Cumbria has some fantastic scenery and is a big hit with cyclists. And with Bike Week taking place from June 11 – 19, what better excuse to explore the county?
Here are our picks of some of the best places to get on your bike this season:
This is an ideal route if you are on a bike ride with young children, as you can sometimes find yourself riding alongside the L’al’Ratty. Starting at the Forge Bridge car park, near Eskdale, head south-west along the road and as the road swings left, follow down here for four miles. After a while you’ll find the path slants up the fell and then follows fast down Fell Lane. After here, there are multiple different ways to go. If you’re looking for a quieter route, you can turn back and even stop for refreshments at Muncaster Castle. This is a hilly bike ride but with beautiful views and more than enough opportunities to stop for a rest.
With the wonderful views of Derwentwater this biking route is an absolute must. You can easily add it onto a longer ride around the lower valley too. That would include the beautiful terrace of Catbells, also along the Eastern shore and a tarmac haul up to Watendlath. Starting from Troutdale Cottages, near Borrowdale, with a bridleway to Troutdale, keep the stream to your left and bear right. Head over a rocky patch and through a meadow where you will get a fantastic view of the twin cathedrals of Black Crag and Greatend Crag. From here on, descend your journey whilst passing Frith Wood, Hazel Bank and coast down to Grange where you have a choice of two fantastic cafes.
Bay Cycle Way
A fantastic new cycle way around Morecambe Bay, the route connects 130km of relatively flat cycle routes around the Bay. It is a new, family-friendly, long distance route, suitable for entry-level touring cyclists and is part of the National Cycle Network. And importantly it is designed so that you'll never be far from a loo, a view or a brew.
This mountain biking route begins with a long climb up Longsleddale, and equally lengthy retreat back down the Kentmere Valley. The stretch of singletrack that leads from Green Quarter Fell onto Staveley Head is a little more than 2km at the most, and it’s full of twists and turns. However, the outward leg through the meadows and pastures of Longsleddale, is unexciting to say the least. It definitely helps if there are a few of you, but if you’re on your own or the going’s heavy, or if you’d just rather get straight into the good stuff; don’t hesitate to use the road instead.
In the heart of the Lake District, Grizedale offers an unrivalled day out for everyone. You can find cycling trails or simply discover a quiet spot to admire the wildlife, amazing sculptures, a place to relax and enjoy some great food. This is a very popular spot for biking with lots of different trails. Whether you’re a beginner cyclist or a dedicated mountain biker, there will be a route here that will suit your ability. From hard to moderate trails, there are several ways you can explore Grizedale Forest on your bike.
A child suitable route. A good ride to have if it’s too rainy to head further up the fells. With charming woodland, raven-croaking limestone cliffs and a gentle climb for an easy fun bike ride. It's five minutes from junction 36, in an open area with plenty of routes to take so you’ll never be short of somewhere new to explore. Start at Raven’s Lodge, in Witherslack, and sweep by the waterfall to discover a new biking adventure.
Cumbria Cycle Way
The famous Cumbria Cycle Way is a 260 miles circular route (on-road) around Cumbria exploring parts of the county rarely explored by tourists. Being circular it can be started anywhere on the route: Carlisle, the Eden and Lune Valleys, Morecambe Bay, the West Coast and Solway Firth.
The Whinlatter Pass is a mountain pass in the Lake District, located on the B5292 road linking Braithwaite, to the west of Keswick, with High Lorton, to the south of Cockermouth. For the adrenaline lovers, Whinlatter Forest in Keswick is for the mountain bike lovers. With a red and a blue route, there are multiple different rides to take, whether you’re after an adventure white knuckle bike ride, or you’re looking for a simple mountain bike trek. Whinlatter’s courses all start from the information centre and branch out into different ways.
Route 72 of the National Cycle Network - better known as Hadrian's Cycleway - starts in Kendal and makes its way around the Cumbrian coast via Barrow-in-Furness and Whitehaven to Silloth. From Silloth the route heads along the Solway Firth to Carlisle and across Northumberland to South Shields via Haltwhistle, roughly following Hadrian's Wall.
Although not traffic-free, the lakeshore road between Pooley Bridge and Howtown offers a reasonably easy ride. It's eight miles there and back, with the option of catching the Ullswater 'Steamer' between the piers at Howtown and Pooley Bridge for one of the legs. The road is narrow in places and can be busy with other users, so better suited to families with older children. There are two car parks in Pooley Bridge.
Take a look at Furness cycling nostalgia through the years from the North-West Evening Mail.
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