Getting around by e-bikes is a great way to travel and one that many will do more of now summer is coming and the weather is friendlier.
However, roads are often not so friendly and for that reason, finding off-road routes can be a great way of making the most of the time in the saddle of a lightweight electric bike.
The good news, however, is that there are far more routes than one might imagine, even in some of the biggest urban areas in the country. Organisations like Sustrans have databases of the National Cycle Network, showing where these can be found.
For example, residents of Manchester can enjoy the Fallowfield Loop, which follows the old line across the south of the city for 5.4 miles between Chorlton and Debdale, linking up with numerous parks and also routes to the canal network at its eastern end.
The Liverpool Loop Line has a similar appeal, providing a traffic-free oasis of calm on a route through the city’s outer suburbs, well away from the centre.
Over in West Yorkshre, the Great Northern Railway Trail is slightly less urban, but it is easily accessed from Bradford for a beautiful ride through Bronte country from Keighley to Cullingworth, with highlights including two viaducts.
Many other former railway lines are in more rural places. For instance, in Essex the Flitch Way Country Park covers eight miles between Braintree and Bishop’s Stortford, while the old track bed of the Newark to Cottesford Railway provides a 4.8 mile route from the Nottinghamshire market town to the nearby village of Cotham.
These are just a few of the many old railway lines across the country that were closed in the Beeching Cuts or - as in the case of the Fallowfield Loop - even earlier, which now have a new lease of life, offering a great summer adventure on two wheels.