Family cycling on the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway: Meet father Rob Young and his six-year-old son Angus

Since opening in July 2016 the cycle superhighway has been used for more than 700,000 trips, helping make cycling and walking a viable option for all residents, regardless of age or ability.

At 14km the award-winning Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, which connects two of Yorkshire’s biggest cities via a cycling and walking route protected from traffic, is the longest continuous route of its kind in the UK.

Since opening in July 2016 the cycle superhighway has been used for more than 700,000 trips, helping make cycling and walking a viable option for all residents, regardless of age or ability.

We caught up with the Rob Young, to hear how the superhighway is helping the whole family make more trips by bike.

My wife, Emma and I, regularly use the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway to cycle to work and into Leeds.

I recently needed to pick up our car from a garage on the A647 Armley Road and I decided to cycle there with my six–year-old son, Angus, instead of getting a bus – something I would never have considered doing if the cycle superhighway wasn’t there.

On the whole, the experience was a good one. Angus said he felt safe and he was glad he wasn’t on the main road.

The whole family feel a lot safer using cycle superhighway and it really helps us cut down on travel time, especially at rush hour.

A lifelong passion
I have been riding bikes since the age of six when I got a Raleigh Budgie, which I loved riding with my friends.

I really got into cycling when I was 17 when I got my first mountain bike and spent most weekends mountain biking in Wales or taking part in races.

Ten years ago I got a road bike through the Cycle to Work Scheme so I could ride to work in Bramley from my home in Keighley.

I have since enjoyed long distance rides, including legs of the Tour de Yorkshire and the Coast to Coast.

As my wife and I are both keen cyclists it was only natural to get our sons into cycling so we could all enjoy a healthy family activity together in the fresh air.

Both Angus and his younger brother, Callum, got balance bikes when they turned two and were on pedal bikes at the age of three.

They cycle or scoot to and from school, and we have enjoyed family bike rides along disused railways and at mountain biking centres.

Being the change you want to see
I would like to see more children riding bikes both for pleasure and for transport.

I think it’s important to provide segregated cycle routes to give less confident riders the opportunity to get out on their bikes in a safe environment.

As both my wife and I are passionate about getting children cycling we have recently qualified as British Cycling ride leaders with the aim of providing family friendly bike rides.

My advice to anyone wanting to start or return to cycling with or without their children is to just have a go – you don’t have to go far, just start small and build it up over time.

Do a mile or so to begin with, turn round and come back. Take it steady and most of all, enjoy it.