Having already given details on some of the best cycle routes to try around London and Manchester, we’re striking out further north for some two-wheeled adventures in and around Tyneside.
Sustrans, the UK’s walking and cycling charity, has maps and info on all the UK’s cycle routes, so we asked the experts there for advice on some excellent rides around Newcastle-upon-Tyne. These three rides showcase some of the best scenery and historical attractions the area has to offer, including Hadrian’s Wall and the miles of stunning coastline. The rides are a fair chunk longer than the London and Manchester routes, presumably because everyone’s just a little bit tougher once you get this far north.
1. Gateshead Millennium Bridge To Durham
Distance: 17 miles (27km)
The Three Rivers long-distance cycling route – named for the Tyne, Wear and Tees – connects many of the north-east’s biggest cities and towns. This ride uses the Three Rivers route to travel between Newcastle and Durham, visiting Consett and Lanchester Valley on the way. Grab a few pics of Durham Cathedral, and then hop back on your bike if you fancy doubling the 17-mile distance.
2. Gateshead Millennium Bridge To Hexham
Distance: 25 miles (40km)
Route 72 of the National Cycle Network is better known as Hadrian’s Cycleway and spans the width of the country following the length of the ancient wall for 174 miles (280km). This section of the route follows the Tyne from Newcastle to Hexham and passes through the Roman town of Corbridge, an English Heritage site.
3. Gateshead Millennium Bridge To Blyth
Distance: 20 miles (32km)
Once again, you’re starting at the Millennium Bridge which connects Newcastle and Gateshead but this time you head from the the quayside out to the coast to join National Cycle Route 1 – the Coast and Castles South cycle route, which runs for 200 miles between Edinburgh and Newcastle. You won’t be going all the way to Scotland on this jaunt, but you will pass through the seaside town of Whitley Bay as you travel up the coast to Blyth.
Sustrans, the body responsible for the National Cycle Network, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. For more information and route inspiration visit sustrans.org.uk