Bradford by bike
Bradford has an abundance of experiences on offer for visitors from the UK and further afield and is a key aspect of the county becoming a true capital of cycling.
The main cycling focal point is the location of the start of the final stage of 2017’s Tour de Yorkshire, City Park; with routes extending in all directions to take in the best that West Yorkshire has to offer. The city centre is a vibrant area with cafes, bars, shopping and major attractions such as, Sunbridge Wells, the National Science and Media Museum and the Alhambra Theatre.
North of the city, along Canal Road and up to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Shipley, and soon to be fundamentally improved via the CityConnect project, is Bradford’s “Route to the Dales” that leads up to the Airedale Greenway with the world-famous Ilkley Moor as a stunning backdrop.
The canal routes also form part of the National Cycle Network taking in the Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its famous architecture and 1853 Gallery showcasing David Hockney’s at Salts Mill, passing by the grade I listed structure, 5 Rise Locks and leading to St Ives Estate in Bingley and the National Trust's East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley. The town is also the home of the Keighley & Worth Valley Steam Railway, made famous by the filming of the Railway Children, and offers a gateway to Haworth and Brontë Country.
Over the moor to Ilkley there are on and off-road cycling opportunities that showcase the very best of the Yorkshire Dales and link to routes to the Vale of York.
Eastwards from City Park sees you pass Bradford Cathedral before taking the CityConnect CS1 route, the longest segregated UK Cycle Superhighway outside of London, directly to Leeds and all of its magnificent attractions. Alternatively, you can access Leeds from Shipley via the northern route and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, also recently upgraded by the CityConnect project.
Heading off towards the south takes you over Bradford's "Big Red Bridge" and past Odsal, the home to Bradford Bulls rugby league team before linking with the Spen Valley Greenway and opening up the Calder Valley Greenway and the southern Yorkshire Pennine areas.
The Great Northern Trail with its impressive viaducts forms cycling paths that lead from Cullingworth to Queensbury , through the Brontë birthplace of Thornton taking in the stunning countryside; with Calderdale beckoning beyond.
In between the key routes, Bradford District has a myriad of on and off-road routes, some classic climbs (many of which form the backdrop of the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour de France Grand Départ) and some glorious scenery. There are opportunities for led rides, for self-navigated routes and there are also eight Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries and other schemes that enable bike loans and/or hire.
Bradford plays hosts to many cycling participation events, including sportives such as the White Rose Classic and the Bronte Sportive; the routes for which also trace epic journeys around God's Own County. A mass participation ride takes place each year, with closed roads in the city centre enabling everyone to have a go. It has also hosted major cycling events such as the Tour de Yorkshire and the National CycloCross Championships in Peel Park.
Finally, for those who want to ride but maybe not quite so far, the excellent train links from Bradford Interchange and Forster Square Stations mean that you can always get back safely or alternatively get the train out and ride back, and there are plenty of great parks and open spaces for shorter or family rides.