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What Is It Really Like Cycling in Durham?



Durham, where the echoes of history resonate through cobbled streets, beckons cyclists to uncover its secrets.

As you pedal through this enchanting city, centuries of heritage unfold. Medieval structures like Durham Cathedral provide a striking backdrop to modern rides.

Durham’s cycling scene blends history with a modern, eco-conscious ethos. The city’s diverse routes cater to all cyclists, from leisurely riders seeking scenic beauty to avid enthusiasts pursuing challenging trails.

Embark on a journey through Durham’s cycling culture and discover the captivating fusion of history and nature that makes every ride in this city a unique adventure.

Durham City Cycling Statistics


Durham City’s cycling statistics present a mixed portrait. While the city’s cycling mode share of 4.2% falls below the national average, a budding cycling community and ongoing initiatives promise a more pedal-friendly future. Notably, the gender imbalance leans toward males, with 70% of cyclists, and most fall within the 30-50 age group.

Cycling’s primary purposes in Durham include commuting, shopping, and recreation. Yet, this picturesque city holds vast potential for greater cycling adoption. The Durham County Council is committed to this cause, setting ambitious targets, including a 10% cycling mode share by 2030 and a 50% increase in female cyclists.

The council is enhancing cycling infrastructure, offering training, and conducting awareness campaigns to reach these goals. With its flat terrain, compact city centre, and scenic surroundings, Durham has the raw ingredients to become a highly cycle-friendly city, and these investments are turning that potential into a reality.


Cycle bike hire in Durham


In the heart of this historic city, you’ll find a haven for cycling enthusiasts and curious explorers alike. Durham’s landscape, adorned with medieval marvels and lush natural beauty, is best experienced on a bicycle. We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for the best cycle bike hire options to start your adventure.

The Bicycle Hub Durham: Located right on the banks of the River Wear, The Bicycle Hub offers a range of well-maintained bikes for hire. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely ride along the riverbanks or a more challenging ascent through the city’s historic streets, they have the wheels to match your ambition. The friendly staff can also provide local insights and route suggestions.


Beamish Cycle Hire: A short ride from Durham’s city centre, Beamish Open-Air Museum is a step back. What better way to explore this living history museum than by bike? Beamish Cycle Hire provides a variety of bicycles to suit your needs. With cycle paths that wind through the scenic countryside, this is an excellent choice for those seeking a mix of heritage and nature.


Pedal Power, Durham University: For those visiting or residing around the university, Pedal Power offers a convenient solution. They provide affordable bike hire options for students and the general public. Explore the city’s rich history with one of its reliable rental bikes, from the iconic cathedral to the bustling marketplaces.


Remember, cycling through Durham opens up a world of possibilities, from the architectural wonders of the cathedral to the serene landscapes along the River Wear. These bike hire options will ensure you have a reliable set of wheels to uncover every corner of this enchanting city.


Top 3 cycling routes in Durham


Durham’s idyllic landscapes and rich history create the perfect backdrop for cycling adventures. Whether you are a leisure cyclist or an avid enthusiast, these top three cycling routes will lead you through captivating vistas and unforgettable experiences in and around this charming city.

  • Durham City Loop: Start your cycling journey in the city’s heart with the Durham City Loop. This 6-mile circuit takes you on a scenic ride through Durham’s most iconic sites. You’ll pass by the stunning Durham Cathedral, cross the picturesque River Wear, and meander through the charming streets of the city centre. This route offers a delightful mix of historical and natural beauty.


  • Weardale Way: For a more tranquil and scenic adventure, the Weardale Way is a must. This 77-mile route explores the stunning countryside along the River Wear, taking you through charming villages and pastures. As you cycle along the riverbanks, you’ll encounter peaceful woodlands, old-world architecture, and breathtaking valley views. This route is perfect for those seeking a longer, immersive cycling experience.


  • Waskerley Way: The Waskerley Way, part of the larger C2C (Coast to Coast) route, offers an exciting off-road adventure. This former railway line has been transformed into a 10-mile traffic-free path, perfect for mountain bikes or hybrids. The route takes you through thick forests and open moorlands, providing a taste of Durham’s wild side. It’s an ideal choice for those who crave a bit of rugged explor

Whether Durham’s medieval charm enchants you, the serenity of its riverbanks, or the thrill of off-road cycling, these top routes cater to all tastes and preferences. Get ready to pedal through history, nature, and adventure in this captivating city.


Bike shops in Durham


Having the right equipment is essential when embarking on cycling adventures in Durham. Whether you need a tune-up, a new set of wheels, or some accessories to enhance your ride, these top bike shops in the area have you covered.

  • Cycle Logic: Located in the heart of Durham, Cycle Logic is your go-to shop for all things cycling. With a wide selection of bikes from mountain roads and a range of accessories and gear, you’ll find everything you need here. The knowledgeable and friendly staff can assist with bike fitting, repairs, and expert advice to make your cycling experience exceptional.


  • Spa Cycles Limited: Just a short ride from Durham, in Bishop Auckland, you’ll discover Spa Cycles Limited. This shop specializes in touring and long-distance cycling, making it the ideal destination for cyclists with a taste for adventure. Their extensive range of touring bikes and accessories will equip you for long journeys through the picturesque countryside.


  • Decathlon Durham: For those seeking a one-stop shop for cycling gear and accessories, Decathlon in Durham offers a wide selection. From bikes for all ages to clothing, helmets, and even maintenance equipment, this store is a cyclist’s haven. Decathlon’s range caters to all levels of cyclists, from beginners to seasoned riders.


These bike shops in Durham provide top-notch equipment and offer valuable insights, maintenance services, and a passion for all things cycling. Gear up and get ready to explore Durham’s beautiful landscapes and historic sites on two wheels.

Where to lock your bike in Durham


Finding a secure spot to lock your bike in a city as welcoming to cyclists as Durham is essential. Whether exploring the historic city centre, meandering along the River Wear, or venturing further afield, these reliable locations provide peace of mind for locking your bicycle.

  • Durham Railway Station: If you’re arriving in Durham by train, the railway station offers secure bike racks. It’s an excellent starting point for your cycling adventures, especially if you plan to explore the city centre or nearby trails.


  • Market Place Bike Racks: In the heart of Durham’s city centre, you’ll find designated bike racks around the Market Place. These make for a convenient option if you’re planning to explore the historic streets, enjoy local cuisine, or visit the cathedral.


  • Durham University Campus: The campus provides ample bike racks if you’re cycling near Durham University. You’ll find them at various locations across the university, making exploring both the campus and the nearby areas easy.


  • Durham Riverside: As you cycle along the scenic Riverside paths, you’ll come across bike racks at various intervals. These are perfect for securing your bike while you take a stroll or enjoy the breathtaking river views.


  • Local Businesses and Shops: Many businesses and shops in Durham welcome cyclists and offer bike racks outside their premises. Watch for these convenient racks if you shop, dine, or explore specific areas.


Remember to bring your lock for added security and lock your bike to a designated rack or structure. Durham’s bike-friendly atmosphere ensures that you can confidently enjoy the city’s attractions and natural beauty, knowing your trusty bicycle is safe and sound.


Cycling in the City Durham Reddit

Posted in the r/DurhamCycling subreddit

Hey, fellow cyclists! I had the most amazing ride in Durham yesterday. I started with a leisurely tour around the city, admiring the stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Then, I ventured into the countryside along the River Wear, and it was like entering a different world. The paths are well-maintained, and the views are breathtaking. Durham truly offers a diverse cycling experience. Plus, the friendly locals and fellow cyclists made it even better. I can’t wait for my next ride here!


Posted in the r/DurhamCycling subreddit

I’m sharing my recent experience on the Weardale Way route. It’s a hidden gem for cyclists. The 77-mile journey takes you through picturesque villages, lush pastures, and woodlands along the River Wear. The tranquillity of the route is unparalleled, and you’ll encounter some of the friendliest locals along the way. It’s perfect for a long day out in nature. I was amazed by how well-marked the trail was. Durham’s cycling scene is truly something special, and this route is a testament to that. Happy cycling, everyone!


Local cycling clubs in Durham


If you’re a cycling enthusiast in Durham, joining a local cycling club can open up exciting opportunities. From group rides to camaraderie and a shared passion for pedalling, these clubs offer a welcoming environment for cyclists of all levels. Here are some of the prominent cycling clubs in Durham:

  • Durham City Velo Cycling Club: Durham City Velo is a thriving club with a diverse membership. Whether you’re new to cycling or a seasoned pro, they have a place for you. The club hosts regular rides, time trials, and events, allowing members to challenge themselves and connect with fellow cyclists. Join them for leisurely outings, spirited group rides, or competitive races.


  • Cestria Cycling Club: Cestria Cycling Club is known for its welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. They organize various rides throughout the week, catering to different abilities. From social rides that explore Durham’s stunning countryside to more challenging routes, you’ll find plenty of options to match your preferences.


  • Aycliffe Velo: Aycliffe Velo is a community-focused cycling club based in Newton Aycliffe, a short ride from Durham. They offer a range of rides, including weekly social rides and training sessions. The club’s emphasis on fostering a friendly and supportive environment makes it an ideal choice for those looking to improve their cycling skills.


  • Ferryhill Wheelers: For those south of Durham, Ferryhill Wheelers is a well-established cycling club. They cater to riders of all abilities, with regular group rides and events. The club strongly focuses on community involvement and often hosts charity rides and events to support local causes.

Joining a local cycling club in Durham enhances your riding experience and connects you with like-minded individuals who share your love for cycling. These clubs are more than just places to pedal; they’re hubs of friendship, adventure, and shared passion.


Final verdict


With its rich history, charming landscapes, and growing cycling community, Durham beckons cyclists of all levels to explore its beauty on two wheels. While the city’s cycling statistics may indicate room for growth, the potential is undeniable.

Durham unveils its secrets to those who venture forth as the sun casts its warm glow on the historic city streets, and the Weardale Way invites you to an idyllic countryside journey. With initiatives to increase cycling mode share and make the city more cycle-friendly, Durham is on the cusp of a cycling renaissance.

The bike shops are stocked with gear for your next adventure, and the cycling clubs offer camaraderie and shared enthusiasm. Secure your trusty bicycle at the bike-friendly locking spots, and you’re ready to pedal through Durham’s captivating history and natural wonders.

Whether you’re a leisure cyclist savouring the city’s historic charm or an adventurer tackling the Weardale Way, Durham’s cycling scene has something for everyone. So, don your helmet, check your brakes, and embark on a cycling journey that weaves through history, nature, and community. Durham is a pedal-powered paradise waiting to be explored. Happy cycling!




Arjun Mertiya

Arjun Mertiya


Since Arjun was a young child, bikes have played a big part of his life. He races bikes, rides bikes and also loves writing about bikes. It’s always just been a way of life for Arjun and a passion that he loves to share with others..

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