Got a taste for adventure? Why not get out there and tackle, or rather cycle, one of the National Cycle Network’s flagship routes in the UK?
In this guide, we’ll take you from mist-shrouded mountains to windswept coastlines, from southern splendour to tremendous northern vistas. The sheer variety of Britain’s geography offers cyclists of all stripes a chance to test both their mettle and their metal.
Way of the Roses
Ideal for a long weekend, this signed, 170-mile coast-to-coast ride from Morecambe to Bridlington meanders through York and Lancaster, taking in the Lune Valley and Yorkshire-famous Dales and Wolds via a mix of bike-friendly paths and quiet roads.
A free-to-enter, semi-organised sortie from Hackney to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast. This year’s 120-mile cruise along country lanes silvered by moonlight takes place on 8th July, so it’s a great excuse to ride the route now and get involved later. This is one to train for, ideal for a fast bike or a lean all-rounder.
This is another one to charge up your lights for. Sallying forth from the ancient city of Bath, you’ll be enjoying the sunrise from the saddle on the beach at Exmouth 100 moonlit miles later. You can join in with a free to enter, semi-organised ride 5th-6th August.
Tour de Yorkshire
The recent sojourn of the Tour de France in Yorkshire brought the region’s roadies out in force. Access the stage maps online so you can take on the same routes as the pros! Challenge yourself with the thigh-burning climbs of Grenhow Hill and Grosmont.
Coasts and Castles South
An epic 200-miler best enjoyed over a long weekend. Linking the Forth and Tyne estuaries, it passes several mighty castles and mile upon mile of windswept coastline along the way.
Canal and River Trust’s towpaths
The cycle-friendly detour offers 2,000 miles of traffic-free cycling, much of it through beautiful countryside and evocative landscapes.
Bristol and Bath Railway Path
Another much-loved route that has become a firm favourite with bike commuters, linking the two cities via 13 miles of leafy, traffic-free riding.
Across 55 miles of southern Wales, the Taff Trail connects Cardiff to Brecon, passing castles, waterfalls and slumbering mountains along the way – many Cardiffians use its southern reaches for a cycle-friendly commute.
Latin for “daring”, Audax is also the name of the Long Distance Cyclists’ Association, which organises a year-round roster of scenic rides all over the country, from entry level 30 mile jollies like Brazier’s Run to frankly masochistic 600km mettle-testers like the Brian Chapman Memorial Classic.
Bike Park Wales
This is one for mud lovers with a taste for steep downhill plunges and lift-assisted single-track trails that careen down the flanks of a mountain.
Enjoyed reading this? Then you might like this post: ‘The 7 best traffic free cycle routes‘.