Cycling in Nottinghamshire

Cyclists from CTC Notts

Cycling in Nottinghamshire

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

Nottinghamshire has a range of cycle routes, from easy family railpaths to hilly road workouts. As you’d guess, there’s mountain biking in Sherwood Forest – Sherwood Pines, specifically – ranging from family trails to challenging singletrack.

Other child-friendly traffic-free trundling is at Bestwood Park, on the outskirts of Nottingham; Clumber Park up to the north; or Cotgrave’s towpath (on the Grantham canal) and park in the centre of the county. A smooth railtrail runs a few miles south from handsome Newark, with its castle and traditional market square, down to Cotham, again great for families.

Tourers might start their route planning with NCN6, which threads its way up through the county and includes a lot of traffic-free sections. On its way from Nottingham 40 miles north to Worksop, for instance, it passes through Mill Lakes Country Park and Sherwood Forest – past the famous Major Oak and those mythical Robin Hood haunts – finishing on one its the many car-free sections en route, the Chesterfield Canal into Worksop.

Free-ranging tourers can enjoy exploring quaint off-radar market towns (such as Tuxford) and villages (such as Gotham, which ultimately gave its name to Batman’s home town).

Nottingham itself has its share of unpleasantly hectic car-centric main roads – and the tram tracks can be a menace; ask Pedals, the local cycle campaign – but canals and riverside paths offer some peaceful and enjoyable ways to get round the centre. After a drink at the Olde Trip to Jerusalem, one of Britain’s oldest and quirkiest pubs, take the traffic-free ‘Big Track’ route through the centre. It links the station, the cricket and both football grounds, and takes you grandly alongside the Trent.

Cycling groups and clubs in Nottinghamshire

Notts CTC (Nottinghamshire)

Non-racing group that organises rides to suit most abilities

Newark (Nottinghamshire)

Non-racing branch of Notts CTC that organises rides to suit most ranges of cycling ability

Notts MTB Outlaws

C2C For Gareth Lewis and Kit Taylor (Hucknall)

Gillian Domleo Fundraising Events (Arnold)

Notts All Terrain Bike Club (Nottinghamshire)

Innes England (Nottinghamshire)

Vision Express (Nottinghamshire)

Sherwood Cycling Club (Nottingham)

Open TT and cyclocross events, road races and full calendar of time trials

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 Nottinghamshire

Getting round Nottingham, forest trails, railpaths and rural rides

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

Journey Planner

Robin Hood Way

Clumber Park Cycle Route

Newark to Cotham Railway Path (NCN64)

Cycling events in Nottinghamshire

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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