I've ridden quite a lot around those parts, here are some bits:
The first part of this
route gives you a lovely ~25 miles from Oxford largely in the direction you need.
This is a day I rode on a LEJOG a few years back, a lovely ride between Monmouth and Chepstow, but the REAL highlight (one of the top bits of the entire LEJOG) was riding Hay Bluff in the black mountains, ideally you wan to route it so you come from south to north into Hay, but either way, it's just an absolute stunner of a road and the scenery is unexpectedly dramatic.
This was the preceding day on LEJOG including Cheddar - the Somerset levels before Cheddar were surprisingly charming and the Mendips up at the top were absolutely stunning and really quiet, thoroughly recommend.
That Bristol to Hay route is very similar to one I've done that was an all time favourite day on a bike, absolutely beautiful scenery round there and lovely riding. I think my decision to go that way was based on someone saying they'd gone that way as part of a LEJOG ride, not sure if you or someone else on here!
If you near Haye, you must go over Gospel Pass, one of the most unforgettable routes in the UK
That's the route I've linked to above - absolutely stunning!
Ha, very probably, I do tend to evangelise about that day....
This is great stuff, cheers all!
@owl - Looks like I can borrow heavily from your LEJOG route all the way from Hay to Cheddar Gorge. I did LEJOG this time last year and did similar route from Chepstow to Monmouth but following the river more closely. (We headed north from Monmouth towards Hereford.)
Re: Severn Bridge-to-Mendips, I don't know that part of the world very well. Would you recommend your route through Bristol rather than bypassing via Portishead/Clevedon? Is it a bit industrial along there? I did go through Bristol on LEJOG, but just following the Bath-Bristol cycle path and turning right at Avonmouth.
If you don't have to go into/through Bristol I'd probably avoid it. I was just going to stay with a mate that night! Personally I reckon I'd draw route around the SW side, taking in Clifton suspension bridge (because why not) and then up into the Mendips....
I have a friend in Antibes and was thinking of doing some kind of cycle trip to his in October, hopefully not more than 2/3 full days cycling to give me some time to hang out with him and then back to the UK. Is this reasonable? What should I look into for getting there? Any cool spots to ride on 35-40mm tyres?
Having ridden it, I completely understand why and have since done the same!
By some lucky coincidence, joining up @owl's route between Hay-on-Wye and Chepstow with the Google recommended route from Malvern to Hay-on-Wye adds up to just over my 90-miles target for the day
(with a couple of nice big lumps to get over along the way). Will run it by my Malvern mate to see what he makes of the first bit, then crack on planning the rest. Thanks again for the input so far.
Looks like a great day on the bike mate! There's a lovely pub around the 70mile mark, which may be of interest...
I'm always open to a good pub recommendation, especially if the biggest climb is already out of the way. :) My mate's also pitched in with an improved route over the Malvern hills. Getting there...
This one: https://www.thecrownatpantygelli.com/ - I was going the other way, so got a lunch and a pint before the climb...
Booked a Saturday night at Palace Farm Hostel in Sittingbourne, Kent. Now trying to work out where to go. Any ideas? Preferably end up in London so that I can catch a train back to Cambridge. Was thinking... catch a train out to Margate on Saturday morning, work my way back towards overnight in Doddington, continue cycling until I can't be bothered anymore and catch the train back to London? I think someone here posted a cool south Thames route but I can't seem to find it.
It wasn't this but this looks helpful https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2706283
Spent 4 days riding from Bournemouth to Marazion along a fairly, umm, challenging route I devised.
Packed the bike up with a wedding outfit, bivvy, tarp, cooking stuff and all the other usual bits and pieces, then hopped on the 11:05 South Western from Waterloo. The first night I camped at the YHA in Beer, second night Foggintor Quarry on Dartmoor and the third night in Mallet’s Cottage on the Roseland coast, finishing at a bnb in Marazion to get clean for my buddies wedding the following day.
To follow, a list of pros and cons from the trip and then some landscapes.
Twisty Dorset gravel tracks.
Drakes Trail into Tavistock.
The severe hills of the Lizard peninsular.
Minimum one pasty a day diet.
Descending Dartmoor whilst the morning sun burnt away the previous night’s mist.
The Helford river crossing in baking sun and turquoise waters.
The fish finger sandwich in Fowey.
The two old dears in the Sidmouth drizzle who wanted to play the lottery.
Camping amongst ruins with no one else for miles and miles.
The severe hills of the Lizard peninsular causing me to loose all confidence in my brakes and walking down most of them.
Being ginger in the sun.
A delicate case of the squits.
Here's a more concrete question, should I route up on NCN 1 and 179 to go by cliffe pools etc, or keep my routing as it stands, going through Cobham and hoping for some 'fun' 'off road' bits.
I've done that route up to cliffe pools and it's fine - not spectacular, not rubbish. Sadly can't say how good the straight on alternative is, or the longer loop, but it wasn't a real highlight for me. Not sure how much help that is but it's something!
This looks amazing and ridiculous, was the wedding at the end? Were you able to function??
I'm catching up on this thread after succumbing to wild-camp-anxiety a couple times and looking for inspiration. The only real wild camping I've done has been of the sort where you ride all day, fall into a tent in a field at the side of the road, and wake up and just ride again. Trying to couple the fact that I largely road ride with the idea of actually setting up camp in the light and enjoying it for a few hours is leaving me with a bit of a mental block for it all.
Anyway, it's great to see everyone's still getting out there.
Were you able to function??
Were you able to function??
Refer to last point on the list of cons... Wasn't in the best shape to gorge on rich food, or drown in booze. Not sure if that's due to the pasties...
Wild camping is just the best! I think I remember you being Manchester based (from the peaks fixed ride organising)? I have some hot tips for hassle free, easy intro wild camping more or less on your doorstep in Wales. Will PM with deets.
I mini-toured to and from a wedding through Normandy last year, riding to a wedding is ace! Although the thing itself can be a bit boring coming after a few days of riding.
Last weekend I rode to Lille to deliver some presents. Started by riding from Rainham to Dover on Friday evening. I had to be in Lille at noon or after on Saturday, so was aiming for the 2am ferry to Calais. Got there for the 1 am anyway, so didn't use my relatively straightforward planned route, falling back to maps for something a bit more circuitous. Rode over some hills, took a few wrong turns, slept 1h on the side of the road, did a bakery stop in Saint Omer and then another coffee stop in Hazebrouck and finally ended up at my destination at noon more or less on the dot.
On Sunday, left Lille aimed for Dunkirk and the 6pm ferry. Uneventful, flat 100km ride through France and Belgium. Killed almost too much time on the seafront in Dunkirk and realised I had just under 45 minutes to make the remaining 18km (gasp!) to the ferry check-in, which would have been fine if not for the mother of all headwinds blowing in my face. Still, made it on the dot again though next time I'll try to leave a bit more time for it. At least I didn't have to wait for very long before boarding. And then, 40 km from Dover to Ashford in the basking end-of-day sunlight, over the Kent Downs, way to end a good weekend!
The key take away of the weekend is that I don't really like riding with a full and heavy Carradice, this thing is terrifying. It is convenient though.
The last photo should be first. (Chilham on Friday evening, France on early Saturday morning, ferry arriving back to Dover on Sunday and views of the Kent Downs on Sunday evening)
It was my chuckles at the 'cons' list that prompted me to reply! Thanks for the wales tips, will check them out now
I don't really like riding with a full and heavy Carradice
I don't really like riding with a full and heavy Carradice
tell us more?
That is my kind fo road!
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