can also be known for its cycling accessibility.

Want to see some more of Glasgow? Hop on your bike and cycling from Glasgow Green, alongside the River Clyde before joining the Forth and Clyde Canal. You’ll see a range of great Glaswegian monuments, including the Clyde Arc Bridge and George Square.

3. Bristol


Bristol is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations and also held the title of the best city to live in in 2014 and 2017. Perhaps the high number of cycle routes contributed to its achievement. Placing third in the UK, there are 1,612 cycling routes in Bristol with 96,947km of mapped ways. As cycling is one of the most sustainable methods of transport, it’s unsurprising that this cycling-mad city was also awarded the European Green Capital Award in 2015.

The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is one of the most famous cycling routes in the country. At 15 miles long, this off-road cycle path is part of the National Cycle Network. Using the old Midland Railway track, you’ll find art, monuments, and remnants of the old train line along this route that connects Bristol and Bath.

2. London

The UK capital narrowly misses out on also being the cycling capital, placing second as the most bike-friendly city. London has 1,730 cycling routes and 223,429km of mapped ways – meaning it comes out on top in terms of mapped ways. Cycling is an incredibly popular option for working professionals in the city, and as such, it has the infrastructure to match.

If you fancy practising some quality metropolitan cycling, London has no shortage of routes. One scenic route that will help break you into London cycling is King’s Cross to Notting Hill. Don’t bother getting the Underground – enjoy seeing Camden Lock, the zoo in Regent’s Park, and the waterside by Little Venice. What’s a trip to London without some sightseeing?

1. Edinburgh

Beating its southern counterpart, Edinburgh takes the top spot as the most bike-friendly city in the UK. The data reveals that there are 1,751 cycling routes in the Scottish capital with 164,913km of mapped ways. With a range of bike priority measures, Edinburgh is shaping up to be the best and safest cities in the UK for cycling. You can enjoy off-road and on-road cycle paths and lanes throughout the city.

There’s a great mix of urban and green space to enjoy too. Riding around Arthur’s Seat is certainly a treat! We’d also recommend parking your bike and climbing up this impressive volcanic hill to see the city in all its beauty and strength. If you really love cycling, you may want to consider moving to Edinburgh.

The UK is becoming a nation of cyclists. With an increasing number of cycle routes in our cities, it’s unsurprising that so many people are falling in love with this sustainable and healthy transport option. Cycling is one of the best ways to get around a city, and these cities are leading the race to become the best for cyclists.


Images: Unsplash