Top 10 reasons to cycle in the Lake District.
- See the Lake District in all its glory
The Lake District from a bike on a sunny day in summer is glorious. Imagine pedalling down a country lane, your head high enough to see beyond the iconic dry-stone walls, and there in the distance is a church spire, or a country pub, or a blue-reflecting lake. Don’t even think about the unexpected downpours, the fact that Lakeland is just a little hilly, that drivers are not always considerate of two-wheeled travellers. It’s all part of our rich tapestry.
- Give your body a break, but keep active
Cycling is one of the best activities for your body. Give your knees and ankles a break from walking, especially if you find the coming down off the fells is hard on your joints.
- Go green
Fed up with cars? Exhaust fumes, noise, traffic jams – especially in the summer. Go green! Pedal!
- Be sociable
Go with a group of friends. Or make it a family day out. Tie in your ride with regular stops at tea shops or pubs, book a little sunshine, and what better a day can you imagine than to cycle in the Lake District with friends or family. You might just sleep well afterwards.
- Pretend to speak no English
So you’re anti-social? And don’t want to make it a family or friends day out. Easy. Get on your bike and cycle in the Lake District ALL BY YOURSELF. If anyone speaks to you (they do when you’re on your bike), respond in something that sounds distinctly non-English, maybe involving some guttural sounds and possibly spitting. You might need to practice before you go, of course, but be careful where, and in front of whom.
- Be adventurous
You needn’t just do circular rides. Book ahead to a country pub, a hotel or a youth hostel and stay overnight. Make sure it is cyclist-friendly first, and they might just help out if you arrive a little damp. Or do more: spend a week touring the Lake District and see all the lakes, conquer all the passes (one has a café at the top; another has a pub!).
- Experience the atmosphere
Arriving by car at a busy car park and finding somewhere to park can deaden the feeling of excitement when arriving at a Lake District attraction or garden or historic house. But arrive by bike, and you sail past the cars, straight into your destination.
- Avoid the car park charges
Perhaps you need to search through pockets for change to buy a car park ticket, seeing your hard-earned coins swallowed by an automated monster. But you’re on a bike, so keep the coins in your pocket. Jingle them. Preferably within hearing of a car driver feeding the parking meter.
- Have the café to yourself!
If you have ever arrived at a popular Lake District site to find it over-crowded, arriving by bike can certainly help. If you have planned a route that takes in some sweat-inducing hills, the effect on sensitive souls in the tea shop can be very useful. You could suddenly find yourself with a very much quieter site to visit. Try it. It does work.
- Truly deserve your tea and bun when you get there
I don’t think I need to explain this one at all…
You don’t even need to bring your own bike unless you want to. These are some of the bike hire centres in the Lake District:
Bike hire in the Lake District
- AMBLESIDE: Bike Treks: http://www.bike-treks.co.uk/
- ASKHAM: Askham Cycle DR: http://www.askcycledr.co.uk/
- BOWNESS: Windermere Canoe/Kayak: http://www.windermerecanoekayak.com/bike-hire/
- GRASMERE: Thorney How Independent Hostel – electric and normal bike hire: http://www.thorneyhow.co.uk/
- GRIZEDALE: Grizedale Mountain Bikes: http://www.grizedalemountainbikes.co.uk/
- KESWICK: Whinlatter Bikes: http://www.whinlatterbikes.com/
- Great Langdale: Muncaster Cycles: cycle hire and repair in the grounds of Muncaster Castle: http://muncastercycles.co.uk/
So, no excuse then.
Other cycling links for the Lake District
- Online cycle maps and guide books from Bike Ride Maps.
- More cycling in Cumbria ideas at Cumbria Cycling
- My book: A Lake District Grand Tour
Blog Post: Top 10 Reasons to cycle in the Lake District