Cycling in Derbyshire

There's a range of cycling routes for all styles of bike in Derbyshire

Cycling in Derbyshire

Looking for information about cycling in Derbyshire? Cycling UK's guide to cycling in Derbyshire gives you routes, events, clubs and advice to inspire you to cycle in the county. ​

The spectacular but compact scenery of the Peaks, with its honey-coloured villages, green valleys, and brown moorland, is crossed by several flat and well-surfaced railtrails, opening up Derbyshire to families and casual cyclists as well as full-on tourers and roadies. In fact, it’s hard to think of any county in the UK with more all-round cycling appeal; families and tourers could easily spend a week here exploring.

Among the railtrails, the 13-mile Tissington Trail (part of NCN68) runs from Ashbourne to Buxton through fine scenery over Dovedale; the 17-mile High Peak Trail (part of NCN54) runs off of it, and you can continue car-free from High Peak Junction to Buxton. The Monsal Trail, boasting several tunnels and some outstanding views (such as from Monsal Head), runs 8 miles from near Buxton to Bakewell.

Another fine option for families is the 12 miles or so circuit along the edge of Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs, especially at weekends when the road half of the route is closed to traffic.

Those exploring the back roads of the Peaks are rewarded with magnificent scenery (such as the tiny lane east off Axe Edge through a micro-Dolomites landscape). And curios: the section of the old A-road over Mam Tor, for instance, now closed due to subsidence (like several other roads around here).

Picturesque villages such as Castleton, Bakewell, Eyam, Edale or Hathersage are round every corner, all providing comfy cafes, pubs and accommodation, and Chatsworth House is one of Britain’s most impressive stately homes.

Derby, down in the south of the county, is the economic heart, known for transport manufacturing, and has a range of utility routes for locals. For the ambitious tourer, the Pennine Cycleway runs north from the city. The sign at the destination Berwick states grandly ‘Derby 355’ (miles!).

Cycling groups and clubs in Derbyshire

Alfreton CTC (Alfreton)

Organises rides (from slow to Audaxes) for all ages and abilities

CTC Derby and Burton (Derby)

Ashbourne Cycling Club (Ashbourne)

Caters for beginners to racers and offers women-only rides

Chesterfield Cycle Campaign (Chesterfield)

Campaigns and promotes cycle use in Chesterfield for leisure and utility

Manor Nifty 50s (Mansfield)

Chesterfield Spire Cycling Club (Chesterfield)

Regular rides plus touring, Audax, competitive time trials, etc

Bolsover Wheelers (Bolsover)

Sunday club runs, social events and tours in the UK and further afield, on-road and off

Derby Cycling Group (Derby)

Campaigns on behalf of cyclists in and around Derby

Cycle Mickleover (Mickleover)

Derby & Burton Leisure Cycling (Derby)

Serif (Long Eaton)

Vison Express (Long Eaton)

OCD-UK (Derby)

What to take with you on your ride 

The only thing you really need for cycling is a bike. And maybe a phone, and credit card: in Britain you’re only a call away from any service you might need.

But unless money is no object, it’s wise to take a few things with you on a day ride. A saddlebag or rear rack and panniers are best for carrying stuff. A front basket is second best. A rucksack is third best. Your sweaty back will soon tell you why.

Cycling short distances in jeans and t-shirt is fine, but on a long or strenuous ride – over ten miles say, or in hills – those jeans will rub and the t-shirt will get damp and clingy. Shorts or, yes, lycra leggings and padded shorts will be much comfier, and merino or polyester cycling tops wick away the sweat, keeping you dry and comfy. (They don’t have to be lurid colours.)

If rain’s in the air, pack a rainproof top. If it might turn chilly, take a fleece or warm top. But the thing you’re most likely to forget is the sunblock. 

It’s remarkable how often you enjoy being out on the bike so much that you suddenly realise it’s getting dark. So take lights (which are legally required at night). They’re price of a sandwich, take no space, are easy to put on thanks to tool-free plastic clips, and the batteries last for ever.

Take a puncture repair kit (with tyre levers) and pump. Make sure it fits your valves, which will be either ‘Presta’ or ‘Schraeder’ – realising they don’t match is a very common roadside discovery! Carrying a spare inner tube (make sure it matches your tyre size) makes puncture repair much easier: mend the old one back at home. If you do get in trouble, some kindly passing cyclist will probably stop to help.

Using a helmet is a personal choice – they’re not legally required.

Cycling makes you thirsty, so take lots of water. Long-distance riders talk about ‘the bonk’ – a sudden loss of energy rendering you almost stationary. It’s miraculously and instantly cured by eating something sweet. On short rides you’re unlikely to run out of energy, but just in case, take a snack like flapjack, banana, chocolate or jelly babies. 

Taking a packed lunch or picnic will save you money, though that hot drink and cake in a cosy cafe could yet prove very tempting!

Your phone GPS could be invaluable for showing where you are when lost; you can download free detailed UK maps and GPS software before your trip. 

Paper maps are still useful, though, so take one: no power source or wifi signal required, and they’re great for suggesting possibilities or changes of plan.

What have we missed? Let us know your favourite routes by leaving a comment below. 

Cycling routes in Derbyshire

Peaks routes and railtrails galore, plus getting around and away from Derby and Chesterfield

Cycle A-way’s list of maps, routes and resources for Debyshire

Journey Planner

Pedal Peak District, incl. High Peak and Tissington Trail

Cycle Derbyshire Map

Cycling The Peak District

Cycling events in Derbyshire

Check out our events calendar to find a ride that suits you

Make sure your bike is working
(From our partners, Halfords)

Creaking cranks, wobbly wheels or slipping saddles are the last thing you want, but Halfords' guide to basic bike maintenance will keep you rolling smoothly. Whether you’re a regular commuter, a leisurely weekend rider, or prefer to tear it up on a serious MTB trail, signs of wear and tear might keep you off the saddle from time to time. Whilst we can’t promise to banish those roadside mishaps, we can help keep your bike tip top with our top tips!

You’re heading out on your lovely bike, with a pannier packed with your essentials. A glorious route lies ahead, but then you run into a spot of bother! Most of the time there are handy hacks you can do to tide you over whilst out and about, and we’ve taken a look into the most common bike problems and solutions…

Clicking saddle? Check that the bolts connecting the saddle to the seat post are not loose. Tighten until the saddle is firmly secured using an allen key from your trusty toolbox!

Squealing brakes? This could be down to dirt or oil on the brake pads. Give it a quick wipe down, then when you get home take the brake pads off and readjust.

Squeaky derailleur? A little lube should help. Remove any excess.

Creaky pedals? Dry pedal bearings, loose crank arms or a worn bottom bracket could be the culprit. Once home, remove and lube the pedal bearings, tighten and lube the crank arms, or replace the bottom bracket if it’s still making a fuss.

Problem areas

Some of the problems you find with your bike might need a closer look, and here’s where we can help!

Wobbling disc rotors, spongy brakes and rattling bolts needn’t be as pesky as they sound for long enough to keep you off your bike! Call and see us with your two wheels at your local Halfords, or with any other bike bothers you might have.

From as little as £15 a year, Halfords will take the labour out of looking after your bike. Halfords offer a range of care packages, they provide free fitting on all parts and accessories bought from Halfords, and even include an annual service worth £50 as part of the plan!

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