We’ve been cycling like never before in lockdown – time to use that newfound confidence and stamina on a great British bike adventure
I’ve relied on the myriad benefits a bike brings for as long as I can remember. Turning my wheels has always transported me – both physically and emotionally. It’s my happy machine. I clearly remember the first ride I ever took without stabilisers – wobbling the length of my grandfather’s gravel drive on a red Raleigh with a white saddle. Even today riding a bike still seems like an outrageously clever trick to pull off. Balance on two skinny wheels? Come on!
The freedom of the open road was something we took for granted until 2020. That we can open our front doors and ride towards a new horizon. Losing that in lockdown led to more of us than ever digging out old bikes or buying new ones. The Bicycle Association estimates that last summer alone sales increased by a whopping 63%. When this is all over, I hope we don’t just put those shiny bikes back in the shed. Few experiences match the thrill of exploring new routes and discovering unfamiliar worlds on two wheels. Being on a bike puts you right at the heart of your adventure. There are so many great resources to inspire you to head out onto tracks and trails. Two of the best are British Cycling’s Let’s Ride website (letsride.co.uk), which lists more than 1,000 routes, many of which are traffic-free and available to download to your bike computer or phone (getting lost is one of the few downsides to adventure riding, along with punctures, of course); and the Sustrans National Cycle Network (sustrans.org.uk), which links more than 12,500 miles of safe and signposted routes across the UK. Here are a few favourite routes to whet your appetite.