Challenge yourself: cycle across England

Three fascinating routes for you to take your cycling further. These multi-day trips will take you through some of the most amazing scenery in England.

Perhaps you've been training for months, and you've cycled every cycle route near you; but now you want something a bit more challenging. Grab your helmet and ready the bike rack - it's time to go the distance. There are a number of great long-distance cycle routes in England, so if spending a few days riding along country roads, past babbling brooks and gorgeous seaside views sound like bliss, then read on. Here are three fantastic cycle routes to try:

Way of the Roses, North and Yorkshire

This 170-mile route between Morecambe and Bridlington is highly popular, and with good reason. During the ride, you'll pass through picturesque York and Lancaster, as well as lesser known gems such as Settle, Ripon and Pateley Bridge. The landscape is nice and varied too, as you'll also cycle through Lune Valley, Nidderdale, Yorkshire Wolds, and Yorkshire Dales. This means that most of the roads on the route are quiet and traffic-free.

Only one short section of road after York and Dunnington village is an unmade earth and stone track; the rest of the journey is pretty smooth. We recommend cycling West to East (Morecambe to Bridlington), as you'll have more chance of the wind hitting your back and therefore helping you during the toughest parts of the journey. The steepest and longest uphill climbs are found between Settle and Brimham Rocks.

If 170 miles isn't long enough for you and you fancy pushing yourself a little further, this route can easily be extended. Once you reach Bridlington, cycle north on the NCN route 1, which takes you to Scarborough. From here, you can either go home or cycle on to Whitby and travel on the W2W Coast2Coast cycle route. This will take you back to the West coast but be warned, it will stretch your journey to 400 miles. Your thighs had better be prepared.

It's certainly not a journey for the faint-hearted, but it sure is rewarding, whether you choose to stick to 170 miles or go on to do 400.

Cycling the Lancashire Coastal Way by Christine Johnstone (Creative Commons via Geograph)

Cycling the Lancashire Coastal Way by Christine Johnstone (Creative Commons via Geograph)

Sennen Cove to Damage Barton, South Coast

If you're a fan of camping and cycling, this journey might be for you. Across four days and five nights, you'll travel 204 miles from campsite to campsite, starting on the West coast of Cornwall. Around 25 hours and 45 minutes of the journey is spent cycling.

  • Day one: you'll travel to Veryan, where you can visit China Clay Country Park and the Eden Project if you wish. 
  • Day two involves cycling past Truro and Newquay to reach Brentons St Austell campsite. 
  • On day three head north to beautiful Bude. This leg of the journey is particularly interesting, as you'll cycle the Camel Trail which follows the disused railway line between Padstow and Bodmin Moor.
  • Day four: you'll pass Hatherleigh and Bideford to reach north Devon and the campsite of Damage Barton. While you're here, don't forget to keep a look out for the Peregrine Falcons which live on the cliffs.
Long Bridge at Bideford by Sarah Charlesworth, (Creative Commons from Geograph)

Long Bridge at Bideford by Sarah Charlesworth, (Creative Commons from Geograph)

Hadrian's Cycleway, Borders

For Roman forts, wild countryside, and stunning coastal views, look no further than Hadrian's Cycleway. This 174-mile long journey, which stretches the length of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site, mostly consists of country lanes and quiet roads, as well as traffic-free paths and riverside tracks. Most bikes should be okay on this route.

Your journey starts at Glannaventa Roman Bath House at Ravenglass and ends at Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum at South Shields. There are lots of things to stop and do on this journey, with highlights including the Roman Museum at Senhouse, Carlisle Castle and The Black Keep. Although this trip could take you as few as three days to complete, if you stop at these attractions, your journey will be extended by at least a couple of days.

Most of the route is flat, but there are a few steep hills in the middle section, so again, it's best to travel from West to East. A large proportion of the ride (33 miles) takes place in Northumberland and the road will frequently wind you back to visit iconic sections of the Wall. If you haven't done this trip yet, you simply must do it at least once.

Hadrians Wall by Andrew-Smith (Create Commons from Geograph)

Hadrians Wall by Andrew-Smith (Create Commons from Geograph)

So there you have it - three wonderful but challenging England cycle trips. Have we missed out your favourite journey, or are you planning to go on a cycling holiday in England this year? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook!

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