Cycling

Fun, fast, fit and free – that’s why we like cycling in Leicester & Leicestershire. Check out our top tips and information to help you make everyday cycling journeys to work, school or the shops – swap four wheels for two and enjoy the benefits!

Why cycling is great...

  • It’s fun. Remind yourself how fun it felt when you first learned to cycle. Propelling yourself along on two wheels feels great – certainly better than being stuck in traffic.
  • It’s fast. Choosing to cycle means that you can sail past jams, and for busy town and city environments cycling can often be the quickest way of getting from A to B. Most areas of Leicester are well within a 30 minute ride – even for novices or those that prefer a more relaxed pace.
  • Get fit. Cycling is great exercise and a really easy way of building in some activity to your day. You can burn around 500 calories per hour through moderate cycling.
  • It’s free. Ok, so there’s a bit of cost to keep your bike in top condition, but it’s almost nothing compared to the annual running costs of a car. No petrol required – only some decent fuel for the rider! 


Sarah made the switch to cycling and it has transformed her commute

She cycles seven miles to work from Barwell to Enderby:

sarah-electric-bike

Getting to work was a hassle for me and it used to take over an hour. Now I’ve switched to an electric bike it takes me just 21 minutes, which is only a few minutes longer than if I drove. It’s also great for my health, I’ve lost a stone in weight and feel much more lively and focussed.

Brush up on your skills or get started with one of our cycling courses. Enjoy regular rides and meet new people by joining a local cycling clubor dive straight in and plan your first cycling route in the city or county using our journey planner – simply select whether you’d like the quickest, quietest or most balanced route.

Looking for organised rides or exploration inspiration? Check out our Explore by bike page, where you can download six free cycling maps covering the whole city and county.

Cycling courses

Cycling courses are available to help anyone who would like to improve their bike skills.cycling-courses

Whether you’re a complete novice, someone who hasn’t cycled for a long time, or simply want to practise something in particular, our trained instructors will help.

Adult cycling courses (over 18s)

Free cycle training in schools

bikeability-logoMany Leicester & Leicestershire schools offer free cycle courses following the national Bikeability programme, funded by the Department for Transport.

There are three Bikeability levels, each designed to help trainees improve cycling skills – no matter what they know already.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 take trainees on a journey from the basics of balance and control, all the way through to planning and making a journey by themselves on busier roads.

All sessions are led by accredited National Standard Instructors. Find out more:

bc-go-ride-logoGo-Ride clubs for under 18s

Go-Ride is British Cycling’s development programme for young people aged 5 to 18*. Clubs deliver coaching activities in traffic-free environments.

There are numerous Go-Ride and Go-Ride-accredited clubs across Leicester & Leicestershire, some of which are attached to adult cycling clubs, whilst others are stand-alone.

Children can use any type of bike, so long as it’s in good condition, and a helmet must be worn. Sessions teach the necessary skills to make riders more competent, safer cyclists, and promote good health through fun activities that are easy to learn. Find your local Go Ride Club.

*Note: age ranges vary. Please check club websites for full details.

Cycle maintenance courses

CycleworksCycleworks is a training facility for cycle maintenance based at Pilot House, accessed from Duke Street, Leicester LE1 6RN. Cycle maintenance courses are run by Future Cycles and range from one-off sessions to courses giving professionally-recognised bike mechanic qualifications. Book at Future Cycles at 21 Market Street, Leicester LE1 6DN, or call 0116 242 5959.

Choosing to cycle to work can help you unlock a whole host of benefits: it’s easy, a powerful de-stressing solution, and it’s a cost-efficient way of exercising – cycling to work a few times a week is certainly cheaper than maintaining a gym membership.

Plan your cycling route to work using our journey planner – you can choose from options for the quickest, quietest or balanced route. Want some help? Book a place on one of our cycling courses to help you get up to speed.

Pick up some tips about cycling to work from Sustrans and British Cycling, and plan your route using our journey planner or cycling maps – these free maps show you the local cycling network, where you can park your bike and local bike shops.

Cycling to school or college

Choosing to do the school run with two wheels instead of four whenever you feel able brings big benefits for both you and your children – fresh air, exercise and sunshine (sometimes!) before the day has properly started.

With a little practice and organisation it is just as easy as jumping in the car together, and you’ll be able to cover the mile or so to school quickly – without too many complaints of tired legs!

Want to give it a try? Here are our tips for getting started:

  • Plan your route. Use our journey planner to find the most suitable route to school – you can select from quickest, quietest and balanced routes.
  • Choose an ‘easy’ day for your first attempt. If you’re always under pressure to get everyone running to time on a Monday, or if someone has to carry lots of sports kit to school on a Thursday, don’t choose those days for your maiden voyages. Choose a day that works for everyone.
  • Have a practice-run. Try out your route together at the weekend, when you’re less time pressured and traffic is quieter.
  • Get some training. Our adult cycling courses can give you practical tips for cycling together as a family.

Free cycle training in schools

bikeability-logoMany Leicester & Leicestershire schools offer free cycle courses following the national Bikeability programme, funded by the Department for Transport.

There are three Bikeability levels, each designed to help trainees improve cycling skills – no matter what they know already.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 take trainees on a journey from the basics of balance and control, all the way through to planning and making a journey by themselves on busier roads.

All sessions are led by accredited National Standard Instructors. Find out more:

…and for mums and dads, take a look at our adult cycling courses.

School and college travel plans

Find out how the City and County councils can support your school or college in
promoting active and sustainable travel.

There’s also a whole host of resources and support for schools, colleges and universities from Sustrans, a leading UK charity enabling sustainable travel for everyday journeys.

Public cycle parking

There are many free public cycle stands dotted around the city and county for your convenience, when visiting shops and leisure and community facilities.

You can find these marked on our free cycling maps, covering the city and county.

Leicester Bike Park

Cycling into the city centre? You can park your bike securely, shower and change at the Bike Park, located at Leicester Town Hall. The entrance is on the corner of Horsefair Street and Town Hall Square.

Managed by Future Cycles, the Bike Park also features a bike shop, repair service and bike hire. Take a look inside.

bike-park

Opening hours

  • Mondays-Fridays: 8am-6.30pm
  • Saturdays: 8.30am-6pm
  • Sundays: 10am-4pm

PLEASE NOTE: The Town Hall Bike Park will be CLOSED on Bank Holidays Monday 7th May and Monday 28th May 2018.

Pay as you go

  • Up to 1 hour: 50p
  • All day: £1

onecard-logo orBecome a member

Register for a FREE OneCard and become a Bike Park member, enabling you to take advantage of discounted weekly, monthly, annual and flexible rates (for non-consecutive days). Leicester’s OneCard can also be used for discounted bus travel.

East Midlands Trains – Cycle Hub Scheme

East Midlands Trains has launched new free-to-use cycle hubs at Leicester and Loughborough railway stations.

Ask for an application form at the ticket office and for a one-off fee of £10, you will receive a key fob, giving you unlimited access to modern, secure facilities, monitored by CCTV. You may use the facilities whether you’re travelling by train or not.

Your key fob gives you access to all East Midlands Trains cycle hubs, which also include Nottingham, Sheffield and Lincoln.

Leicester Station

  • 222 spaces in station basement
  • Access via the lift to the left of the customer information desk.
  • Accessible during railway station opening hours (0400-0200)

Leicester Station cycle hub

  •  Additional cycle parking at ground level for non-members of Cycle Hub Scheme.

Loughborough Station

  • 130 spaces (two-tier racks)
  • Tool station and pump
  • Located in the car park adjacent to the station building
  • Accessible 24/7

20160705_111932

  • Additional cycle parking and a second tool station and pump available next to the ticket barriers for non-members of the Cycle Hub Scheme.

Leicester St. Margaret’s Bus Station

  • Free, indoor cycle parking (two-tier racks)
  • CCTV coverage
  • Accessible during bus station opening hours (approx. 0500-2330)

st-margs-cycle-parking

Other key locations

Electric bikes

Electric bike with rear battery pack

Electric bike with rear battery pack

What is an electric bike?

An electric bike is just like a standard bicycle, but with an electric motor and battery attached. It’s like having a fit athlete pedal your bike with you, meaning faster, sweat-free travel in windy, uphill conditions on a bike that’s a lot more fun to ride!

Why use one?

Most people’s journeys are around 2 miles; about a 25-30 minute walk. However, most people will take their cars and spend time finding and paying for parking at either or both ends, so a bicycle becomes a far more practical alternative.

Similarly, the average UK commute has now risen to just under 9 miles, which most people could easily cycle in under an hour. Electric bikes could do this much quicker, and leave you fresh and ready to work at the other end.

What makes electric bikes so much more different than anything else is the ability to cross towns so much faster and more affordably. The various different makes and models give you a range of between 15 and 50 miles, which is ample for most commutes with a recharge time typically around 3 hours.

Source: Electric Bikes Experts. 2013. Electric Bikes Buyers Guide. Available at: electricbikesexperts.co.uk. [Accessed 6/11/15].

Where can I try and buy one?

Many independent and national cycle retailers supply electric bikes alongside conventional ones and will be happy to provide advice and even a try-before-you-buy service. A number of dedicated electric bike retailers have sprung up locally in recent years, including:

Does your employer run a cycle to work scheme? If so, you may be able to purchase an electric bike and spread the payment, tax free. Check with your employer for full details.


Sarah’s switch to an electric bike has transformed her commute

She cycles seven miles to work from Barwell to Enderby:

sarah-electric-bike

Getting to work was a hassle for me and it used to take over an hour. Now I’ve switched to an electric bike it takes me just 21 minutes, which is only a few minutes longer than if I drove. It’s also great for my health, I’ve lost a stone in weight and feel much more lively and focussed.


Cycling for leisure

Leicestershire’s beautiful countryside and picturesque towns and villages are perfect for exploring by bike. The city of Leicester is criss-crossed by an excellent network of off-road routes providing easy access to the city centre, taking in the former Great Central and Leicester to Swannington railway corridors, scenic parks, and Leicester’s riverside.

See our Explore by bike page for cycling maps, details of local cycling groups and events, plus other great ideas for discovering Leicester & Leicestershire on two wheels.