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Pushing Pedals: For a Picnic, Workout Or Commute, Here’s How by Bike

Published on: 30 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 30 Apr, 2021

This is the third of what is a regular column on local cycling. The vision of Guildford Bicycle User Group (G-BUG) is to make cycling in the borough and surrounding communities safer, more convenient and enjoyable. Members share a passion for making the borough more liveable through increased cycling.

By Bridie Sullivan

This month’s column from G-BUG will highlight some of the best local cycle routes enjoyed by our members. As we approach yet another summer of making the most of what we have locally, the good news is that there’s much more to explore.

On the Downs link

The lockdowns have encouraged a lot more of us to enjoy a local walk or cycle while there is less traffic. A popular route with families from the centre of Guildford is the towpath along the river. Although some parts are closed for works, more are expected to be open this summer.

But the towpath from central Guildford can still be followed to a junction with the Basingstoke canal, through Woking to Ash for an almost traffic-free route.

As with any form of physical activity, do check the level of intensity before embarking on a new one. Easy, intermediate or difficult, understanding which best suits the fitness and experience of all the riders in your party is essential.

Christmas Pie cycle route.

Popular with the more seasoned cyclist is the Christmas Pie Trail, a mainly off-road route from Applegarth Avenue in Park Barn to Farnham, via Ash Green and Tongham.

Although mostly a quiet route, some surfaces are very uneven. And the crossing point at the A331 / A31 roundabout near Tongham requires caution.

Further afield, the National Cycle Network (NCN) has two routes through Guildford, providing a mix of on- and off-road tracks for mixed abilities.

On the NCN22 through Abinger roughs.

Cycle route NCN22, stretches from London to Portsmouth, passing through Guildford, Puttenham and on to Runfold, where you can return via the Christmas Pie Trail to make a circuit of the Hog’s Back.

Travelling east, the NCN22 heads to Dorking, via Shalford, the Downs Link, Shamley Green and Shere. You can return along the North Downs trackway from Ranmore Common to Newlands Corner.

For a really good workout, branch off at Shere and return over Combe Lane before descending via Staple Lane.

The cycle route, NCN223, goes through the Riverside Park.

Cycle route NCN223 runs from Chertsey via Woking and Guildford to join the Downs Link at Shalford. That’s a traffic-free route all the way to Shoreham-on-Sea, following the disused railway line. If following the Downs Link, use tyres for dirt and gravel.

Local access for NCN223 is across Stoke Park beside the Spectrum. The path through the Riverside Park passes great picnic spots beside the lake and nature reserve. Carry a bag for rubbish.

Cycling past the Riverside Nature Reserve on the NCN223.

Free apps such as Stava and Map My Ride provide performance-tracking for a workout. The Komoot app and website Cycle.Travel are great for route planning.

The G-BUG website is a great place to start with the latest on local changes in infrastructure, maps or links and images. Members who are qualified ride leaders would be happy to organise a local trip. If you need help finding a safe, convenient or fun route for the school run or daily commute, please contact

Finally, a date for your diary. For this year’s national Bike Week, Cycling UK has launched a campaign to create the World’s Biggest Bike Ride on May 30. For more information visit

Follow G-BUG on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or sign here.

Safe cycling, folks, and keep off pavements.

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