The Bay Cycle Way: family bike trip 2023

A Sustrans family bike tour around Morecambe Bay on the edge of the Lake District.

Post by Mary on May 2, 2023

At the end of April we went back to the UK for a family bike trip with the kids and Grandpa. After the success of the Sustrans  Coast and Castles route last year, we decided to try the other side of the country and another Sustrans route, The Bay Cycle Way. The route starts in Barrow-in-Furness and takes you around Morecambe Bay, dipping in and out of the Lakeland fells, finishing 4 days and 80 miles or so later at Glasson Dock, just south of Lancaster.

It’s a perfect route for young and old with lots of easy, flat riding by the sea, along the Lancaster canal and the river Lune. There are also a few punchy climbs where the route takes you inland. Just enough for the kids to feel a sense of achievement on reaching the top but not so much as to cause extreme whingeing! The beautiful views of the Lakeland hills in one direction and the sea in the other make the climbs worth the effort.

There are plenty of sights to see and cakes to eat along the way, both of which are an essential part of any successful family bike trip. We particularly enjoyed climbing Hoad Hill in Ulverston, eating sausage sandwiches in the sun on Cartmel racecourse, eating the best cakes in the South Lakes in BakehouseBornandbread, and visiting the impressive Sizergh Castle (especially the excellent café – are you picking up a food theme here?!).

Riding with my Dad and the kids together made it a very special bike tour. At 82 years young, Dad is still out pushing the pedals most days of the week and is a stronger climber than many people half his age. He did make a bit of an error in electing to bring his folding bike on the trip instead of his full size touring bike. The little Dahon did not like the extra weight of the panniers, nor the short off-road sections. Unfortunately the rim split on his rear wheel at the start of Day 3. Jamie was able to fashion one of his famous zip tie repairs, Cameron carried the panniers so there was less weight on the bike and it made it through the final two days.

I would recommend Sustrans routes to anyone looking for a family bike trip. The route planners do an excellent job of keeping you off the main roads, making the most of any traffic-free opportunities and taking the most scenic route. The last day of the Bay Cycle Way was completely traffic-free and we had a few beautiful traffic-free sections right next to the sea on the first day.

If you’re looking for a good touring pannier then we would definitely recommend checking out the range Altura has to offer. I also love their trail riding trousers, which I wore the entire trip and have been using for mountain biking in the Alps this Spring. They are perfect when the weather is on the cool side and they also offer a bit of water resistance.

I love this time of year when you have Spring, Summer and Autumn stretching out before you and lots of bike adventures still to come. Happy bike riding folks!