Best time for travel UK

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Kiwisue
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Best time for travel UK

Postby Kiwisue » 13 Jul 2016, 7:50am

I am planning a 8 week cycling adventure in UK 2017 and want advice when best time to go. I pull a bike trailer behind my mountain bike so want to ride trails and back roads
. Yorks hire is a definite destination. I will be camping and warmshowers most of the time. I would be grateful for any suggestions of time and places. I am a fit 63 year old woman who will be travelling alone.

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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Vorpal » 13 Jul 2016, 9:08am

It somewhat depends upon where you want to go. Yorkshire is a great destination, but with 8 weeks, you can see quite a lot.

How many miles per day do you plan? If you arrive in London, you could head up to Norfolk, then ride along the coast to Yorkshire?

You could check our the Lands End to John o'Groats board? that famous ride is 1000ish miles and goes the whole length of Great Britain.

The weather tends to be best in July and August, but of course, it's difficult to predict. There is information about average weather, weather events etc. in various forms on the Met office site http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/climate
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Norman H
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Norman H » 13 Jul 2016, 9:58am

Welcome to the forum.

If I were you I would arrive in the UK late May or early June. Spring should be in full bloom, especially in the south of the country, and and the wild flowers will be at their best. There's a difference in the seasons between the north and south of about two or three weeks so I would advise travelling south to north.

Another advantage of starting in June is that it avoids the busy school holiday period. School summer holidays are about to start here in the UK and will continue for about six or seven weeks. Accommodation will be more crowded and more expensive. The roads will also be busier as will any visitor attractions that you wish to see.

With the luxury of an eight week tour you will be able to cover a lot of ground and you can also consider using public transport to extend that further. Let us know what your interests are.
Last edited by Norman H on 13 Jul 2016, 4:51pm, edited 1 time in total.

Vorpal
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Vorpal » 13 Jul 2016, 11:59am

Norman H wrote:Another advantage of starting in June is that it avoids the busy school holiday period. School summer holidays are about to start here in the UK and will continue for about six or seven weeks. Accommodation will be more crowded and more expensive. The roads will also be busier as will any visitor attractions that you wish to see.


All good points. Though it somewhat depends upon the type of accomodation. Staying in bunk houses and hostels, there won't be so much difference as with hotels and B&Bs.

The spring bank holiday (the end of May) and spring half term break can be every bit as bad; worse, even, because everybody goes at once, rather than distributing over the summer holidays. It's certainly worse along the coast of East Anglia at the summer half term break than the middle of July.

I've done a couple of holidays or tours in May on the basis of avoiding the summer holidays, and ended up with running into lots of other people doing the same thing :lol:

We walked Hadrian's Wall in the middle of May one year, and just about every place we stayed was completely booked.
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pwa
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby pwa » 13 Jul 2016, 12:19pm

Yorkshire is a great choice. There are books suggesting quiet roads. Why not widen it out a bit to include some neighbouring counties. County Durham, Northumbria, Cumbria and Lancashire have great routes, too. There are about 4 East-West coast-to-coast routes (e.g. C2C, Way of the Roses) that could form part of your route. Don't miss York. The Minster is arguably the greatest ancient cathedral in the UK. The National Railway Museum is free entry and is wonderful even if you are not normally into trains. The Yorkshire Dales are lovely. Seek out waterfalls to cool your feet on hot days (well, you can dream). Masham has a fine steam fair around July / August (can't remember exactly when) and you can combine that with a brewery tour. And Yorkshire is littered with ruined abbeys.

British weather is unpredictable. Don't start before May and don't finish later than September. That will give you the best chance of some decent weather. Come equipped for rain and treat anything else as a bonus.

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Tinnishill
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Tinnishill » 13 Jul 2016, 1:06pm

Regarding routes, have a look at the Sustrans website map for an idea of planning quiet routes.

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map

The Open Cycle Map is very useful.

http://www.opencyclemap.org/

For proper paper maps, Sustrans Pocket Cycle Maps from their shop are a good scale for cyclists.

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/shop/info/po ... aps-region

The Camping and Caravan Club "members only" sites are the cheap, quiet and frequent option for camping in England. For a multi night camping trip it is worth joining. Check the site's facilities listings, some of the smallest ones don't have toilets.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co ... earch.aspx

While wild camping is legal in Scotland it is sometimes a struggle to find somewhere that it is physically possible to camp near a road.

Hostel and bunkhouse accommodation is usually cyclist friendly.

http://www.yha.org.uk/ or http://www.syha.org.uk or http://www.hostel-scotland.co.uk

Regarding the weather. As has been said, start in the south in early spring and work northwards. Avoid camping in the west of Scotland between the middle of June and the middle of September as the midgies can make camping a living hell. Stick to the east coast as far north as Montrose.

Best of luck.
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Vorpal » 13 Jul 2016, 2:45pm

DavidNichol wrote:Regarding routes, have a look at the Sustrans website map for an idea of planning quiet routes.

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map

The Open Cycle Map is very useful.

http://www.opencyclemap.org/

For proper paper maps, Sustrans Pocket Cycle Maps from their shop are a good scale for cyclists.

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/shop/info/po ... aps-region


I recommend *against* attempting any Sustrans routes with a trailer, unless it is narrow and/or single-wheel. An Unfortunate number of Sustrans routes are inhabited by trailer traps.
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Kiwisue
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Kiwisue » 13 Jul 2016, 9:51pm

Thanks for the advice. I am able to travel up to 90kms a day if need be but prefer about 60km which gives time for the tourist bit. Hills are never a problem as any real tour on back roads in NZ have plenty. I will bring a bike rack and panniers for the trails suggested. Is there anywhere I must go? I intend to bring my tramping boots as well. :)
Last edited by Kiwisue on 13 Jul 2016, 10:05pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Vorpal » 13 Jul 2016, 10:05pm

Kiwisue wrote:Thanks for the advice. I am able to travel up to 90kms a day if need be but prefer about 60km which gives time for the tourist bit. Hills are never a problem as any real tour on back roads in NZ have plenty. I will bring a bike rack and panniers for the trails suggested. Is there anywhere I must go?

What do you like besides rural roads and trails? Beaches? Old castles? museums? Stately homes? Cricket pitches?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

pete75
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby pete75 » 13 Jul 2016, 10:46pm

If you're going to Yorkshire in June you'd probably enjoy the York cycle rally. http://yorkrally.org/ 24th - 25th Jane 2017

eileithyia
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby eileithyia » 14 Jul 2016, 12:03am

As other's, what are your interests other than seeing the world via the bike? There is so much to see and do. I might be prejudiced but I think we have so much to offer, pretty villages, scenic hills, castles, museums, old market towns, moorland, wolds and beaches. Not forgetting nature reserves, old railways and grand houses.....

May thru to September are good months but do not discount early Oct as we often have some decent weather into the first couple of weeks. If next year is anything like the summer we have had so far, come prepared for some hefty showers and strong winds.

There has been talk of places being busy in the school hols but also be aware that youth hostels can be busy mid week in term time as they can be booked out for school parties, indeed when i first started hostelling a school party was not unusual in a hostel, but these days due to various risk assessments etc., and child protection issues, ordinary hostellers are not allowed to share hostels at the same time as a school party!
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Kiwisue
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Kiwisue » 14 Jul 2016, 3:02am

Thank for your many replies. I spent 2003 teaching in Clacton-on=Sea in Essex and during this time I road raced with a team and so spent many hours riding the wonderful country lanes. I have friends in Colchester where I will start my adventure or use the train service to get to another starting point.

A fall during a TT in 2003 near Laverham meant I was unable to compete at the UCI veterans road champs in Austria that year so I came back the next year and spent 8 weeks in Wolverton training and racing. I loved training on the quiet back roads but didn't spend much time sight seeing.

I want to see museums and a few stately homes art galleries and historical places but most of all to enjoy your wonderful countryside with the many little villages along the way. And meant with people to have a yarn (talk) with. I loved Yorkshire because they are so much like Southlanders (where I come from-down the bottom of NZ) and everyone else I met no matter where in the UK.

This time I want to take my time and really enjoy riding . I will be bringing my tramping and running gear as well so any further suggestions appreciated. What I don't see next year I will come back the following year to see.

I want to go to Passechendaele battle field graves in Belguim where my grand uncle was killed on that terrible day for New Zealand on October 12 1917 but will probably hire car for that.

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Heltor Chasca
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Best time for travel UK

Postby Heltor Chasca » 14 Jul 2016, 6:32am

My suggestion is Warmshowers. An amazing opportunity to get some good rest, food and amiable hosts. I use it, but so far only for guests.

We've had some great characters pass through. Two retired Kiwis last visit and next week we've got 2 nomadic, Kamishibai Clowns from France. The kids are fit to pop! Real life clowns staying at our house. Life doesn't get better.

I've asked if they have any meal requests. Their reply? PIES!

Blinkin' clowns don't stop messing about. Now: shaving foam, cream, custard? Hmm
Last edited by Heltor Chasca on 14 Jul 2016, 6:32am, edited 2 times in total.

Norman H
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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby Norman H » 14 Jul 2016, 7:11am

As previously stated 8 weeks gives you plenty of scope. A home brewed Yorkshire coast to coast route would be one idea, including the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales, for instance. For inspiration check out some of the long distance cycle routes like The Way of The Roses and sea to sea on the Cycle.travel site.

I would definitely try to see at least some of the Scottish highlands and islands and you could bag a couple of Monros whilst you're there. For a left field suggestion, Ireland is only a short ferry crossing away.

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Re: Best time for travel UK

Postby eileithyia » 14 Jul 2016, 9:11am

Another inspiration might be British Cycle Quest.
http://www.cyclinguk.org/british-cycle-quest

I use it when holidaying / cycling in a new part of the country and use it to develop routes between points...... it means, even in places where i have previously cycled, my eyes are opened to monuments, and features that i have previously just cycled past. And i get to see some pretty villages and countryside while out and about.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells