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Cycling in parks/seeing wildlife

RachelcatRachelcat Posts: 4
edited October 2013 in Commuting general
I was thinking of getting a new bike after hardly cycling in 10 years. As I like seeing and taking photos of wildlife, but live in a city and don't drive, I was thinking of a hybrid (closer to a road bike rather than the mountain bike end of the spectrum), so I could cycle in the parks in and around the city to hopefully see wildlife.

What I'm not sure about, though, is whether cycling in parks, on grassland where there aren't designated cycle tracks, is generally allowed. If there were signs saying not to do so, I certainly wouldn't cycle there, but otherwise, I'm not really sure what the rules are.

So, if I were to get a hybrid (I was considering the Giant Escape 3), would it be suitable - and would I be allowed - to cycle in parks, or would I probably be better off with a dedicated road bike so that I could hopefully cycle further afield to see wildlife?


  • GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
    You may want to ask this question of the MTBers, who will know a bit about where you are or aren't allowed to ride. Parks will generally have a list of rules clearly displayed at most of the entrances, other places vary. And here are a few stories about encounters with wildlife
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  • Depends on the park.
    In the ones around me (NE England), you can ride a bike but it must be slowly and pedestrians have right of way.
    You also have to take it pretty slow due to random dog encounters and small children.

    I haven't seen much wildlife while near roads or in public parks. However there is a large network of trails (not all accessible by anything other than an MTB), and I have seen countless deer, been followed by bats (attracted to the moths/flys that flock to our lights), seen a few owls and been chased by an angry badger.
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
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  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    Missus is a keen photographer and uses my escape 4 when she accompanies me. It's ideally suited for that purpose I think being suitable for a wide variety of surfaces.
  • However there is a large network of trails (not all accessible by anything other than an MTB)
    Well, I am about ten miles from the New Forest, and I guess there would probably be some areas there that would need a mountain bike, but the map of New Forest cycle routes says they're mostly gravel or asphalt, and also with it being ten miles from me, for a round trip that would mean at least 20 miles on roads. My understanding is that cycling 20+ miles isn't really hard after a bit of practice, but I'm not sure I'd want to do that on a mountain bike.
  • No need to leave the road, I shared them with squirrels, deer and sheep amongst other mamils yesterday.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    I see lots of wildlife when I ride on the road. And you can still ride a road bike off road to some extent. If you would like to get out of town to photograph some country wildlife then you should consider a road bike as it'd be easier to ride a bit further afield. Check out some CX bikes which would probably be a better compromise than a flat bar road bike hybrid.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    I did a couple of new forest trails with missus while on holiday last year and the surface was pretty dire. It sounds like a roadie or touring bike might be more suited to your needs and would give you a bigger touring range. She has one of those special over the shoulder photography bag things so didn't really need the rack and panniers. Perhaps a defy or summat similar so you have the option to extras if you need?
  • The trouble is, cyclocross bikes, or the giant defy, seem to be more than I'd want to pay. £300 is about the upper limit really, simply because I don't know how much I'm going to use it. I'm also kind of reluctant to go secondhand, due to the risk of ending up with a bike that's already worn out.
    For around £300, I've seen people on this forum say that the Giant Escape 3 is very good, which is why I was wondering about that, or I've also seen people recommending the Triban 3 from Decathlon, in terms of a pure road bike.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    Second hand road bike with plenty of clearance for big tyres.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    I cycle in parks regularly with my kids, and I know which of my bikes I'd sooner be on. The MTB. My hybrid has 700x28 and is uncomfortable on gravel and in woodland, my single speed has 700x23 and is totally unpleasant on anything but tarmac. On the road however...
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Trouble is, if you spend £300 then you're going to get a bike which is probably fine for a few short journeys, but that would be "not so great" for longer rides - so you're less likely to take to riding on a cheaper bike and aren't giving yourself a fair crack at it. That said, actually for £300 you *probably* can find a decent enough bike, Triban 3 always gets recommended on here for that price point. However, you do want a CX bike, its perfect for your needs - I'd say that spending the bit extra on a nice CX bike will make you want to ride it, so you're more likely to get your money's worth from it. I was in the same boat as you a while ago and bought a cheap second hand hybrid that needed some fixing up, luckily I loved cycling and got a better bike fairly quickly. But if I'd bought the decent bike from the start then I would have saved myself about £500. If you fall in love with cycling then you'll probably want to get something a bit nicer too - I say get the nicer bike now as you'll save money in the long run and you'll enjoy your time on the bike more from the off. If you're thinking "I would like to get into cycling but want to keep the costs down" then spend the money now and save in the long run. If you're instead thinking "I probably won't get into cycling, so I want to keep the costs down" then just buy the cheapest bike shaped object you can, ride it once, hate it, and never ride it again.

    If you go the MTB route it will be better for the off road stuff, but it will be slow and hard work getting to the off road, so again you're less likely to ride very far on it.

    I wouldn't think twice about riding 50 miles on my road bike (25 out and 25 back), but I wouldn't want to ride that distance on my hybrid. So I guess it depends on how far you want to travel to take your photos.
  • memsley89memsley89 Posts: 949

    I saw plenty of 'wildlife' cycling in Copenhagen recently...
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