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Top Places Around the UK to Supercharge Your Cycling Skills

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According to data from Sport England, nearly 7.4 million people in England cycled for leisure, sport, or transport in 2023. If you’re part of that 7.4 million, whether you’re a hobbyist or a casual rider, there’ll be a skill you may never have considered you can pick up and learn to supercharge your cycling skills.

Here, Ben Mercer, a mountain biking enthusiast and director at Leisure Lakes Bikes, the UK’s leading supplier of mountain bikes, has offered some insight into where cyclists of all abilities can develop and hone their skills in the saddle.

Get cycling in Greater Manchester

When it comes to cities in the north of England with robust cycling infrastructure, making riding through the city centre a breeze, Manchester is one of the standouts. Throughout the Greater Manchester area, you’ll find bike lanes aplenty, reinforced by the Bee Network, a £70 million funding pipeline to create protected cycling routes throughout the region. This includes building additional routes on top of the 13km of cycleways that have already been opened.

Part of the Bee Network is Bee Active which is operated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) with the aim of creating an integrated walking, cycling, and tram network. They offer courses in cycling for all abilities, including those who haven’t ridden a bike in a while and need a refresher course, and people who have never ridden before. There are also courses on bike repair, which can help instil confidence in riders so they can be sure of what to do in the event of a breakdown.

Ben Mercer emphasises the benefit of having a variety of courses available: “If there’s one city in the UK to up your cycling skills, it’s Manchester. Having courses available to improve your abilities, like cycling in traffic or on quiet roads in a city known for its cycle lanes, is a fantastic way to improve. They offer skills that can be applied not just to other cities in the country but around the world. Plus, it’s great for confidence when you’re behind the handlebars.”

Cycling in the capital – London cycling skills

Since 2016, cycling infrastructure in England’s capital city has quadrupled, according to Transport for London (TfL), increasing to 360km from the 90km it was eight years ago. This provides residents with an additional option for travel around the city along with the reliable underground and bus network that’s been established for decades. And this investment has yielded positives, as TfL data shows that cycle journeys hit 1.26 million in 2023.

But if you’re wanting to get on your bike to traverse London and you’re not feeling confident, TfL have you covered with a range of courses to get back to a place of confidence. Not only can you book a place on a free training course in your local borough, but they also offer online training courses to get you ready for cycling on the road, courses for different kinds of urban environments, and even bespoke advanced and family cycling courses.

Going off-road with Dalby Forest Cycle Hub

You might be a cyclist who’s incredibly used to riding on roads and in traffic and looking for a new challenge, or simply have an adventurous spirit in need of exploration beyond gravel. Mountain biking and exploring the fundamentals and intricacies of off-roading on a bike could be a fantastic option for those looking to test their abilities.

Before investing in a mountain bike and trying to explore a trail on your own, getting to grips on a closed track is a great way to get used to the difference in off-roading. Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire doesn’t just offer a variety of tracks and trials for you to test yourself; they also have a range of courses for kids and adults of all skill levels to help you build up your mountain biking skills.

Whether you’re looking to boost your confidence for everyday cycling, get more used to being part of road traffic on your bike or looking to start off-roading, there are plenty of courses around the UK to truly develop skills both old and new. 

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