Graham Carter wants us all to get on our bikes.

Like most cyclists, he believes it is one of the best and most interesting forms of exercise, suitable for people of all ages and levels of ability.

In the latest of his regular articles about fascinating routes in and around Swindon, he guides us on a journey among some of the paths intended especially for those who prefer two wheels - or at least some form of pedal power - to four:

SOME people say there is a parallel universe that co-exists with our own, and - judging by Swindon - they could be right.

In this series of articles aimed at encouraging more people to take up ‘urban cycling’ we have been looking at the town’s extensive cycle network, and if you were to get on a bike, you would discover it is a kind of parallel transport system, which drivers and even pedestrians are often unaware of.

If you have been to the library to pick up the excellent free cycle map produced by Swindon Borough Council, you will see that cycle paths spread all over town, and their links to a secondary network of roads that only have light traffic means it is easier and probably much safer than you think to get active by getting around town on your bike.

But the network is like a bowl of spaghetti, and it’s not obvious how it all works, so it is time to reveal some of its secrets.

First you need to imagine cycling in Swindon is like driving in London, with major arteries bringing traffic into the centre.

And while London has motorways, local cyclists have the three flyers that we talked about last time, plus dozens of paths that connect up into circular routes around town.

Indeed, it’s like we have our own M25, except this is one orbital route devoid of traffic and on which you never come to a complete standstill.

That means it is possible to construct routes looping right round the town that you can use to get from A to B (albeit sometimes indirectly), or to simply enjoy riding through, or as safe routes that allow you to get active and clock up the miles, and getting fit without really trying.

And all without venturing too far from home or on to busy roads.

The southern part of the great loop of cycle paths orbiting the town demonstrates the nature of the network because a long section of it runs parallel to a main road, yet many drivers are oblivious to it.

This is the bit that runs from Blagrove to Mannington, and it is never more than a stone’s throw from the A3102 Great Western Way dual carriageway.

I cycle thousands of kilometres around the town every year, and this is my favourite stretch.

Even the section through Blagrove Industrial Estate, along Frankland Road, which sounds uninviting, is better than you think because the road is never busy, especially out of office hours, and more often than not you will not even be passed by another vehicle.

And when you finally enter the cycle path at the bottom, off the mini roundabout, you can enjoy more than a mile and a half (or two kilometres) of pleasant cycling before you eventually end up at the John Lewis store at Mannington.

You then have the option of another charming stretch: the old railway line that takes you all the way up into Old Town.

Should you choose, you will follow a route which dates back to the days when Swindon had not one railway station but two. In addition to the station which remains today and has been extensively modernised, Old Town had one as part of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway.

It closed in the early 1960s.

That’s the gentlest way of getting up the hill to Old Town, and we’ll look at it in more detail next time because it will also be time to consider the elephant in the room for all would-be cyclists, namely hills.

But do not fear. You will be pleasantly surprised.