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Lancaster for Roadies

Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
edited April 2014 in Road general
Hi all

I may be moving from Wirral later this year and currently looking at a move to Lancaster (girlfriend's son has been offered a place at Lancaster Royal Grammar School from Sept) so my immediate and major concern was what is the cycling in that area like!! :lol::lol:

So, it looks pretty obvious looking at a map that it will be awesome being located close to Forest of Bowland, Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District...... and there looks to be a couple of clubs based in the town. I have done the Bay Dash sportive starting from just outside of Lancaster going around Grange over Sands and into the foothills of the Lakes about 3 years ago but not since. Anyone local got any first hand experience of the cycling and clubs in that area??

Cheers
Paul

Posts

  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,319
    Don't know much about the cycling clubs, but for location it's pretty much my cycling back yard (given 20 miles or so) - the Forest of Bowland will be right on your doorstep, and from there you can reach the Yorkshire Dales, where the riding is excellent. If you like hills then you've come to the right place. Have a climb up Jubilee Tower, just East of Lancaster Centre, you can go on from there over to the Trough of Bowland and beyond to places like Slaidburn etc.

    You can then get up to the Lakes very easily as you've seen, but the advantage you have in North Lancs is that the roads tend to be quieter than the Lakes honeypots - I actually prefer going south from Kendal for this reason. That's not to say you should ignore the Lakes, there are climbing challenges there that have become legendary, Hard Knott, Honister, Whinlatter etc. The long version of the Bay Dash is called Wrynose or Bust, and that takes you up as far as Cockley Beck then over Wrynose (which from that side isn't as tough as from Little Langdale).

    Just get out there and discover it!
  • FlâneurFlâneur Posts: 3,027
    In short don't worry, and it isn't like the Wirral where you need to cycle 15 miles to get out to Cheshire or Wales first.

    Used to cycle out of Caton when I worked at Lancaster uni. Plenty of town cyclists but pretty horrible one way system.
    The plus side, depending where you live is there is a great cycle path into town along the River Lune. Also handy to take you out to the quieter roads.

    Heading inland is great, especially if you fancy some climbing (made my N.Wales trips loads easier) Mostly quite roads, except the odd farmer on a quad. Must admit apart from the commuters on my way to work I didn't see one cycle club in 6 months. Not sure if that is good or bad :) My regular area was Northern Trough and into the Dales, so no idea on the south or Lakes
    Stevo 666 wrote: Come on you Scousers! 20/12/2014
    Crudder
    CX
    Toy
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    Hi all

    I may be moving from Wirral later this year and currently looking at a move to Lancaster (girlfriend's son has been offered a place at Lancaster Royal Grammar School from Sept) so my immediate and major concern was what is the cycling in that area like!! :lol::lol:

    Anyone local got any first hand experience of the cycling and clubs in that area??

    Hi Paul, I live in Morecambe and am a member of Lancaster CC, so have some experience.

    Cycling's good. Close to some nice country roads, and decent hills if that's your thing as you've noticed. Jubilee Tower (a 6/10 in the 100 Greatest Climbs book, IIRC) is a few miles out of town, and it's where Lancaster CC do their annual hill climb championship.

    There are at least two local clubs for adults - Lune RCC and Lancaster CC. For younger riders, there's Salt Ayre Cog Set, a Go-Ride club I coach at. We coach 6-18 year olds.

    One particularly good thing about Lancaster is that we've a 1.3Km circuit at Salt Ayre. Through the spring and summer there are weekly crits (organised by Salt Ayre Cycling Association) and time trials (ostensibly Lancaster CC, but usually with helpers from Cog Set). The TT season starts this week, as it happens. We do 2, 6 and 10 mile rides. 2 miles are mostly ridden by the kids. ;) Going round in loops of a circuit isn't that interesting, but you're not there to enjoy the ride, amirite? Lancaster CC also organises a couple of other 10s on bank holidays, one of them on the Levens route which is pretty fast.

    Both clubs do weekly runs out. From what I know, I think the Lune ones are longer and faster than Lancaster CC, and they do a regular chain gang through the winter. Lancaster has only recently resurrected the idea of club rides, but they're gathering speed - figuratively and otherwise.

    p.s. LRGS is a great school. I went there, and my lad's in the first year at the moment. When I was there, they offered cycling as a games activity in the 6th form. Unfortunately, they don't do that any more - all down to a teacher having an interest and volunteering to do it, and at the moment they don't have one. Shame.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    Hi guys

    Thats great - thanks for all the really good info. Just been looking at the Jubilee Tower climb and Salt Ayre circuit - looks really handy. Somehow i doubt i could sneak my bike in the car while the better half goes to Asda!! ;)

    I see you're also on the Wirral sa0u - and being in Hoylake myself would certainly look forward to not having to do that 15 mile ride down to the Eureka via the same roads time after time before some variety can be brought in to the rides. Out of the door and straight into open countryside on 3 sides looks great!! Love the hills when i am fit - not so much after a near 5 month layoff though!! ;) Still - getting fit again now and have LEJOG in 6 weeks time (going up the A6 through Lancaster!!) and then 1300miles through the Alps / Dolomites later this year to get me properly fit again.

    I was actually looking on the Lancaster CC website yesterday - seemed the best option for a local club for sure from the website but you're making me look at Lune CC now ;)
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    Hehehe, Lune are a great club too. Both clubs are open groups on Facebook, if you use it:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/192768304186700/ (Lancaster CC)
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/109696085804151/ (Lune RCC)
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    Thanks Agent57 - just having a good look at both groups now. Got a fair few months before we think about heading up that way anyway. :)
  • FlâneurFlâneur Posts: 3,027
    Variation, Chester High Road, Parkgate/Puddington or Raby/Williston, what choice eh. Being in West Kirby, I guess like you, I know them all far too well (handy for dodging pot holes though).

    My only issue with cycling around there was if I got lost (which I did) I rarely had phone signal so it was old fashioned direction of vaguely that way and find some signs for somewhere I know. Was the reason I bought a Garmin 800, though there can be a joy in getting lost.

    Gl with the move and importantly the cycling goals
    Stevo 666 wrote: Come on you Scousers! 20/12/2014
    Crudder
    CX
    Toy
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    sa0u823e wrote:
    Variation, Chester High Road, Parkgate/Puddington or Raby/Williston, what choice eh. Being in West Kirby, I guess like you, I know them all far too well (handy for dodging pot holes though).

    My only issue with cycling around there was if I got lost (which I did) I rarely had phone signal so it was old fashioned direction of vaguely that way and find some signs for somewhere I know. Was the reason I bought a Garmin 800, though there can be a joy in getting lost.

    Gl with the move and importantly the cycling goals

    You're only a mile or so from me then - I'm right behind the Royal Liverpool myself! 8)

    Yes I know what you mean about the getting lost - sounds great to just be able to go out and ride without knowing exactly where I am at all times. I recon I have to do about 30-40 miles before I can find any roads I don't know!! I used to live near Helsby in the olden days when I raced, and then lived in Clwyd and so know all those roads too! :)
  • john1967john1967 Posts: 366
    Hi mike. There are 60 riders on the Lancaster cc time trials tonight at the salt ayre track :-)
  • mrushtonmrushton Posts: 5,182
    Some stunning routes around there apart from all the TT action that's mentioned. You can head south around the Fylde or north up thro' Shap or over towards Brough (your choice whether to use the car). East will get you through Caton then the choice of routes thro Sedbergh.Kirkby Stephen,Nateby or over towards Hawes plus Trough of Bowland. Might need a decent shower proof jacket as the weather can turn quick inland around the fells
    M.Rushton
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    The more I look around that area online using maps and google the various sportives and so on - the more it looks like it should be included in that "best place in the country to cycle" thread. We are actually looking around the Bentham / Wennington area at the moment and so already over past Caton - there are a couple of stunning barn conversions (one with 7 acres of woodland) and which are right on the edge of both Forest of Bowland and Yorks Dales - and then not a million miles from the South Lakes. Maybe it's just the "rose tinted specs" effect but somehow I feel I wouldn't be disappointed! :)
  • mrushtonmrushton Posts: 5,182
    It's 'quiet money' in those areas ie nice homes, big incomes and nothing shouty as well as lots of farms. Just an amazing amount roads to get round. I can tell you that if you have an accident the ambulance can take a while to get there if you are on those roads.
    M.Rushton
  • GuanajuatoGuanajuato Posts: 399
    Like LakesLuddite I'm in Kendal. One of my favourite routes is a Lune Valley loop down through Kirkby Lonsdale to The Kellets or Halton (close to J34 of the M6) and back up through Burton in Kendal and Milnthorpe. It would be equally excellent starting at the bottom of the loop. There's no massively challenging hills - The climb from Kendal up through Oxenholme and on to New Hutton is probably the most taxing bit. Heading down the Lune Valley is ALWAYS a headwind, but heading back up never seems to have a tailwind. :-/ Quite how that works I don't know.

    If you've got children, the old railway from Caton, over the Crook O'Lune through the city centre and out past Salt Ayre to Morecambe is a cracking ride (Although Salt ayre to Morecambe is a bit stop-start with gates, roads and level crossings). Head along the canal down to Glasson Dock or with a bit of road riding over the causeway to Sunderland point for a lovely gentle day out. From my experience of Lancaster itself, it seems a decent place to cycle, with well-thought out cycle facilities. Its pretty easy to do 20+ miles with hardly any riding on roads using the canal and old railway.

    The Trough of Bowland is absolutely stunning. Did the Tough Trough Sportive last year, and in 60-odd miles I think I was overtaken by about 10 cars, most of which were on the road between Wray and Hornby. They are almost completely traffic-free. Jubilee Tower is nothing like as hard as I had been lead to believe. If I can manage it without resorting to the granny ring, anyone can get up it. ;-) I skirted the north of the Forest of Bowland on a solo ride over to Bradford last year too. Between Wennington and Settle following the Way of the Roses I saw 3 vehicles on the road.

    You won't be disappointed! It is the perfect cycling area. There's so much variety - long climbs, nasty sharp hills, flat on the coast. Almost silent roads. :mrgreen: The only downside is some of the road surfaces can leave a lot to be desired. Steep, twisty downhills are invariably covered in gravel, potholes, thorns, diesel or cow censored - quite often all of them at the same time. And watch out for the Sheep - Bloody suicidal around Shap. :roll:
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    Well I am well and truly sold now - you all make it sound absolutely perfect up there. One of the properties up for consideration is actually in Wennington and another about a mile from Clapham - so we'd be very close to the Way of the Roses route (might have a go at doing the whole route in a single day next year).

    Will have a good look at all of the routes mentioned above from you guys - really appreciate all the info. :):)
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    john1967 wrote:
    Hi mike. There are 60 riders on the Lancaster cc time trials tonight at the salt ayre track :-)

    Yes! Yes there were! :D I was one of 'em.

    11 kids rode 2 miles, 16 riders did the 6 miles and 35 people rode the full 10. Great turnout for the first one of the season, and they even popped on the brand new circuit lights at the end as it got dark.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    Guanajuato wrote:
    Jubilee Tower is nothing like as hard as I had been lead to believe.

    Pff! Easy for you to say. For me it's a bloody hard slog! OK, so I'm carrying 2 or 3 extra stone...
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • GuanajuatoGuanajuato Posts: 399
    Agent57 wrote:
    Guanajuato wrote:
    Jubilee Tower is nothing like as hard as I had been lead to believe.

    Pff! Easy for you to say. For me it's a bloody hard slog! OK, so I'm carrying 2 or 3 extra stone...
    Oh, I didn't say it wasn't a hard slog. I was just expecting something that was going to make me walk. :mrgreen:

    To the OP, Wennington seems like a cracking place to be. Clapham is a bit more isolated - 45 minutes drive to anywhere resembling civilisation. :wink:
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