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Best Bikes and Routes for a Family Cycling Holiday

Family cycling holidays are a fantastic way to spend some time together in the great outdoors on two wheels.

With the warm weather approaching, we’ve put together some recommendations to help each member of the family get the right bike for them – as well as some of the best cycling routes in the UK to try them out on.

For Mum – Ribble Sportiva Carbon Disc

Sportiva Carbon Disc_0

When you’re planning to ride long distances, comfort is paramount – and that’s why we recommend the Sportiva Carbon Disc. Lightweight but strong, with a carbon fibre bladed fork to reduce road buzz, it’s built with female-specific geometry in mind to ensure it places as little strain on your body as possible.

A short wheelbase and top tube makes the Sportiva Carbon Disc responsive and easy to control, while flat mount disc brakes makes quick stops easier than ever. The bike that Total Women’s Cycling loved is more than up to the challenge of a family holiday!

For Dad – Ribble CX5

CX5_0

The Ribble CX5 is a bike for all surfaces, making it ideal for long-distance cycling holidays with the family. From solid asphalt to bumpy mud tracks, it’s built to comfortably absorb shocks from a variety of surfaces so you can keep going for longer. 12mm Thru axles front and rear lend a stiffer feel with tighter control.

While designed as a cyclocross bike, you don’t need to be a competitive racer to enjoy the CX5 – it’s a versatile and practical enough to shine during gentle rides with the family, or just the daily commute to work too.

For teenagers – Ribble CGR

Ribble CGR_0

CGR stands for Cross, Gravel and Road, and that kind of versatility is ideal for the teen in your family – who’ll probably want to use it for much more than a family holiday! The CGR is built on a lightweight aluminium frame, with a carbon forks for a comfortable ride, while powerful disc brakes mean safe stopping is always at hand.

With full coverage mudguards ready-fitted, it’s also ideal for keeping teens (mostly) safe from dirt even if they venture off-road. A great, affordable all-rounder, the CGR is a great way to introduce younger family members to the difference a good bike can make.

Best cycling routes for a family holiday

When planning a family cycling holiday, it’s important to choose routes that match the fitness and ability levels of everybody. You probably want to avoid road traffic as much as possible, and unless you’re all experienced and confident cyclists, try to keep hills and challenging stretches to a minimum.

We’ve highlighted a few of our favourite family-friendly routes in the UK below – but do a bit of digging and you’ll find many more!

Camel Trail, Cornwall

This 18-mile trail is great for all ages, with beautiful scenery and plenty of stops for a pub lunch or a picnic. Running along a disused railway line from Padstow to Wenford Bridge, the route is light on traffic and mostly level, making it perfect for families with younger kids.

Along the way you’ll pass two protected areas, offering an opportunity for a bit of wildlife spotting, as well as shaded woodland stretches and the edge of Bodmin Moor.

Manifold Way, Staffordshire

Offering spectacular views of a limestone gorge in the Staffordshire Peak District, this sheltered nine-mile track is mostly level tarmac all the way. The track runs from the sleepy hamlet of Hulme End to Waterhouses. Apart from a 1.5-mile stretch along a B-road, it’s mostly traffic-free.

The route passes by Thor’s Cave, a natural cavern set high up in a limestone crag, as well as an ancient Bronze Age mine and a spooky railway tunnel – great for kids with a taste for adventure!

Hadrian’s Cycleway, Cumbria

A much longer route for more experienced cyclists, Hadrian’s Cycleway (aka Route 72) is still very family-friendly, although caution is advised on the occasional stretches of road. The coast-to-coast route is 174 miles long and can be completed in three days at a good pace, or four or five if you’re taking it easy and seeing the many sights along the way.

As well as the famous Hadrian’s Wall that the route follows, other attractions include Carlisle Castle, Newcastle’s Black Keep, the Bath House at Glannaventa and Lanacost Priory.

Three Parks Trail, South Wales

This trail is 13 miles long, but forms part of the much longer Celtic Trail so it can easily be extended. Completely traffic-free, mostly level and passing through three gorgeous country parks, it’s ideal for families with younger kids or older family members who prefer a gentler, more scenic ride.

The trail begins at Sirhowy Valley Country Park, passing over the mighty Hengoed Viaduct and on through Parc Penallta, where the High Point Observatory offers great views over Caerphilly. It finishes at Taff Bargoed Summit Centre.

Bike to work, get fitter and make a difference with Strava

Now that more summery weather is here there are definitely a few more bikes parked in the Ribble bike shed every morning. Do you cycle to work? If you’ve not contemplated cycling to work it really is a great way to start the day, improve your fitness or maintain some base training miles. You can even see how your fitness is progressing if you record and upload your ride to a social website like Strava to compare your riding with friends.

Route Builder

Tips for your cycle to work

  • Research your route beforehand as the shortest distance is not always the fastest or most pleasant. You can plan routes in the Strava Route Builder (above) or websites like Garmin Connect, Ride with GPS or Plotaroute and route profiles will tell you how climbing there is.
  • Consider having a dedicated commuting bike which you can equip for daily duties. It saves wear and tear on your best bike and you can fit mudguards and lights.
  • Variety makes your commute more interesting so try a few different route variations. Ask any cycling colleagues for route advice as they may know some great, less obvious roads or cut-throughs.

Join us on Strava Global Bike to Work Day

Why not join us in making our cycle commutes count on Thursday 11th May by joining the Strava Global Bike to Work Day. Not only will we all be offsetting tons of greenhouse emissions by being pedal powered but our (anonymous) commuting data will be shared with planners worldwide to help improve cycling infrastructure.

All you need to do is make and record a point-to-point cycle journey during Thursday and upload it to Strava as a commute. You will be part of a global event and contribute to a better cycling future.

Here’s how to play your part and join the Strava community

The hashtag #CommutesCount can also be used on other social media channels in support of a better future for cycling. The challenge is already set to beat the 79,879 worldwide participants in 2016 so make your ride count.

Ribble CGR

How do you compare?

Strava Insights for the UK show that during 2016 an average of 223,376 bike commutes were uploaded to Strava every week, with cyclists logging an average distance of 13.5km (8.39 miles) and an average of 35 minutes in the saddle.

Bikes for commuting

If you’re looking to do more commuting by bike the highlight of our urban bikes is the popular, new commuting bike the CGR.

Versatility and practicality are at the core of the cleverly designed CGR – this is a bike that will not sit idle for very long. With the advantage of disc brakes, a carbon fork, mudguard mounts and pannier carrying capability this bike just ticks so many boxes.

The all-round practicality of the CGR does not prevent it from being a nimble and enjoyable ride and as the bike’s designer says: “We wanted a bike that was comfortable enough to ride every day, efficient enough to ride all day and even agile enough to take off road.”

EXPLORE THE CGR HERE

TEAM RIBBLE: Ailbhe and her Aero 883 all set to Tri

Team Ribble sponsored triathlete Ailbhe Carroll looks back on her 2016 and forward to her new tri season which begins on Gran Canaria on March 26th.

My last race of 2016 was in October and finishing racing that late made for a very long season, yet it was my first ever full season without injury or illness. I got to the end of a season absolutely whacked purely because I completed the season from start to finish. It was the first time I have ever felt like a proper triathlete!! Tick that box off!! Yahoo!

Team Ribble tri

I won one of my final races of last season in a new course record and was happy to represent Ribble on top of the podium. It was a non-drafting race and I was ever so proud to have the fastest bike split whilst on my road bike versus everyone else on TT bikes. Shows how awesome my Ribble Aero 883 is… fact!! My bike was my saving grace in 2016. I have documented all my races here on the Ribble blog and there has always been a pattern of my very forgetful limb packing. When I have rocked up to races and forgot to pack my bike legs, my Ribble Aero 883 has still got the job done. This is testament to the high standard of bike that Ribble put on show. Match made in heaven.

Thanks for all the support

All in all 2016 was a great year. I didn’t get half the results I was dreaming of, but 2017 is another opportunity to showcase again and alongside my wonderful supporters I know we will achieve together. Without my trusty bike I would have been lost. Ribble helped me out when I had no bike at all and the difference they have made to me has been extraordinary. A massive thank you to the guys at Ribble for everything they have done for me as it is simply amazing. Polaris Bike wear have been another high up on that list of wows. Protection of bikes doesn’t come cheap and these guys have helped endless amounts. The amount of times I travel abroad knowing my bike is safe is too many to mention. I made over 30 flights in 2016 and my bike has been safe from start to finish. Thank you for your support.  My feet and body have been laughing it up in Newton and Newline kit from the guys at New running gear. All conditions are catered for and I am ever so thankful for what they have done for me. A team like this makes achieving and living your dream a lot easier. Thank you thank you thank you.

str3tch

New Triumph Coaching team

Alongside everything else, I have joined forces with my boyfriend and two other friends and elite international triathletes to form a coaching business called Triumph Coaching. We would love for you guys to have a look at our website and get in touch if you have any questions. We are very keen to hear from you all and would love to know your goals and ambitions for 2017. We are happy to help you in triathlon or just single sports so whatever your needs are we would love to be involved. Just click the link and you can also find us on twitter, facebook and Instagram at team_triumph1

Progress and tri goals

2017 training began in the winter around Loughborough and it was quite ‘fun’ keeping track of how many fingers and toes still had feeling in them! Winter always brings with it a whole pile of laughter!

Run2

I am happy to report massive leaps and jumps forward in my fitness compared to this time last year. I have been able to reduce my working hours which is allowing me to train more and recover… something I didn’t have time for last year! This I know is going to make all the difference in 2017.

I don’t know whether it’s because I have gained a whole year to my life or not but my average heart rate is decreasing by a lot on all my runs. I have always been a high heart rate kind of gal – things are changing! Either I am over the hill or I am actually making use of this consistency in my training and finding fitness! A crazy thought!

My days are structured and planned down to the last millisecond – it’s not for everyone and can be annoying sometimes as you just feel like rest is a mile away all the time – but hey ho, one of life’s musts!

I have some nice goals set out for 2017 and I am very excited to get achieving these bad boys! I am aiming high and striving for more. I know what’s what and as I am my own coach, I know what I do day in and day out and what my stats and figures say I can do. My goals are big for 2017 and I am very excited to get going this weekend in the Gran Canaria European Cup tri (26th March).

I hope that everyone has had a good ol’ crack at winter training! Winter miles for summer smiles and all that jazz!

Happy pedalling everyone!

Ailbhe

The Not-So Great Outdoors?

For some time now, scientists have been telling us to spend more time outside.  According to them, short term memory, vision and concentration can all be improved by spending time outdoors – so why then do we spend so much time doing the exact opposite?

Thanks to a recent survey by the team here at Ribble Cycles, it can be revealed that Brits spend a meagre 8% of their time outside between Monday and Friday, and an even more depressing figure of 5% on a weekend.

Furthermore, women have been named as the more serious offenders, with men spending up to 30 minutes more time outdoors on a weekly basis.

Popular outdoor activities for both sexes included taking pets for a walk, walking to and from the car and going for a run. However, what is surprising is that cycling to work remained way down on the list, with only 2% of respondents stating they enjoyed this particular pastime.

Reflective

Obviously, this didn’t sit well with us  – especially when you consider the positive effects cycling can have.
For starters, for those who choose to cycle to work, a huge amount of money can be saved each year, as things like bus tickets and train fares pale into insignificance. What’s more, for anyone who chooses a cycle over taking the car, things like road tax, MOTs and insurance costs don’t need to be considered – something that could
amount to thousands of pounds in savings.

From surfing to hiking, countryside strolls and skateboarding, there are plenty of outdoor activities we could all benefit from occasionally . However, when it comes to kick starting a new lifestyle that’ll save you money, improve your health and still get you to work on time, nothing beats a good old fashioned bicycle!

Interested in getting yourself outdoors a little more? In addition to cycling, why not try some of these top activities in 2017:

. Playing Sunday league football.
. Joining a tennis club.
. Taking part in a Tough Mudder event.
. Running a marathon.
. Indulging in a spot of wild water swimming.

Alternatively, explore the range here at Ribble Cycles and find your next road, cross or mountain bike and kick start a new riding habit today.

Total sample size was 1060 UK adults (aged 18+)

TEAM RIBBLE: Share your rides and ride with new friends with the Team Ribble Strava Club

If you’re a ‘Strava addict’ then why not join your fellow Ribble bike owners in the Team Ribble Strava Club? As we go into winter there is no better time to show us your dedication in clocking up the miles and climbing.

You might only be ticking over with weekend riding or knocking out the miles in a daily commute but share it with us and see where other Club members are riding.

Ribble Valley

If you are interested in the leaderboards then we have some serious riders in the Ribble Club putting in over 20 hours of riding a week, long rides over 100 miles and breathtaking amounts of climbing. Look out for our current top dogs – Mark from Blackpool, James Ward from Leeds and cyclocross racer Richard Haughton from Kirkham – who are putting in some serious riding at the moment.

strava-hours

Strava’s global community

Strava, for the third year running, has just published its annual End of Year Insights report for the UK, providing an unparalleled insight into the behaviours and trends of the UK’s cyclists. The tens of millions of members of Strava uploaded an astonishing 9.6 activities every second of every day in 2016, up from 5.3 activities per second in 2015.

The average UK cycle ride on Strava in 2016.
The average UK cycle ride on Strava in 2016.
Here are the other 2016 Cycling Highlights:

– Globally, cyclists shared a total of 161 million rides in 2016; 27.4 million of those in the UK.

– 223,376 rides were recorded as commutes each week in the UK.

– Male cyclists recorded an average 41 km per ride, while female cyclists averaged 34 km per ride.

A further measure of Strava’s social community is the kudos, where members give praise to another’s activity. Strava saw 1.3 billion kudos given worldwide, with 183 million kudos within the UK. An impressive 51 million photos were also shared worldwide, with 5.4 million images shared in the UK alone.

How the UK compares on Strava

In terms of cycling countries, the UK only lags behind the much (averagely) flatter Netherlands for average cycling speeds. The cycling mad Netherlands leads with a 26.92 kph average for male cyclist with the UK just behind with 25.61 kph.

We look forward to seeing you in the Team Ribble Strava Club.

strava