Bike paths in the UK

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Jerryatric, 21 Feb 2008.

  1. Jerryatric

    Jerryatric New Member

    Hi everybody,

    So I am flying (from U.S.) into Amsterdam on April 15 and out of London on May 15. Hoping to have a fairly relaxing month of cycle touring, so hoping for mostly (all?) dedicated cycle paths, as I'm not big on riding in traffic. I was also hoping to be predominantly in English-speaking places; I haven't previously done any cycle touring to speak of, and thought it would be nice to gain some experience without worrying about language barriers. So, what's the story with long-distance cycle paths in Britain? I have found some information about the North Sea Cycle Route, but I haven't been able to tell how much of it is on-road ...

    Alternatively, what are some good options for cycle paths on the Continent? I guess I should be able to pedal around 1500 miles in a month (no camping gear). I do speak a little French, and decent Spanish, though I guess English and cycling paths are a good deal easier to find in Scandinavia ...

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I used these maps last summer:

    They are pretty good, show the paths and other useful info..also they are laminated against the rain which is IMPORTANT here:biggrin:

    UNfortunatly these dont cover the entire UK...but I am sure more knowledgeable peeps than me will hav ebetter info for you soon.

    These are good if you go to germany:

    This might be of interest: routes/main relief uk map.htm

    One thing though...I wouldnt rely on the signs...I suspect they arn't as well maintained as they should be!

    Traffic in the UK is something you will need to learn to deal with. I suggest you adopt a 'defensive' approach to your cycling:biggrin:
  3. Gerry Attrick

    Gerry Attrick Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant

    This is not me, honest!
  4. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have the best cycle paths in Europe (I think!)and English language is readily understood in each. ;)
  5. The Sustrans web site is a good place to start.
  6. shinamo

    shinamo New Member

    you are better sticking to the North sea cycle route , give some thought to taking a train from London to Harwich then either North up the East coast of U.K. to Orkneys and ferry across to Bergen (better check if it is still sailing ) then from Bergen south to Hook of Holland and ferry back to U.K. or if you have time onto Calais , France and ferry to Dover (U.K.) then train back to airport . Good timing flights etc. would be of the essence . Check out " Dutch flyer " from London , Liverpool St. station to Hook of Holland for an all inclusive ticket . Be a damn good tour though .
  7. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    Beware dedicated cycle routes in the UK. They are of varying quality from acceptable to downright dangerous. Lots of us cycle on road and manage to survive; heck we even enjoy it and avoid dedicated cycle facilites whenever possible. There's cycle 'facilites' that are rendered all but impassable unless you are on a mountain bike. If you want to see what I mean, have a look at:-

    If you are planning on cycling in the UK - remember we drive & cycle on the left-hand side of the road. Cycling on footpaths is against the law in England & Wales unless specifically allowed by virtue of being made a 'shared-use' facility, which may suddenly stop and leave you stranded with no signs of where to go next..

    If I may suggest - apart from the Goldeneye maps, get Ordnance Survey Landranger maps at 1:50000 scale.

    Routes to avoid:-

    Motorways (donated by 'M') e., M1, M2, M3, M4 etc., pedal cycles are specifically excluded from using these routes.

    A roads - many and varied. Some single carriageway, some dual carriageway. Varied speed limits. Bikes allowed, but you may want to avoid the main ones between towns & cities.

    B roads - often better for cycling on - but in built-up areas they can be busy.

    Other minor roads (marked in yellow or white on an OS map) - often pleasurable cycling (as are many an A or B road).

    Remember in the UK, you have a right to cycle on road (apart from motorways...) and many of us do just that without hassle.

    If you are cycling in the UK, may I suggest East Anglia - specifically Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk. A myriad of minor roads that are a pleasure to cycle on.

    If you have specific places you'd like to visit, if you post, I'll be willing to bet there's forum members who can suggest decent routes for you.

    Hope this helps
  8. shinamo

    shinamo New Member

    if that's as clear as mud , just ask .
  9. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    It's a good trip, but way over the 1500 mile limit and hard going to complete in the 4 weeks available, allowing for waiting time for ferries.
  10. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    You need to be aware that while we have cycle routes in Britain most of these are mostly on road not on dedicated cycle paths. Often the cycle routes will be on the quieter roads and can give some very enjoyable touring, but if you are looking for traffic free touring then as snorri says Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany (in that order) are the best.

    Don't worry about the language in Denmark and The Netherlands, most people over the age of 10 and under 70 will speak good English, less so in Germany but it is not a problem. Enjoy you holiday, and remember to come back and tell us where you went...;)
  11. shinamo

    shinamo New Member

    He / she is right about cycle tracks in Britain . Get a flight to Brussels , Belgium , then you have dedicated cycle tracks much simpler . Do you know a supplier of Axiom Champlain rear panniers with an outlet in San Francisco , any national supplier will do ?
  12. PaulSB

    PaulSB Legendary Member

    You will find a diverse range of opinions concerning the cyle routes mapped and signposted by Sustrans. Personally I've never had a problem with them and as a big Sustrans fan I am considering, only considering at present as I haven't researched it at all, using Sustrans routes for my summer Lands End to John O'Groats ride.

    I can recommend the following Sustrans routes C2C, The Penine Cycleway and the Lancashire Cycleway. While each does have some off road sections there are perfectly acceptable on road alternatives one can use. I have yet to see anything but tarmac on a Sustrans route, except for Wark Forest (OK on a hybrid with care for 1-2 miles), and the Longenden Trail (have to admit I bailed out and used the road). Be aware some of the roads used by Sustrans are VERY rural - but that's what I like, me, the bike and a few sheep.

    As you have plenty of time you could consider anyone of the miriad routes which run the length of the country to go from Lands End to John O'Groats - LEJOG or JOGLE as we say.
  13. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    April 15th to May 15th ? Northern Europe?

    The weather will be a complete lottery. Last year was superb at that time so statistically, the next 20 years will be rubbish. The flatter, more open country in Holland, Denmark, east of England could be very windy.

    This is not the 'prime time' to be touring these areas. Come prepared, both physically and metallty, for absolutely any sort of weather. And often all in the same day.
  14. User482

    User482 Guest

    The Devon coast to coast is mainly off road and is very enjoyable. Only about 100 miles long too, so would make a nice start to a tour.
  15. shinamo

    shinamo New Member

    just re-read your original post , what about down the Rhine to Switzerland back through France to Calais then onto London .
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