Are you bored of your regular cycling routes? Do you want to explore new and exciting cycling paths? We gave gathered the best cycling routes according to some of the most passionate cyclists:
You know how with your children you’re not supposed to have favourites? I kind of feel that it’s the same with bike rides. Each and everyone is great in its own special way and they can vary so much with the weather, your fitness, your bike or the company. However, I can’t help but place this ride at the top of any list that I write. Which is particularly annoying for me as it’s the furthest away from my doorstep.
But absence simply makes the heart grow fonder. I sit on a rainy day looking out of the window and yearn for the wild scenery that surrounds the northwest coast of Scotland. I remember the isolated seaside lanes and blue water lapping invitingly upon empty beaches littered only with kelp and stones. I long for the sting in my legs injected by Scotland’s hilliest section of road and wish I could be transported to the sliver of road at the coast of Inverkirkaig where my ride notes simply said “exquisite”.
If I was allowed only one bike ride, this would be it. It has everything that the road cyclist needs. Extended climbs, fast descents, quiet roads, lochs, coast, mountains, rivers and unpronounceable gaelic names. In fact the riding is so good in the area that I committed the terrible route planners crime of including a road that is travelled twice, but without it you’d not get to see the Brae of Achnahaird, worth a circuit in its own right.
The sense of remoteness pervades throughout the whole route. The vast majority of the riding is away from trunk roads and there are some sections where I’d be surprised if you saw more than two cars. The road up to Inverkirkaig particularly so, miles of tarmac singletrack devoid of civilisation and as wild as you can get within the British mainland.
It’s a route crammed full of scenery as well. Stac Pollaidh a particularly profound example with its twin stacks staring down at you menacingly from above. What better place to eat a sandwich and stare sanctimoniously at the tourists who drive around Loch Lurgainn without earning their miles as you have.
Clashnessie Bay is another highlight. North Atlantic sea views shared with practically nobody else, you’ll wonder why Western Super-mare is so busy on a summer’s day yet these pristine Scottish beaches lie empty. Personally, I’d happily keep it that way. But let’s not skip over the fact that this is a demanding day on the bike. This is north Scotland, there’s no long flat sections and plenty of hills. It’s remote and you’ll need to be prepared for the worst as in many places you’ll have no phone signal and it could be a while before help arrives. Treat the route with respect and you’ll earn your reward, the Greatest British Bike Ride there is, well in my view anyway.
For me, this is the perfect ride through London. Minimum traffic, a nice gentle workout and rewarding views of the capital. Start at Tower Bridge and follow the Thames out towards Canary Wharf using Cycle Superhighway 3. Cross the river using the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and stop off at Greenwich Park. The surrounding area has plenty of nice pubs to choose from. To return, follow the winding Thames on the South side.
Beverley Pierson, Blogger for http://www.cycleni.com
Causeway Coaster – 35miles / 57km – On Road
The ‘Causeway Coaster’ is the shortest route of the very popular Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive which takes place every September on the North Coast of Ireland and is a perfect entry level route for those who are new to the sportive scene or who are keen to soak up the Causeway Coast’s spectacular scenery. Starting in Ballycastle the route heads west towards Bushmills via the scenic Coast Road and takes in some of the famous points of interest in the area including Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bushmills Distillery (Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery). The route then heads inland as it makes its way back to Ballycastle and offers a different type of scenery which includes the legendary Dark Hedges, made even more famous by Game of Thrones. This circular route is mostly on flat terrain with some hills and provides a great opportunity to cycle along one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Europe and also part of the 2014 Giro d’Italia route.
Maria David, Founder of 2wheelchick.blogspot.fr
Madonna del Ghisallo, Italy
One of my favourite cycling routes is in Italy, not far from Milan. It is a must-do ride for any keen cyclist, particularly as there is a cycle museum at the summit, and this is a regular inclusion in the famous Tour of Lombardy professional cycle race.
I am talking about the climb up to Madonna del Ghisallo. My favourite way to the summit is from the idyllic and somewhat chic town of Bellagio, right on Lake Como.
I usually start in Como and take the scenic road to Bellagio, which twists and turns around the rocky facades as Lake Como meanders in different directions to make the renowned upturned Y-shape. Then resisting the temptation to stop at the designer shops and ice cream parlours I turn right just outside this lovely lakeside town and start the climb.
If the landscape on the rolling road from Como to Bellagio is a dream, the Ghisallo climb is heavenly! Beneath me is a beautiful clear blue lake, with an impressive, perfectly formed promontory with green mountains surrounding the body of water that winds its way into infinity. I would certainly recommend stopping at intervals to enjoy this view, particularly as the initial section of this 8km-climb has gradients above 10%!
I also get a really rewarding feeling seeing how far up I have travelled as the ride progresses. At the half-way mark is the town of Civenna, and at that point the road levels out. It then climbs again in the last 1.5km, and when I see the signboard for Magreglio I know I am at the summit.
Lots of cyclists are usually milling around, and folks like to exchange stories. The Ghisallo Museum is worth a visit as it contains lots of memorabilia from cycling history. The best bit though, is the stall selling a plentiful supply of sweets – an added bonus when riding in such a beautiful area!
Describe my favourite cycle route in North Yorkshire is hard; If you have ever ridden over here you’ll know why. With lung busting climbs only ever a stone’s throw away and stunning views aplenty North Yorkshire has it all. Want a flat ride through ever changing landscape and first rate coffee stops? We have those. Want tight steep hills and barren moorland? Not a problem. Want to embark on epic sportives with close to 10,000 feet of climbing up iconic roads used by the Tour de France in 2014? There’s at least one every few weeks in the Summer.
Instead, I’m sharing with you a route that is around 18-mile loop coming out of Harrogate. It’s one I’m lucky enough to be able to fit in before or after work most days of the year.
Follow the Otley Road out of town to Beckwithshaw and take a left towards Otley along a long, undulating road that features a steep, switchback descent and some fabulous sweeping corners. If speed’s your thing you can really let go. Taking a right turn over the bridge at Leathley you then climb up to Farnley before descending to Lindley Wood Reservoir. At this point you are now at the base of the notorious Norwood Edge, scene of many local and national hill climbs. The straightforward thing to do would be to go straight up here but I’m not going to make it that easy.
Around half way up Norwood Edge on the left is a road signposted Dob Park. This is a long, narrow track that is gritty in places and has a very sharp camber on it. Around half a mile along it starts to climb quite spectacularly – getting off and pushing is no disgrace. The payoff once you get to the top of the climb is to me one of the best hidden views in North Yorkshire, looking across the Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs to the rather innocuous but fascinating Menwith Hill tracking station. Once you have had time to take everything in, continue cautiously along Jack Hill Lane and head left down a wide, sweeping descent overlooking the reservoirs to then go right on to Broad Dub Road and follow the signs back to Harrogate. Whatever you do though, don’t forget to keep looking up, the views all the way along this route are stunning.