British Cycling partner city Bradford is fast developing a reputation as a pro-cycling city. Nestled in the cycle-sport heartland of West Yorkshire, the former mill-town is now working hard to become a cycling city in the fullest sense, for the past four years playing host to Sky Ride mass participation and Local rides as well as being a long term host of major cyclo-cross events. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer to the commuter cyclist in Bradford.
The main cycling route running through the city is National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 66, a long distance route which, when completed, will join Hull with Manchester via York.
More locally, NCN66 to the south of Bradford is known as the Spen Valley Greenway, an eight mile traffic-free path that utilises the path of a disused railway, closely following the River Spen itself.
The greenway was opened in 2000 and joins the outlying towns of Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwicke with Bradford itself. The greenway passes through a range of environments, from densely populated urban areas to moorland views and is blessed with more than its fair share of art installations, including the ‘Giant Pedal’ and ‘Swaledale Flock’ sculptures, to name but two.
As NCN66 approaches the city from the south it hits the roads briefly before deviating through Bowling Park and heading into the city centre, passing close to the Bradford Interchange railway station, making safe multimodal commuting an option for many.
Overlaying NCN66 is a whole network of advisory cycle routes, on road cycle lanes and off road, parkland routes which avoid as much as possible major roads. These can be found on Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s range of local cycling maps, which detail, the City Centre, Urban and Rural areas.
The city's Living Street project is now complete with the new bridge across Manchester Rd, which opened in the Autumn, providing a mostly off road route from the new City Park in the City Centre to the start of Spen Valley Greenway. There's also the new Canal Road Greenway route, which when completed (2014) will form a northern section of NCN66 and connect the City Centre to Shipley and the Canal Towpath all the way to Leeds.
The Bradford City Centre cycle map shows the location of the city’s cycle parking. There is also a number of cycle parking locations at Bradford College. Cycle parking also exists at Bradford’s Forster Square and Interchange railway stations, with cycle lockers at the former.
Cycling and Public Transport
Information about taking your bike on the train can be found on the West Yorkshire Metro website.
Use our online shop finder to locate cycle shops in the Bradford area.
Commuting and Beyond
Above: Riders enjoying Sky Ride Bradford in Peel Park.
British Cycling and Sky have been running Sky Ride City and Local events in Bradford for a number of years, with thousands taking to the traffic free streets for our mass participation city rides. Sky Ride Local events are regular rides which take place throughout the year, in small groups, led by qualified ride leaders. Sky Ride Local is great for improving your knowledge of local cycling routes, as well as meeting likeminded people and improving your fitness and confidence. Both Sky Ride and Sky Ride Local are free to enter events.
British Cycling’s women-only Breeze rides also operate in the area and offer fun, free and informal rides for women. Like Sky Ride Local, they’re run by experienced leaders, our network of ‘Breeze Champions’ who are passionate about getting more women onto two wheels for fun, fitness, transport and beyond.
There are also a number of other local pro-cycling initiatives. The CTC offer mentoring for those who wish to start cycling to work while the Ayre Valley Bike Bus works on the same ‘safety in numbers’ principle as walking buses.
Bradford Cycling Forum (known as b-spoke) is the city’s local cycling advocacy group and a great source of help and advice. You can find out about all of these initiatives here on Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s ‘Cycling to Work’ page.
Cyclebradford.org.uk is the multi-partner lead online resource for all cycling info in the district, events, b-spoke meetings, consultation on new routes and other info.
The West Yorkshire go:cycling programme, which in partnership with CTC, is providing free cycle skills training for adults of all ability from learn to ride to L3 Bikeability standard.
Don’t leave home without...
... a copy of one of Bradford’s cycling maps printed out and tucked into your pocket.