THURSDAY, August 5, 2021 brings Cycle to Work Day - where commuters across the country are encouraged to get rid of their cars for the day and use their bike to travel.

Maybe your route to work takes this track or getting out on your bike will inspire you to take up cycling as a hobby.

Either way, here is a route straight through Northumberland recommended by Sustrans, who run the National Cycle Network, which follows mostly country tracks.

Sutrans say thats all routes try to be: "achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness."

Route 72 - South Shields to Carlisle - Hadrian's Cycleway

This route starts in South Shields before almost immediately travelling on the ferry to North Shields. 

It follows the North bank of the Tyne through Newcastle city centre out to Newburn before crossing the river just after Wylam. 

It re-crosses at Prudhoe station, and through Ovingham leaves the bank for a short time, following West Road before rejoining until Bywell Bridge. 

It takes the B6309 and the B6530 up to Corbridge, down Main and Middle Street in the centre and takes a left at Corchester Lane.  It straddles the A69 before entering Hexham via the bridge.

Flirting with the outskirts of the town, it passes the Country Park and Golf Club before passing the A69 once more and back across the river, skirting around Warden Hill using Homer's Lane.

It goes left at the T, to Fourstones and right in the centre of the village and down to Bardon Mill, where it travels under the A69 and turns right in the town.

It runs largely parallel to the A69 from here to Haltwhistle, where a very quick right-then-left on the main road takes you up Castle Hill, down Main Street and Westgate.

It follows Park Road to leave the town and then travels past Grenodd and Birdoswald Roman Fort on its way to Carlisle.

The total distance is 86 miles but Sustrans breaks the route down into more manageable chunks:

South Shields to Newcastle - 11 miles (17.5 km)

Newcastle to Prudhoe - 13 miles (21 km)

Prudhoe to Hexham - 11 miles (17.5 km)

Hexham to Haltwhistle - 22 miles (35.5 km)

Haltwhistle to Brampton - 14 miles (22.5 km)

Brampton to Carlisle - 15 miles (24 km)

After Carlisle, Hadrian's Cycleway carries on to Ravenglass, and Route 72 even further to Kendal.

Hexham is well-placed near the middle of the route, leaving a 35 mile ride to South Shields or 51 to Carlisle, which will give you time to do some shopping or sightseeing if your legs are still up for it.

We would recommend starting at North Shields on the upper bank of the Tyne to avoid having to catch the ferry for a few hundred metres of cycling.