Banksy, balloons and bikes

A cycling guide to Bristol

In 2012 Bristol hosted Fixed ’n’ Chips, where cyclists dashed to reach five checkpoints around the city while scoffing battered sausages and mushy peas.

From Massive Attack to Banksy’s murals, and the bars, bookshops and independent retailers that lie around every corner, it’s fair to say that Bristol isn’t your ordinary city.

Whether you’re ambling along the waterside, exploring the off-road trails or just getting from A to B, few places are as geared towards bikes as Bristol.

Named the UK’s first Cycling City in 2008, expect ample bike parking, public maintenance tools and a whole network of dedicated cycle lanes. And if you’re looking for something a little different, why not hop on a tandem for a day of sightseeing for two?

My city: David Collman

“I’m Bristol born and bred and I’ve been cycling here all my life. I love the hills (there’s no getting away from them), the great new cycling facilities in the city and the cycling culture here. In the past I mostly cycled on my own, but since becoming a Ride Leader three years ago I’ve met loads of local cyclists and I now have at least ten buddies who join me on my regular Ride Social rides.”

David’s favourite route:

> From Village to Vista

“Starting from Bristol Parkway train station, this route has a great mix of road and country lanes, taking in the pretty villages of Acton, Tytherington, Olveston and Easter Compton.

The final climb up Over Lane leads to a fantastic final reveal of the two Severn Bridges in all their glory – which is followed by a nice descent back to the start point.”

Browse other routes in the Bristol area

Must visit: Roll for the Soul cafe

Roll for the Soul is a not-for-profit café, bike workshop and event space located in the heart of Bristol. We caught up with manager Rob Wall to find out more.

Tell us a bit about Roll for the Soul…

We celebrate and support people who do stuff with bikes. Food and drink is a big part of what we do, but we’re also a Community Interest Company and living wage employer. We’re just trying to make a contribution here in Bristol, celebrating cycling in all forms from racing to just pottering around.

What else do you have going on?

We host talks, film screenings and fix bikes in our workshop. Loads of other social enterprises use our space too. Oh, and we have a bit of live music, which is always good fun.

If we were planning a ride from the café, where would you suggest that we go?

It’s hard to just pick one, but if you’re looking for a challenge I’d head over the old Severn Bridge to Chepstow and Usk. There's some beautiful riding around the Wye Valley. It may not look much on a map, but the B4235 from Usk back to Chepstow is a beaut.

Quick fire round…

Signature dish – Soul Burger (yes, it’s veggie, but it’ll fill you up)

Favourite cyclist – Louise Jones, the first ever Commonwealth women’s sprint champion (she’s my sister!)

Fun fact – We’ve had a Trek Madone 5.9 in the workshop for five months that has never been collected. You’d think the owner would want it back...