Whitwell to Normanton Church
I have always loved cycling and before the kids came along I enjoyed nothing more than getting out on my bike, either on road or MTB. Cycling gives me a great sense of freedom and provides a way to get out in the great outdoors, exploring all of the amazing places the UK has to offer. When I am out on my bike, all of my day to day stresses melt away and I can simply enjoy the moment, taking in the scenery and nature around me. Now That I have two young children (Harris and Arran), getting out on my bike is more important than ever! I feel like it is essential that we continue to do the things we love after having our children and what better way than to bring them along for the adventure?
Rutland is an amazing place to get out with the bikes. I have cycled around Rutland water quite a few times now and find the views/ quality of the route around the water second to none. The last time I cycled the 17 mile loop (not including the Hambleton Peninsula) around Rutland water I was 37 weeks pregnant with Harris ( my first child) and I have been desperate to get back since! The routes around Rutland are so versatile and can be adapted to suit your needs. There are great tracks around the water and most of the routes have minimal sections on the road, making it a great option for family cycling. For me the long stretches of smooth tracks away from the road make it the perfect place to get out and about with my boys. As Arran is still quite young, smooth tracks are a must. There are also lots of facilities around the lake including toilets, cafes, pubs and a variety of scenic picnic areas which make it perfect for planning plenty of rest breaks and stops when cycling with the family.
As well as the amazing scenery, there is plenty to see and do around Rutland!. My favorite place for a snack stop has to be Normanton Church, one of the most iconic churches in the UK with its impressive architecture and interesting history, not to mention its beautiful backdrop which can make it appear like it is floating above the waterline!
With large areas of wetland and several areas of woodland there is an abundance of wildlife that can be spotted in and around the water. The Rutland water Nature reserve is also home to the Rutland Osprey Project as well as holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl so is perfect for cyclists who also love bird spotting and getting closer to nature!
Being a typical Preschooler, Harris loves spotting different things when we are out on the bikes. He was excited to spot some windsurfers (It was perfect weather for those!), ducks (Also perfect weather for those!) and he was very excited to see the ‘big boat’ (The Rutland Belle pleasure boat, which takes visitor tours across the water!). If you prefer to combine your cycling staycation with other action packed activities Rutland Watersports centre is also located near Whitwell Harbour and offers a range of activities including windsurfing, sailing and canoeing as well as having the Aqua Park- one of the largest floating inflatable obstacle courses (operating from May- September). There are also many campsites around Rutland so you can set up camp and take your time exploring all that Rutland has to offer!
We came over to Rutland cycling (Whitwell store) To try out their Hire fleet bikes and equipment for our leisure ride- A there and back again route from Whitwell to Normanton Church. This was a nice easy route (perfect to take kids along) packed with beautiful scenery and points of interest! The Hire bikes, with the Thule bike trailer and the Hamax bike seat was the perfect option for us! It meant we were able to get out on a nice family bike ride without the hassle of having to pack all of our own bikes, trailer and bike seat into the car! The Thule bike trailer is an amazing bit of kit and an absolute must have for any family wanting to get outdoors with young kids! I find that you need to take so much ‘stuff’ with you when you have kids and having the large storage basket on the back of the trailer is invaluable! The Thule bike trailers also have good suspension to make it a comfy ride for the passenger, as well as having the waterproof cover (This was Ideal for keeping Arran warm and dry!) and a clip on sunshade for when the sun finally comes out. The Design team at Thule have worked their magic again with this one, making the trailer easy to use with many innovative features that are both practical and easy to use. Harris is that bit older than Arran so prefers to be up on the bike and able to look around. The Hamax bike seat was perfect for him. He was able to have a good look around and he was very comfy for the whole ride.
As the weather wasn’t perfect for our ride, the right kit was essential. Luckily Harris had his Spotty Otter insulated splash suit on to keep him warm and dry! We had struggled to find a helmet that fit Harris as he is quite small for his age! We are very thankful that Rutland Cycling provided us with a Giant Hoot ARX helmet that was easy to fit, looked very stylish in the bright green and was light weight so he was very happy to wear it (In Fact we have struggled to take it off him since!). I had the lovely Madison Keirin waterproof Jacket, which looked amazing in the Caribbean Blue. It was perfect to keep the wind and drizzle off, while being breathable and packable at the same time. John had the Endura Hummvee Hoodie on, which gives a more casual look while still providing a comfortable fit, making it ideal for being out on the bike and for wearing afterwards. He was also wearing the Endura Hummvee shorts which he found very comfortable and a really good fit. Having some good kit on meant that the typical UK drizzle wasn’t a problem for us and we were still able to enjoy our bike ride with the Family.
We had a very enjoyable ride out From Rutland Cycling Whitwell and have to say that all of the staff are very friendly and approachable. They are always happy to offer technical advice on bikes, equipment and kit and provide a fantastic bike hire service from their stores around Rutland water, helping people get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery around Rutland and beyond. If you are considering a staycation with the family this year, Rutland is definitely somewhere you should consider and be sure to pop in to say hi to the team at Rudland cycling while you are there!
If you are thinking of organising a staycation this year, follow the link below to head over to Rutland Cycling and have a look at all of the amazing places they recommend for some of the best UK cycling trips.
Happy Cycling xx
Sam, John Harris and Arran