Bike Week, which runs every year in the second week of June, is a national celebration of two wheels.

And what better place to get on your bike than in East Sussex. The county is criss-crossed with great cycle routes, blending picturesque countryside and stunning coastline.

As well as the mental and physical health benefits, cycling can help cut congestion and air pollution in the county’s busy towns and villages.

This year Cycling UK is urging people to be a Bike Hero during the awareness week, to help build a happier, healthier, greener world through cycling.

Pedal power

Here are some top tips to encourage you to take to two wheels:

  • Ditch the car – replace a short local journey you’d normally make by car with cycling instead
  • Take the kids out for a bike ride – perhaps even cycle to school
  • Make cycling a social occasion – encourage friends to join you on a ride and don’t forget to stop to refuel with coffee and cake!
  • Champion cycling at work – host a bike breakfast or start a buddy scheme. Share your knowledge about the best routes or ride with someone who doesn’t regularly commute by bike
  • Inspire others – post a selfie or pictures of your bike ride on social media. Use the hashtags #BikeWeekUK and #BikeHero to keep the conversation going

Cycling in East Sussex

National Cycle Network in East Sussex

The National Cycle Network (NCN) is a safe, attractive, high-quality network of quiet lanes and traffic-free paths.

The NCN in East Sussex consists of two routes. The South Coast cycle route (Route 2) and the London to Eastbourne route (Route 21), which makes use of the Forest Way and The Cuckoo Trail:

NCN route 2 (South Coast cycle route)

NCN route 21 (London to Eastbourne)

If you’re looking for inspiration about which NCN route to take, check out Sustran’s National Cycle Network route collections blog.

Off-road cycling

Bikes are allowed on bridleways and byways in East Sussex, although you will need a mountain bike to tackle many of them.

The bridleways of the South Downs provide some of the best off-road cycling in the country. You can ride the whole South Downs Way from Eastbourne to Winchester, or devise circular routes based on sections along it.

For a taster of South Downs cycling try one of the circular rides through the South Downs National Park.

Details about where you can ride in East Sussex can be found on our interactive rights of way map. Remember cycling along footpaths is prohibited without the landowner’s permission.

More East Sussex cycle routes

A new 13km shared path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders runs alongside the A27 between Firle and Polegate. The path, completed by National Highways, opened last summer.

The 20-mile Rye and Winchelsea Circular takes in these two historic towns as well as Beckley Woods, a fragment of the great forest that used to cover the Weald.

The 43-mile 1066 Circular blends the coastline with the woods of the Weald. The route takes in almost 900m of climbing but we promise the views are worth it!

Cycle the 18-mile Sussex Coastal Culture Trail and visit three award winning galleries – Towner Eastbourne, De La Warr Pavilion, and Hastings Contemporary. The route is especially suited to cycling as much of it is on promenades and paths separated from roads.

And if you’re cycling locally with little people, read our article on the best places to cycle with children for tips about where to go with your budding bikers.

Accessible cycling

Eastbourne Wheels for All

Wheels for All is a national accessible cycling charity which promotes inclusive cycling.

Eastbourne sessions are delivered and developed by the East Sussex Bikeability team and run on Thursdays and Fridays. The centre is fully disabled friendly and the facility incorporates the athletics track within the Sports Complex, with a trackside clubroom offering refreshments and a dry area.

Defiant Sports accessible cycling project

Defiant Sports have devised two accessible walking and cycling routes around Sovereign Harbour.

They also have an accessible Panther Tricycle available to book. The tricycle has bigger pedals with foot straps, back support and an assistance handle on the back.

Bike Week 2024

Bike Weeks 2024 runs from 10 to 16 June. For more information about cycling in East Sussex, including local cycle groups and the best places to ride, visit Cycling UK.