London to Edinburgh

Hi all,


We're two cyclists planning a bike trip from London to Edinburgh in approximately 15 days. We're not intending to stop much to visit as we don't have enough time, sadly. The challenge is mainly to do the route from the start to the end!

That being said, we do wish to cross the nicest areas possible. But we're French and Brazilian, and we don't know much about the beautiful English countryside. Our plan so far is:


- London to Oxford

- Oxford to Leicester

- Leicester to Sheffield

- Sheffield to Manchester (Through Peak District National Park)

- Manchester to Liverpool

- Liverpool to Lancaster

- Lancaster to Keswick (Through the Lake District)

- Keswick to Hawick

- Hawick to Edinburgh


This is the first route we've planned, only according to cities we know. Now, as we don't have much time to visit the cities, we'd like to enjoy the countryside as much as we can while we cycle. That's why we're asking for your help and advice: We're considering changing this route from Sheffield to head more to the East side of the country without losing any day. But we have no idea what village/town is worth passing through! Any ideas?


We would like to know the places we should avoid and the ones we should stretch to discover :smile: Any idea is welcome.


Many many thanks in advance,


Carlo & Lola
 

andym

Über Member
Hi Carlo and Lola

It would be worth looking at the National Cycle Network, including the NCN1:

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route-1

You don't have to follow the routes religiously, but they are a good starting point.

Also, it's a bit old, but the Lonely Planet Cycling Great Britain book might be a good investment.

I don't know whether you're going to have the time you cross-cross the country - it depends on how fit/fast you are.

My advice would be to forget about places you've heard of (OK maybe not Edinburgh for example). If you're cycle touring, small towns/villages are the best. Use viamichelin.com which shows you scenic roads in green. And avoid A roads if you can.
 

Bodhbh

Guru
What jumps out to me, is if you don't have time to explore the cities I wouldn't pass thru so many as you'll just end up navigating through aload of urban sprawl for nothing.

Going via the East side would be flatest and easiest (guess London >>> Cambridge >> Lincoln >> York >>..). I think I'd hammer it up to York and then turn west towards the Lake District if time permitted.
 
Personally I have found cycling in London rather unpleasant, I prefer to use the train to get north of the M25 motorway, places like Potters Bar, or Waltham Abbey, Epping. Andym's idea of using the NCN 1 as a guide is a good idea, However, the NCN routes in the main are designed to provide a more slower route than you may want to follow. The East coast side of England is the least undulating route generally but the flat nature of the ground through Leicestershire can give you a good stiff wind to fight against..
 

Brandane

Is it because I lied when I was 17?
Location
Costa Clyde.
You're French/Brazilian, yet you want to come and do a cycle tour in the UK?? :ohmy:

I'm just wondering if you've thought this through, beyond the nice countryside of which there is plenty (away from the urban sprawl of the major cities). As a point of order, you won't find any "beautiful ENGLISH countryside" around Hawick or Edinburgh. :okay:

If you are used to cycling in France, then cycling in Britain might come as something of a shock when you discover the general state of road surfaces over here. They are not maintained to anything like French standards. They also tend to be much busier with traffic, even minor routes. That traffic is unlikely to be as cycle friendly as your average French driver. There is a significant percentage of pig ignorant, selfish type of driver who are of the opinion that cyclists have no right to be on the road.

Enjoy; but just be aware of the downside before you embark on this. If I was French, I would stick with what you have on your side of la manche; you have some of the best cycling in the world!
 
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Brandane

Is it because I lied when I was 17?
Location
Costa Clyde.
So much negativity about our lovely country. @dellzeqq have you got the LonJOG route as far as Edinburgh they can look at?
Stick your head in the sand if you like, but I feel it's right to warn visitors of potential problems. If we pretend everything in the garden is rosy then we aren't ever going to improve things. The UK isn't BAD for cycling, but it's a long way from being anything like France.
 
Location
London
Personally I have found cycling in London rather unpleasant, I prefer to use the train to get north of the M25 motorway, places like Potters Bar, or Waltham Abbey, Epping. t..
No need to do that - you can get to waltham abbey pretty much traffic free from the isle of dogs by just swanning up the lea valley.
 
Location
London
So much negativity about our lovely country. @dellzeqq have you got the LonJOG route as far as Edinburgh they can look at?
Agree. Yes there are some idiot drivers but plenty of peaceful british roads and great cycling available to anyone with half a brain and eyes.

And i fully accept that France is generally great for cycling (this isn't a ding dong nationalistic post). But brandane might care to take his own head out of the sand his/her motorcycle helmet and take a look at french road accident statistics in relation to the UK.

Have a great trip lola whichever route you take.
 

andym

Über Member
IME cyclists pretty much everywhere tend to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Except probably the Dutch.

Although some British cyclists really are world champions in the gloom and doom stakes. Britain has thousands of miles of glorious country lanes. OK admittedly the farmers can be a bit inconsiderate about where they drive their mucky tractors. And the drivers are as considerate as anywhere.
 
No need to do that - you can get to waltham abbey pretty much traffic free from the isle of dogs by just swanning up the lea valley.
I agree with you regarding that route, but for people not used to London can soon find themselves well and truly lost, only need to take one wrong turn and they become well disorientated, well I have,LOL
 
Stick your head in the sand if you like, but I feel it's right to warn visitors of potential problems. If we pretend everything in the garden is rosy then we aren't ever going to improve things. The UK isn't BAD for cycling, but it's a long way from being anything like France.
Not all of cycling in England is as bad as you say, indeed lots of drivers do treat cyclist with respect, it is just a minority who ruin it for the rest. likewise the same sort of minority are to be found in France. I think the cycle tourer will be able to handle the worst our road can offer with out too many problems.
 
Location
London
I agree with you regarding that route, but for people not used to London can soon find themselves well and truly lost, only need to take one wrong turn and they become well disorientated, well I have,LOL
Yes it is a bit fiddly at the southern end but with a bit of pre-research, including grabbing a london cycling map of the lower reaches, i think someone would be ok. If the poster has gps even less bother, just get on at one of the lower locks. Then not much navigation to waltham abbey - just follow the water.
 
Location
London
OK admittedly the farmers can be a bit inconsiderate about where they drive their mucky tractors. And the drivers are as considerate as anywhere.
What an idiotic statement and I will refrain from saying any thing else
I think you are taking that statement a bit too seriously.
See it as an introduction to the OP of the brit sense of humour.
 
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