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10 beautiful bike rides with pit stops

Because what's the point in slogging up all those hills if you can't stop in a lovely cafe or pub garden to recuperate?

The Black Rabbit loop, Arundel, West Sussex

Intermediate, offroad

Start and finish at Arundel train station on this testing 20k loop that’ll see you head up to picturesque Houghton and loop round Bury Hill, before heading back down in to the town of Arundel again. You’ve got two choices for pit stops, the rugged Whiteways Cafe at the top of Bury Hill for coffee, pastries, cakes and snacks or the lovely Black Rabbit, right by the river in Arundel itself.

Downslink to The Milk Churn, Rudgwick

Easy, offroad

Flat, traffic-free, accessible and mostly tree-lined, the Downslink is a great route for families and for anybody who doesn’t enjoy hills. It’s also a bit samey, following the tree-lined route of a disused railway line, so you won’t get much in the way of sweeping views and hardcore offroaders and climbers might find it a bit tame. Everybody, however, will love the adorable Milk Churn just off the route in Rudgwick, famed for its Sussex Charmer on toast as well as coffees, cakes and other baked goods. Southwater Country Park is just 12k away for parking up for a there-and-back-again spin.

The Shepherd & Dog loop from Albourne

Intermediate, mostly road

Starting from the pretty village of Albourne, this delightful 24k loop passes through Fulking which is home to the Shepherd & Dog, widely thought to have one of the best pub gardens in Sussex. Fuel up, because there’s a bit of a climb in the latter half of the route – soz. On the plus side, you’ll also take in some classic Sussex villages and lovely views of the South Downs.

Riverside Cafe loop from Pulborough

Intermediate, road

A decent 60k for those who want to stretch their legs. Start and finish at the train station in Pulborough (or park up, if you’re driving) and head out and explore the South Downs via the cute villages of Fittleworth, Bignor and Bury. Duncton Hill is a highlight, not necessarily to slog up but the views are worth it. Stop to refresh yourself at the Riverside South Downs cafe right on the river Arun at Amberley.

Salterns Way from Chichester to West Wittering

Easy, offroad

A completely flat 19k route from Chichester to the sandy beach at West Wittering, perfect for family adventures and easy to access from Chichester train station. There’s a choice of cafes and pubs en route, we recommend a stop at Chichester Marina for views, all the yachting and sailing goings-on and fuelling up at the onsite Boat House Cafe.

National Cycle Route 2 Worthing to Brighton

Easy, cycle paths and road

Another family winner, although the 21km route does stray onto roads at Shoreham and whilst they’re described as ‘minor’ they’re still pretty busy. The beauty of this route is you can park up at Worthing train station, ride to Brighton and then hop on the train back – or vice versa. If you’re heading from Brighton to Worthing, eat seafood faves at Crabshack. If you’re going the other way, grab chips from any of the many Brighton beach cafes and foodie haunts near the Palace Pier, and eat them on the beach.

Kingley Vale, Goodwood and Cocking

Intermediate, offroad

A hilly, but not technical, route that takes you out over Kingley Vale and the Trundle, an Iron Age hillfort with breathtaking views across the South Downs. Pause awhile with a coffee and cake from The T Box, parked at the Trundle. If you want a shorter route, there’s also a car park at the Trundle with easy access onto the surrounding bridleways.

Horsham to St Leonard’s Forest

Intermediate, offroad

A jolly jaunt starting and finishing at Roosthole car park, through St Leonard’s Forest and Holmbush Forest on the Horsham/Crawley border. You’ll pass several pubs en route, but our pick is the lovely Frog and Nightgown in Faygate, a cosy pub and tearoom just perfect for a pick-me-up before you finish the 21k route.

Brighton to Glynde

Expert, offroad

This is a stiff, hilly 50k route from the Palace Pier out to Glynde, near Lewes, passing through Firle. You’ll wind up at Glynde railway station so it’s easy enough to hop on a train back to Brighton if you don’t fancy the return trip. Plenty of pitstops to choose from but don’t miss Middle Farm, where you can raid the tea rooms or farm shop for sustenance (including rather potent cider) and enjoy the sights and sounds of this family attraction to boot.

Hassocks circular route

Intermediate, offroad

Start at Hassocks train station and meander through Hurstpierpoint and Goddard’s Green, home of The Sportsman pub which is well worth a visit. The route is 19k in total and mainly follows bridleways although there are some roads.

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