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best English town for cycling(9 posts)

best English town for cyclingsebastian
Jun 21, 2001 9:14 AM
I will be moving to Great Britain in the near future and would like some opinions on which towns are best suited for a road cyclist. I have been to England many times in the last 7 years and have seen a large portion of the main sights from Ben Nevis to Cornwall and Cork to Grimsby. Unfortunately I have never ridden a bike there and Warrington where my wife is from does not seem to have many road cyclist. If you could live anywhere in Great Britain where would it be? Any help would be appreciated.
re: WalesSteveS
Jun 21, 2001 6:47 PM
I am heading to the UK for a cycle tour in September and have been thinking of riding the Sustrans route through Wales from Chepstow to Anglesly but have been told several times how tough the hills are there, especially for someone coming from the flatlands. Would you or one of the other UK riders care to comment on the climbs in these areas as to their steepness? I remember being very impressed with a 1 in 5 grade (20%) in the Cotswalds and don't think I would care to do an entire day of those kinds of climbs.
Wales did me a good turnmuncher
Jun 22, 2001 10:56 AM
Just got a nice single speed from a guy moving to Wales - much use as handlebars on a goldfish there.....
Wales did me a good turnSteveS
Jun 22, 2001 4:30 PM
Good luck with the single speed. Looks like I will be somewhat of an explorer in Wales as not many people from the US seem to have ridden there.
Jun 21, 2001 9:46 AM
I would have to go for the Yorks Dales and the Peaks. Terrific scenery and great food and beer. Rather hilly though - East Anglia very good for flat fast riders as you can usually see the cars coming across the Fens for miles. I live just outside Guildford - there are some very nice areas around here, but a lot of traffic - we have a good club here though - check out - there are some usefull links there.
re: best English town for cyclingKevin M
Jun 21, 2001 10:05 AM
I lived in the Midlands (north of Birmingham) of England for a nine month work assignment back in 1984. Every evening and weekend I was out on my bike exploring the counrtyside. The rolling hills were a great place to cycle. Most of my riding was to the noth and east from Litchfield north into the Peaks District and east toward Nottingham.
re: best English town for cyclingJofa
Jun 21, 2001 10:32 AM
I live in East London now and have to make do with Essex and Hertfordshire for general riding... which is picturesque, though on the flat side. I used to live SW London, so all my riding was Surrey, Box Hill etc (I was out there the other day: is this your world, Muncher?) which is better, but if you can stand not to be metropolitan, I can recommend Cornwall. I grew up there and it reminds me why I started cycling in the first place, whenever I go back. There's nothing that high, but the hills are steep- 20% is commonplace- lungbursters, the roads are tiny and empty, the views are extraordinary as you're never more than 15 miles from the sea, and it's generally warm (though it rains a lot, obviously). The mountainbiking's also great, very hardcore (granite), though the good stuff's not exactly legal.

I sound like a Kernow (Cornwall) ambassador here... the flipside is, you're in the middle of nowhere. 5 hours by car or train to London isn't that bad, though. The only other place in the UK that I've ridden to rival Cornwall for allround niceness is Snowdonia, Wales... but that's even more remote, and it gets pretty cold.

One of the main problems with riding in the UK is the driving. On the whole, car drivers aren't at all happy about bicycles taking their road space; I've ridden a lot in france, where even the craziest most suicidal drivers suddenly become polite puppies around cyclists, and trucks give you an entire lane of space, or they won't pass... expect the opposite here. They actually speed up and tuck in when they see a cyclist. However, from what I read on this board, it seems that this predominates in the States too.

I guess it all ultimately depends on where you need to be for work, etc... but bear in mind, it's a small country, so nowhere's more than a night in a B+B (or the back of the car) away.

Thanks for your timeSebastian
Jun 21, 2001 3:26 PM
Thank you for all the responses. I appriciate all the insights. Last Sunday I came back from Warrington to the death heat of Melbourne Florida. While we were in England we visited Scarborough, Whitby, Lincoln, Nottingham, Anglsy, Conwy, Maccalesfield, Kendal, Ambleside, and Grasmere. I fell in love with the Lake District 7 years ago and we got engaged in Derwent water near Keswick. We ran out of time to get to Cornwall, but it seems like our kind of place. We are looking for a small town and I was hoping to have descent roads for riding and commuting. I will definitely join a club once we are settled. Thanks again.
Certainly ismuncher
Jun 22, 2001 2:31 AM
now - used to live in N Yorks and then London, but moved down here last year - I'm just 3m to the E of town - Newlands is a 1/2 hour walk from the house, Box Hill a 15 min ride. Certainly getting some hills in these days! Club run is to Odiham this Sunday - should be good. The last was to Stonehenge - 160m round trip in the rain, so gave that a miss! If you are ever down this way, guests are welcome on Sunday runs - 9:15 from just off the town centre - see the web site!