Get your kids active this summer

Take your family cycling – they’ll have fun and so will you!
If you’re looking for something that’s healthy, fun and can be enjoyed by all the family to keep the kids occupied this summer, then cycling could be the answer. Digital officer Rebecca Armstrong has identified a variety of events and rides that you can enjoy

Cycling in the great outdoors is healthy and fun, as well as a great way for families to spend time together. There is a fabulous range of events and rides across the country that are perfect for mum, dad and the children. Check out this selection of some of the best on offer.

Cycling festivals

Multi-day festivals are a fantastic way to meet other families in the relaxed setting of a campsite and could get your kids hooked on cycling for life. Most offer short, child-friendly rides on mainly traffic-free lanes or forest tracks. What could be better than a fun ride followed by an evening swapping stories with others as you enjoy a glass of wine or beer outside your tent while the kids are free to run or ride around with their new-found friends?

New Forest Cycling Week  

21-29 July 2023

Founded in 1975, this year the week-long rally moves to Hurst View Caravan Park just outside Pennington. There is plenty to see here, with quiet roads and tracks making for safe enjoyable riding for families. New Forest ponies and cattle roam around freely on the roads and tracks, making a holiday here a unique experience that children will remember forever.

There’s lots happening on site, too, including a barn dance, barbecues, children’s time trials and children’s bicycle gymkhana.

Welsh Festival of Cycling 

21-24 July 2023

Based at the Ruthin Rugby Club in the Vale of Clwyd, there is a variety of rides on offer, geared to all abilities and interests. Cyclists of all descriptions will be able to experience the Denbighshire countryside with a mix of gentle rides in the valley or hillier rides taking in the Clwydian Range, Denbigh Moors or the Berwyns.

There are plenty of family-friendly routes and the rides are mainly on quite lanes. There will also be a treasure hunt, a hill climb and a freewheeling competition.

Swansea and Gower Cycling Festival

24-28 August 2023

Organised by Swansea CTC, this five-day festival returns after a five-year hiatus. Rides take place throughout the Gower peninsula and the greater Swansea area, extending into the scenic, hilly terrain of Carmarthenshire.

There will be a wide range of rides on offer to suit all levels of cycling ability and experience. Short, flat rides of 8-10 miles will be suitable for families with children. Family-friendly rides will be all or largely on traffic-free cycle paths.

Big Bike Bash

25-28 August 2023

This is a fun festival with a serious message. It raises funds for charities including UK Youth, which runs the activity centre Avon Tyrrell where the festival takes place.  

There’s a whole variety of events taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend, for adults and kids. These include a short-track XC course for children, bunny hop and wheelie competitions and a balance bike race just for the little ones. There’s also live music and beer festival.

One-day rides 

Cycling is a great way to experience the world. It allows you to slow down, stop and really enjoy yourself. Taking part in an organised ride will get the whole family out on their bikes while saving you the effort of doing the organising.

There are loads of shorter family-friendly rides out there, many of which are put on by local Cycling UK groups. Just a few include:

  • 9 July: Ride Reigate – this sportive in Surrey offers three routes, including a family-friendly 25km one
  • 27 July: Summer Cycle at Kew Gardens – bikes aren’t usually allowed on site, so this is a unique opportunity to explore Kew’s most beautiful spots on two wheels
  • 5 August: Black Unity Ride – this 25km ride in east London might suit older children. It’s a celebration of Black empowerment, unity and love
  • 5 August: Gentle Ride – organised by Windsor Cycle Hub, this ride is ideal for families as it’s almost entirely off road (away from cars) and flat
  • 20 August: Tour de Broads – celebrating its 10-year anniversary, this ride just outside Norwich offers a 10km family route on quiet B roads
  • Various dates: Easy ABC Saturday Morning Rides – Cycling UK Stevenage’s gentle 10km rides take place every Saturday, with an emphasis on enjoying the cycling

This is just a tiny selection of the rides available around the country. Check out our events calendar to find more. Just enter the location or postcode and then select ‘Beginners or family ride’ under ‘Activity’. You can also select type of event and a date range. Then hit apply to find rides near you.

Do it yourself routes 

One way to get to know a new area is to cycle it by planning a ride that’s suitable for your family – especially if you ensure there are plenty of café stops along the way.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, Cycling UK’s British Cycling Quest is a series of 402 checkpoints across England, Scotland and Wales, all accessible by bike. There’s bound to be one close to you and all you have to do is plan a route there.

Once you’ve visited, you can answer the corresponding question about the location. You could turn it into a fun quiz for the kids. The checkpoints and their questions are all in a free, downloadable booklet.

You could cycle part of the Cathedrals Cycle Route challenge. The entire route is more than 3,000km, linking 42 of England’s cathedrals. The individual routes between the cathedrals vary greatly, from more than 160km to the 1.6km ride between St Paul’s and Southwark Cathedrals in London. With 42 routes to choose from, there’s sure to be one suitable for you.

Other events

One of the biggest cycling events this year is the UCI Cycling World Championships, taking place in Glasgow and across Scotland from 3-13 August. Sport cycling isn’t for everyone but these events do offer a great excuse for cycling-related activities.

Go Live! is a series of free events in Glasgow based around the championships. It includes open days at Glasgow Green – the venue for BMX competitions – where families can come and try BMXing for themselves. There’s also a series of family days at locations such as George Square and Merchant Square with a host of cycling activities to get involved with.

There are also many velodromes, trail centres and BMX tracks around the country that have family-friendly trails and activities. There are far too many to list here, but an internet search will quickly reveal any near you.


If your children aren’t confident on bikes, or maybe can’t ride at all, the summer holidays are a great time to learn. Cycling UK has a huge amount of advice and training tips to help get your family cycling. Many local clubs also offer cycling training, such as Cycling UK-affiliated COG Cycling, which is offering free learn-to-ride sessions for 5-11 year olds in Newham, east London, every Wednesday from 26 July to 23 August.

For more formal training, Bikeability offers cycle training to individual children, through schools and families. The organisation has given more than 4m children the skills they need to confidently ride on our roads.