One of the best ways to take in the extensive scenery of the Peak District is through cycling. There are a number of cycle routes throughout the Peak District as well as visitors having the opportunity to hire bikes. Many of the cycle trails are also traffic free and wind through some of the most beautiful areas of the park.
One of the most popular cycle routes in the Peak District is the Pennine Bridleway. The Pennine Bridleway follows a similar route to the famous hiking route the Pennine Way and spans over 100 miles. One of the best areas for cycling is the Monsal Trail. Much of the Monsal Trail is built on disused railway tracks and has a gentle slope. This makes it suitable for cyclists of all abilities. A series of tunnels have also been renovated and are fully lit, providing safe passage through the hillside. The trail itself is 8.5 miles long and can be used for hiking, cycling and horse riding.
Many visitors to the park bring their own bikes with them, though this is not required as cycle hire is readily available in a number of different locations. The Park authority operates three different cycle hire centres throughout the park, and provides bikes for all ages. Each centre also has facilities providing refreshments as well as toilets. Cycle Hire centres are open from 9.30am every day between the months of March to October, as well as opening outside of these months at certain times.
All of the bikes available are of a high quality and are well maintained. Equipment hire is also available and includes child seats, child buggies which attach to the back of bikes as well as helmets. Ex hire bikes can also be purchased at competitive prices at cycle centres.
One of the three official cycle hire centres is located in Ashbourne. This centre is perfectly located for those looking to explore the Tissington Trail, as it is located at the end of the trail. The A515 connects Buxton to Ashbourne should you wish to visit by car, with public transport options also being available. The centre also opens in the February half term school holiday, as well as the summer months. The Tissington trail provides visitors with traffic free cycling through the Peak District. The trail itself is 10 miles in length.
The second cycle hire centre is located in the Derwent Valley and is easily accessed from Sheffield. The most popular cycle route for visitors to the centre involves cycling around the Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs. Cycling is only permitted in the area on bridleways and roads, with riding on open land being banned. The Derwent dam is worth visiting due to RAF pilots training there for the famous dam busters raids in world war two. There is also a visitor centre which provides both information and maps to help visitors explore the surrounding area.
The final cycle centre is the Parsley Hay centre which is around a 15 minute drive from Buxton. The best cycling in the surrounding area is found on the Tissington and High Peak trails. These trails offer visitors the chance to cycle 30 miles on traffic free flat land. The area also offers spectacular views of the Peak District. Facilities at the centre include a cycle shop, as well as emergency bike repair.
Prices for a standard bike begin at £13 for half a day, with discounts available for consecutive days. Childrens bikes begin at £9 for a half day and cost £11 for a fully day. Other variants of bikes are also available such as Tandem bikes which cost £33 per day. Discounts are available for schools. Those planning on cycling on more challenging trails may wish to hire a Giant Talon 3 Hardtail mountain bike which costs £25 for a full day. Proof of identity is also required when hiring bikes.