Do you recall your first bike? I remember the feeling of exhilaration when I peddled off from the grasp of my mother’s hands and realised I was riding it all by myself without stabilisers.
I spent a lot of my childhood riding bicycles – from my tricycle in the back garden to my first two-wheeler, and later to my Raleigh yellow BMX, which took me on so many adventures with the local children around the private housing estate, I used to live on. Grazed knees, broken chains and secret hideaways were all part of my childhood biking adventures.
My parents reliably inform me that all my bikes came from Halfords, which has always been the forefront of cycling retailing. So when it came to buying Monkey his first wheels, we made sure to go to our local store and check out their huge range of children’s bikes.
Instead of a tricycle, we brought Monkey a balance bike – and it was a good decision. Because when we got his first proper bicycle, there was no need for stabilisers – he was off! It took him a matter of hours to gain the confidence to ride it by himself.
And, as a family, we love getting out and about on two wheels. Whenever we go away, there is always a bike trail to be explored or hidden beauty spots such as the Camel Trail in Cornwall or around the Cotswolds to cycle around. Not only do you get to see more, but it’s fun for the whole family. Getting close to wildlife and soaking up wonderful scenery while feeling the adrenaline rush of the wind through your hair are just some of the things kids love about cycling.
The Best Cycle Routes in Surrey and London
We’re lucky to have plenty of superb routes near to us locally – so I round up some of the best cycle routes in Surrey and London.
With Surrey Hills an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as home to the 2012 Olympic Road Speed Race, the steep inclines of Leith Hill, the twists and turns of Box Hill and several picturesque villages means Surrey is a popular spot for cycling in the South East.
The good old National Trust has several routes that are family-friendly from woodland parks, coastlines to flat and easy riverbank routes such as Runnymede along the River Thames and somewhere we like to go to often, Frensham Ponds – a large wild heath with an abundance of wildlife.
Alice Holt Forest
Meanwhile, the Sustrans National Cycle Network offers a wide range of routes across the UK from easy, to long-distance to lakeside trails. Some that sound fantastic for kids include Route 22 which takes you through the fabulous Alice Holt Forest, which has plenty of cycling and walking paths and a treetop adventure, Go Ape! There are also plenty of London routes that can get you away from the hustle and bustle of city life including Hampton Court to Putney along the river path.
The Royal Parks
The Royal Parks offer safe trails for riding bikes with little ones as well as other delights such as playgrounds and boating lakes. One of our favourite places to cycle is in Richmond Park, a great place to see deer in their natural habitat – and Bushy Park.
Downs Link Off Road Trail
How about cycling along a disused railway line? The Downs Link Off Road trail follows a disused railway line forming part of the route linking St Martha’s Hill, near Guildford, to near Shoreham on the south coast. The route crosses the Surrey Hills and the South Downs through predominantly wood areas with views across adjoining fields, but also includes small meadow areas and wetland.
* This post was compiled in association with Halfords