Pedal Cover is proudly partnered with Cycling UK; the UK’s largest cycling charity, passionate about helping more people to enjoy the benefits of cycling. Founded in 1878 as the bicycle touring club, they have ever since campaigned for cyclists and their safe and fair use of our roads, for better cycling infrastructure and much more. In addition to this, Cycling UK also publish great bike packing & touring routes. This week saw Cycling UK release their latest route: the Rebellion way.
With the costs of living soaring and local business struggling as a result, perhaps it’s time to consider a cycling trip within the UK? Cycle tourism from cyclists in the UK generates £520m per year. There are 1.23 million overnight trips each year, which benefit small business in particular.
The Rebellion Way-what is it?
The Norfolk based 232 mile/ 373 km route is mostly made up of quiet mostly flat back roads, byways and cycle paths. It is a fantastic introduction to multi day on and off road adventure cycling; designed to be accessible for anyone who has a reasonable level of fitness on any type of bike. As with most of Cycling UK’s routes, they have tried to keep the route as low traffic as possible.
The suggested time scale for the full 373km is approximately 4-6 days worth or riding. The good news is that the route distance can be halved if you stop at King’s Lynn to complete as a linear route by train. There is also the option to cut across the middle of the route to create two shorter loop options of 304km or 171km.
As you may expect, due to the distance, these routes are not signposted however, the route maps are all available in printable format. We think that the best way to navigate is by downloading the GPX file, which can then be uploaded onto your GPS unit. Cycling UK also offer a printed guidebook.
Are there any other long distance routes?
Thankfully, the answer is yes! I have given a snapshot below of Cycling UK’s other long distance routes. If long distance is not your thing, Cycling UK also have 200 other routes of varying distance and difficulty. There is something for everyone.
King Alfred’s Way:
Immerse yourself in 10,000 years of history by riding King Alfred’s Way, a 220-mile loop which connects the South Downs Way, North Downs Way riders’ route, and the rideable parts of the Ridgeway and Thames Path. This route is hugely popular, especially in the summer months with an active Facebook group of KAW enthusiasts.
With approx. 80% -85% of the route being on bridleways and byways, It’s an off road adventure route for people with good fitness and experience of off road riding. That being said, technical mountain biking skills are not really a requirement for this route; all you will need is the ability to pop some off road tyres onto your bike to make your life a little easier. E-bikes are also thoroughly encouraged if you fancy a little support up some of the hills.
If riding 70 miles per day, the route can be completed in 3 days, or approximately 6 days if riding up to 30 miles a day. As with the Rebellion way, the route maps are all available in printable format however that the best way to navigate is by downloading the GPX file, which can then be uploaded onto your GPS unit.
The Cantii Way is a 147 mile/ 234km loop that combines quirky coastal towns and dramatic chalk cliffs with the rolling hills of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The circular route uses traffic-free cycle paths, bridleways and quiet roads, and is ideal for touring and hybrid bikes. It is perfect for a leisurely trip with lots to discover along the way – from remnants of military defences to vibrant art trails and vineyards.
The terrain is mostly tarmac or concrete but also has a number of gravel, grass and dirt tracks along the way. This means that it is ideally suited to sturdy touring, hybrid or gravel bikes. Although you can use a mountain bike for these rides, we recommend using a low profile tyre to keep rolling resistance to a minimum!
West Kernow way
Experience the best of west Cornwall with a 150 mile/ 230km costal route which is packed with climbs and rugged scenery. Due to the nature of the terrain, it’s recommended that you use a gravel bike with at least 35mm tyres. A hardtail mountain bike would also be ideal but as ever, you will have to sacrifice some speed on the road sections.
With an expected ride duration of 3-4 days and over 4200 meters of climbing, it’s going to be tough going, however, fear not as you’re never going to be too far away from your next Cornish pasty!
The Great North trail
The award-winning 825-mile Great North Trail links the Pennine Bridleway with the northern tips of mainland Scotland, through some of Britain’s most stunning upland areas and four National Parks. Although this route is aimed at the experienced cyclist, If you think this would be too much of a challenge to take on, the route has been divided into 8 sections, each of which can be tackled over a long weekend.
Designed as an adventure mountain biking route on mainly unsurfaced trails, the bike of choice would be a hardtail mountain bike or gravel bike with at least 40mm tyres for the more experienced riders.
What you’ll need
As with any cycle touring, you need to make sure that prior to leaving, your bike is in tiptop condition. Starting a long journey on a bike that is not working properly is asking for trouble and can potentially ruin the enjoyment of your trip. Last week, we wrote an article on the essentials that you should always carry with you. Indeed, when it comes to riding long distances you should always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. In other words, take a few extra spares where possible!
As always, when riding on any form of shared cycleway follow these top tips for a great experience:
- Always ride responsibly and respect other trail users
- Be aware of the weather forecast and plan your clothing accordingly
- Fitting a bell to your bike can be very useful if the trails are busy
- Don’t over pack
- Always take your litter home with you
Have you considered joining Cycling UK?
If this article has inspired you to plan a long trip, be sure to visit Cycling UK’s website for a much more in depth look at the route plans. Membership costs from just £4 per month which includes many other benefits.
Don’t forget, all Cycling UK members get an exclusive 15% discount off their annual home and bike insurance policy. This discount is also applied at renewal.