The ritual of using bikes collectively was a saving grace for our household throughout lockdown. We began biking to offer our sons some train within the absence of faculty playtime or a correct backyard, nevertheless it turned a lot greater than that. The meditative elements of pedalling, of heading someplace in the identical path, introduced a way of unity and calm to us all. Some days we rode by way of woods, others by the ocean; some days we chatted, others we stayed silent. However we at all times returned dwelling feeling higher.
Ballater to Aboyne, Deeside Method, Aberdeenshire

Cambus O’Could Suspension Bridge close to Ballater {Photograph}: Angus McComiskey/Alamy
This mellow, traffic-free part of the Deeside Method runs alongside the outdated railway route that when transported the royals to Balmoral, so you may thank Queen Victoria for the very fact it’s good and flat and conducive to household biking. This trip begins at Ballater, on the jap aspect of the Cairngorms nationwide park, and runs by way of forest and heathland which might be particularly enticing in autumn. Look out for the historic Cambus O’Could suspension bridge, which was broken by floods in 2015 – the restoration is because of be completed this yr. And in case your youngsters like spooky tales, present them the watchtowers constructed to discourage grave robbers at Banchory. That is an out-and-back route fairly than a loop, so if the total trip to Aboyne appears too lengthy, merely flip round earlier to make it a shorter trip.• Distance 22 miles return. Bike rent £20 a day grownup, £10 youngster, £25 guided tour, from Bike Station Ballater. Eat Bridge Home Cafe in Ballater. Route deesideway.org
Callander to Strathyre, the Trossachs

{Photograph}: John Bentley/Alamy
The Trossachs could also be best-known for his or her most well-known resident, Rob Roy MacGregor, however the nationwide park – typically described because the Highlands in miniature – can be an excellent place for household biking with a wild and distant really feel, although it’s lower than an hour’s drive from Glasgow. Sustrans Nationwide Route 7 runs on the outdated railway line to Oban, alongside the scenic River Leny (inform children to look out for the Falls of Leny en route), earlier than heading by way of the forest to Loch Lubnaig. Right here, the views of the Loch and Ben Ledi are breathtaking. The monitor is a mixture of easy concrete and gravel, so it’s greatest suited to hybrids or mountain bikes, and it’s largely flat with some small hills as you strategy Strathyre.• Distance 20 miles return. Bike rent £20 a day grownup, £10 youngster, from Wheels Biking Centre. Eat The Broch Cafe in Strathyre. Route scottish-cycling.com
Kennet & Avon Cycle Route, Somerset-Wiltshire

{Photograph}: Tracey Whitefoot/Alamy
The traffic-free stretch of the historic Kennet & Avon Canal between Bathtub and Bradford-on-Avon is as tranquil as it’s picturesque. The trail is shared with walkers, which retains the tempo of using sluggish, matching that of the beautiful painted narrowboats moseying alongside this canal constructed to hyperlink London to Bristol. This makes the route completely fitted to relaxed household biking – and like all towpaths, it’s largely flat. Highlights embrace Claverton Pumping Station and the restored limestone aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas, that are undoubtedly gorgeous, however children will even love the barge that sells ice-cream at Dundas and the numerous rope swings arrange by different households alongside the way in which.• Distance 17.6 miles return. Bike rent £18 a day grownup, £15 youngster, from Bathtub Narrowboats. Eat The Cross Weapons at Avoncliff Route sustrans.org.uk
The Photo voltaic System Greenway, York

{Photograph}: Polly/Little Vikings
Do you know you may trip to the solar, Saturn and the opposite planets of the photo voltaic system only a brief, traffic-free means from the centre of York? Assured to fireside youngsters’s imaginations, this wonderful outside astronomy mannequin, constructed to scale, was created by the College of York. It sits in a nature reserve on the route of the outdated East Coast mainline, a inexperienced hall with protected bee and butterfly habitats throughout. You should definitely present children the wire sculpture of a fisherman sitting on the Naburn bridge – his wayward canine will make them snort. Get Biking, an area non-profit that promotes inclusive biking, runs guided excursions of the route.• Distance 12.eight miles return. Bike rent £18 a day grownup, £8child, £40 specialist bikes together with Dutch field cycles and wheelchair tandems, from Get Biking. Eat The community-run Brunswick Natural Nursery. Route astrocampus.york.ac.uk
Mawddach Path, Snowdonia

{Photograph}: Tony Boydon/Alamy
The scenic Mawddach Path from Dolgellau to Barmouth lies within the shadow of Cadair Idris, the very best mountain in southern Snowdonia. However don’t be delay: that is a simple, flat, coastal route, with no critical climbs. It follows the trail of the outdated Victorian railway, which used to ferry trendy holidaymakers to the resort of Barmouth. Children will love the quirky wood bridges and wetlands, that are wealthy in birdlife, together with siskins and long-tailed tits, together with an enormous number of butterflies and dragonflies. It’s additionally grass snake nation, which may very well be a helpful reality to maintain in your again pocket for if you need them to pedal slightly more durable.• Distance 18 miles return. Bike rent £20 a day grownup, £10 youngster, from Dolgellau Cycles. Eat The George III, round two miles from the tip of your trip . Route sustrans.org.uk
Forest of Dean Household Path, Gloucestershire

{Photograph}: David Broadbent/Alamy
This well-surfaced round loop follows the tracks of an outdated mining railway by way of the Cannop valley and deep into the sort of gnarled historical oak forest that may make every little thing on this planet appear proper. The route is well-signposted and large sufficient for side-by-side biking in components, and whereas there may be some light climbing in sections, a lot of the route is flattish, so it’s an ideal introductory household trip. Extra adventurous older children will take pleasure in using the mini-forest detours subsequent to the primary monitor, and in the event that they nonetheless have energy of their legs on the finish, they will have a roll on the bumps and berms of the pump monitor and even the blue-grade Verderer’s downhill mountain bike path.• Distance 10.5 miles loop.Bike rent £19 a day grownup, £14 youngster, from Pedal A Bike Away. Eat Mallards Cafe by the lake. Route pedalabikeaway.co.uk
Crimson Squirrel Path, Isle of Wight

{Photograph}: Sean Potter/Alamy
The Isle of Wight is without doubt one of the final UK strongholds for the crimson squirrel, which provides this largely traffic-free path its title. Attempting to identify glimpses of crimson fur amid dense autumn woodland will be simply the distraction children must hold pedalling on a trip. The complete 32-mile route, a lot of it alongside disused railway tracks, begins in East Cowes – however there are many shorter choices and the gradient is pretty form all through, with the odd hill to get dad and mom puffing, particularly if pulling youthful youngsters in a trailer or tagalong. The trip takes in great sandy seashores, sweeping estuaries, and forest which at instances is so thick it feels such as you’re using by way of a magical tree tunnel.• Distance 32 miles, with choices of a 20-mile loop and five-mile routes. Bike rent £18 a day grownup, £10 youngster, from Route Fifty 7. Eat Pedallers Cafe at Newchurch. Route redsquirreltrail.org.uk
Shepherd Path, Thetford Forest

{Photograph}: Ian G Dagnall/Alamy
The Shepherd Path at Excessive Lodge in Thetford Forest is a dream household route in an attractive woodland setting. Designated a inexperienced (newbie) path, the trail is quiet, comparatively flat, large sufficient for cyclists to trip two abreast and brief sufficient to be manageable for even probably the most out-of-practice or novice cyclists. The floor is a mixture of forest tracks and gravel and is appropriate for many bike varieties, together with trailers and tagalongs. Children who’ve mastered the Shepherd Path will benefit from the rolling bumps and tight corners of the pump monitor, whereas extra skilled riders can tackle the one monitor that snakes by way of the timber on the blue-graded Beater Path.• Distance 5-mile loop. Bike rent £36 a day grownup, £29 youngster, from Bike Artwork (e book parking at Excessive Lodge upfront, £12.50 a automobile). Eat The cafe at Excessive Lodge. Route forestryengland.uk
Leicester to King Lear’s Lake at Watermead Park

{Photograph}: Rob Carter/Alamy
Wending its means from Leicester metropolis centre, this largely traffic-free trip follows the trail of the River Soar by way of Abbey park, previous the historic stays of the town’s 12th-century abbey and the futuristic rocket tower of the Nationwide Area Centre (price a go to in case you have the vitality in your means again) earlier than reaching the character reserve at Watermead. The park was initially a sand and gravel pit, and when it was repurposed within the 1980s the stays of a mammoth have been discovered, which impressed the Jurassic Play Path and sculpture, which can attraction to youthful youngsters.
Watermead has two flat, brief and well-surfaced cycle loops amongst wildflower meadows, ponds, reed beds and splendidly plentiful wildlife. One stretch of the trip borders the Grand Union Canal, and far of it runs alongside the shore of the most important lake within the park, King Lear’s Lake, which is known as after the legendary native king who impressed Shakespeare and is claimed to be buried in a chamber below the Soar.• Distance 15.four miles return. Bike rent £22.99 a day grownup, £9.99 youngster, from Rutland Biking. Eat The White Horse at Birstall, which backs on to Watermead Park. Route sustrans.org.uk
Swansea Bike Path

{Photograph}: Graham Bell/Alamy
This sweeping coastal route tracks the shore from Swansea to Mumbles, the gateway to the Gower peninsula, with spectacular views throughout the bay to the lighthouse and, on a transparent day, the north coast of Devon. Working alongside the road of the outdated Mumbles tramway, which carried the world’s first railway passengers, the bike path is asphalt, flat and traffic-free all through, so it’s an ideal selection for households and new or lapsed cyclists. Trip highlights embrace the Nationwide Waterfront Museum and the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea (the poet was born within the metropolis); children will even love the pier and rocky swimming pools at Mumbles. The route will be prolonged by way of a woodland monitor within the Clyne Valley nation park in direction of Gowerton.• Distance 11.6 miles return. Bike rent £16 a day grownup, £14 youngster, from Bikeability Wales. Eat The Junction cafe in Mumbles. Route sustrans.org.uk