Cycling in South Yorkshire

Cycling for health in Sheffield

Cycling in South Yorkshire

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

South Yorkshire can feel a largely industrial place, from the hilly urban areas of Barnsley and steel city Sheffield in the west to the flat marshy plains around Doncaster, where the horizon is dominated by power station cooling towers. There’s still some good cycling to be found, though it takes a bit of research.

Busy Sheffield isn’t always the easiest place to cycle round, and getting out the city usually involves a long climb – plenty of practice for its many active cycling clubs. The moorland country round Bradfield, northwest of the city, at least has quiet roads, most of them a challenge for fans of hills. The woods to the north of Sheffield have some good mountain biking, and are crossed by NCN627/67.

But Sheffield has two traffic-free escapes: one southwest along NCN627/67 towards Rother Valley Country Park, and another northeast along part of the Transpennine Trail (TPT). Indeed, the TPT is South Yorkshire’s big route, crossing the county from Penistone, south of Barnsley, across to Doncaster. Most of it is traffic-free, and there are some fabulous family-friendly sections of a mile or two (west of Penistone; the NCN6 canal towpath by Magna centre from Sheffield to Rotherham; or the Elsecar Greenway for instance).

In fact, the TPT is rather a piecemeal affair, with legs and arms heading out in various directions; it’s best ridden in instalments rather than as an in-one-go coast-to-coast. 

Cycling groups and clubs in South Yorkshire

Sheffield District CTC (Sheffield)

Non-competitive club covering South Yorkshire and beyond; also campaigns

Doncaster (Doncaster)

Non-competitive club covering South Yorkshire and beyond; also campaigns

Sprotbrough Cyklists Group (Sprotborough)

Pontefract Cycling Club (Pontefract)

Barnsley Mountain Bikers (Barnsley)

Cross-country rides in Penistone, Barnsley and Peak District for all abilities

Yorkshire Cycling Federation (Yorkshire)

HRS Services Ltd (Sheffield)

Sheffield Mountain Bikers (Sheffield)

Parks and Countryside Sheffield CC (Sheffield)

University of Sheffield (Sheffield)

Common Lane Occasionals (Sheffield)

Cycle Sheffield (Sheffield)

Campaigns to make cycling inclusive and easy, not limited to the quick and the brave

Ride Sheffield (Sheffield)

Advocacy group working for local mountain bikers

Porter Valley Bike 4 Fun (Sheffield)

Trikes 4 Transport (Sheffield)

Classico Bici (South Yorkshire)

Business that buys, sells and rents classic bikes; also links to Eroica events in UK and Italy

Cycling4everyone (South Yorkshire)

Whirlow Wheelers Cycling Club (Sheffield)

Road club offering Sunday rides

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? Recommend your favourite routes using the comments box below. 

Cycling routes in South Yorkshire

Getting round Doncaster and Sheffield, and some leisure rides

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

Journey Planner

Sheffield Green Routes Network

Doncaster Greenway North (NCN62)

Five Weirs Walk

Cycling events in South Yorkshire

Wednesday races (Barnsley)  Weds 6.30pm

Many regular races by Barnsley Road Club

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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