[this blog first appeared on greentraveller ]
Visitors to Cumbria this summer can take part in cycling activities free of charge, thanks to a new Passport 2 Pedalling scheme.
Cumbria Tourism has teamed up with CycleActive, a company in Penrith, to offer training courses and guided bike rides across the Lake District from July to October.
‘Beach biking‘ sessions are taking place on the sand at Allonby, Barrow and St Bees in August with races and challenges: bikes, helmets, limbo bars and see-saws are provided.
Guided cycling rides are taking place on selected dates in July and August, with routes ranging from 9 to 20 miles, and locations including Ullswater, Ennerdale, Coniston and Windermere. Cyclists can take their own bike or hire one free of charge.
Families can learn mountain biking skills and BMX tricks in free 30-minute sessions at events such as Barrow Sports Day and the Cumberland Show, with all bikes provided. A Kids Mountain Biking Academy is also taking place in Whinlatter Forest Park.
All cyclists taking part in Passport 2 Pedalling will receive a goodie bag with cycling routes for families and beginners.
Cumbria Tourism’s Julie Darroch says getting more visitors to use alternative transport to cars is a key priority. “Not only are activities like cycling and walking much better for the environment and for people’s health and wellbeing, they are also one of the best ways to fully appreciate the scenic attractions that we have here, and to reach places and viewpoints that the car simply can not.,” she explains.
At the moment, 84% of Cumbria’s 15.3 million annual visitors arrive by and get around by car but the tourist board is trying to encourage more sustainable transport.
“There are a number of accommodation providers in the area that offer discounts to guests that arrive by public transport or that ‘hang up their car keys’ for the duration of their stay,” says Julie. “And many more have bikes on site that guests can hire, or can arrange for bikes to be delivered to the accommodation in time for their arrival.”
Another initiative in place in the Lake District National Park is the Give The Driver a Break scheme that encourages use of the bus.
Cumbria Tourism is looking to further develop its cycling routes, particularly for families and mountain bikers. Passport 2 Pedalling is part of Cumbria’s bid to become known as the UK’s best adventure holiday destination.
See the GoLakes website for the dates and locations of the activities, and to pre-book.