Cycling and camping: as easy as falling off a bike
On your bike: cycling can be mixed with camping for just about every age and ability. It doesn’t have to be about taking it very seriously, pedalling madly from John O’ Groats to Land’s End dressed only in a scrap of Lycra and a manic expression, with a toothbrush and a bedroll tied to your handlebars. You can go to a campsite with good cycling trails nearby, taking the bikes on the back or the top of the car, or hire them at the site once you’re there to take out for a leisurely bike ride with the kids/embarrassing them by doing wheelies the second you see a witness nearby.
Here’s how to do it on two wheels:
- If you don’t have a bike or don’t want to take yours on the trip, use the Pitchup.com filter to look for sites with cycle hire. There are dozens bookable on Pitchup.com: try eco-camp in Argyll or Europa Park in Devon to name just two.
- Then filter the results whatever way you want, such as a site with cycle hire that's also family friendly, or one with fishing nearby. Once you’ve found your site – Hendra Holiday Park in Newquay, for example – click on the 'Cycle routes' link under 'Local attractions', which brings you to a Sustrans map of on-road and traffic-free cycling routes near the campsite.
- Even if the site you're going to doesn’t have cycle hire and you’re not bringing your own bike, you can search for sites with cycle hire nearby. Again you can filter this any way you want – maybe you want to stay somewhere you can hire a bike nearby but that's also a walkers' paradise, or somewhere you can cycle off to do some birdwatching or surfing. The Quiet Site in Cumbria has cycle hire nearby and is listed as in a walkers' paradise, peaceful and with with spectacular scenery: touring and tent pitches start from £16 a night, with camping pods from £35 and bell tents from £40.
- If mountain biking's more your thing, you can still tailor-make your camping trip however you like. Bring your own bike and look for sites with mountain biking nearby, or filter the sites with mountain biking nearby with those that also offer cycle hire on site or nearby. If you fancy doing the mountain bike trails at Coed Llandegla in North Wales, Wrexham’s Bryn Dwr is a mile and a half away with camping pods from £40 a night, or combine biking with fishing at Chester Lakes twelve miles away, where there are tent pitches from £10.
- If it's just general cycling you’re planning on, and you're bringing your own bike, click ‘search’ on the left here and filter the result for cycling nearby. If you think you’ll be feeling energetic, there’s also a list of activities within 15 miles to add in to the search – you might fancy cycling to the beach or to a National Park. Or you could just cycle the nearby routes all day and come back at night to a site with a bar or clubhouse, or one where you can have a shower or bath (most advisable before going to the bar).
- Going for continental cycling? Look through our holiday parks and campsites in France and again filter for cycle hire on site and by nearby bike routes under ‘Local attractions’.
There you go – cycling and camping sorted with Pitchup.com. It’s as easy as falling off a bike.
First published June 2011, updated June 2013.