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Cycling in Kent with cycle routes, bike hire and trails to try

Lockdown has inspired more and more of us to take up cycling - and we’re being encouraged to keep it up long term. Cycling already has a longstanding popular following, whether you’re in it for the PBs and training goals, or simply love getting outdoors on two wheels.

Fitness-wise, cycling offers a whole world of challenges and opportunities to explore and while riding in a large group is still off the table, riding in pairs or small groups is now acceptable under the latest guidelines. If you're thinking of getting in the saddle here's some ideas and inspiration:

Get out on your bikes with the whole family
Get out on your bikes with the whole family

Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst

Trails need to be regularly safety-checked at the Forestry England site and some may be closed or altered, with temporary signs.

Keep an eye out for them as they are there to help keep you safe. Some facilities including children’s play areas are still closed but on-site bike hire reopened this week.To find out more go to forestryengland.uk/bedgebury

Betteshanger Country Park, Deal

An important cycling centre, the park has the longest road cycle track in the country as well as endless opportunities for beginners and gentle family rides through to elite cyclists. The 121 hectare park is built on the site of the former Betteshanger colliery. Bring your own bike or hire one as bike hire facilities reopened this week Helmets must be worn at all times, by all riders. Limited toilet facilities are also now open at the park. Find out more at betteshangerparks.co.uk

Cycing has become more popular than ever during lockdown
Cycing has become more popular than ever during lockdown

Cyclopark, Gravesend

After closing during lockdown, the site opened for members only last weekend. Designed by World Cup trail designer, Hugh Clixby, Cyclopark has six kilometres of mountain bike trails, with each trail suitable for different abilities.

To find out how to join and look out for updates on when the park will fully reopen, visit cyclopark.com

Viking Coastal Trail, Thanet

Whichever section of the 32 mile trail you choose to explore, you are sure to find dramatic scenery and local historical gems. It will take you through rural villages and to seaside towns while winding your way along the coast.

The route is also known as the Regional Cycle Network 15 and is well signposted throughout with the trail logo.Find out more at visitkent.co.uk

Boxley Hill, Maidstone

Once you’re feeling confident, you’ll want a challenge, and hill cycling is the biggest when it comes to wheels. A county climbing hot spot, Boxley Hill is 2.7km long, and has climb with both length and gradient. You can take is steadily, with a rise of between 3-6% for the first 2km, then a rise of 17%. and another even bigger climb of 23% - only for the very advanced with thighs of steel.

* Explore Kent, the Kent County Council led partnership initiative with a range of partners promotes and encourages local people to enjoy and benefit from the great natural resources that Kent has to offer.

It has details of a range of free guided rides, family friendly traffic-free routes to long distance days out for the more adventurous. Find one in your part of Kent by visiting explorekent.org/cycling-in-kent/

* Cycling UK has ideas for routes as well as guides on socially distanced cycling, advice for beginners and places to ride in Kent. Find out more at cyclinguk.org

* The Big Bike Revival for Key Workers scheme, funded by the Department for Transport in England, provides funding and support so that independent bike shops, recycling centres and bike mechanics can offer free services to key workers.In Kent there is a site in Canterbury, in Kingsmead Road, offering free maintenance, bike loans and equipment for NHS workers. Details at thecanterburybikeproject.co.uk

For more places to enjoy a bike ride in Kent click here

For more ideas for days out across Kent click here

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