Swindon’s residential roads are extensively traffic calmed, making them more attractive for cyclists. In the older estates, such as Park North and South, Penhill and Toothill, these will be the mainstay of your cycling. Often, supposed cul-de-sacs have a little cut-through path at the end, so the cyclist can cross from one quiet road to another without it becoming a through-route for cars.
As a result, car traffic is pushed onto main arterial roads which, needless to say, aren’t enjoyable to cycle. Several – such as Queens Drive (to the south-east) and Oxford Road (to the east) – have safe, parallel cycling routes. These aren’t engineered to the latest standards, and you’ll need to keep an eye out for traffic approaching from side-roads, but it’s preferable to mixing it with the busy traffic on the main carriageway. Switching off its speed cameras earned the local council notoriety, and there is no town-wide 20mph limit yet, but in our experience most drivers are fairly respectful.
The least hospitable roads are the main roads in from Highworth, Shrivenham, and Wootton Bassett, to which there are no ready alternatives.
Swindon is a fairly flat town, with the exception of Old Town, which is uphill from everywhere.