Cycle route advice

Giles Evans

New Member
In October of this year,i am doing a charity bike ride from Newcastle upon Tyne to Llanelli in South West Wales.

The route has been advised by Sustrans and as it is all on national cycle network routes,i feel it would be foolish to ignore the advice and routes.

The routes are as below,and ask that if any forum member has cycled these routes,could they offer their opinion or comment on them,as i have calculated the distance as around 440 miles,and the issue is whether to try and do it in 5 or 6 days.I also need to book accomodation for each stop.We will have a support van so will be cycling light.

Route 1 to Middlesborough
Route 65 to Selby
Route 62 ( Transpennine ) to Widnes
Route 5 and then 45 to Shrewsbury
Route 81 then 82 and 446 to Carmarthen
Finally the 20 miles from there to Llanelli

The plan is currently

Day1 - Newcastle to Selby area
Day 2 - Transpennine to Widnes
Day 3- Widnes to Shrewsbury
Day 4 - Shrewsbury to Carmarthen
Day 5 - Carmarthen to Llanelli ( Very short trip)

If any experiences can be shared please share them so it can be a pleasurable experience and not a torturous one !
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
Of those I only really know the route 65 between York and Selby. It's alright, that bit is off road to start with on tarmac railway path (and you get to count off the planets of the solar system as you go), although the last couple of offroad miles are on that hardpacked gravel surface - then you're on minor roads into Selby.

Oh, and the bit of route 65 coming into York from the north runs through the riverside meadows - nice enough, but with several cattle grids on it, many with loose bars, and a couple on tight corners. Personally, I avoid using it, as I have bit of a grid phobia, so I have to get off for each one. I'd just come in along the main road myself.

I would bear in mind that Sustrans national routes can be very variable, and their usefulness depends on your type of cycling. If you aim for 6 days, you're looking at 70+ miles a day - you don't want to find yourself on a cruddy off road path on roadbikes. (Hence, you've done a good thing asking). I would say that bits on road are probably good*, bits off road can be dreadful. For example the route from Stamford Bridge to York (not on your route) takes you along the edge of a field on a singletrack path - can be swampy in winter, and overgrown in summer. I always take a quiet road route instead.

*and that assumes that the bits actually meet up, and are signposted clearly, or at all...

It would be worth having maps and a plan to detour if a bit turns out to be bad. Don't assume that Sustrans have got it right, for you.
 
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Giles Evans

New Member
Many thanks for that reply,i am going to get all the maps etc so will really plan for it,and may make some alterations.

Once again,appreciate the reply
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I'm a great supporter of Sustrans but would have to acknowledge the criticisms leveled at some routes or parts of routes. My overall advice would be to get the maps and then use your commonsense to re-jig your final route to suit you. I have often come across routes were Sustrans makes a long diversion in order to provide a "traffic-fre" or very low traffic route, afterall this is a part of their objective. For more experienced cyclists this can be very frustrating and add extra miles which were not really necessary.

I only know the Transpennine, or parts of it, and personally I would not take a road bike on this route. The parts I have riden are loose surface, canal paths etc. and will be hard work on a road bike and if wet could be very difficult. The suitability of many Sustrans "traffic-free" sections depends entirely on the bike you are riding. Myself I generally only feel comfortable on these sections if I'm riding a hybrid with road tyres, with some tread not slicks.
 
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Giles Evans

New Member
Thanks for the further advice,it is appreciated.We have hybrid bikes with tread so the off road will be ok.Going to have a good look at the sustrans maps and plan a route firmly,not just by chance,that would be madness.I know the routes round here ( Northumberland) do veer way from the norm to ensure safety,so i,ll be keen to plan safe routes,but hopefully shorter than mapped.

Suppose the reason for the post was to get a guide on the terrain,mileage etc,so all the posts i have received are very very welcome
 

andym

Über Member
Thanks for the further advice,it is appreciated.We have hybrid bikes with tread so the off road will be ok.Going to have a good look at the sustrans maps and plan a route firmly,not just by chance,that would be madness.I know the routes round here ( Northumberland) do veer way from the norm to ensure safety,so i,ll be keen to plan safe routes,but hopefully shorter than mapped.

Suppose the reason for the post was to get a guide on the terrain,mileage etc,so all the posts i have received are very very welcome

I've always found Sustrans routes to be an excellent benchmark. If I had the choice between following the Sustrans route or going blind - I'd follow the Sustrans route every time.
 
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