Peak District Cycling and Cycle Routes
Frequently asked questions ...
Can I ride anywhere in the Peak District?
You can cycle on public bridleways and byways (both are usually signposted), waymarked shared trails such as the High Peak Trail or Manifold Track, as well as public lanes and roads. You are not allowed to cycle on public footpaths or pavements, except where specially permitted (look for the blue signs indicating pedestrians and bicycles).
Are there any totally traffic-free routes?
Yes, a number of former railway lines have been converted into multi-user trails like the Monsal and Longdendale Trails. These are entirely out of bounds to motorised vehicles and motorbikes, but sometimes the trails do cross public roads so be careful at these points, and where farm vehicles occasionally need to cross the routes.
What other users will be on these trails and who should cyclists give way to?
You will probably encounter walkers and sometimes horse riders on these routes. You should give way to both these groups and be careful not to cause alarm by riding up to them too quickly. Ring your bell or call out if they don't seem aware of your presence.
Do I have to get fit first, since I haven't cycled for ages?
No, cycling in itself is an ideal way to exercise and raise your fitness levels. But start gradually on an easy route, such as the Tissington or Monsal Trails (mostly level former railway lines), then slowly extend your distance and capability. If you have any existing health conditions then perhaps speak to your doctor first about suitable levels of exertion. There's also a new electric bike hire scheme in the Peak District, based at Carsington Water and Hassop Cycle Hire, that some first-time users might find useful.
Do I have to bring my own bike or can I hire one locally?
There are a number of cycle hire centres offering half day and daily rates on a variety of popular cycling trails, including the High Peak Trail (at Parsley Hay and Middleton Top), Monsal Trail (Hassop Station and Blackwell Mill), Tissington Trail (Ashbourne) and Manifold Track (Waterhouses), as well as in the Upper Derwent Valley at Fairholmes and at Carsington Reservoir. There are usually both adults and children's models, and at some locations specially adapted bikes for disabled cyclists are also available.
Can very young children share in the fun of cycling?
Yes, definitely. Many of the cycle hire centres have not just child seats but 'tag-alongs' and trailers, so even the very youngest can enjoy a ride along the trail (although they do tend to doze off once you get going). Depending on the weather, remember to wrap them up warmly and stop for plenty of picnic breaks!
What if my bike needs repair?
Some of the cycle hire centres offer a repair service for private bikes, depending on opening times and how busy they are, plus there are cycle shops for repairs, spare parts and accessories at the likes of Matlock, Hope, Buxton and Chesterfield.
Do I really need to wear a helmet if I'm not riding on the road?
Yes, it will offer vital protection for the most important part of your body should you come off or accidentally crash into something or someone. At cycle hire centres a helmet will come with the bike, otherwise they're not that expensive to buy and could save your life. Get into the habit for when you might have to ride on the road, and set a good example to younger riders.
Where can I go to get basic cycling tuition?
Check out the Bikeability initiative, described as cycling proficiency for the 21st century. It's aimed at children and adults and is designed to give you the skills and confidence to cycle both on roads and off. There are courses through schools for younger cyclists and a list of approved instructors around the UK for adults. Go to www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability/ for more details.