Matt

Rides

A child cycles away from the camera up a forest track.

For much of the ride we followed the ghosts of old steam trains – their rails now long gone and their presence a distant memory. In their place: cycle paths and forests tracks.

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A rusty signpost points along the Ridgeway National Trail, rolling green hills in the background.

I was on the Ridgeway – again. This time it was to ride a 240km car-free, off-road overnighter using the Kennet & Avon Canal to create a loop.

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An adult and child cycle away from the camera along a cycle path in the Dutch dunes.

We pedalled away from our hostel – a converted thirteenth century castle – on the bike paths that run through the forest and nature reserve, before parking up in the dunes and heading to the beach.

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View of Cheddar town from above the gorge.

From our viewpoint above Cheddar Gorge, the town stretched out before us and we could see the hostel where we had spent the previous night.

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A mountain bike stands on the loch side with Ben Nevis in the background.

As we pedalled along the white gravel towpath we couldn’t believe our luck. It was only Easter but the temperature was nudging 20°C in an unseasonal warm spell. Early in the year, and with local schools not yet on holiday, we had the path almost to ourselves.

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“I’ll meet you there,” I said to my family as they headed off to the station. It was the first leg of our holiday in Scotland and they were catching the train out of Glasgow to the Falkirk Wheel. I was keen to do some cycling, so I planned to grab a bike from the city’s Nextbike bike-sharing scheme and ride along the canal to Falkirk.

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A child on a bike, an adult walking and a dog are silhouetted on the wet sand of Porthcawl at low tide.

Corum said he had wondered whether to bother opening his shop that morning; it was still term time in Wales and distinctly off-season for surfing and cycling in Porthcawl. Luckily for us, he had decided to show up.

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Two Brompton bikes and a child's Islabike lean against a wall on the Bristol-Bath cycle path.

“Ha, your bikes are smaller than mine,” chuckled G as J and I retrieved our Bromptons from the lockers outside Bristol Temple Meads Station.

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A child rides along a path in a deep rock cutting on the Monsal Trail.

We dived into Pizza Express, hungry after a day that had been a bit more adventurous than planned – combining a family ride on the Monsal Trail with a hike back into Buxton.

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A child rides their bike up a trail through a tree-lined section of the Elan Valley Trail on a sunny day.

The Elan Valley Trail, set amidst the Cambrian Mountains, had been on our cycling wish list for a while. There can be few family-friendly cycle paths as spectacular.

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