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Cycling in North Herts

North Hertfordshire is ideal for cycling. The countryside is rolling and attractive without being physically challenging. Towns are small enough that you can cycle from any point to the centre in 5 minutes. They are close together, typically no more than 10 or 15 minutes from one to its neighbour, and nowhere are you more than 20 minutes ride from a railway station.

Each town has a different character. Hitchin and Royston are historic market towns, Baldock is a medieval "service station" on the old North Road. Letchworth was the first of the Garden Cities while Stevenage, its near neighbour, was the first 20th century "new town".

Away from the towns there is a wealth of attractive country lanes and pretty villages to be explored. In the towns there have been few concessions to make cycling safe and attractive. Dedicated cycling infrastructure is rare and generally of very poor quality – creating more problems than solutions. A comprehensive cycle network plan was drawn up in 1999 but there has been little attempt to build it. Stevenage is the exception, with a high quality cycle network built in the 1950s that sadly has not kept pace with more recent expansion.

Sustrans' Great North Route NCN12 runs through Letchworth and Stevenage, although many riders will be disappointed by the poor quality of design and construction, and the lack of directness. For those who like getting their tyres muddy there is also the ancient Ickneild Way trackway that runs east-west through the district.

North Herts boasts several active cycling clubs to suit all tastes. CTC run 2-3 rides per week from Stevenage or Hitchin. Nomads have weekly club runs from Hitchin as well as time trials through the summer. CC Ashwell have 3 club rides per week as well as time trials, road racing, velodrome sessions and a youth section.

Other areas …

Latest photos of the area

See also a full list of photos in this area.

Spokes cycle cafe near Codicote

Ford on Fulling Mill Lane

Cycleway next to the A505 taken from a coach returning Heathrow to Cambridge.

Byway to Ashwell

Bridleway northeast of Baldock

Bridleway northeast of Baldock

Start of quiet route from Baldock towards Ashwell, Royston, Wimpole, Cambridge etc.

There really should be cycle access here.

Cycle stands on the main street, Baldock

Link to housing development by Baldock station.

Link to housing development by Baldock station - the height restriction is for the main road under the railway, not the path.

Map of large nature reserve between the North Road and the A1(M) - foot paths only.

Entry to large nature reserve between the North Road and the A1(M) - foot paths only.

The main A507/B656 crossroads, Baldock

Cycle stands and start of shared-use route south from Baldock

There's plenty of space for car parking, so couldn't they put a decent cycle route through here?

Cycle parking and mini-roundabout in the centre of Baldock

Pedestrianised area in central Baldock

Barrier to contraflow cycling - which really should have allowed here.

Paved cut-through towards Baldock station

Paved cut-through from Baldock station

Covered cycle parking at Baldock station, presumably replacing several car spaces.

Sheffield stands and two-tier cycle parking at Baldock station

No level access at Baldock station

Baldock Road recreation ground cycle parking , Letchworth Garden City (3 x Sheffield stands)

Pretty although muddy pathway through flowers. Right alongside the A1(M) with motorists flying by just metres away on massive tarmacked road. Very noisy.

nice field though surface is in bad shape

ah, the national mud wrestling network, incidentally you can cycle here, if you dare Ed: "Turf Lane" the clue's in the name 😉

a lonesome tree muddy, dirt surface

mud

Pretty field and trees, muddy surface, right next to big massive motorway on the other side of the hedge -- which doesn't protect you from the noise.

bit of tarmac farm road

Combined Toucan and Pegasus crossing!

Mud / dust

Muddy cycle route next to gigantic motorway junction at Letchworth.

Pretty pathway sandwiched between a farm field and the A1(M). It is very noisy here, sadly, which spoils it. The flowers are nice but it is a little galling that I have to cycle in the mud next to one of the widest, smoothest motorways i ... [more]

Under the A1(M)

Horrendous A-frame barrier that stops anyone with a tricycle, recumbent, or any form of adapted cycle for people with disabilities. Even more horribly, this is right next to the Woolgrove school, for special needs, thus ensuring that the ... [more]

Horrendous A-frame barrier that stops anyone with a tricycle, recumbent, or any form of adapted cycle for people with disabilities. Even more horribly, this is right next to the Woolgrove school, for special needs, thus ensuring that the ... [more]

horrendous A-frame barrier that stops anyone with a tricycle, recumbent, or any form of adapted cycle for people with disabilities

lost in sustranslation...

Cycle parking in the beer garden at the Cricketers pub, Weston, Hertfordshire. 3 x Sheffield stands.

Hitchin flyover

Cut-through in Graveley

NCN route 12 heading north from Stevenage

NCN route 12 heading north from Stevenage

NCN route 12 heading north from Stevenage

NCN 12 heading south to Stevenage

NCN route 12 heading north from Stevenage.

Cut-through needing improvement in central Hitchin

A good crossing here and a cycle route up Windmill Hill (yes, I know there's a bit of a climb) would provide an excellent link between Hitchin Girls School and the town centre.

Excitement.

Covered sheffield stands at Hitchin Station.

Covered double-deceker cycle racks at Hitchin Station.

Covered double-deceker cycle racks at Hitchin Station.

Absolutely fabulous piece of infrastructure - the Royston tunnel photoed from a passing train.

Well-integrated cycle parking and build-outs for pedestrian crossing.

Paul's Bikes, Hitchin

Segregated route from the cycle parking at Hitchin station

Double-deck parking at Hitchin station - how quickly this has become ubiquitous!

Hitchin flyover

New double deck cycle racks at Royston.

Looking east onto byway

Exit from Weston Way to off road section of NCN12. Note the barrier to catch bikes turing off the road and how going south you hit the barrier before giving way. Poor!

Climbing from Shaftenhoe End towards Barkway, with Great Chishill in the distance. The 2013 "Emitremmus Desrever", a 100 km audax organized each year by the Stevenage CTC.

Community consultation event organised by Sustrans.

Community consultation event organised by Sustrans.

Community consultation event organised by Sustrans.

Link to underpass in Royston.

Cycleway leading to underpass for cyclists in Royston.

Cycle parking at Royston Station. Not brilliantly installed though as some of it not accessible.

Pub driveway in Royston

Royston car storage area.

Royston roads

Pedestrian environment in Royston High Street

Pedestrian environment in Royston High Street

Streets in Royston that nowadays we consider 'narrow'.

Streets in Royston that nowadays we consider 'narrow'.

Royston cycleways

Pedestrianized High Street, Royston

The Roy stone, Royston with cycle parking in the background.

Pedestrianized High Street, Royston

Royston cave Unfortunately closed at the time of our visit... http://www.roystoncaveshop.com/ http://www.roystoncave.co.uk/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royston_Cave

One of these children said 'There's a lot of people on bikes today' when they saw us. But these were just about the only others we'd seen in Royston.

Behind one of the main roads in Royston

Quiet route in Royston. Looks like this gate is left permanently ajar.

Quiet route in Royston

Quiet route in Royston

Quiet route in Royston

Banyer's Lodge, on Dog Kennel Lane, Royston http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/374860

The Green, Royston. Annoying road closure with no through connection for cycling. There is a bit of tarmac on one side that makes sort of a ramp. Easily fixed, not much money to open this as an alternative route for bikes from the bus ... [more]

Butcher's Baulk - looks like a useful footpath, but there's no cycling.

Mill Road, Royston

Mill Road, Royston

Mill Road, Royston

Mill Road, Royston a major car storage facility

Morton Street, Royston

Morton Street, Royston

Morton Street, Royston

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