Planning your cycle routes

Cyclist in town

Be considerate of others by understanding which paths are most suitable for cyclists

Whether commuting to work, heading to the shops or visiting friends cycling is a fast, convenient and fun way to reach your destination. Plan your route around quiet streets and interesting places – when you’re on your bike there are lots of cycle paths and traffic-free routes you can access, as well as the whole road network.

Are you looking for inspiration where to go?

Have a look at our walking and cycling routes page.

The National Cycle Network

Our National Cycle Network is a country wide network of cycle paths that pass through the centre of every major town in the UK, and more than half of you live within a mile of it. Start by looking out for the blue signs near you – the network is well-signed and easy to follow.

You can also use our map to find on-road and traffic-free routes near you that are part of the National Cycle Network. Just type in an area or postcode to discover routes all over the UK.

We also have a range of free and retail maps and leaflets to help you use your local Network more. Browse through our shop for more detailed maps.

Your local council may also have produced a cycle map for your local area, so you might want to get in touch to ask them.

When planning a route, aim to stick to these as much as you can:

  • quiet roads or cycle paths
  • roads with low speed limits
  • bus lanes
  • parks and open spaces which allow cycling

Cycle Streets' journey planner can be useful when planning your route, giving you the option to plot the fastest route or a slower, but less busy, one.

Once you’ve planned your route, do a practice run at the weekend when the roads are quieter so you’ll be confident and less flustered on Monday morning.

Are you using an electric bike? If you're cycling further away from home the Electric Bicycle Network has a handy map to find electric bike charging spots in certain areas around the UK. 

Types of path

Be considerate of others by understanding which paths are most suitable for cyclists:

  • It is illegal to cycle on a pavement – use roads or cycle paths;
  • Public bridleways can be used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. By law, those on two wheels should give way to other users. Remember the surfaces can be variable and not always suitable for all bikes;
  • Shared-use paths (like those that make up the National Cycle Network) are free of motor traffic and designated for use by walkers, cyclists and sometimes horse riders. These paths generally have good surfaces. You should also read our Cycling Code of Conduct for shared use paths.

Find out how you can start cycling to work

Road safety tips for cyclists