Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Summer tour in the UK

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Summer tour in the UK

Old 01-21-18, 02:16 PM
  #1  
gauvins
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: QC Canada
Posts: 1,756

Bikes: Custom built LHT & Troll

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 731 Post(s)
Liked 89 Times in 72 Posts
Summer tour in the UK

Long shot, but our little one might want to visit Paddington's home city/country and if plan A isn't working, then a UK tour could well be plan B.

We'd most likely start/end in London. We average 60kms/day. We can manage 60 days or so. The I-spent-10-minutes-on-GoogleMaps plan would be London-Edinburgh-Inverness-Thurso-Belfast (via ferry)-Dublin-Fishguard (ferry)-London.

1. What must-cycle spots should be included (keep in mind that our team has 7 and 13 year old kids, used to touring but not particularly enamoured with hills...

2. looks like UK trains are bike friendly. I'd be curious to hear more about that (do we have to pack our bikes? in padded bags or rinko-like would do? Are buses a better alternative?)

3. the I-spent-10-minutes-on-GoogleMaps plan is 3 200kms. Almost exactly what we are shooting for. If you are familiar with the UK, would you trade the segment in Scotland (up to Thurso) for more time that would allow us to ride western Ireland (ex. Galway, Limerick, Cork)
Attached Images
gauvins is offline  
Old 01-21-18, 05:14 PM
  #2  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 12,599
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2496 Post(s)
Liked 784 Times in 653 Posts
hi gauv, I have family living in the UK, Scotland now, and Ive often thought of doing a UK trip for years, but the factors that tend to always come back to me are 1- rain, some summers in the UK are pretty dismal, and I honestly think I would get tired of riding in wet often
and 2, the most important one, especially considering biking with the kids, is how just bloody narrow and busy so many roads are in the UK. As you know, I commute all the time in Montreal, and have ridden in some sketchy areas, but it does concern me how the traffic in the UK can be rather busy numbers wise, and then you throw in narrow roads with very poor sightlines (hedges and stuff) and speedlimits of 50mph, 80kph, where folks will drive faster, and envariably it just means that the risks go up.

I have a niece and nephew who live and work in London, and family in northern Scotland, so the idea of flying in to London and riding up to Scotland is appealing, but I actually have never really put any effort into a realistic route.

oh, another thing is that there are lots of areas with short (or not so short) steep hills. When my sister was living in Wales, the area had a lot of kick-ass climbs that they term "1 in 5, or 1 in 4", ie 20% 25% gradients.....argh...

the ctc forum (now a diff name) a bike forum in the uk, and the sanstran routes, or suntrans routes, is a bike travelling resource you should look into.

if you ever have specific questions that I could ask my family, feel free to get in touch.

and of course, thanks again for the "guguss" je m'excuse que j'ai jamais envoye un note de remercie.
djb is offline  
Old 01-21-18, 08:23 PM
  #3  
gauvins
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: QC Canada
Posts: 1,756

Bikes: Custom built LHT & Troll

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 731 Post(s)
Liked 89 Times in 72 Posts
thanks for your feedback.

wrt weather... I've been to the UK... 4 or 5 times... including a longer stretch, and was pleasantly surprised by the weather. I don't recall being seriously rained on. Probably lucky. I've looked at weatherspark. Probability of significant precipitation in London in July is about 25%. In am from Quebec city where it is above 40% (!!) (same for Montréal btw). So London would look drier than home, but the truth is that we've escaped Quebec's weather for the past 15 years or so, and that plan A is somewhere on the Mediterranean where the probability of precipitation is... 1% (one percent). So yes, there is the weather.

wrt hills... I am not entirely clear on what make a profile unbearable. Short and steep is not a problem in and of itself. What kills my morale is a roller-coaster where you lose what you climb over and over again. For our teenager, I believe that the deciding factor is exhaustion. Early in the morning, she'll climb walls. At the end of the day, the mere sight of a valley and she grumbles.

Anyways, we'll see. Personally, I really like the UK. Lush, green, very civilized, great pubs, infinitely many things to see.

And no worries wrt the "cossin"
gauvins is offline  
Old 01-22-18, 08:43 AM
  #4  
HobbesOnTour
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NB, NL
Posts: 259

Bikes: 90's Trek 800 Sport, setup for Fully Loaded Touring

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 149 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 31 Posts
Hi,

That's a hell of a tour!

First of all, check in with the locals

https://www.cyclechat.net/forums/tou...ure-cycling.8/

https://forum.cyclinguk.org

One thing on the weather - London is not the UK! The south is significantly drier than the north! The same applies to Ireland, too! I remember spending 3 months working in Glencoe in Scotland many years ago and in the entire 3 months there were 3 days that it did not rain - and those 3 days were in a row!

I don't mind rain, but days of rain can really be energy and motivation sapping. Hope for the best.... plan for the worst!

In relation to the Ireland leg of your tour, an alternative to consider is to hit the west coast and use the Wild Atlantic Way ( https://www.wildatlanticway.com/home/ ) as a route. (There are several attractive routes across Northern Ireland also).

The east coast of Ireland is very congested, but of course, the weather is better. You could compromise and cut across from Galway on the west coast to Dublin. There are some towpath routes, I believe.
.
As to whether to spend more time in Ireland or Scotland I really can't say. Both places are great. It's really a matter of what you want to do and see.

Can offer no advice on trains in the UK, other than the services are regional and different providers offer different services. There may be issues with multiple bikes on the same train. As for Ireland, trains are, to say the least, eccentric when it comes to bikes :-)

And hills? They're everywhere! :-)

Good luck with the planning

Frank
HobbesOnTour is offline  
Old 01-22-18, 09:11 AM
  #5  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 12,599
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2496 Post(s)
Liked 784 Times in 653 Posts
Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post

Can offer no advice on trains in the UK, other than the services are regional and different providers offer different services.
if its one thing I have heard complaining about from my relatives over the years is how having to use multiple diff train companies to get somewhere, can be very frustrating with issues with one company that screws up your next connection with another train company. I havent used the trains that much, but you must be prudent and expect diff rules and diff information from one company to another (and miscommunication).

just a heads up, or at least with bringing bikes on board it brings more potential transfer problem factors than just walking on board.
djb is offline  
Old 01-22-18, 10:59 AM
  #6  
checoles
Senior Member
 
checoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Hull, England
Posts: 253

Bikes: Tern Link A7 Folding Bike, Marin Gestalt 2019

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Trains are funny in the UK, some accept bikes and some don't. There are specific train services that run very strict routes that have big cargo storage carriages for bikes and such, but they're few and fair between. Most trains have a 2 bike slot in one of the carriages so you'll be fighting with whoever else is boarding with a bike normally.

Can see you coming through Hull there, my neck of the woods! Yorkshire Wolds just above, lots of climbing and country roads. Theres tons of cycling paths to take, it's just weather they go where you need them to.
Look up the Trans Pennine Way, it'll take you from Hull across the country to above Liverpool there, Stockport I believe. Thats a 200-odd mile offroad/canal path/cycle path route which will give you minimal time riding alongside cars if you fancy a break from them.
https://www.transpenninetrail.org.uk/ Don't know if that will work for you, as its a UK site, but theres the details
https://www.wayoftheroses.co.uk/Another Cross-country route there, bit shorter but again, fun.

If you're coming to the UK, I'd highly recommend climbing over the Pennines. Great scenery. Great little villages full of crazy locals and pokey pubs along the way.

Have fun going through London, its a nightmare. Unless you plan to stop and take in some tourism, I'd avoid it. Go around if you can.

Scotland is nice, be prepared for rain, and a lot of it. Again, lots of hill climbing on small country roads.

Last edited by checoles; 01-22-18 at 11:02 AM.
checoles is offline  
Old 01-22-18, 03:28 PM
  #7  
Brittney
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ireland
Posts: 42

Bikes: Marin Nicasio

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Long shot, but our little one might want to visit Paddington's home city/country and if plan A isn't working, then a UK tour could well be plan B.

We'd most likely start/end in London. We average 60kms/day. We can manage 60 days or so. The I-spent-10-minutes-on-GoogleMaps plan would be London-Edinburgh-Inverness-Thurso-Belfast (via ferry)-Dublin-Fishguard (ferry)-London.

1. What must-cycle spots should be included (keep in mind that our team has 7 and 13 year old kids, used to touring but not particularly enamoured with hills...

2. looks like UK trains are bike friendly. I'd be curious to hear more about that (do we have to pack our bikes? in padded bags or rinko-like would do? Are buses a better alternative?)

3. the I-spent-10-minutes-on-GoogleMaps plan is 3 200kms. Almost exactly what we are shooting for. If you are familiar with the UK, would you trade the segment in Scotland (up to Thurso) for more time that would allow us to ride western Ireland (ex. Galway, Limerick, Cork)
I agree with Hobbes about considering cycling some of the wild Atlantic way (Ill admit I'm biased being Irish). But parts of the west coast of Ireland are amazing. Places I would recommend to go through in the UK would be the lake district, Snowdonia nation park in Wales, Devon/Cornwall, the Pennines. I have not been north of Glasgow and I would assume it is also amazing to cycle. Depending on when you are planning to cycle Scotland does have a summer midge problem (non biting but millions of them in Summertime).

Trains here are usually ok for bikes, book ahead and reserve bike spaces, short distance, commuter type trains are pretty poor for bikes, but the long distance ones usually have dedicated spaces (Bristol to London for example have dedicated bike spots)


Think if I had 60 days Id try something like this.

Brittney is offline  
Old 01-24-18, 10:48 AM
  #8  
Caretaker
Heretic
 
Caretaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 2,246

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus, Giant OCR3, Giant CRS3

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2827 Post(s)
Liked 561 Times in 429 Posts
3. the I-spent-10-minutes-on-GoogleMaps plan is 3 200kms. Almost exactly what we are shooting for. If you are familiar with the UK, would you trade the segment in Scotland (up to Thurso) for more time that would allow us to ride western Ireland (ex. Galway, Limerick, Cork)
Galway, Limerick, (western Ireland) and Cork (southeastern Ireland) are outside the UK, just thought I'd mention that just in case you were unaware.

The only parts of the UK I'm (I'm living in Dublin) familiar with are N. Ireland and north Wales both of which are certainly worth visiting if you have the time. There is a good ferry service between Dublin and Holyhead for access to Snowdonia.
The west of Ireland is good but very popular with tourists while other more inland areas can be equally good and less crowded in the Summer. The so called "wild Atlantic way" is merely a marketing device, it's just the coastal route that has always been there but now has this new touristy name.
I'd advise you to not plan too much beyond the first week. After a week on the road you will have a better idea of how far north or west you want to go.
Good luck.
Caretaker is offline  
Old 01-24-18, 11:01 AM
  #9  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,977
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1496 Post(s)
Liked 189 Times in 128 Posts
Oxford is interesting, if a bit on the touristy side.
alan s is offline  
Old 01-24-18, 02:57 PM
  #10  
gauvins
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: QC Canada
Posts: 1,756

Bikes: Custom built LHT & Troll

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 731 Post(s)
Liked 89 Times in 72 Posts
Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
Galway, Limerick, (western Ireland) and Cork (southeastern Ireland) are outside the UK, just thought I'd mention that just in case you were unaware.
Yes yes.... sorry about the terrible shortcut. I meant British Isles.
gauvins is offline  
Old 01-25-18, 02:48 PM
  #11  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
flew to Dublin, rode to Co Kerry, Up the coast & across the north , ferry to Stranraer, island hopper to the Hebrides and landing in Oban..

spending time sitting in at pub jams, then flew home from Aberdeen , after 9 months .. got a Visa extension .
fietsbob is offline  
Old 01-25-18, 03:08 PM
  #12  
raybo
Bike touring webrarian
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 2,027

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 36 Posts
I haven't seen wind mentioned yet. I once decided that the best way to determine if I'd made a wrong turn or not was to use the wind as my guide. If I turned and the wind was behind me, I knew I'd made a wrong turn!

Yes, it will rain on you at some point in the 60 days you are riding. Unless you and the family want to ride in the rain, add some extra days just to avoid storms. That said, in the summer, the storms are more showers than day long deluges.

You have to be very careful about the roads you choose to ride in the UK (I've not ridden in Ireland, but I suspect it is the same). There are lovely country roads that (often) have little traffic. But, they rarely go where you want them to in a direct way. I have spent evenings on tour trying to find routes of local roads. It isn't easy nor always possible. DO NOT RIDE ON A roads. I'd be careful about B roads.

There are no shoulders on UK roads. You ride on the side of the road and hope they don't hit you. I've ridden in traffic all over the US and Europe, and the UK is the worst. The best shoulder I've ever seen on a UK highway (note the storm grates):


There are many biking routes in the UK. They are called NCN (National Cycle Routes). The main ones are very well signed, though the signs can be hard to spot! Check out this link: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/...-cycle-network

There are, indeed, many short, steep hills throughout the UK. I am always amazed at how much climbing there is in a country where the highest point is 4400 feet! Be sure to check the elevation profile of any route you choose.
raybo is offline  
Old 01-27-18, 10:10 AM
  #13  
tourisme
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
1. There are lots of must-cycle areas (I'd suggest the Yorkshire Dales, for a start) but they tend to be the hilliest parts of the island and you've suggested that isn't welcome. With that in mind you need to know that your route to Inverness goes through the Cairngorms, which is terrific cycling country, but steep.

2. Trains vary in their bike friendliness. Main line services carry bikes for free but space is limited so many require you to reserve a space. Lots of commuter trains have bike spaces and you can just turn up on a first-come, first-served basis. Check online for the policy of the operator of the service you want to use.

3. Both the north of Scotland and the west of Ireland are brilliant for cycle touring. The Galway/Limerick/Cork leg probably offers more options for accommodation, and the craic in the west of Ireland is justifiably famous, you'd have a laugh. Plus, if you're travelling in summer, going to Ireland instead would get you out of the way of the west highland midge, which between june and october can eat you alive. If you're familiar with the Canadian blackfly, I'd give that a 7 and the midge a 10 on a 10-point scale.

The suggestion given above about the national cycle network is a good one, especially since you're travelling with kids. If you used route 1 up the east coast it would keep you away from heavy traffic as far as possible, and it runs all the way from Dover to the very north of Scotland.
tourisme is offline  
Old 01-27-18, 10:16 AM
  #14  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
Antrim Coast went by fast , because if a tail wind ..
fietsbob is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
lefteye
Touring
3
12-12-17 12:18 PM
Snowmaven44
Touring
3
07-15-14 07:22 AM
Pedaleur
Europe
4
12-24-10 04:10 AM
simplygib
Touring
19
12-02-10 10:04 PM
sofi
Touring
31
01-22-10 09:21 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.