Family cycle tour in the UK

JohnI
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Joined: 12 Apr 2017, 10:59am

Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby JohnI » 14 Jan 2019, 1:40pm

We’re looking to go on a mini UK cycle tour sometime around Easter with our twelve year old daughter. Probably 5 days staying in Premier Inns or B&Bs and probably covering up to 20-25 miles per day. She’s reasonably fit and confident. Ideally I’d like to start and finish at home (St Albans), but I’m not sure how easy it would be to plan an interesting and family-friendly route.

We could cycle over to the Grand Union Canal and head northwards, and then maybe follow Sustrans paths and/or country lanes over to NCN12. I’d personally prefer to be on quiet lanes rather than a canal towpath or cycle path (and my daughter is confident enough for that), but then it becomes much more complicated to plan a route that won’t suddenly chuck us onto a busy road.

Has anyone else done a tour like this? Any other route ideas or general tips?

Cheers,

John

hamster
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Re: Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby hamster » 14 Jan 2019, 5:41pm

East Anglia is worth considering: Cambridge-Ely-Wisbech-King's Lynn for example. There's plenty to see in each, as 25 miles isn't going to take that long!

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mjr
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Re: Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby mjr » 14 Jan 2019, 6:45pm

hamster wrote:East Anglia is worth considering: Cambridge-Ely-Wisbech-King's Lynn for example. There's plenty to see in each, as 25 miles isn't going to take that long!

I plotted the above as https://cycle.travel/map/journey/86931 based on my local knowledge from Cambridge on, plus I've used the rail trail to Hatfield to start because it seems like a gentle start even if it's not completely the right direction. There's a short section on an A road in Wicken but it's 30mph and could be walked without too much pain, as could the various A road crossings.

At the end, there's a detour to the point in King's Lynn to take you within sight of the North Sea (gravel road, though), but it should be obvious where you turn right not left at the end of Harding's Way to cut that off if no-one's in the mood. Trains could be taken back to Hatfield with one change at Cambridge, I think.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

JohnI
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Joined: 12 Apr 2017, 10:59am

Re: Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby JohnI » 14 Jan 2019, 7:13pm

Thanks very much! I hadn't thought of heading in that direction, partly because I don't know the roads further than Stevenage myself. But this looks like an ideal route,

Cheers,

John

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Adamcycles17
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Re: Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby Adamcycles17 » 14 Jan 2019, 9:17pm

Feddy and I did our ride to York when he was 12 starting from Hatfield http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ridetoyork2015

The route might be useful for ideas. I'd avoid the B road from Huntindon to Whittlesey if doing it again. We really enjoyed the moving on and camping in different palces, the site east of Peterborough being one of the better ones.

Cheers

Adam

JohnI
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Re: Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby JohnI » 15 Jan 2019, 10:34am

That sounds like a really great trip, thanks for the info.

JohnI
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Joined: 12 Apr 2017, 10:59am

Re: Family cycle tour in the UK

Postby JohnI » 14 Apr 2019, 5:26pm

If anyone is interested, we just came back from this trip and had a great time. In the end I opted for 'plan A' which was basically a loop from St Albans to Tring, then Milton Keynes, then Bedford, Hitchin, and back to St Albans. It had the advantage that we did the whole thing under our own power and I already knew about half the roads.

The only slight mistake was doing too much on the Grand Union Canal towpath on the first and second days. It was raining, which didn't help either. My daughter was fine on country lanes and B roads, so I was being a bit too cautious wanting to start off completely away from traffic, which meant bumping up and down or sliding around next to a canal.

We're already planning the next trip, which could well be to Norfolk. Thanks for the help and advice!

John