Cycling is a craze sweeping the nation. If it’s not David Cameron cycling to work (complete with car behind to carry all the important documents) and Boris Johnson telling anyone who will listen about London’s new blue cycle superhighways, it’s Bristol being named one of the best places to cycle in the UK – despite some crippling hills!
So, you’ve resolved to dust off that bike from the shed, buy a new helmet (important safety tip: new helmets protect you better, especially if you’re not sure where that dodgy pink one came from) and get out on the streets. But something is stopping you! Ah, you need motivation. Well we’re here to help.
We’ve got pleasant UK cycle routes, some dangerous dealings and some impressive challenges so read on for some bicycle-related inspiration. Plus, cycling’s a great way to get all the family involved so perhaps it’s time to gather everyone together and dive (or ride) on in.
The UK’s Nicest Cycle Routes
One of the new kids on the block, the Water Rail Way in Lincolnshire head out of Lincoln towards The Wash and includes art works and plenty of wide open space. Step into the past with a cycle down Flitch Way in Essex, a disused railway line with Victorian stations making great stopping points. For a family-friendly route try Marlborough to Coate Water Country Park, another old rail route, this time with lots of wildlife to look at when you take a break. My favourite of all though is the Camel Trail, which runs from Padstow to Wadebridge in Cornwall, following the coast.
If all that pedalling seems like a LOT of work, there is another way. In the world of downhill biking you get to the top of a hill and point yourself down the trails – definitely new helmet territory. Start off with something gentle like Delamere Forest in Cheshire where there are slow sweeping routes that kids will enjoy too. The Quantocks in Somerset most definitely up the ante as well as offering stunning views of Exmoor. Test your mettle though with MegAvalanche in the French Alps. Almost an hour of nonstop downhill racing against hundreds of competitors you’d best believe it’s tough!
Make a Holiday of It
If day-long rides just aren’t cutting it for you, or you want to build up to a challenge, how about this lot? An easy beginner, the Round the Island cycle route is 62 miles long and takes you around the Isle of Wight on an surprisingly flat path. Not so flat is going coast to coast in Scotland from Aberdeen to Ardnamurchan Point, 250 miles in total with plenty of breathtaking vistas and hard climbs to keep it interesting. Finally, how about the C2C, going across the north of England, taking in the Lake District, the Pennines and the railways of County Durham. This is the UK’s most popular cycle challenge so why not make 2012 your year?