See a different side of Leeds, by heading out on these five scenic bike rides…
There’s no better way to explore the city than on two wheels, so why not make the most of the abundance of paths, tracks and tow paths spread around the city. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s always a ride to suit, and you’ll get the chance to see stunning scenery and historic landmarks along the way.
Tour de France Route
The first stage of the Tour de France covered a massive 190 kilometres, taking you from Leeds to Harrogate, through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. That’s a mammoth challenge that some riders might well want to take on, but if you’re just after a taster, head out to Otley where you can go on a route that matches up 99% to a section of the 2014 route.
Starting on Pool Road just by Wharfemeadows Park, you’ll take on a 6.5km route that should be relatively straightforward. You’ll ride alongside the River Wharfe, before crossing over on to Harrogate Road, where you can take in the stunning Yorkshire countryside, passing through a number of quaint villages before arriving in Weeton Beck just outside of Harrogate, which is blessed with a host of cafes and pubs for you to recharge those batteries in.
The Tour de France Stage 4 route starts at Pool Road, Otley, 53.90981, -1.66915.
The Aireborough Greenway
Delving into the Leeds suburbs, The Aireborugh Greenway is a small, 1.5 mile ride around town, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You’ll start off at Guiseley Station, which is great if you’re heading out from the city centre, then weave your way through the town.
From Silverdale Avenue and onto Coach Road, you find yourself on a dedicated cycle path that takes you through and past the likes of Spring Wood and the Engine Fields Urban Nature Park, before diverting off the route to head up to Yeadon. Through the town centre, you’ll come to Cemetery Road which leads you onto the Yeadon Tarnfield Park – it’s the perfect place to stop and have a rest, or even a picnic, while looking out over the Tarn itself.
The Aireborough Greenway starts at Guiseley Station, Leeds, 53.8759, 1.7151.
Aire Valley Towpath
At 17 miles, the Aire Valley Towpath is a bit of a challenge, but if you split it up into sections, it’ll be a piece of cake. Starting out in Leeds city centre at Granary Wharf and heading west, you’ll get a glimpse of Leeds and Yorkshire’s history on your way, passing industrial landmarks and stunning countryside as you travel along the longest canal in the country.
After leaving the city, you’ll go past the mills and warehouses of Armley before coming to Kirkstall Abbey, where you might want to stop to wander around. From there you’ll pass Bramley Fall, Rodley, Calverley Woods, Apperley Bridge and Thackley, before heading to Shipley and the stunning Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Carry on past Hirst Wood and Dowley Gap until you reach the historic Three and Five Rise Locks at Bingley where the route ends. Full of history and typical Yorkshire scenery, you get a bit of everything on the Aire Valley Towpath.
Aire Valley Towpath starts at Granary Wharf, Leeds, 53.7942, -1.5467.
At a distance of 22 miles, this is a big ‘un. The Harewood Loop actually starts over at Roundhay Park, going through Roundhay itself, as well as Morton, before circling the stunning Eccup Reservoir.
From there, it’s all about the stunning Yorkshire countryside as you worm your way through the fields, passing quaint villages like Weardley on the way. Harewood village is just around the corner, which you’ll pass through before going through East Keswick, Bardsey, Wike, Shadwell and back to Roundhay Park to finish. At a time of around two hours, you’ll get to see plenty, and there are lots of lovely little places to stop along the way.
Harewood Loop starts at Roundhay Park, Leeds, 53.8405, 1.5048.
Golden Acre Park Circular
At 25 miles and three hours long, the Golden Acre Park Circular is a lengthy route that will show you the best of Leeds. It kicks off at the park itself with a long route and joins the paths of the Meanwood Valley Trail on to Woodhouse Lane before riding to Royal Armouries, where you’ll join the Trans Pennine Trail by the river.
Follow the towpath for five miles towards Woodlesford Bridge, taking in the scenery along the way, before leaving the canal to cross the river and onto Bullerthorpe Lane, while you’ll climb up and over the A1 towards Temple Newsam, which is a stunning place to stop for a rest. From there, join ‘The Avenue’ in the house’s grounds, before turning onto the Wyke Beck Way which takes you up to Roundhay Park, where you join King Lane and ride the two miles back to Golden Acre Park.
The Golden Acre Park Circular starts at Golden Acre Park, Leeds, 53.8718, 1.5859.Feature image copyright Jack Ambler licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.