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Best area UK for recreational cycling?

orraloonorraloon Posts: 8,954
edited August 2019 in The cake stop
Here's something I've been mulling over.

I have lived around Oxford for past 35 years. Coming to a stage of life where contemplating whether to move somewhere else, downsize, give up working altogether, and depending how the increasingly strained marital relationship develops, may be a forced move, or not, who knows.

Now I know this area well of course, and could stay put. However, I could always think about relocating somewhere else.

Amongst the loads of other factors, what views have you on where best for general hobby cycling, mainly road but still have my old full sus? Where is the cycling infrastructure good (I know, it's Belgium, but we have this wee politico sh1tstorm at mo plus my Flemish ain't so hot)? Where is the optimum tradeoff between traffic volumes and the upsides of the congested SE such as rail links, access to facilities in that Lahndahn, access to Free Europe... etc etc.

Could return to Scotland but wet and cold, may well get back my EU passport though...

Any thoughts welcome.
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,285 Lives Here
    Ignore
  • robert88robert88 Posts: 2,696
    Dorset, obviously.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,713
    Or East Devon. Actually, anywhere with AONB status and some coastline would do it for me.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
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  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 14,006
    rjsterry wrote:
    Or East Devon. Actually, anywhere with AONB status and some coastline would do it for me.

    Too many cars in lots of those places though. For example, the South Downs is great on a mountain bike, but no fun on a road bike.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,669
    edited August 2019
    That would in part come down to whether you wanted a single area of nice riding right on your doorstep, or whether you wanted to have a few options which meant you had to travel at least a few miles to hit the closest nice roads.

    For options, I reckon something in the Bath/Bridgwater/Warminster triangle vicinity, giving access to at least three lovely cycling areas and South Wales not too far away either.

    When the weather is nice, living somewhere in North Wales in the Dolgellau/Llangollen/Blaenau Ffestiniog triangle would be lovely IMO, but they do get their share of rainfall.

    The western side of the South Downs is great to ride (in terms of hills, not so much decent quality tarmac), I still can't believe it took me ~25 years of living in Southampton to realise they were so close (not that I have cycled recreationally all that time), but house prices.
    ================
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  • I live in Pembrokeshire and it's good here, quiet back roads(apart from bleedin tractors) and fantastic coastal and hilly scenery. It is hilly so you need to like climbing, no massive climbs but every ride is hilly near enough. Downside is we're miles from anywhere, nearest airport is 2 hours away etc.

    Of course we do get censored weather as well, especially in winter. Hence the surfing.... :D
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,713
    TheBigBean wrote:
    rjsterry wrote:
    Or East Devon. Actually, anywhere with AONB status and some coastline would do it for me.

    Too many cars in lots of those places though. For example, the South Downs is great on a mountain bike, but no fun on a road bike.

    There are quieter places for sure, but I think it has a good balance.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,285 Lives Here
    Too uncool to say but Surrey is actually great...
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    If the family weren't rooted in East Anglia / London I'd move back to Yorkshire in a heartbeat, probably Ripon / Harrogate. The vale of York is flat but if you want hills you're within easy reach of the Dales and the N Yorks Moors. The Wolds and the East coast are accessible on a day ride.
    Leeds has all the city stuff if you really must, and the East coast main line from York gets you to London quite quickly if not cheaply...
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 887
    Is France in the UK?

    If so, then there.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,713
    Too uncool to say but Surrey is actually great...

    True.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • joe_totale-2joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,333
    keef66 wrote:
    If the family weren't rooted in East Anglia / London I'd move back to Yorkshire in a heartbeat, probably Ripon / Harrogate. The vale of York is flat but if you want hills you're within easy reach of the Dales and the N Yorks Moors. The Wolds and the East coast are accessible on a day ride.
    Leeds has all the city stuff if you really must, and the East coast main line from York gets you to London quite quickly if not cheaply...

    I went to Yorkshire for a cycling holiday recently and was really looking forward to it. In terms of terrain it's great with all the hills of the Dales and the Moors as well as the flat lands in between.
    However, North Yorkshire Council seem intent on surface dressing every road and my bike is still bearing the scars of all the loose gravel. Even once the gravel has dissipated it'll still be a horrible surface to ride on.

    My usual neck of the woods is the North Downs, usually in Kent and I really don't mind it, there's plenty of variety apart from fairly short but sharp climbs and also flatter areas if that's what you fancy instead. It doens't take too long to slog out of London and even somewhere like Downe which is within the M25 feels like the countryside.
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 14,006
    rjsterry wrote:
    Too uncool to say but Surrey is actually great...

    True.

    You both have a much greater tolerance for cars than me.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,285 Lives Here
    TheBigBean wrote:
    rjsterry wrote:
    Too uncool to say but Surrey is actually great...

    True.

    You both have a much greater tolerance for cars than me.

    Aren't many cars on the usual surrey routes I rode...
  • poptart242poptart242 Posts: 513
    Dumfries and Galloway. Loads of empty rolling roads, excellent property prices, the Lake District ~60 minutes away for big hairy hills, multiple MTB trail centre locations, and best of all the microclimate means that it's warmer/drier than the vast majority of Scotland and Northern England. It's where I'd retire*, hands down.


    *I'm only 31 so who really knows
  • Norfolk.
    London by train in 90mins from Norwich.
    Norwich airport to Amsterdam in 50 mins (Then on to anywhere in the world)
    Flat but windy cycling (like Belgium without the Flemish)
    Still fairly cheap cost of living and we probably average around one fatal stabbing a year.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,958
    keef66 wrote:
    If the family weren't rooted in East Anglia / London I'd move back to Yorkshire in a heartbeat, probably Ripon / Harrogate. The vale of York is flat but if you want hills you're within easy reach of the Dales and the N Yorks Moors. The Wolds and the East coast are accessible on a day ride.
    Leeds has all the city stuff if you really must, and the East coast main line from York gets you to London quite quickly if not cheaply...

    I'd be inclined to agree with this, generally. Not sure I'd fancy Ripon or Harrogate, but to each their own.
    Ben

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  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,299
    Some under populated areas can be great for a holiday but the lack of choice of roads would be limiting after a while. I'd choose somewhere like Derbyshire or parts of Yorkshire.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 3,416
    Durham Dales has some of the best road cycling around. Miles and miles of deserted roads, loads of routes, the biggest climbs in the country.

    Weather is not particularly wet although the wind can be a factor on the exposed moorland roads.

    Trail centre at Hamsterley, the Lake District, Yorkshire, N Yorks Moors and Northumberland all within easy driving distance.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Poptart242 wrote:
    Dumfries and Galloway. Loads of empty rolling roads, excellent property prices, the Lake District ~60 minutes away for big hairy hills, multiple MTB trail centre locations, and best of all the microclimate means that it's warmer/drier than the vast majority of Scotland and Northern England. It's where I'd retire*, hands down.


    *I'm only 31 so who really knows

    Not sure I've noticed that! Great place to live though, I can actually afford a nice house here which is more than most of the people I went to uni with...

    I think the Borders is generally drier though, as are Perthshire. Anywhere on the west of the UK will be generally wet and dreadful so the only option is to take up mountain biking, which has the upside of being enjoyable.
  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    Someone has said Norfolk and I sort of agree.
  • Isn't Norfolk really flat though? Might suit some but hilly terrain definitely more interesting.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,236

    For options, I reckon something in the Bath/Bridgwater/Warminster triangle vicinity, giving access to at least three lovely cycling areas and South Wales not too far away either.

    I would have to say that the landscape around here is very varied and beautiful with plenty of choice of hills, plains and the flat levels, and lovely quiet country lanes.

    .....However, the road surfaces around here in the West are well and truly [email protected]©KED!!! Rutted, pot-holed, falling to bits. Some seriously bad areas. There is very little sign that they will ever be repaired to a satisfactory level and get worse by the month.

    On the other hand I have found the lanes in South Wales very good and far far better than our local ones. Probably due to less traffic?
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    PhotoNic69 wrote:

    For options, I reckon something in the Bath/Bridgwater/Warminster triangle vicinity, giving access to at least three lovely cycling areas and South Wales not too far away either.

    I would have to say that the landscape around here is very varied and beautiful with plenty of choice of hills, plains and the flat levels, and lovely quiet country lanes.

    .....However, the road surfaces around here in the West are well and truly [email protected]©KED!!! Rutted, pot-holed, falling to bits. Some seriously bad areas. There is very little sign that they will ever be repaired to a satisfactory level and get worse by the month.

    On the other hand I have found the lanes in South Wales very good and far far better than our local ones. Probably due to less traffic?

    I'd assumed the roads were just as ruined everywhere at the moment, they certainly are near me.

    I grew up near Bristol, I'd recommend there for lots of reasons but you'd probably be able to afford a castle up here for the money...
  • Well, all I can say is the local council here must have some spare cash kicking about as lots of road re-surfacing going on around here. Which is good in long term, short term a pain as stretches of my favourite back roads covered in loose chippings.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,285 Lives Here
    Well, all I can say is the local council here must have some spare cash kicking about as lots of road re-surfacing going on around here. Which is good in long term, short term a pain as stretches of my favourite back roads covered in loose chippings.

    Probably coming around to the end of their 3 year LTP budget....
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,713
    PhotoNic69 wrote:

    For options, I reckon something in the Bath/Bridgwater/Warminster triangle vicinity, giving access to at least three lovely cycling areas and South Wales not too far away either.

    I would have to say that the landscape around here is very varied and beautiful with plenty of choice of hills, plains and the flat levels, and lovely quiet country lanes.

    .....However, the road surfaces around here in the West are well and truly [email protected]©KED!!! Rutted, pot-holed, falling to bits. Some seriously bad areas. There is very little sign that they will ever be repaired to a satisfactory level and get worse by the month.

    On the other hand I have found the lanes in South Wales very good and far far better than our local ones. Probably due to less traffic?

    Britain's answer to pavé, surely?
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,713
    HaydenM wrote:
    PhotoNic69 wrote:

    For options, I reckon something in the Bath/Bridgwater/Warminster triangle vicinity, giving access to at least three lovely cycling areas and South Wales not too far away either.

    I would have to say that the landscape around here is very varied and beautiful with plenty of choice of hills, plains and the flat levels, and lovely quiet country lanes.

    .....However, the road surfaces around here in the West are well and truly [email protected]©KED!!! Rutted, pot-holed, falling to bits. Some seriously bad areas. There is very little sign that they will ever be repaired to a satisfactory level and get worse by the month.

    On the other hand I have found the lanes in South Wales very good and far far better than our local ones. Probably due to less traffic?

    I'd assumed the roads were just as ruined everywhere at the moment, they certainly are near me.

    I grew up near Bristol, I'd recommend there for lots of reasons but you'd probably be able to afford a castle up here for the money...

    Wher' to?

    My formative cycling experiences were climbing up and down the Cotswold escarpment, and occasionally over the Bridge to the Wye Valley.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    rjsterry wrote:
    HaydenM wrote:
    PhotoNic69 wrote:

    For options, I reckon something in the Bath/Bridgwater/Warminster triangle vicinity, giving access to at least three lovely cycling areas and South Wales not too far away either.

    I would have to say that the landscape around here is very varied and beautiful with plenty of choice of hills, plains and the flat levels, and lovely quiet country lanes.

    .....However, the road surfaces around here in the West are well and truly [email protected]©KED!!! Rutted, pot-holed, falling to bits. Some seriously bad areas. There is very little sign that they will ever be repaired to a satisfactory level and get worse by the month.

    On the other hand I have found the lanes in South Wales very good and far far better than our local ones. Probably due to less traffic?

    I'd assumed the roads were just as ruined everywhere at the moment, they certainly are near me.

    I grew up near Bristol, I'd recommend there for lots of reasons but you'd probably be able to afford a castle up here for the money...

    Wher' to?

    My formative cycling experiences were climbing up and down the Cotswold escarpment, and occasionally over the Bridge to the Wye Valley.

    Portishead, some great cycling options from there. Great access to mountain biking if you drive too. I have a friend who lives down near Gloucester and we've done some great rides over to Slad and places
  • verylonglegsverylonglegs Posts: 3,640
    Isn't Norfolk really flat though? Might suit some but hilly terrain definitely more interesting.

    It is in places but not totally flat in the north of the county. I wonder if you can get conditioned to a certain type of cycling, I have always lived in Norfolk so have got to used to the type of cycling on offer here. Now whisper this quietly but I don't get the obssession with hills a lot of cyclists have. I have been on cycling holidays to the peak district and would go again, I enjoyed them. But I never quite get used to the either grinding up a climb or flying down a descent with not much in between. Plus due to the average speed reduction the distances are a lot shorter in any given time (obviously!) so when I got home I realised I missed knocking out a really decent distance without spending a lot of hours on the bike, you get to see more in that respect. I understand why that doesn't appeal to everyone enough to want to cycle here however.

    One thing I will add is East Anglia is the drier part of the country, just after Kent I believe. It's not uncommon in the summer months for my 'wet' bike to see use a handful of times from late May to mid-September.
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