Annual Cycle Sunday event to take place on The Downs Sunday 16 September

Published on 20/08/2018

Bristol Downs is set to be taken over by thousands of cyclists, young and old from 10 am to 2 pm on Sunday 16th September.

Following our previous, successful events, we will again offer a car free route for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy on their bikes. Come and soak up the festival atmosphere – Join in with the Carnivelo which will visit Cycle Sunday this year for some fancy-dress fun; let Dr Bike fix your bike for free; try out specially adapted bikes; create a work of art on the paint spinning bike, enjoy pedal powered smoothies and watch tall bikes and penny farthings whizz by.

Cycle Sunday is supported by many local organisations who will be offering activities on the day. These include the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge (FOD+AG), Avon Gorge Wildlife Trust, Life Cycle UK, The Bristol Bike Project, Pedal Progression, Bristol Cycle Festival, Bristol Cycling, Ape Project and Bristol Energy.

“Sustrans is committed to encouraging people to walk and cycle across Bristol. We have supported Cycle Sunday from the very start, giving advice and information to the group who ran the first three events in 2015. Since 2016, we have organised the annual Cycle Sunday and continue to work closely with the community of parents who founded it. The event enables young and less confident cyclists to get out on their bikes and experience the Downs in a completely different way. The atmosphere is so positive and it’s a great opportunity for cycling organisations across the city to come together and offer activities to the cyclists who come along. With Dr Bike attending the event, families can get their bikes checked and ride ready for free.

We hope that the event will encourage people to try out different routes as well for leisure cycling, for example the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, or the Strawberry Line. There are so many places near Bristol to explore by bike. Perhaps some of the parents who come will also be inspired to get back on their bikes for the commute to work after joining us at Cycle Sunday.”

– James Cleeton, Sustrans South Director.

“Cycle Sunday was established to expand opportunities for car free cycling in Bristol. We are looking forward to welcoming people of all ages and abilities for a leisurely ride around the Downs again this year. The event is brilliant for children who can develop their skills and build their stamina on our 3.5km route. We always love hearing the stories of those who have learnt to ride at Cycle Sunday!

A bylaw from the 1861 Downs Act prohibits cycling on the Downs apart from on a short section near the Water Tower and the shared used path along the busy Westbury Road (A4108). Our aim with Cycle Sunday is to demonstrate the huge demand for safe, car free cycling around the Downs with its 400 acres of beautiful, flat parkland.

There is a wonderful opportunity for leisure cycling there, particularly if it was possible to hire bikes up at the Downs. This would enable people from other parts of the city to come by bus and enjoy the Downs by bike. Ultimately, we hope that the Downs Committee will recognise this as an opportunity for Bristolians as well as visitors to the city. Perhaps then they would support us to raise funds for an all-weather, shared use path around the edge of the Downs that runners, walkers and leisure cyclists could enjoy.”

– Vicki Cracknell, founder of Cycle Sunday

More info

  • Closure of Circular Road and Ladies Mile to cars so that people can enjoy a relaxing, 3.5 km bike ride around the most beautiful area of Clifton Downs.
  • Event now in its 4th year, Cycle Sunday attracts up to three thousand participants. Its success has demonstrated the huge amount of interest in the Downs as location for bike riding especially for children who need plenty of space and a lack of hills to develop cycling skills and stamina.
  • This year the Bristol Bike Festival will be bringing their quirky Carnivelo up from the centre of town to join us, and as ever participants will be able to get their bikes checked for free by Dr Bike, try out bicycle paint spinning and make a pedal powered smoothie.
  • We will also be joined by Bristol’s Family Cycling Centre with specially adapted all abilities bikes.
  • The new Lord Mayor, Cleo Lake who chairs the Downs Committee will attend the event.
  • Cycle Sunday is a free event organised on a shoestring by walking and cycling charity Sustrans, along with local parents.
  • This year’s event is sponsored by solicitors Barcan and Kirby with additional support from Bristol Bicycles, Bristol Cycling and Pedal Progression.

Register to attend

Free ticketed event at