BAY CYCLE WAY- NCN 700

Overview

Bay Cycle Way


At 80 miles, the Bay Water Cycle Route is the perfect introduction to long distance cycling. The route itself is on cycle paths, quiet country roads and tow paths. There are few short distances where you hit gravel paths, but nothing that would merit ditching the road bike for a hybrid or mountain bike. The route is mostly signposted as National Cycle Network route 700, but there are stretches on routes 70, 6 and 69. A few short sections follow modestly busy roads .For those parts, just look out for the circular Bay Cycle Way logo. The route is fairly well signposted and being a relatively new cycle route is quiet . We did need strava in a few places where sign posts were lacking. You also need to keep a sharp eye out for sudden turns, with the signs not always that obvious. 

Level of Fitness

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We did the whole route in a day, and possibly this is why we found the second half of the route, which is supposed to be relatively flat so difficult with tired legs. It was certainly  a challenge doing the full 128km in a day. With stoppage time of 4hrs 30 mins (we had a flat tyre about 10 mins from the end?!) it took us 12 hours door to door. Sustran have the following recommendation on their review of the route:-This route is a perfect and gentle introduction to long-distance cycling. For the experienced, two days is all that is needed. However, for those wanting to take their time, savour the views and visit the attractions, four 20-mile days is highly recommended.For beginner cyclists, broken up over a few days this is a wonderfully enjoyable, route . After a good nights sleep and rest the last 40 miles may not have seemed as hilly on the second or third day. 

Is it Hilly?

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There are 10 hills in total, The longest and worst climb is just before Cartmel around mile 30 and  is roughly a one mile climb. The views are worth it from the top as is the descent into the beautiful village of Cartmel. 

For beginner cyclists, broken up over a few days this is a wonderfully enjoyable, route . After a good nights sleep and rest the last 40 miles may not have seemed as hilly on the second or third day.  The longest and worst climb is just before Cartmel around mile 30 and  is roughly a one mile climb. The views are worth it from the top as is the descent into the beautiful village of Cartmel.  

There are flat sections, along tow paths, promenades and cycles ways which were a welcome relief, but in between the towns and villages there was also a fair amount of climbing. 

Top Tips

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Lots of inner tube replacements and a bell .

My friend downloaded the route from Strava and this was our saviour in parts and definitely stopped us from going astray.  Don't rely completely on signposts.

Facilities

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We started the route in Barrow in Furness, staying in an Air BnB which was en- route (Michaelson Road Barrow in Furness).  The Air BnB cost £75 for the night.  We took two cars, leaving one car at Glasson Docks on the Friday night before driving to the Air BnB. When we had finished the route, we drove back to Barrow in Furness to collect the second car.  Not an ideal scenario, driving 90 mins in the wrong direction after a long day in the saddle, but the logistics worked for us.  Other reviews suggested using the rail network which runs from Lancaster Railway Station (about 5 miles from Glasson Docks ) to  Barrow in Furness. The train is on the same route as the start of the Coast to Coast Cycle Route so the local trains are apparently used to cyclists. 

Equipment Used

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We used road bikes which were fine. Also suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes.     Padded shorts are a must. DHB are a good range and budget friendly. I use dhb cycling bib short and long sleeve cycling jerseyfrom Wiggle sale     www.wiggle.co.uk

Coast and Castles

Overview

The full Coast and Castle cycle route takes you from Edinburgh in the north all the way down the bea

The full Coast and Castle cycle route takes you from Edinburgh in the north all the way down the beautiful scottish/north east coast ending in Newcastle. In total it covers circa 200 miles of coastal paths and quiet country roads (170 if you take the coastal route from Berwick.) We headed north to south, and although is wasn't a particularly windy weekend it did feel like we were heading into the wind at times. Other reviews we read tended to suggest more favourable wind if you go south to north and finish by riding into Edinburgh.

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/coast-and-castles-south

Cardio/Strength/Flexibility

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This is about endurance and stamina .We spent circa 6-8 hours on day  one in the saddle.  The terrain is bumpy, padded shorts a must.  Stretch as much as possible before and after.  Saddle sore is inevitable I am afraid unless you are used to long rides.  Mix of coastal path ( slightly rough in places so definately more suited to hybrid/mountain bike) and quiet country roads which are "hilly" for beginners and mere lump for the pros.

Is it Hilly?

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It is billed as "flat" . Hmmmmm the truth is it covers some miles and those miles include "rolling" english countryside.  A pancake it is not.  For pro riders , its nothing more than a few lumps and bumps , for the beginner these are "hills"

Mix of coastal path ( slightly rough in places so definately more suited to hybrid/mountain bike) and quiet country roads. For a long section you are on road and away from the coast. The route has slight variations to the Sustran Map (Sustran map 34 and 39 cover full Castles and Coast north and south) but in the general it is a fairly easy route to navigate. There are detours en route to take you onto Holy Island if you have time, and also down into Craster.

Top Tips

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Lots of inner tubes  and a bell essential.  Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.

Facilities

We booked overnight accommdation at Hemscott Hill farm bunk barn on Saturday night and booked a tabl

We booked overnight accommdation at Hemscott Hill farm bunk barn on Saturday night and booked a table at Longsands for fish and chips on Sunday.

We arranged Pedal Power to transport us  and our bikes to our starting point at Berwick upon Tweed Port.

https://www.tractorsandtents.com/ - Bunk Barns  https://www.longsandsfishkitchen.com/contact-us/ Food

https://pedal-power.co.uk/transport/


Equipment Used

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Mountain bike or hybrid due to terrain.  I used a  Kona Splice Hybrid. It was and still is the perfect hybrid bike for me, very comfortable to ride with a good spec at this budget.  I purchased the bike from wiggle and paid circa £300-£400 (circa half price) as the bike was in the sale and last season stock.     www.konaworld.com/splice.cfm     Padded shorts are a must. DHB are a good range and budget friendly. I use dhb cycling bib short and long sleeve cycling jerseyfrom Wiggle sale     www.wiggle.co.uk

LIVERPOOL TO LEEDS TOW PATH CYCLE

Overview

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Dont be put off by the distance.  This was our first bike challenge in 2015 and we all loved it. This is  waterside cycling along Britain's longest single canal. It runs for 126 miles across the Pennines, with most people opting to start in Liverpool and end in Leeds.   You can  cycle on the tow path most of the way with the exceptions of two tunnels which you have to navigate over. We found the route well signposted and followed Sustrans National Cycle Route in parts.       https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route

Cardio/Strength/Flexibility

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This is about endurance and stamina, we covered the 127 miles in two days, and spent circa 6-8 hours per day in the saddle.  The terrain is bumpy, padded shorts a must.  Stretch as much as possible before and after.  Saddle sore is inevitable I am afraid unless you are used to long rides.  In the run up we did a lot of training on road which didn't really prepare us for the off road terrain.  I would suggest you combine a  mixture of off road tow path cycling with longer road cycles for endurance.

Is it Hilly?

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Off road tow path and bridal ways.  Challenging terrain in places but generally flat with beautiful scenery in part. Inclines as you approach the 12 locks around Bradford area.     For a breakdown of the route follow these links:     http://www.towpathtreks.co.uk/LLC/canal_cycling_guide.html

Top Tips

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Lots of inner tube replacements and a bell essential. We heard lots of stories of unfortunate riders taking unexpected dips in the canal. Duck when you get to bridges and be prepared for slippery stones: slow down approaching to avoid pile ups.        If you are going alone or worry about directional skills why not join an organised event. See link below for Sue Ryder Charity event in September 2018        http://www.sueryder.org/get-involved/events/all-events/2018/september/liverpool-to-leeds-cycle

Facilities

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We stayed overnight in Burnley. The Premier Inn Burnley Hotel is reasonable and close to the canal for easy access the next morning. It was slighlty more than half way starting from Liverpool , however that made the second day the shortest and a good mindset to start off with. The staff were very obliging and allowed us to lock our bikes up in a storage/laundry area. There were other bikes already there when we arrived later on the Saturday so obviously a popular stop over stop.

Equipment Used

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Mountain bike or hybrid due to terrain.  I used a  Kona Splice Hybrid. It was and still is the perfect hybrid bike for me, very comfortable to ride with a good spec at this budget.  I purchased the bike from wiggle and paid circa £300-£400 (circa half price) as the bike was in the sale and last season stock.     www.konaworld.com/splice.cfm     Padded shorts are a must. DHB are a good range and budget friendly. I use dhb cycling bib short and long sleeve cycling jerseyfrom Wiggle sale     www.wiggle.co.uk

RIPON ROTARY BIKE RIDE (ACORN)

Overview- see full review above

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The Ripon Rotary ride is an annual 100k circular charity  ride around north Yorkshire.     This is included in the beginner/intermediate/advanced rides. Fabulous all inclusive ride that takes in some wonderful scenery    Open roads, well signposted and good support crews.     Follow this link to sign up and fundraise for great charities     www.riponrotarybikeride.org


Where, When and How much?

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Where: Circular route from Bishop Monkton Village Hall

When: Annual in May 

Cost: £30 advance 

£40 on day but limited plus charity fundraising 

Is it Hilly?

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The 100k route is not too hilly and if taken at a steady pace can be done by all levels . The route is circular with plenty of comfort breaks

Facilities

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The ride starts at  Bishop Monkton Village Hall and takes in Roecliffe, Boroughbridge, Brafferton to Easingwold. Lunch is at Sheriff Hutton Village Hall. After lunch the route heads south west to Sutton Forest, Huby and Tollerton, with last part through Staveley and Copgrove and back to Bishop Monkton for tea and home made cakes. 

Equipment Used

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 Open road sportive 


 I bought the Giant Avail entry level road bike made and designed for women. I paid £400 from Tredz and bought last season stock in sale. Great bike. Also used Shimano SPD road shoes and pedals. Both from Tredz.      www.tredz.co.uk  www.liv-cycling.com     Water bottles and energy tablets from High5 . I buy mutli packs to include gels and protein drinks from Wiggle.  www.wiggle.co.uk    

THE GREAT YORKSHIRE BIKE RIDE

Overview- see full review above

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The Great Yorkshire Bike ride is an annual 70 mile charity cycle ride from Wetherby to Filey.     This is included in the beginner/intermediate/advanced rides. With 2000 cyclists of all abilities it offers something for everyone.     Fabulous all inclusive ride that takes in some wonderful scenery through the Howardian Hills and Yorkshire Wolds.     Open roads, well signposted and good support crews.     Follow this link to sign up and fundraise for great charities  inc Yorkshire Cancer Research     www.gybr.co.uk


Where, When and How much?

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Where: Wetherby Racecourse to Filey

When: Annual in June  ( normally second weekend)   

Cost: £22 (option for return transport additional £10) plus charity fundraising option



 

Is it Hilly?

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This was one of the easiest and one of the hardest rides I have done.  The majority of the ride is pleasurable, but there are two hills, and a few lumps and bumps along the way.      www.mapmyride shows the course and gradients and rates the two hills as a 3 and a 5 catogorised climb, with Cat 1 climb rated the most difficult.     The first hill, just before the lunch stop at Terrington is steep but not too long.     The second climb is Horse Course Bank, Settringtton and whilst longer isn't as steep.

Training and Top Tips

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Dont worry about the hills if you are a beginner. There are a lot of people walking up them and the rest of the route is fairly pleasant and straight forward.


We saw all sorts on the ride, from the seasoned professionals to people just out for a lesiurely trip to the beach.When we did this ride we had been faiarily regular cyclists and had already done some similar length sportives.fairlydistance

Facilities

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The ride starts at Wetherby Race course and due to the sheer volume of numbers taking part, the start line sets off in waves to control numbers onto the roads.

There are four drink stops and a fantastic lunch stop, where you are given a plastic bag which you fill with sandwiches, crips, fruit, chocolate and drinks.  There is also a hot lunch option. The food/water stops are well renowned and whilst we passed on the first stop bacon butties the cake was not to be missed and appreciated later on.

Equipment Used

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 Open road sportive and whilst the majority of participants were on road bikes, there were old and young doing the ride on mountain bikes, hybrids and shoppers!


 I bought the Giant Avail entry level road bike made and designed for women. I paid £400 from Tredz and bought last season stock in sale. Great bike. Also used Shimano SPD road shoes and pedals. Both from Tredz.      www.tredz.co.uk  www.liv-cycling.com     Water bottles and energy tablets from High5 . I buy mutli packs to include gels and protein drinks from Wiggle.  www.wiggle.co.uk    

TADCASTER CYCLESENSE

Overview- see full review above

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We did the 60k option in 2016 and the 100k route in 2017.


The 60k route is nice and steady , and albeit it on open roads, these tend to be quieter country lanes.  The route is well signposted and there are water /snack  stops at the right intervals.

The event is timed and a circular route


60k is a good entry level sportive. The 100k provides more of a challenge , with some inclines in the second half.

Where, When and How much?

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Not for profit event on behalf of Martin House Children's Hospice.


Pre day registration £20

Tadcaster- Yearly in April     


To register follow this link: https://cyclesense.co.uk/info/cyclesense-tadcaster-sportive.php

Is it Hilly?

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The 60km route is something that anyone can have a go at. Flat smooth roads and a short enough distance for beginners.  The 100km route will provide riders with more of a challenge. The 100k0k follows the 60k route, with the last 40 k providing a few lumps and bumps to get your home. 

Top Tips

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If you are a beginner , read up on road etqiuette and riding within with groups.  Useful to know hand signals  to keep everyone safe. Look to go on basic bike maintenance courses for changing tyres et

Facilities

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Regular water stops en route with some offering cake and tea in previous years.     Timed event and professional photographer.


Circular route fininshing within local primary, with refreshment stalls on finish line and toilet facilities.

Equipment Used

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 Open road sportive and majority of participants were on road bikes. I bought the Giant Avail entry level road bike made and designed for women. I paid £400 from Tredz and bought last season stock in sale. Great bike. Also used Shimano SPD road shoes and pedals. Both from Tredz.      www.tredz.co.uk  www.liv-cycling.com     Water bottles and energy tablets from High5 . I buy mutli packs to include gels and protein drinks from Wiggle.  www.wiggle.co.uk    

FAT LAD AT THE BACK (UP NORTH) SPORTIVE

Overview- see full review above

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Three distances : 25 miles, 50 miles and 75 miles.


The 25 mile option on open roads provides a scenic ride around the beautiful (hilly in places)  Yorkshire Dales. 

Roads whilst open are generally quieter country lanes. Gets busy around Bolton Abbey and one section on busy A59 at beginning and end     "Flambasdors" cycle route along with riders in timed waves.  Good support crew. 

Stunning sportive and very friendly and inclusive.

Our favourite sportive so far and one we keep coming back to. Great food stops!



Where, When and How much?

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Where: Ilkley Rugby Club

When: Annual in May  ( normally second weekend)   

Cost: £35 

To register follow this link:  https://fatladattheback.com/sportive/up-north-sportive  


 

Is it Hilly?

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The 25 mile route around yorkshire dales is challenging with lumps and bumps to challenge .  Coming out of Barden, is steep but short. Head down and power through with gritted teeth.     The second real challenge comes after  the beautiful Burnsall. With no run at this climb and starting from a stop it a long slower climb with a couple of sneaky sharper inclines just as you think you are fininshed climbing and turn another corner. Keep a gear drop at the ready.


http://RIDEWITHGPS.COM/ROUTES/11052663

Training and Top Tips

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Good beginner ride. Cardio and strength training will help whether in the saddle or not.


If you are a beginner , read up on road etqiuette and riding within with groups.  Useful to know hand signals  to keep everyone safe. Look to go on basic bike maintenance courses for changing tyres etc

Facilities

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Starts and finishes from Ilkey Rugby club so somewhere to leave bags and toilet facilities.     Usually refreshments available at end. (2018 had pulled pork sandwiches and veggie burgers free to riders)       On the 50 miler there are two water stops . The first is at Grassington, then Arncliffe with lunch (and plenty to eat )on the beautiful Burnsall banks.  Timed event and fininshing line for family to cheer you over.

Equipment Used

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 Open road sportive and majority of participants were on road bikes. I bought the Giant Avail entry level road bike made and designed for women. I paid £400 from Tredz and bought last season stock in sale. Great bike. Also used Shimano SPD road shoes and pedals. Both from Tredz.      www.tredz.co.uk  www.liv-cycling.com     Water bottles and energy tablets from High5 . I buy mutli packs to include gels and protein drinks from Wiggle.  www.wiggle.co.uk