Lockdown is becoming more and more familiar to us as the Coronavirus situation worsens worldwide. In times like this, we need to things to keep us going, one such thing is to plan future adventures.
So, here is a list of eight places in the UK you should go with your bike after the lockdown and this whole Covid-19 nightmare is over.
Isle of Wight
Possibly one of the most underrated places to ride your bike, the island just off the south coast of mainland UK is a beautiful and varied landscape in which to ride.
Complete with windswept cliffs, winding country roads, seawall promenades and plenty of countryside along with a large array of challenging climbs, usually quite steep, the Isle of Wight is a fabulous ride.
Plenty of routes around the island with, my personal favourite, the ride around the entire island, which is very clearly signposted and takes you on roads that you would not have seen without the route.
Also go where most cars can’t and ride all the way up to the Needles at the far south west of the island for some breathtaking views.
The Garlic Farm is also somewhere well worth a visit with its black garlic beer along with black garlic and chocolate ice cream… Honestly, it is so much better than you think!
It goes without saying that Yorkshire is quickly becoming the beacon for cycling in the UK, sadly with no Tour de Yorkshire this year we will be missing the amazingly difficult roads and weather of early May in Yorkshire on our screens.
But that doesn’t stop you from planning a visit. This can be focussed into just one area of Yorkshire as there is so many places to ride. It is all about what you’re after.
There are the long windswept moorland climbs of North Yorkshire, such as Buttertubs and Park Rash, or you could ride the Flanders-esque cobbles of Calderdale with Shibden Wall being the best known of those monsters, plus Haworth main street near Bradford.
Staying in the West and Calderdale, if you don’t want cobbles then some of the most used climbs in the Tour de Yorkshire are there: Cragg Vale, Ripponden Bank and Oxenhope Moor are all within a 20km ride.
If you don’t fancy climbs then the Vale of York is almost completely pan flat with winding country lanes and plenty of history to take in along the way.
The Lake District
Home to some of the hardest roads you can find, the Lakes is a difficult place to ride; but who doesn’t love a challenge?
Not many will do all the beasts in the same week never mind the same ride, but it isn’t impossible. Honister Pass is almost certainly the best known with its amphitheatre like mountains at either side as the road snakes up to the imposing slate mine at the top.
Other great climbs in the northern lakes are Whinlatter Pass, which was used in the 2018 Tour of Britain.
Newlands Pass, another tough climb leading up to a waterfall before either descending into Buttermere or Braithwaite depending on which way you ride.
Watendlath is a dead end at the top, but one of the most beautiful roads you could possibly climb.
In the southern part of the region you have possibly the hardest climb anywhere. Up there with the Zoncolan in Italy and the Angliru in Spain, Harknott Pass is a nightmare in road form. With gradients touching over 30 per cent leading up to a Roman fort, this is on many cyclists’ bucket list.
Wrynose Pass, the climb from the other side isn’t any easier either, with similar gradients to the top.
You can never get enough of big climbs in the UK, some of the best are here. The Cairngorm national park is perfect if you love sport and the wild as both are in plentiful supply.
With some of the best cycle routes in the country, this is really a gorgeous place to ride you bike. You also have some real challenges available to you as well as ticking off Cairngorm mountain off the list of roads to ride up.
Admittedly, you only ride to the car park before getting the ski lifts up to the top, but it is still a great thing to say you’ve ridden. And with views over Loch Garten, it is well worth it.
Aviemore is an excellent hub for rides out where you can really get out in all directions to explore some of the most visually stunning roads in the country.
Also, you could do the incredible ride around Loch Ness, which is partly in the Cairngorms. Complete with myths, legends, castles and testy undulating roads, it is a magical ride. Also, the slight edge that the weather can change in a flash makes it extra exciting.
The Scottish Islands
Staying in the far north, the Scottish Island of Skye, Mull, Arran, Jura, Cumbrae and the rest are places that should never be taken for granted and if you do go here with your bike, make sure you appreciate the landscape but do not harm this incredible wild place.
The roads are scarce on these islands, you’re not here for big climbs and famous names, you’re here to take in some of the best views in the world and some of the rarest wildlife you can find.
The ride around the island of Cumbrae is a stunning one on a sunny day, at around 16km around, it is a very short ride, but worth it for the views.
Of course, if you went further north you’d reach the Hebrides where you can ride the 297km Hebridean way cycle route to give you a real challenge, crossing 10 islands and six causeways and includes two ferries. The route takes between two to six days depending on ability.
The Mull circular is another popular one for cyclists looking for adventure. Mull is a much larger island compared to Cumbrae and comes in at circa 70km around. Watch out for the vast amount of red deer on the island as well as golden eagles.
While the climbs of the New Forest aren’t as long or steep as the ones previously mentioned, the beautiful forest roads undulate none stop in this national park.
With varied landscape, all looking very different to the last, with, believe it or not, deep forest to ride through, you also have open landscapes that can be made extra challenging by vicious winds coming in off the sea, which leads to the next landscape of riding along the sea front.
Lymington and the Solent is a nice area to base yourself. Beaulieu and its famous motor museum also is a beautiful place to visit while riding with plenty of cafés welcoming bikes with open arms, some even give loyalty cards that will get stamped when you ride to them.
You can also take in other sights by riding down to Buckler’s Hard and the north Solent national nature reserve.
Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst are the central hubs of the area with roads going off in all directions.
Tucked away in deepest darkest south west Wales, the stunning coastal roads of Pembrokeshire are some of the most beautiful in the country, some amazing beaches, cliffs and huge wide open expanses.
Go north away from the sea and take in the hills and vales of the Welsh county’s countryside and hamlets filled with history.
The Celtic Trail West at 575km and Lôn Teifi Trail 162km, by Sustran, are perfect to take these in. While they do take in much of the Welsh landscape, you can do small part of both routes while riding in Pembrokeshire with it’s incredibly quiet country lanes.
Ride to the colourful harbour of Tenby for an ice cream by the sea on the beach enjoying the stunning blue waters in the south of the county, or head the Strumble Head lighthouse in the north west, ride all the way out until you have to walk across the bridge to get to the landmark.
Cornwall is a real jewel of the south coast. Of course, many cyclists flock to Land’s End to start off their odyssey up to John O’Groats in Scotland, but Cornwall has plenty of rides where you don’t need to go on a quest north.
The Land’s End St. Michael’s Mount loop is a 83km ride that takes you around some of the best parts of south Cornwall with plenty ups and downs to enjoy on the route.
You could ride out of Polzeath to Rick Stein’s fish ‘n’ chips restaurant in Padstow, take in the delights of Rock and then ride over to the home of Doc Martin at Port Isaac.
Why not make your way over to Tintagel castle and dip down into Boscastle? It will be quite a climb out though.
Take in the stunning Helford river, it really could be France when it’s mid-summer, scorching hot, ride out to the pub by the riverside and have a crisp pint of cider.
Now that has given you some ideas, why not go and start planning. Have a Zoom meeting with your mates and work out where to go when the lockdown is lifted and the virus passes.