Three great Sunderland and South Tyneside cycle routes to try out in 2023 if you fancy pedalling back to fitness after Christmas

Anyone who has been making excuses to avoid getting the bike out of the shed, or wants to shed the weight put on over Christmas, can have great exercise and even better fun without pedalling far.

Here are three cycling routes in Sunderland and South Tyneside which experienced cyclists swear by.

You need to be reasonably fit, although we’ve omitted the hillier routes. It’s supposed to be a pleasure after all and you can chop bits out if you want to make it easier. We’re not all 21.

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Sunderland/South Shields loop, anticlockwise: 27 miles

These are just some of the sights on our cycling routes.

This route is 27 miles long and normally takes around two hours, 40 minutes. Most of it is paved and includes about 17 miles of cycleway with the rest being street or road.

Start at the Stadium of Light then along Mackem Way (behind the Aquatic Centre). Follow the cycleway parallel to Keir Hardie Way and Wessington Way. You’re off.

Turn right at the north end of the Northern Spire, then through Red House, past Town End Farm. Adjacent to (but not on) the A19, north on Ferryboat Lane and Washington Road, over the River Don.

Cross the A19 at Boldon Colliery to Hedworth. Head west to Jarrow crossing the A194 Leam Lane. Soon you’ll be at Hebburn and cycling along the Tyne.

Fitness, fun and sightseeing. What's not to like?

Follow the path to Jarrow, past the mouth of the Tyne Tunnel, then on to the ancient St Paul’s Monastery. East to the coast of South Shields, then south along the coast of Seaburn and Roker, back west past St Peter’s in Monkwearmouth before returning to the stadium.

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Sunderland/Whitburn loop, anticlockwise: 15 miles

This route lasts 15 miles and normally takes a little over an hour and a half. Most of the route is paved with about seven miles of cycleway and eight miles of street or road.

Start at the Stadium of Light then along Mackem Way. Follow the cycle path parallel to Keir Hardie Way and Wessington Way.

Souter Lighthouse features on these routes. Picture by Stu Norton.
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Turn right at the north end of the Northern Spire, through Red House, Downhill, along Hylton Lane then east through the Boldons. Then it’s a straight-ish run through Cleadon and on to Whitburn.

Head south along the coast of Seaburn and Roker, back west through Monkwearmouth returning to the stadium.

Sunderland/Newcastle/South Shields loop, anticlockwise: 35 miles

Geting daring now. This route usually takes three and a half hours and includes a ferry crossing. Mostly paved, it’s 25 miles of cycleway with the remainder street or road.

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Pedal past historic St Peter's Church. Picture by Frank Reid.

Start at the cycleway, north of the Wearmouth Bridge heading east along the River Wear. Follow the cycleway all the way, parallel to Wessington Way, Washington Road then to Washington including Barmston and Sulgrave.

Over the A194 to Springwell, eventually over the A1 at Gateshead, right (north) to the Harlow Green roundabout. Keep going past the Angel of the North, along the A167 Durham Road, fork left to the B1426 cycleway High Street then head for the High Level Bridge.

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Loop around (behind, then in front of) Central Station, head east along the A186 City Road, then the cycleway along the Quayside. Continue the route along the Tyne to Wallsend, to the North Shields Ferry Landing.

Hop on the Shields Ferry to South Shields (check times first). Head for the coastal route back to Sunderland.