In 2013 we embarked on the first of hopefully many annual cycling holidays. I am absolutely convinced that we have sown the seeds for a special type of adventure. I have thoroughly enjoyed producing these and it has given me a great insight into learning about different parts of the country … seen from the angle and perspective of the cyclist.
I recommend that they are done out of season (May or September) … with resources being finite, I am unsure how many I will be able to join in on or to simply just plan(?).
With an average daily distance of around 30 miles, they are not aimed at the serious cyclist (although I do throw in the odd optional nuggets for the more adventurous) but would suit a group of like-minded people who are looking for a memorable experience. I have outlined each tour on subsequent pages, they are available in detail for other groups (raising money for charity perhaps?) to use.
You will still need to have a good level of fitness, there are plenty of steep hills to push your bike up!!!. Also, your ‘steed’ will need to be in EXCELLENT condition, there are some off-roading and remote sections to negotiate … it will be your best friend for a week, so you need to respect it!
The Story So Far …
2013 – Coast to Coast (our ‘variation’ on Wainwright’s classic) organiser – Jon
2014 – Bridge to Bay (a sort of ‘Offa’s Dyke on Wheels’!) organiser – Helen
2016 – Moor to Moor (Exmoor & Dartmoor) organiser – Vin
20xx – Hadrian’s Wall (following the legendary Roman frontier) organiser – Vin
20xx – Northumberland Round (a tour of England’s last wild county) organiser – Vin
20xx – Belgium & France (incorporating my battlefields project) organisers – Vin
Ongoing – Jersey Island (cycling, walking, sailing, plus(?)) organiser – Vin
Planning routes is something I specialise in (probably my one and only contribution to mankind!!!). I have prepared a pioneering set of (1:50000) maps that are entirely bespoke for each holiday. They not only have the daily routes on them, but they also include; suggested breakpoints, information tips (eg. tearooms, toilets and stores), detailed town plans pinpointing accommodation locations and emergency details. They, of course, have to be easy to read and follow whilst on the move.
TIP –FOR THOSE WHO PREFER TO USE A GPS, THE ROUTES CAN BE DOWNLOADED.
Using my knowledge of planning walks and adapting it for cycling, I have produced a formula that will calculate the time each leg will take to complete (yes, I know what you’re thinking … he’s a bloody genius???!!!). This can be altered for different groups.
I have broken down elevation graphs into daily segments, and attached them to the relevant maps, for the navigators to use. They act as useful and ready hill indicators (for the whole group to look at too).
TIME CALCULATION: 8mph on flat / 12mph on descent / + 30mins per 1000ft ascent / 4mph on rough terrain
To give you an idea of cost, I reckon a holiday of this sort can be done for around £400. When you consider this includes: transport (to start/finish points), accommodation and food (breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal), I am sure that you will agree that this is incredible value for money(?). You will probably need another £400 for booze mind you!!!
What To Bring:
To get the most out of the trip, you should be prepared for everything the trails and the weather have to throw at you! The following list is a guideline for what to bring to get the maximum out of your holiday experience. The list is not exhaustive, so bring any essentials you think that I’ve missed. Remember, you will be unsupported throughout the trip and you will have to carry everything you bring! Bearing that in mind, less is definitely more. Youth hostels are tailor-made for your needs, they not only can provide ALL your meals but, at each hostel, there are adequate laundry (AND DRYING) facilities and have small shops for snacks & drinks.
Essential Gear & Nice To Have:
- Mountain Bike/Hybrid, in good working order (I recommend that you have your bike serviced and checked by a bike shop/mechanic prior to the trip)
- I strongly advise that you fit panniers and carry a small rucksack or small saddle-bag. A large rucksack will be highly uncomfortable!
- Helmet (essential)
- Hi-viz jacket / vest
- Cycle lock
- Water bottle
- Cycling glasses
- Drybag(s) for spare clothing – you can take this to your nightly accommodation, as opposed to keeping dis-connecting your panniers
- Cycle shorts (padded)
- Base layers or cycling tops
- Fleece top
- Waterproof jacket & over-trousers
- Waterproof socks (“Seal-Skinz”) or overshoes
- Cycling shoes or flat trainers
- Cycling gloves (thick & thin pairs) – your hands and ears will be exposed the most!
- Headscarf (to go under your helmet)
- Warm clothes
- Hydration system or bottles
- Lights – front & rear plus head-torch (in the event of mist)
- Cash for lunches (daily packed lunches can be bought from YHA, or prepare your own)
- Snacks (can be bought en-route or from YHA)
- Energy drinks/bars (can be bought en-route or from YHA)
- Travel toiletries and medical requirements
- Travel towels (towel hire is available at some accommodation)
- Casual clothes for the evening
- Casual shoes
- Nightwear (remember we will be in shared dormitories that are not always en-suite!)
- Small personal first aid kit + larger group kit
- MP3 player (to play YOUR choice of music through ‘communal’ mini-speakers)
- Teabags, coffee & sugar sachets (for hostels)
- USB Charger – as a group you will probably have limited access to a powerpoint. This allows you to charge several devices (phone, gps, camera etc) at one time
TIP – ENSURE EVERYTHING IS PACKED IN WATERPROOF BAGS
Maintenance Kit Including:
Two spare tubes + puncture outfit + pump
Spare brake blocks/pads & cables specific to your bike or (I advise you renew these before the trip)
Anything else relevant to your bike
A more substantial group repair pack
WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER THE NEAREST BIKE REPAIR CENTRE AND MINIBUS TAXI COMPANIES (EMERGENCY BREAKDOWNS!) FOR EACH DAY
For Service (Prestwich) – www.kingkog.co.uk Tel: 0161 773 2125
Happy Days ~ Jon