Frequently asked questions

About hiring a bike

What times do you open for hire?

In summer you can hire a bike from 9am – 3pm everyday.  All bikes must be returned by 5pm.

In winter you can hire a bike from 9am – 2pm everyday.  All bikes must be returned by 4pm.

If you wish to book bikes, you must collect your bikes between 9am – 11am.

Where can I hire bikes from?

Mainly hire bikes from our Grizedale branch, but also offer a select few from our Ulverston Branch.

What should I bring with me?

Yourselves (and any other friends or family that plan to hire bikes with you!).

Suitable clothing

No Flipflops or open toed sandals.  We recommend having trainers or similar, with a sensible sole with grip.

Avoid loose clothing – skirts, baggy trousers are not recommended.

We recommend covering as much skin as possible – t-shirts and trousers to help prevent gravel rash.

If the forecast is to rain we recommend bringing waterproofs (if in doubt we are in Cumbria and it rains A LOT!)

To take all this with you, we recommend bringing a small rucksack (we do have a limited number of hire ones available).

PHOTO ID for anyone paying cash or hiring the full suspensions or full suspension electric bikes.

Water (or other energy drink), and food is also recommended to take with you.

In Sunny weather, sun cream is recommended.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Yes.  You will sign a disclaimer to agree to wear the helmet at all times.  We believe that a helmet is an essential part of riding a bike and will not allow you to ride without one.

Please be aware that if we see you riding in the forest without a helmet we will ask you to put it back on or confiscate your bike with no refund, as we believe very strongly that a helmet saves lives on a bicycle.

Can I hire a helmet?

Yes, we hire helmets for £5.00 per day.  It is also included in your hire price.

How long is a half day or a full day?

A half day is up to 4 hours of riding, or until 5pm when we close (4pm in winter when the nights are darker).

A full day is till when we close (5pm usually and 4pm in winter)

When does a half day start? When does a full day start?

Both a full day and a half day starts from when you get to the desk.  We do not have set time slots.  To get the most out of a full days hire we would recommend arriving at the centre between 9am and 11am.  To get the full amount of time on a half day you need to arrive between 9am and 1pm and you will get a full 4 hour hire.

Can we take the bikes out of the forest?

Yes, once you have hired the bikes from us you are welcome to go and explore the Lake District.  But please make sure you have a lock with you, as you are responsible for the bikes at all times when out on hire.

Please note however, that we run a rescue service for punctures and any other mechanical issues on a bike (including low battery power on e-bikes), but this is only available within the forest, and surrounding area.  If you are going further afield, we may require a deposit which we will retain in the event of a call out.

Do you hire for multiple days? How much is this and is there a discount?

We do hire for multiple days.  This is charged at the standard day rate, for the number of days you are hiring for.  There is no discount for multiple day hires.  If you decide you wish to do this, then please remember you need somewhere secure to store the bikes at night, as it is your responsibility to look after them.  You are welcome to arrange dropping them back at the hire centre before 5.30pm every night if you prefer.

Is there a discount for groups?

Yes.  If you have a group of over 10 people, and book in advance, there is a 10% discount.  You will need to phone the shop to book your group in to receive this discount.  This discount is only available for people riding hardtails and children’s bikes and is not available for electric bikes or full suspension.

Booking bikes

Do I need to book?

We always advise booking your bikes in advance, as this guarantees you the bikes you want.  This is partially important for electric bikes which are very popular.

You do not need to book, and are welcome to turn up on the day, however there are times when you may not get the bikes you wanted, or there are no bikes available.

When can I book?

You can book as far in advance as you wish, but must book at least the day before you wish to hire.  We do not accept bookings on the day.  You will also need to arrive with us by 11am for any booking.

Why can we not book on the day?

You are welcome to hire bikes on the day, by just arriving at the centre.  And we take bookings up until midnight the night before the day of hire.  We do not accept bookings on the same day, because we often end up with a large que at the desk waiting for bikes, and we feel that after the drive to find us, it should be the people who are already hear who get the priority of bikes.  It might mean that by the time you arrive with us, their bikes may have come back of hire and will be available for you to hire too.  To Guarantee bikes, you need to book in advance of the day.

Why can I only book up to 11am?

We only take bookings until 11am because we only book for the morning session of bike hire.  This means that another group could then take out your bikes after you on another half day hire.  You will be the first people on those bikes for the day and can enjoy your ride in the forest.  The problem with booking past 11am, is that if a group who has hired bikes before you, are late back, you end up waiting for their bikes and losing out on your time.  We don’t think this is fair, so only book bikes for the first sessions of the day, to avoid any problems.

It also means that we can make sure all the bikes are the perfect size, and you are happy with them.  If bookings arrive after this time, you are limited to the bikes available, and this adjustment may not be an option.

What happens if I am late?

Please give us a call to let us know.  We will endeavour to reserve the bikes for you.  If you have not contacted us (via phone), we will only reserve half day booked bikes until 12midday.  After this your booking will be put back into the main fleet.  If you arrive after this time, we do not guarantee to have bikes available, and you will not be offered a refund.

Can I book bikes for the full day and then pick them up later that 11am?

Yes, if you wish to book a bike for a full day, you can collect it anytime until 3pm (as you won’t have enough time to go anywhere after 3pm).  We would appreciate you writing this in the extra comments on your booking.  If you plan to do this, please make sure you are certain about the size of bikes you are looking to hire, as you may not be able to alter the size if there are no other bikes available.

Will my booking be cancelled or altered?

We may have to, but we rarely have to cancel bookings.  The main reason we may have to cancel is usually due to adverse weather.  We cannot allow you into the forest if it has been closed due to high winds (this is down to the forestry commission), or if the tracks are icy and hazardous.  In recent years we have also been closed due to flooded roads and staff not being able to get into work.   If you plan to hire and there have been reports of adverse weather, it is always worth phoning us to double check we are open and are still hiring bikes.  If you have pre-booked, then we will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible if we know there is a problem.  If this affects you, then we will offer a full refund, or the chance to change your hire to another day.

The other reason we may have to cancel or amend your booking is if you have booked a bike which has then got a mechanical issue, or is no longer available for hire.  If this is the case we will either swap to a similar bike, or better.  Or will phone you as soon as possible to discuss your options for the hire.  If you are not happy with this, a full refund will be given.

Can I cancel my booking?

Yes you may.  If you cancel 48hours before your booking commences you will receive a full refund.  If you cancel within 48 hours of booking, no refund will be given, but you may rebook the date of your hire for anytime within 12 months after the original date of hire.

What happens if I am ill?

If you cancel within 48 hours of booking, no refund will be given, but you may rebook the date of your hire for anytime within 12 months after the original date of hire.

If you are ill out on the trails and you feel you cannot carry on riding, please give us a call and we can come and collect you.

What will the weather be like?

That is the million dollar question in the Lake District!  We always expect rain and are happy when it is sunny!  It is worth checking a weather forecast before you come, and dress for the weather.

About the bikes

Do I need to ride a mountain bike for the trails?

We certainly recommend it, but you could also ride a cross bike or a hybrid (but a hybrid is not as easy to control on the gravel track as a mountain bike or cross bike and should not be taken on the technical rides).  We do not recommend a road bikes on any of the trails in the forest.

What is a hardtail?

A hardtail is a type of mountain bike that has suspension at the front of the bike.  It is our most popular bike and is suitable for all the trails.

What is the difference between a full suspension bike and a hardtail?

A hardtail only has suspension at the front of the bike.  A full suspension has it at the front and the back.

Do your bikes have bottle cages?

No.  We can lend you a rucksack if you need (there is only a limited number of hire rucksacks, so if you have one with you it is always worth bringing).

Are electric bikes difficult to use?

No, they ride just like a normal bike.  They still have normal brakes, gears and pedals.  The difference is a selection button on the handlebars which allows you to change the amount of assistance the bike is giving you.

Do you need to pedal an electric bike?

Yes.  These bikes are pedal assist, this means that with every pedal you do, it adds a bit of power to the bike.

How long do the ebike batteries last?

If you use all power settings on the bikes, you can get a full day ride out of each battery.  However, if you ride it in the top “turbo” setting, then the batteries will last a lot less time.  The full suspension electric bikes are particularly susceptible to short battery life if you ride it on full power.  Please note: Full suspension electric bikes are hired per battery and not per bike.  It is your responsibility to make sure you have enough battery to get back to the centre.

Why do you need to be over 14 years old to hire an electric?

The UK Government has decided that because these bikes are powered, there needs to be an age limit.  They have decided that this is 14years old and upwards.  More information can be found on the government website www.

Why is a full suspension electric bike price per battery?

We have decided to hire these bikes per battery, because we only have one battery per bike.  This means that if you run out on the trail we cannot guarantee you another full battery.  Particularly on the full suspension electric bikes, if you ride the bike in its highest setting all the time, the batteries drain very quickly and will not last a whole day, however if you use all the settings, and ride mostly in the middle setting (perfectly designed for single track riding) then you will happily get a full days ride out of one battery.

What happens if…

What happens if I get a puncture?

We operate a rescue service (within the forest), where we can come out and swap the bike or mend the bike whilst you are on the trail.  This means there you need no mechanical experience and can relax and enjoy riding your bike.  We are happy to make sure you are 100% satisfied with any bike you hire from us.  If you are not happy, please call us and we will attempt to fix the problem as soon as possible.

If you are confident at changing punctures or are planning to go outside of the forest, you are welcome to take a puncture repair kit with you and do it yourself.  Please ask instore for us to give you a kit with the correct size tube for the bike you have hired.

What happens if I run out of battery?

Please give us a call, and we will assist you.

Please be aware however, that we only have one battery per electric bike, so on a busy day we may not be able to swap the batteries, and you may need to swap to a none electric bike.  It is your responsibility to watch your battery life as you go around the forest and use different settings to avoid your battery running out.  You are also welcome to bring it back to the shop, and we can put it on charge whilst you pop to the café for some lunch.  It is a rare occurrence on the hardtail bikes to run out of battery.

On the full suspension bikes, we charge you for a battery and not the full or half day, because if you ride these bikes in the top setting all the time they will not last a full day, and are not entitled to a fresh battery.

What happens if I have a problem with my bike?

We operate a rescue service (within the forest), where we can come out and swap the bike or mend the bike whilst you are on the trail.  This means there you need no mechanical experience and can relax and enjoy riding your bike.  We are happy to make sure you are 100% satisfied with any bike you hire from us.  If you are not happy, please call us and we will attempt to fix the problem as soon as possible.

What happens if I fall off my bike?

Don’t panic.  If you are ok, and wish to carry on that is fantastic, and we hope you have a lovely ride.  Though we would appreciate you letting us know when you get back to the hire centre.

If it is something more serious, and you do not want to keep riding.  Then please give us a call and we will come out to you.  We always have a first aider on site to assist.

If you have a major incident, please call 999 and then call us so we can assist you and do immediate first aid (if needed) and we will help the ambulance to find you.  If you are not sure if you need to ring 999, please call the shop first and we will help you decide, but please be aware, we are only first aiders and can only give our opinion and experience.  If in doubt ring an ambulance.

When you hire a bike all this information is given to you on the back of your map.

The Trails

Is it sign posted?

Yes, there are lots of different signposts in the forest, and all the routes are colour co-ordinated.  When you arrive to hire a bike (or even if you are on your own bike), we will be happy to talk you through the signposts and trails.  Please visit out trails page for more information on each trail, and a picture of the associated signpost. 

Can we get lost?

It is well signposted, but there is always potential to get lost!  But we are pretty good at finding people when we need.  If in doubt give us a call and we will attempt to find you or work out your location.

Are the trails muddy?

If you are using the forest gravel tracks, these are not particularly muddy.  They can have puddles on them so you may get a little bit dirty but are fairly clean.

The technical riding in the forest is always muddy.  Even after several days of sunshine!

About the centre

What Facilities are there at the centre?

At the centre there is…

Bike Hire, Bike shop and Bike Workshop


Art Exhibition

Visitors centre

Go Ape including Segways and Zip Treks,

Walking Tails

Bike Trails




What facilities are there in the forest? Is there a café on the trails?

All the facilities are at the centre.  Once you head into the forest, it is just you and nature along with a few interesting sculptures!

Is parking included in the price?

No.  The parking is all provided by the forestry commission and goes back into looking after the trails in the forest.

Where do I park?

There are several car-parks at Grizedale Forest.  But the most convenient for bike hire, is the main visitor centre carpark.  This is situated on the opposite side of the road to the main centre.  From the North (Hawkshead) it is 400m on the left hand side at the bottom of the hill.

From the south, pass the big ring in the tree after Boggle Crag Carpark, and it is on your right.


Are dogs allowed?

We love dogs at Grizedale Mountain Bikes, and your best friend will get lots of attention!  If you are hiring bikes, your dog needs to be able to run next to you off the lead and on heal.  You cannot tie a lead to the handlebars as this can be dangerous for yourselves and your dog.  There is one field where dogs must be kept on a lead, and you will need to walk your bike to the end. 

Can I bring a cat? Monkey? Parakeet?

If you really want to bring your pet, then I am sure they would love to explore the forest.  We wouldn’t recommend doing this on a bike however, and think your fury friend would prefer a nice walk!

Will we see any animals?

There are many animals in the forest and at the centre.  We usually have the resident hire bike dogs to say hello to before you start.  Then in the forest there are many animals such as Red and Roe deer, Buzzards, Foxes, Badgers, Osprey and many other different birds and beasts.  If you are quiet you might be very lucky and see some of these, but certainly on busy days the animals will be hiding away.

Are the dogs friendly and can I stroke the dog!?

We have several staff dogs around the shop.  All of them are friendly and love being stroked, or thrown a toy.  If they are tied up, please refrain from throwing things as this makes them all jealous!  Some of the dogs bark, this is just them saying hello!

What are the dogs names?

We have 3 main shop dogs they are

Quinn – The white-faced, different coloured eyed border collie

Ruby – The golden Huskey

Riley – The border collie with the bell on his collar!

Opening times

When are you open?

We open 9am – 5.30pm everyday from March – End of October.  The last hire goes out at 3pm and all bikes must be returned by 5pm (unless it is too dark in March or October in which case we revert to winter hire times).

November – end of February we open 9am – 5pm everyday

We are closed Christmas day and Boxing day. (With a few shorter days in this Christmas period)


What time is the last hire?

3pm is the last time you can hire a bike out.  In winter this is reduced to 2pm as it is too dark to ride in the forest after 4pm.

Are your hours different in Winter?

In winter we open at 9am daily but might a little close earlier (sometimes 4pm).  This will not affect your hire but may affect anyone wishing to look around the shop at this time.  Please feel free to give us a call if you need the shop after 4pm in winter, we are happy to oblige.

If you are hiring in winter, and there has been adverse weather when you plan to hire, it is always worth phoning us to double check we are open, and are still hiring bikes.  If you have pre-booked, then we will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible if we know there is a problem.

What time do I need to bring my bike back?

All our hire bikes need to be back at the centre for 5.00pm at the latest.  If you are hiring for a half day we will advise you when you need to return your bikes (either 4 hours later or at 5pm).

Translate »