Author Topic: Cycling in the U.K.  (Read 2233 times)

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Offline peterswim

Cycling in the U.K.
« on: November 12, 2012, 05:20:04 pm »
I am considering a bike ride in late 2013 in Scotland and England.  I've looked at Iron Donkey, but their maps seem limited to specific regions and I'm looking for resources that can cover everything from the North of Scotland to Cornwall.  What other resources are out there?

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 05:44:53 pm »
the classic north-south ride is john o'groats to lands end. loooooads of resources if you google that specifically

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=lands+end+to+john+o'groats+cycle+route&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari

when i bike long distance over here, i take an a-z road map, a cheap compass and my ipad so i can google map if i get too lost.  :)

Offline peterswim

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 12:31:39 pm »
I appreciate the response and link.  The John O'Groats to Land's End route is exactly what I have in mind with a detour to the town in the north of Scotland from which my mother's maternal grandparents emigrated.  I think I may still have some cousins there.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 01:39:07 am »
The last time I cycled the U.K. they were selling atlases that covered the entire area. Even the smallest country lanes were covered in detail. The atlases were light and inexpensive. I suggest country lanes.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 07:40:01 pm »
Hi very popular ride LEJOG or JOGLE and several routes you can take.  Join the CTC forum and you will find everything you want to know about this ride. http://forum.ctc.org.uk/

Also they cover all aspects of cycle touring.  Check out SUSTRANS who have marked rcycle route all over the UK http://www.sustrans.org.uk/

And finally take good wet weather gear  ::) 
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2012, 01:58:19 pm »
We spent a few weeks in Wales and England and used the Sustrans routes as  a guide. They strive for low to traffic-free routes but this means that you are often on tiny B roads that are more sheep habitat than roads. These are often easily bypassed by a slightly bigger road with light traffic.

If paper Sustrans maps aren't your thing and you will be using a Garmin GPS, Open Cycle Map sells the same routes preloaded on a microSD chip. If your GPS is compatible, you just need to plug the chip in and everything is available to you. Their prices and delivery are top notch. When I ordered mine, I was already in southern England at a B&B. Andy was delayed in mailing  it out so he took it to the post office and mailed it overnight, no extra charge. If you know anything about Royal Mail, you know that they aren't the most customer service oriented organization. I was able to pick up the package at the post office on the way to the train station the next morning as we headed out on day 1.

Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline cliplesspedals

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 03:46:53 pm »
Scotland: Must Places to stay.
http://www.sleeperzzz.com/
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g186539-d1974229-Reviews-Crask_Inn-Caithness_and_Sutherland_Scottish_Highlands_Scotland.html
http://www.applecross.uk.com/inn/

Places to ride:
The Drumbeg road, Strath Naver, The Black Isle, Applecross peninsular/Shieldag/Torridon, Strath Brora, Glencoe and loads more.

Spiritual riding.

Offline Galloper

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 02:29:38 pm »
A useful site is WWW.bike hub.co.UK.   You can download an excellent app for cycle routes.

The CTC website has a lot of useful information for anyone interested in touring in the UK. WWW.CTC.org.uk

Offline AndrewC

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 03:59:47 pm »
Hi Peter,

Lots of lovely cycling in the UK.  Some pictures from my tours are here http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewclark/sets/

You may want to join one of the UK forums, http://forum.ctc.org.uk/ is the equivalent of ACA.  I'm usually on Yet Another Cycling Forum , Cyclechat is another good one.

Hotels can be very expensive, but there is a good network of campsites and hostels.  Useful links below:

http://www.independenthostelguide.co.uk/ , http://www.yha.org.uk/ , Camping & Caravaning Club , http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/

http://bikehike.co.uk/index.php is my favourite mapping & routing site, though it's a bit temperamental. The Course Creator tab gives you access to several different styles of mapping and you can plan routes and download them to a GPS

There is an extensive train network to get you from one part of the country to the other, you will need a bike reservation on some long distance routes, but they are free.  This site will give you prices & let you book tickets http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/

Climate can be damp, tiny biting midges can be a major deterrent to outdoor activities in some parts of Scotland during the summer, stick to the West Coast, the wind keeps them away!

Offline ewoodwarde

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 03:46:28 pm »
My wife and I did a successful seven day tour  from Cambridge to Edinburgh this September. About half of our 450 miles was train and half bicycle. Some train reservations some without. First time the train conductor said "no room for more bicycles" but another train came along shortly.  We basically followed Sustrans  Route 1 north with a number of customizations.   For the first time I used a smart phone (Samsung galaxy note) while bicycling.   Before leaving to plan I made kml  routes on BikeRouteToaster (I see from another post that bikehike.uk.co is similar but better) the kml is downloaded to Google Earth , saved, and then can be uploaded to Google Maps and downloaded to the phone. So we had minimal reliance on paper maps and were able to connect by Wi-Fi or 4G most places. The phone also worked well as we would come into a town we could look up places to stay or eat or even bicycle shops on Google maps. With the abundance of bed-and-breakfast in England we thought we might only make reservations 24 hours ahead, as we knew where we would be close. Turned out places even in September are sometimes booked in advance. phone was also useful sometimes zooming in for detail when we couldn't really figure out the root. The sustrans routes are very well marked. They pick quiet roads and can be somewhat roundabout. Could give you some more detailed route info if you wish. Eric

Offline vernonlevy

Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 06:16:25 pm »
I appreciate the response and link.  The John O'Groats to Land's End route is exactly what I have in mind with a detour to the town in the north of Scotland from which my mother's maternal grandparents emigrated.  I think I may still have some cousins there.

You need to be aware that there is no definitive John o'Groats to Lands End route.  There are publications that each describe a route specific to that publication.  There are plenty of people on the CTC forums mentioned elsewhere on this thread and you need to be aware that the opinions of some of the posters need to be treated cautiously as they hold strong opinions about their own route preferences.

I live in the UK and have cycled Lands End to John o'Groats and John o'Groats to Lands End.  I used a Philips UK road Atlas which was cheap, showed the approximate location of camp sites and was disposable once I tore out the relevant pages to use on the rides.  The biggest obstacle is getting to/from John o'Groats.  There is a rail link but the trains have limited capacity for bikes and pre-booking is essential.  The train guards will not let you board the train without the relevant piece of paper showing that you have a cycle reservation.

Be prepared to be underwhelmed by John o'Groats and Lands End.  There are better places to start and end cycle rides.  The big bit in the middle is worth joining the two places together by bike though.  As someone else mentioned, there's tiny flies called midges which can make your life hell.  They tend to disappear when it's raining or windy which means that you'll be unmolested in Scotland  ;)