I'll be in Scotland and England for 3 weeks this summer and was wondering if any of you had suggested / recommended routes for cycle touring. I'll be leaving from Glassgow heading towards the Highlands and then down in England as far as 3 weeks can get me.
I ride all day and love climbing ;-)
Any suggestions will be appreciated
Hi Gaétan - flew out from Vancouver last year and cycled top of Scotland down to SW tip of England. Check our website bicycletrek.org which describes our route, plus information on bike box storage, getting from/to airports, etc. Have a great ride - carry rain gear!!
Exactly the kind of info I was looking for, big thank you Maxine :-)
You can do sea to sea on England for 3 or 4 days...
We will do Hadrian’s Cycleway on April or May...
Cool thanks :-)
I greatly enjoyed cycling Sustrans Route One. So far have ridden Newcastle to Inverness. Just have the most northern section to do. Easy cycling, lots of fish and chips and friendly places to stay. Certainly take good rain gear, you'll need it!
Super, I see this route also refered to as National cycle route 7.
I was thinking of riding along the north sea from Edinbugh to Newcastle, then towards Leeds- Manchester and Liverpool, so I'll probably use your suggestion.
Thanks again :-)
Yes, the cyclelanes here are very nice
In this case, do remember to pay a visit of Hogwarts (Alnwick Castle), and keep us posted about your plan. I live in Newcastle upon Tyne, maybe can join part of the ride.
Wow just took a look at Alnick Castle, I will visit for sure Wen-Pao, I will let you know when I get close, should be early July.
The route between Manchester and Liverpool could well be very built up and unattractive. Why not cross at say the Lake District using the well used Coast to Coast route or a bit further south via the glorious and under explored Forest of Bowland. Then ride south down the Lancashire coast to reach Liverpool. Much better route. Then leave Liverpool via the Mersey Ferry, the Wirral then down through Cheshire. Glorious countryside and avoiding big sprawling towns like Manchester.
Hi Philip and thank you,
The C2C it is then, I read good comments on that route and you convinced me.
But since it's my first time in the UK I'm attracted to the mythical city names like ''manchester'' and ''liverpool'' and I would like to visit these big cities, we have plenty of country side here in Canada, so I don't really mind big cities.
So I will probably follow your suggested route but would detour towards Manchester from liverpool and then south ? Not sure yet
Gaétan. Believe me, cycling in English cities is generally horrible. Except maybe in London. And it's dangerous. Especially in London. Enjoy our lovely countryside and villages. Stop in an isolated pub for lunch and a beer. Chat to people. Tell them where you've been (they'll be amazed; most people have no idea that it's physically possible to cycle more than 6 miles!) and ask them where is good to visit. These things are much harder to do in a city. Even in Liverpool, which is a fabulous city. Much better to explore these urban areas by bus, train and on foot. And these days by tram also! Cycling in Manchester is particularly dreadful. Ditto Birmingham. Avoid these places is my strong advice!
Too bad, I really enjoyed riding my bike and touring at 5 km/hour in cities like Paris, Dijon, Geneva and Nice last year, made for incredible ''ambiance'' and I met a lot of interesting people.
Though I've been commuting all my life, I'll follow your advice, and try to avoid the big cities with my bike, find a place to leave my gear outside of town and take the bus or train to get to the city centers and visit.
Thanks again for your expertise :-)
If you do decide to cycle in one of these big cities, try to phone or email their main tourist office beforehand and ask them to send you their bike map of the city. Most of them have one, even if it's usually out of date. It will save you much grief (and time) if you look at it in advance and follow it once you cross the city boundary and start real urban cycling.
Excellent. I cannot tell you how different Paris, Dijon, Geneva, Nice are for cyclists. Also all cities in the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark! But Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds are very, very different, and not in a good way.
Have a great time though, there is so much to enjoy! Do email me for advice whenever you want. I think I have cycled over most of the UK (but not so much Wales!)
I live in Manchester and love the city.
I love cycle touring.
when i'm cycle touring I like to be outside of cities mostly for many of the reasons stated above, however I just did a cycle tour in morocco and mixed it up a bit by going to Marrakesh for 5 days, and ourzazate for 3 - and staying off the bike -- because I also wanted to see the cities and a couple of tourist attractions.
it sounds like you want to be mostly on country roads (delightful for touring) and visiting cities.
why not work out your road route down the country, then find a rail link to take you into one of the big cities, and find a host from this site?
if you don't want to ''cheat' any of your miles (not everyone thinks that way but sometimes complete journeys are great), you could always get a train back out to exactly where you came in from and restart your route.
this way you have the joy of cycling in the countryside, but you get to visit cities too
if you do want to visit Manchester (this also goes for Birmingham's canals of different names) there is actually an ok cycling route out south along the ashton canal (going east), then the peak forest canal (south) to marple, then there's a trail you can pick up to Macclesfield
you can look at the leeds - Manchester- Liverpool canals and see if they're cyclable (be aware that parts in cities will be quite industrial and full of broken glass though! but I go running along the canal right where I live in central manhcester and I love it for what it is).
i'd also try and work out what it is that is attracting you to various places, so you can get the most out of it. if you want to do something like see some live music or a football match (which are the primary reasons most people in England visit Manchester!) - consider tying yourself to specific dates and booking these in advance.
if it's a feel for the city and the arts scene, the art gallery, whitworth gallery and Manchester museum in Manchester and the lowry in Salford are all free of charge and open on weekends (check the times though). you can wander around the northern quarter and it's quirkier bars any time you fancy.
Manchester is one of the centres of the left in England - the people's history museum documents a lot of the working class and women's movements' struggles, and you can wander around parts of ancoats and see the workers cottages and mills (now converted to apartments).
what I love about living in Manchester is -
literature events (I LOVE hearing authors speak and this is probably my main reason for wanting to live near enough to get around easily) - this doesn't happen all year though
the grassroots literary scene (poetry slams underneath afflecks palace, prose and poetry readings in the back rooms of pubs)
I go to some talks and protest organising at the uni and love living in a university town
I cycle absolutely everywhere I go so i'm always looking for little secret routes across the city. I love my bike (don't have a car) so I don't have problem with this - but compared to other parts of the UK and certainly other countries, Manchester ain't built for bikes! My comparison would be - I didn't find cycling in Marrakesh all that scary (and I CLEARLY SHOULD HAVE DONE!!!!!!!!) because cycling in Manchester is pretty hair-raising on a day to day basis.
hope that helps you! I work at lots of festivals in the uk in summertime so am on the road a lot myself, but if you're dates fall when i'm at home i'd be happy to host you :) my applications open next week so will have an idea of dates after that,
Hi Cathy and thanks for the info,
I did notice the bike paths along the canal between Manchester and Liverpool on google map.
My trip is starting to take shape with all the suggestions I've been getting :- ).
I will be leaving from Glasgow on june 20th, north to Inverness, then south along the north sea to Newcastle, C2C to Carlisle and south to liverpool. I should be near liverpool / Manchester July 1st or 2nd . I'll then ferry to Dublin from Holyhead north to Belfast and back to Glasgow July 9th.
I really like to ride my bike all day, take occasionnal days off to visit (I'll typically walk all day in the big cities site seeing). Too bad the football season is over in July...
It would be very nice if you were at home in that time frame to host me, I'll await your invite..
Thanks again for taking the time to write all that valuable info :-)
i'm not planning on being at a festival that weekend, so email me nearer the time and hopefully i'll be able to host you in Manchester.
by the way if you're going through uk cities make sure you have a really good bike lock!!! (hope that's not patronising but I worry about this loads and I never lock my better bike up in town, I just don't risk it. my approach is - take out the cheaper bike, with a d lock and a wire lock, park it next to something that looks more expensive and hope for the best)
wishing you a great trip!
Great ! I'll keep you posted of my progress in June then.
Definitely not patronising...I'm the same, I never leave my bike on it's own when I'm on a bike trip(my life is in there). I'll either leave it in a safe place (hotel room , warmshower friend, etc.) or I'll walk besides it on the sidewalks while site seeing, lock it to the terrasse where I'm having a drink / meal and It's always wihtin eyesight.
Already anxious to visit, can't wait to ride on the other side of road ;-)
Hi Gaetan - further to info already sent, we found the most useful thing, if you have a smart phone, was to download this App which allows you to navigate on both roads and bicycle routes. http://osmand.net/ We also had a Garmin Edge on which we pre-planned our route, but the larger screen of the smart phone was much better in cities.
This app has all UK bike routes and roads and was excellent for navigating through, or around cities. Dave
Very nice thanks,
I'll download this app for sure, I also have a Garmin 810 with maps of Europe which helps, but I have learned not to rely too much on Garmin for planing my routes...this app will help for certain.
By the way, what is the best cellular service provider in the UK ? I'll have to buy a sim card for my trip, went with Orange in France last year, but found their wifi service pretty poor...