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No. 11 Explore on wheels

A family exploring the newly opened Dragon Cycle Trail on bikes at Wallington, Northumberland
Family on a cycle trail at Wallington | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Feel the wind on your face and chase your shadow through the trees, with no. 11 of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. Whether you’ve got a bike, scooter, wheelchair or skateboard – you’ll explore further and faster on your wheels at a place near you, and it’s also a fun way to exercise.

Where will you explore?

Pick a trail you’d like to explore near you and you’ll be ready to set off. You’ll find safe cycle routes through country estates and woodland, along canals and rivers, and even by the coast. If you’re exploring on your own or with friends, it’s best to check with an adult before you set off and take weather-proof clothes and snacks to keep your toes and tummies happy.

And you’re off!

As you cycle, scoot or roll along, take some time to listen to the sounds of your wheels on the ground. Can you hear leaves or stones crunching underneath? If you’re out in the rain or soon after, you might hear the squelch of mud or feel the splash of puddles as you race through.

Watch the light dancing on the ground as it peeks through the leaves above. What else can you see around you? Can you spot any animals or tracks? Does anything look different to when you’re moving more slowly?

Family exploring the cycle trail at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Family exploring the cycle trail at Calke Abbey | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Time for a pit stop

One of the best things about exploring on wheels is you can discover lots more nature than you can on two feet. Take time to rest and think back on your journey. How far have you come? What was the best thing you discovered? You could even keep an ‘explore on wheels’ diary with your friends, and draw a map with key things you spotted on your trails.

Keep safe

Exploring on wheels means you can go further and faster. This is great fun, but it does mean you need to be more careful – take a puncture repair kit if you know how to use one and a mobile phone to call for help, or a lift home, if you need it. Choose a route that’s safe and the right length for you. And don't forget your safety gear too.

A mother helps a young child climb over a fallen log in the parkland, on a bright, wintry day.

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