2015: Where Can Your Bicycle Take You?
So, 2015 has finally arrived! What do you plan on doing with it? Last week, we listed a few popular New Year’s Resolution options for cyclists and hope that you’ve found the inspiration that you need to keep on pedaling and to move your cycling on to the next level!
If you’ve decided that you want to spend 2015 exploring the country on two wheels but you’re lost for a potential route or destination then read on; we have a few suggestions for you to ignite your wanderlust and hopefully take you far away from your usual, tired routes! Adventure and exploration are today’s keywords, so transport yourself back to your youth and get ready to get good and lost!
And by ‘coast’ we don’t mean a quick pedal on the promenade, we’re talking about coast to coast. Fortunately, the British Isles are pretty small and even the longest of stretches (such as John O’Groats to Land’s End) are possible for mere mortals, but just because it’s do-able doesn’t mean you have to do that one. Being an island, the UK is surrounded by coast and you can formulate a route of your choosing, that’s as long or as short as you like, with a difficulty that suits you. You could try your hand at the Trans Pennine trail from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, take the road between Fort William and Inverness, tackle the Channels (Bristol and English) between Minehead and Exeter or cross Kent from the North Sea to the Channel. All you have to do is grab a map of the Isles and draw a line from one coastline to another; with careful planning, anything is possible!
If you don’t want to deal with the logistics and planning phase, then join up with a local cycling club – many clubs offer organized rides that suit a variety of skill levels. Give it a try: it’s incredibly rewarding. Cycling across the length or breadth of a country is an incredible achievement, no matter what distance is covered – not many people can say that they’ve cycled from one coast to another, so get cycling and tick this one off of your list!
The National Byway
Cycling all of the National Byway and exploring it in depth would take a lifetime; the 3,300 miles of byway from an intricate network spreading across the length and width of England, Scotland and Wales from Ayr to Ipswich, Chester to Shaftesbury and pretty much everywhere else too. Take a look at their website, find a route that suits you and go out and explore the byways of the United Kingdom. If you like rolling countryside, then any of their fantastic loops will be your cup of tea.
The National Byways Trust was established in 2005 to promote healthy recreation, environmental conversation, rural protection and safe cycling. If you haven’t taken advantage of their wealth of knowledge yet then purchase one of their maps and have yourself an adventure. You won’t regret it!
The list of potential cycling activities in the UK is endless; local clubs and charities band together to offer exciting and adventurous rides for all ages and skill levels up and down the Isles but there are a few particularly special rides that are worth embarking on. If you fancy taking a ride in the dark, join the Moon Riders for a night ride from London to Brighton or Manchester to Leeds for a good cause in September. Failing that, join them in London for a Halloween spectacular for a 13 mile loop around the Capital’s most haunted landmarks.
If you’re feeling really adventurous you could cycle to your nearest international ferry port and head to the continent; London to Paris is not only achievable, it’s incredibly enjoyable too. Belgium is also only a stone’s throw away, so why not make the most of Europe and take on an exciting ride, great or small?
If touring isn’t your main thing, you could also take to the countryside with one thing in mind: mud. Off-roading is a great way to break away from the monotony of your commuter route. Get some heavier tyres and take to the bridleways. With nothing but a map and a sense of adventure, you can breathe new life into your cycling hobby!
Are there any other incredible rides that we’ve missed? Let us know below!