Five Great Rides
We’re pretty lucky here in the UK to have a great variety of riding on our doorstep. Within an hour or so from each of our shop locations are some jaw-dropping locations, and at this time of year, it’s well worth exploring a little further afield to keep up the motivation – riding the same route every weekend can get a little tiresome, after all. Here are five of the best.
Chester store - Coed Llandegla Forest, North Wales
Llandegla, a purpose-built trail centre just west of Wrexham, is a great day out, whatever your MTB experience and ability level. There are four separate trails ranging from beginner up to expert ‘black’ runs, as well as a pump track and a freeride area. They’re all superbly maintained, making it a true year-round option. The trails intersect each other so if you’ve over-estimated your ability, you can take the easier option back to the car park – discretion being the better part of valour, and all that. The all-important café is a winner, offering everything from coffee and cake right up to belly-filling hot dishes
For all but the craziest downhillers (who are amply catered for, by the way), a trail-tuned 29er works perfectly here. There’s a good amount of climbing and rooty forest trails, as well as some swooping downhills. You can have a serious amount of fun on the Rockhopper 29er, and we can’t wait to hit Llandegla with the new 2019 Epic Hardtail – if ever a bike was built to rail through the Welsh hills, it is this one.
For the more white-knuckle rides on offer, the 2019 Epic Expert is ideal, ready to slay those trails while we (hopefully) hang on for the ride.
Stafford store – Gravel grinder, Peak District
The guys at the Stafford store are a lucky lot, having the Cannock Chase mountain bike centre just down the road and the Peak District the other way. The Tissington Trail starts in Ashbourne, about a 45-minute drive away. It has recently been extended and you can ride on grippy gravel all the way to Buxton. Passing through some breath-taking scenery, this former railway line can be linked up with other trails in the area, such as the Monsal Trail and the High Peak Trail, to become a true Peaky Blinder. There are plenty of small cafés and pubs within easy reach of the trail, and it’s all away from traffic. What’s not to like?
The Specialized Diverge and Sequoia models are designed to take the rough with the smooth, perfect for these adventures. Want to see where that trail goes? Well, now you can find out – these are the true go-anywhere bikes. They’re no slouch on road either for when you see that pub off in the distance and someone shouts ‘last one buys the drinks’!
Bristol Store – Bristol to Bath Railway Path
Riding with children can be a stressful experience on the open road but the Bristol to Bath Railway Path offers up a great family day out, away from cars and not so hilly that you’ll end the day carrying bikes and children back home. Stretching 13 miles end-to-end, the path is dotted with works from local artists, and your only worry will be trying to keep up with some excited small people. Riding the entire length and back again might be a little too much for some little legs, so it pays to keep track of how far along you’ve come before turning around. Cafés and pubs are plentiful, so get everyone together for a grand adventure.
Ruislip store – London to Brighton
This might sound like an ambitious day out, especially if you’ve ever tried to do it by train, but in reality, there are only 54 miles between the start and finish of this ride. Organised by the British Heart Foundation, the official event takes you from Clapham Common right down to the beach at Brighton’s seafront, raising a lot of money for a great cause along the way. You need to prove you’re sponsored to a minimum of £200, plus there’s a £45 entry fee, and it’s an unforgettable experience. With roadside water stops and full mechanical and medical assistance, along with several closed-road sections, you’ll be part of one of the largest UK rides of the year. Any bike will do, even an e-bike, so long as it is comfortable and road capable – that way you can enjoy the scenery and camaraderie with no distractions. There’s plenty of advice on the event website and it’s a great early-summer ride to motivate your spring training.
Harrogate store – 3 Peaks Cyclocross
They make ‘em tough in Yorkshire, so it’s no surprise that the guys at the Harrogate store have a huge day out in the hills on offer. The 3 Peaks is staged at the end of September every year and is regarded as pretty much the toughest cyclocross test out there.
Starting and finishing in Helwith Bridge, the course takes in three of the Dales’ biggest hills, Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent, over 61 savage kilometres. This one isn’t for the faint-hearted, confirmed by the instructions to entrants to carry a survival bag and a whistle. A lightweight, super-tough off-road machine is needed here, and only cyclocross bikes with drop handlebars are permitted. The Crux is plenty strong enough for the event. The question is, are you?!
Got any favourite rides to add to our list? Any secret gems you’re ready to share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
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