ABOVE: The South Woodham Ferrers Long Ride takes in the town with family-friendly stopping points.

Are you bored of your usual cycle routes? Or thinking of trying cycling, but not sure where to start? Chelmsford City Council has released a set of all-new family-friendly cycle rides for the local community. 

Thirteen ride maps have been created for Chelmer Village, Great Baddow, Melbourne, South Woodham Ferrers and Writtle and are now available to download from the City Council’s website. There are short, medium and long route options, so you can choose one to suit you.

The shorter routes are ideal for families with younger children and can easily be completed by walking on a balance bike or on a scooter. If you’re new to cycling, you might like to start with a short route and build your way up to a longer one. 

ABOVE: The Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Jude Deakin, launched the maps this summer.

Prize draw for observant cyclists

Each route takes you through some of Chelmsford’s prettiest scenery. They avoid large roads, so are perfect for building confidence. In addition to the routes themselves, the maps also highlight interesting places to visit along the way, spots to take a pitstop, and the best backdrops for a mid-cycle selfie. Some of them even have ping-pong tables en route so you can mix it up with a different form of exercise! 

Being aware of your surroundings is important for safe cycling and also helps to keep rides fresh and interesting – so each map comes with a quiz to see if you paid attention along the way! The ‘I Spy’ challenges on the second page of the map tests your observation skills.

There’s a prize draw for you to enter if you answer all the questions correctly, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said, “You don’t have to be wearing lycra to enjoy a bike ride! Cycling around Chelmsford is a great way to see some of our hidden secrets, such as lovely riverside paths just a stone’s throw from busy roads.

“I’ve long wanted to see more safe, well-signed strategic cycle routes, and Chelmsford City Council is working with Essex County Council highways to achieve that. Not only is cycling healthier and greener than driving, it is often the quickest way to get across central Chelmsford.

“As a cyclist myself, I know that there are many fantastic leisure cycle routes already available to us. I’m pleased that Chelmsford Council is highlighting more of these and hope they help some who have been thinking about cycling to give it a try.”

The routes were compiled by staff from the council’s Community Sport and Wellbeing team, who spent much of lockdown cycling around their local areas of the city for exercise. 

Antony Bensley, Community Sport & Wellbeing Manager, said, “I love cycling – not only is it a great form of exercise, it also gets you out discovering your local area and finding places you’d never have come across otherwise. Exploring Chelmsford by bike during lockdown has given me a new perspective on our city and how beautiful it is. We produced these maps because we wanted to help anyone looking to take up cycling and have a more active lifestyle, as well as seasoned cyclists needing a fresh adventure.” 

Tried one of the rides?

Post about it on social media using #explorechelmsford and encourage others to give cycling a go! 

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